Aliens and Insecticide: Ecoambiguity in Two Stories from Dilman Dila’s A Killing in the Sun
AbstractLooking at two short stories from Dilman Dila’s critically acclaimed short story collection, A Killing in the Sun (2014), I explore the controversial use of DDT in rural Uganda as a site of ecoambiguity. My close reading of “The Leafy Man” and “The Yellow People” illumines various paradoxes around the consumption of internationally sponsored insecticide and its subsequent cost to local society. These paradoxes contradict the Manichean thinking of earlier forms of postcolonial nationalism and self-determined nativist thought. I argue that by identifying ecoambiguity as a more appropriate tenor for insecticide usage in Uganda, Dila’s short stories grapple with the realities of the neoliberal African state that must remain open to ambiguity and reconfigurations of the human, as it attempts to come to terms with, and potentially alleviate, local ecodegradation in a global economy.
Keywords: Dilman Dila, A Killing in the Sun, African speculative fiction, African science fiction, African ecocriticism