Nnedi Okorafor: Storyteller

It was through the blog IO9 that I discovered Nnedi Okorafor’s uniquely African take on science-fiction and fantasy last month. Nneddi, a second generation African immigrant to America, is making a name for herself with her novels “Zahrah the Windseeker” and “Who Fears Death” and is helping to redefine two genres of fiction where Africa is greatly under-represented. Her latest is Akata Witch, a fantasy narrative set in present-day Nigeria.

I could find much on Akata Witch but here’s IO9′s review of “Who Fears Death”…

Set in a future of unknown distance after an ecological apocalypse - most of the world has become a desert; people use handmade computers and portable water-condensers to survive - the story takes place in an unnamed land beset by conflict. The Nuru, following the dictates of “the Great Book”, have taken it upon themselves to destroy the Okeke - a culture whose people they already enslave and oppress. As part of this genocidal campaign, they systematically rape Okeke women, deliberately trying to create mixed-race babies.

Sound familiar? It should. It isn’t clear until the end of the story which nation this is - could’ve been one of any number from Rwanda to the former Yugoslavia, since the pattern of rape as a weapon of war is by no means exclusive to any one locale. That said, it’s pretty clear that this is set in some nation in Africa, and the parallels with Sudan are obvious. Especially as the novel’s protagonist Onyesunwo - a child of rape - grows up.

If you’d like to learn more, visit Nnedi.com or her blog.

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About the author: Jonathan Gosier is a UI designer, software developer and writer. He currently lives in Kampala, Uganda where he incubates and invests in East African entrepreneurs as the CEO of Appfrica Labs. He's also a TED Fellow.
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