[The JRB exclusive] Read an excerpt from Meanwhile … a new graphic novel anthology about everyday queer life in Southern and East Africa

The JRB presents an excerpt from Meanwhile … Graphic Short Stories About Everyday Queer Life in Southern and East Africa.

Meanwhile … is published by the Qintu Collab and MaThoko’s Books, an imprint of Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (Gala). A selection of comics from the novel are currently being featured in The Art of Comics exhibition running until 18 November 2019 at the Johannesburg Art Gallery.

Contributors to the book, as part of the Qintu Collab, ‘created personal timelines and visual maps of their bodies, relationships and spaces. The writers then worked with two comic artists, Kit Beukes and Nas Hoosen, to develop unique stories that represent their own narratives,’ the publisher says.

The Qintu Collab is made up of eighteen queer youth from Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe, two academics, three artists and a journalist.

Some of the stories in this anthology direct us to queer pasts, moments that have been let go, that are over or have been overcome—self-denial, familial rejection, religious oppression. Other stories reflect future worlds framed by new oppressions, or where the pressures of the present have lifted and queerness and African family and public life merge more easily. Most stories, however, are about struggling with, and being hopeful in the present.

They frame the indeterminacy of queer life, daily precarity and potentiality of queer personhood and relationships. They hover in the moment after the break, the revelation, the epiphany, the ‘what now’ after we have left home, the church, or the bad relationship.

Telling these stories is an effort to move past the notion that ‘it gets better’, that we are each waiting for some rainbow-hued queer utopia, and to instead focus on the queerness of the imperfect present, even as we strive toward a more just future.

—The Qintu Collab

Read the excerpt (6 pages):


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