Lizelle Bisschoff, Professor of Contemporary African Cinema at the University of Edinburgh discusses Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction.
The talk offered a broad introduction to various manifestations of the science fiction genre in different African contexts and creative practices. Lizelle discussed questions such as: Can the ‘Western’ understanding of science fiction be applied to an African context? How does the technology-driven genre of science fiction manifest in Africa? How do African ontologies, which often incorporate magic, the supernatural and the fantastical, relate to science fiction? How does African science fiction relate to understandings and projections of Africa’s future?
African in Science Fiction novels Lizelle came across in researching the talk:
- Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters by Kojo Laing, 2006, Ghana
- Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds, 2012, British SF writer, novel set in East Africa
- MunaHacha Maive Nei? by Masimba Musodza, 2011, Zimbabwe, the first science fiction novel in the Shona language
- Qui se souvient de la mer (“Who Remembers the Sea?”) by Mohammed Dib, 1962, Algeria
- Waiting For the Barbarians by JM Coetzee, 1980, South Africa
- Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor, 2011, Nigeria
- Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, 2010, South Africa
Dr Lizelle Bisschoff lectures in African Cinema and her research interests center on how audio-visual representations contribute to imagining and shaping the postcolonial nation. She is the founder of Africa in Motion, an African film festival that takes place in Edinburgh each year. Over the past 5 years the festival has included almost 200 African films, with screenings accompanied by directors’ masterclasses, workshops and discussions, arts exhibitions and performances by African musicians.