Mohale Mashigo chatted to The Reading List about her new book, Intruders.
The Introduction to Intruders is an interesting collection of thoughts about Afrofuturism and Speculative Fiction in Africa. Were these things you have been thinking about for a while, or did your opinion coalesce when you were writing in this genre yourself?
I’ve been thinking about Afrofuturism for a while now and it was around the time when Black Panther was released. I loved the movie but there was an energy around it that made me wary. I could just see South Africans taking this Afrofuturism thing and running with it. Saw a few adverts going in that direction – once the advertising people have it then it’s over. So I wrote the essay and was afraid to kill everyone’s Black Panther high, so I just stuck in the book while I finished off a few stories.
Your characters are universal, and you place them in a familiar, sometimes scary, South African context. What this something you were thinking about when you wrote the stories?
I love comics, scary movies and I was just so sick of not seeing people like me or people I grew up around so I decided to Intrude and bring all my people with me. Why can’t a girl from Soweto become a mermaid? Why no werewolves from Mitchells Plain, and so on. I wanted us to know that we belong everywhere and we will intrude with our own folklore and urban legend if need be.
They say you can’t write short stories without reading them. Are you a fan of short fiction? Which writers do you enjoy, and are there any who have influenced your writing?
Uh-oh! I was never been a fan of short stories in my younger days and I am finding myself more and more attracted to collections of stories. I recently read Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez and she had me with each story. She’s definitely made me a better reader and writer.