Environmental and animal studies are rapidly growing areas of interest across a number of disciplines. Natures of Africa is one of the first edited volumes which encompasses transdisciplinary approaches to a number of cultural forms, including fiction, non-fiction, oral expression and digital media. Natures of Africa features new research from East Africa and Zimbabwe, as well as the ecocritical and eco-activist 'powerhouses' of Nigeria and South Africa.
The chapters engage one another conceptually and epistemologically without an enforced consensus of approach. In their conversation with dominant ideas about nature and animals, they reveal unexpected insights into forms of cultural expression of local communities in Africa. The analyses explore different apprehensions of the connections between humans, animals and the environment, and suggest alternative ways of addressing the challenges facing the continent. These include the problems of global warming, desertification, floods, animal extinctions and environmental destruction attendant upon fossil fuel extraction.
There are few books that show how nature in Africa is represented, celebrated, mourned or commoditised. Natures of Africa weaves together studies of narratives – from folklore, travel writing, novels and popular songs – with the insights of poetry and contemporary reflections of Africa on the worldwide web. The chapters test disciplinary and conceptual boundaries, highlighting the ways in which the environmental concerns of African communities cannot be disentangled from social, cultural and political questions.
Natures of Africa draws on and will appeal to scholars and teachers of oral tradition and indigenous cultures, literature, religion, sociology and anthropology, environmental and animal studies, as well as media and digital cultures in an African context.
Foreword Byron Caminero-Santangelo
Chapter 1: “Here is some baobab leaf!”: Sunjata, foodways and biopiracy / Jonathan Bishop Highfield
Chapter 2: Shona as a land-based nature-culture: A study of the (re)construction of Shona land mythology in popular songs / Mickias Musiyiwa
Chapter 3: The environment as signifi cant Other: The green nature of Shona indigenous religion / Jacob Mapara
Chapter 4: Animal praise poetry and the Samburu desire to survive / James Maina Wachira
Chapter 5: Voluntourism paradoxes: Strategic visual tropes of the natural on South African voluntourism websites / Reinier J.M. Vriend
Chapter 6: Toward ecocriticism in Africa: Literary aesthetics in African environmental literature / Chengyi Coral Wu
Chapter 7: Critical intersections: Ecocriticism, globalised cities and African narrative, with a focus on K. Sello Duiker’s Thirteen Cents / Antony Vital
Chapter 8: Navigating Gariep country: Writing nature and culture in Borderline by William Dicey / Mathilda Slabbert
Chapter 9: Negotiating identity in a vanishing geography: Home, environment and displacement in Helon Habila’s Oil on Water / Ogaga Okuyade
Chapter 10: Animal narrators in Patrice Nganang’s Dog Days: An Animal Chronicle and Alain Mabanckou’s Memoirs of a Porcupine / Wendy Woodward
Chapter 11: Nature, animism and humanity in Anglophone Nigerian poetry / Sule Egya
Chapter 12: Animals, nostalgia, and Zimbabwe’s rural landscape in the poetry of Chenjerai Hove and Musaemura Zimunya / Syned Mthatiwa
About the authors
Fiona Moolla teaches African Literature at the University of the Western Cape. Her work focuses on the nexus between oral, print and digital cultures, highlighting human, animal, environmental and cosmic relationships. She is the author of Reading Nuruddin Farah: The Individual, the Novel and the Idea of Home.