Prelude to Afrofuture(s)

Click to download: “Wangechi Mutu wonders why butterfly wings leave powder on the fingers, there was a coup today in Kenya.” by Binyavanga Wainaina (pdf)

FEATURING: “Wangechi Mutu wonders why butterfly wings leave powder on the fingers, there was a coup today in Kenya.” by Binyavanga Wainaina.


Jalada’s Afrofuture Anthology will be released on January 15th 2015. The Prelude, which features Binyavanga Wainaina’s profile of Wangechi Mutu, and her art, is a perfect expression of this shared dream among African artists to redefine how we envision future Africa. A group of Jalada editors are hard at work on the submissions, and here is what they have to say about it all.
(Moses Kilolo, Managing Editor)


I see Jalada’s Afrofuture issue as an expression of the Pan-African vision of Afrofuturism. Afrofuturistic art has always been about crossing the borders of time and space: it reaches into the distant past as well as the far future, and across the traumatic breach of the Middle Passage. I love that this anthology brings together voices and visions from different parts of Africa and the diaspora—to me, that’s the true spirit of Afrofuturism.
(Sofia Somatar, Fiction Editor)


‘Even our continent’s past is rightly contested; so, what about its possible futures? They are places of speculation: of hopes for something better, but equally of dystopian fears. The poems in Jalada’s forthcoming Afrofutures publication predict both, from across the diverse continent. But one thing about the future is known for sure: the Jalada anthology will be something worth reading, a miscellany that provides us with a range of plausible, beautiful, horrible options.’
(Stephen Derwent Partington, Poetry Editor)


As a reader, Afro-futurist writing, allows me to lose myself in vividly imagined worlds deeply and specifically rooted in who I am, as ‘African’, as ‘woman’, as ‘other’. When lost in the words, I explore and occasionally find myself.
As for being an editor: “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. We edit to let the fire show through the smoke” (Arthur Plotnik) This anthology is a raging forest fire.
(Anne Moraa, Fiction Editor)


Afrofuture(s) is a call to all imaginations in the work of proliferating and continuing a remaking and rewriting of the African and the Black in resistance to what Keguro Macharia has described as “the persistent unmaking of black life”. This anthology is an opportunity to contest the raced, gendered, classed, and ethnicised ways we live now, to interpellate the variously colonised ways we exist here (everywhere), to confront the ongoing interruption of our history, and “stay woke” in that fantastic Delany-esque moment “when words tear from the nervous matrix and, like sparks, light what responses they may.”
(Orem, Reader)


Jalada’s Afrofuture anthology promises to shift perceptions and to enhance realities. It will make you think a new thought and feel a new emotion. Poems and stories from an Africa no longer afraid of its imagination. A generation of young minds willing to co-create their future. It will fizzle and pop in the mind: a titillating addition to our literary landscape.
(Kiprop Kimutai, Fiction Editor)


Our continent continues to change in a myriad of lovely, tragic, odd…ways. Many have tried to tell its story in the past, assuming such a thing as ‘its story’ exists. Others, again, have called for a retelling of its story. To say Jalada’s Afrofuture anthology will be breaking new ground in that spirit is a mischaracterization, because it simply does not care. This is about curiosity, contemplation, and most of all, the lofty reaches of art.
(Abdul Adan, Fiction Editor)


Wangechi Mutu’s work makes new things, and remixes. Her work became a middle-passage, never real in America, never real at home. She builds a world to live in that Africans can inhabit. An African global citizen is the inheritor of all archives. She is an early African provoking the season of Afro-futures. Once distressed, distorted, re-made, this African global citizen releases us from ugga booga fears of the hegemony that makes these magazines, and freezes us as one-dimensional agents of their glossy spectacle.
(Binyavanga Wainaina, “Wangechi Mutu wonders why butterfly wings leave powder on the fingers, there was a coup today in Kenya.”)