© 2020

Childhood in Contemporary Diasporic African Literature

Memories and Futures Past


Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Christopher E. W. Ouma
    Pages 1-37
  3. Christopher E. W. Ouma
    Pages 71-97
  4. Christopher E. W. Ouma
    Pages 99-118
  5. Christopher E. W. Ouma
    Pages 119-140
  6. Christopher E. W. Ouma
    Pages 141-182
  7. Christopher E. W. Ouma
    Pages 183-193
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 195-202

About this book


This book examines the representation of figures, memories and images of childhood in selected contemporary diasporic African fiction by Adichie, Abani, Wainaina and Oyeyemi. The book argues that childhood is a key framework for thinking about contemporary African and African Diasporic identities. It argues that through the privileging of childhood memory, alternative conceptions of time emerge in this literature, and which allow African writers to re-imagine what family, ethnicity, nation means within the new spaces of diaspora that a majority of them occupy. The book therefore looks at the connections between childhood, space, time and memory, childhood gender and sexuality, childhoods in contexts of war, as well as migrant childhoods. These dimensions of childhood particularly relate to the return of the memory of Biafra, the figures of child soldiers, memories of growing up in Cold War Africa, queer boyhoods/sonhood as well as experiences of migration within Africa, North America and Europe.”.


Heinemann African Writers James Currey Canon Ngugi wa Thiong’o Structural Adjustment Programs Cold War AIDS Chinua Achebe Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

About the authors

Christopher E W Ouma is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Cape Town. He holds a PhD from the Department of African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand. Christopher has co-edited The Spoken Word project: Stories Travelling Through Africa. He is also currently editor of Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies.

Bibliographic information


“A very detailed historiography of childhood in African literature. … The book is not only an important addition to African literary childhood scholarship, it is also a much-needed contribution to memory studies in and on Africa. … Childhood in Contemporary Diasporic African Literature: Memories and Futures Past is an important work; it is an excellent addition to African literary scholarship.” (Sakiru Adebayo, Research in African Literatures, Vol. 51 (2), 2020)