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Bodies and/as Texts: Representing queer on screen in contemporary Africa

The body is an assemblage of not only the physical and the material. The body is a text which is embedded with codes and meanings. There exists solid scholarship on the centrality of screen media in documenting queer identities and practices. However, these studies have primarily concerned themselves with examining screen texts in their attempt to make sense of queer subjectivities. This proposed study sets out to go beyond the analysis of screen texts by focusing on the screened queer bodies as living texts that have the potential to articulate narratives which are normally side-lined my mainstream literary, artistic and media discourses. Drawing largely on Judith Butler’s postulations on “bodies that matter” and “performativity” as performative figures that disrupt essentialising and normalising discourses of sexuality and gender constitution. Through an analysis of diverse screen documents (films, short-films, music videos and documentaries), I set out to examine how queer African bodies projected on screen articulate the intersection between atypical temporalities, race, gender and sexuality. The screen queer bodies, I argue, have the potential to reconstruct not just media and filmic forms, but more importantly how non-normative sexualities and gender identities are constructed and come into discursive being.


Fellows involved in this project

Iso Lomso Fellow
Zimbabwe | South Africa

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Related publications

Book/Book Chapter

Nyambi, Oliver, Tendai Mangena and Gibson Ncube. (Eds.). 2021. Cultures of Change in Contemporary Zimbabwe. Routledge.

Journal Article

Ncube, Gibson. 2021. Frottage: Frictions of Intimacy across the Black Diaspora (Keguro Macharia). Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 58(1), 172–174.

Journal Article

Ncube, Gibson. 2021. Skin and Silence in Selected Maghrebian Queer Films. Journal of African Cultural Studies, 33(1), 51–66.

Journal Article

Ncube, Gibson. 2020. Eternal mothers, whores or witches: The oddities of being a woman in politics in Zimbabwe. Agenda, 1–9.

Journal Article

Ncube, Gibson. 2020. “Human Beings Have a Hard Time Relating to That Which Does Not Resemble Them”: Queering Normativity in Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon. Scrutiny2, 1–13.

Journal Article

Ncube, Gibson. 2019. Gender and naming practices, and the creation of a taxonomy of masculinities in the South African soap opera The Queen. Nomina Africana, 33(1), 1–8.


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