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The United States of Africa: Afrofuturistic pasts and Afropolitan futures

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Abstract:

Extending the 1990s movement of Afrofuturism in new directions, recent African writers and film-makers have made important satirical contributions to the idea of a future United States of Africa (USAF) to which westerners scramble to gain admittance. Launched by Ghanaian director John Akomfrah’s classic film The Last Angel of History (1995), Afrofuturism looks back to modernist roots, but looks forward to the ramifications of postcoloniality and postmodernity. At the All African Peoples’ Congress, Kwame Nkrumah declares the century of Africa and proclaims a future USAF – a project still under consideration by the African Union (AU). A decade later, Guyanese writer Bertène Juminer publishes La Revanche du Bozambo (1968)/Bozambo’s Revenge (1976), which transfers the plight of Africans struggling against European colonialism to Europeans struggling against African colonialism. In the Juminerian tradition, Djiboutian writer Abdourahman Waberi’s novel Aux États-Unis d’Afrique (2006)/In the United States of Africa (2009b) and Beninese director Sylvestre Amoussou’s film Africa Paradis (2006) criticize globalization and the North–South divide, and offer to postcolonial cosmopolitanism the speculative engagement with the sociology of African technology and with the future possibilities of what Achille Mbembé terms ‘Afropolitanism’.

Keywords: Abdourahman Waberi; Afrofuturism; Pan-Africanism; Sylvestre Amoussou; cosmopolitanism; immigration; postcolonial; utopianism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jac.5.1.33_1

Affiliations: Morehouse College

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film. 
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