“Kinky Politics, EXIT Newspaper, and a “Moffie Called Simon”: Re-Reading African Queer Visibility through Representations of Simon Nkoli”

Aug. 29, 2013; Z’étoile ImmaPhoto by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Seminar by Z’étoile Imma, PhD (University of Notre Dame)

Title:

“Kinky Politics, EXIT Newspaper, and a “Moffie Called Simon”: Re-Reading African Queer Visibility through Representations of Simon Nkoli”

Date: Thursday, 25 february 2016

Time: 13:00 – 14:30

Venue: 4th floor, neville alexander building

 

Abstract

In this presentation, I examine anti-apartheid and queer rights activist Simon Nkoli’s relationship to, and representation in, South African print media, particularly, the premier gay and lesbian newspaper of South Africa, EXIT. EXIT’s coverage of Nkoli, from his imprisonment years (1984-1988) and to his death in 1998, is a consistent and foundational trope of the publication, which was first launched in 1985. Yet as a newspaper marketed to a white gay and largely apolitical readership, I read Nkoli’s representation in the periodical as not only marking the discursive limits of multiracial queer solidarity during apartheid and early post-apartheid South Africa, but also flaunting a brand of gay kinky politics, that is in the words of critic Kopano Ratele—the sexual warping of identity inherent to the construction of race. Despite the unruly and reductive media productions of kinky politics in EXIT, I argue that Nkoli’s mobilization of EXIT as a platform speaks to his strategic use of identity and (what queer theorist Jose Munoz has described as) disindentificatory politics.
Bio

Z’étoile Imma, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English and Concurrent Faculty in the Gender Studies Program at the University of Notre Dame. Her most recent publications explore the cultural politics of representing queer masculinities and intimate space in contemporary Anglophone African literature, film, and new media. Awarded a 2015-2016 Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dr. Imma is currently a visiting research associate at the Gender, Sexuality Diversity, and Critical Consciousness Program at the University of Free State. Her major work in progress is entitled Our Queer Mandela: Simon Nkoli, the Archive, and the Uses of an African Queer Icon.

 

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