The Chronopolitical in African Science Fiction

7. Juli 2017
18:00 – 21:15
Henriette Gunkel: The Chronopolitical in African Science Fiction
Moderation: Maja Figge

A film and video screening curated and commented by Henriette Gunkel

This film program brings together three short films from the African continent and its diaspora that operate in the realm of the speculative. The films employ different temporal and aesthetic strategies and practices of future fictions - through references to a speculative archive, for example, or the audio-visual method of time travel. This way, they not only point to different politics of time (and as such disrupt the seemingly stable dimensions of past, present and future) but also to dreams deferred and the unfinished conversation about the African utopian project.

Director: Cedric Ido
Year: 2013
Running Time: 30 minutes
Language: French/Arabic; English Subtitles
Producer: Jérôme Bleitrach
Production: Arte, Bizibi, Centre National du Cinéma

Burkina Faso in 1987 is a country in the throes of revolution. Manu, an eight-year-old who loves comics, tags along with Albert, his big brother. When Albert decides to undergo a magic ritual to become invincible, Manu realizes there are real powers to rival those of his comic-book superheroes.

Director: Jim Chuchu
Year: 2013
Producers: Rebecca Chandler, Wanuri Kahiu, Idil Ibrahim

Executive Producer: Steven Markovitz
Running Time: 11 minutes 11 seconds
Language: English / Kiswahili
Subtitles: English

Production: Awali Entertainment Ltd

Nothing is what it seems as Max – a nerdy voyeur - turns fiction into truth and the mundane into the unexpected in his quest to get the attention of Alina - the girl next door. The city of Nairobi is threatened with imminent extinction, and now is his chance to save her and verbalize his unspoken desire. However, a mysterious stranger stands in the way of his happiness. Will Max overcome his fear and save the girl? Is Alina looking for a hero? A quirky, light-hearted look at obsession and the desire to be seen.

Director: Frances Bodomo
Year: 2014
Running Time: 14min
Producer: Isabella Wing-Davey
Language: English
Production: Powder Room Films

July 1969. It’s the night of the moon landing and a group of exiles in the Zambian desert are rushing to launch their rocket first. They train by rolling their astronaut, 17-year-old Matha Mwamba, down hills in barrels to simulate weightlessness. As the clock counts down to blast off, as the Bantu-7 Rocket looks more and more lopsided, Matha must decide if she’s willing to die to keep her family’s myths alive.


Henriette Gunkel is a lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the author of The Cultural Politics of Female Sexuality in South Africa (Routledge, 2010) and co-editor of Undutiful Daughters: New Directions in Feminist Thought and Practice (Palgrave, 2012), What Can a Body Do? (Campus, 2010) and Frieda Grafe: 30 Filme (Brinkman & Bose, 2013). She is currently working on a monograph on Africanist science-fictional interventions, and on two further volumes: Visual Cultures as Time Travel, co-authored with Ayesha Hameed (Sternberg, forthcoming) and We Travel the Space Ways: Black Imagination, Fragments and Diffractions (Duke University Press, forthcoming).