Framing homosexual identities in Cameroonian literature
What language exists to describe the lives of women and sexual minorities who live in Cameroon? In this paper, I demonstrate how a selection of contemporary works of fiction use their narratives to create a space and language for the experiences of LGBT individuals within the cultural imaginary of Sub-Saharan Africa. Texts such as my own Jeune fille de Bona Mbella (2010), Max Lobe’s 39 Rue de Berne (2013) and Chimamanda Adichie’s “Jumping Monkey Hill” describe the personal lives of both women and sexual minorities, and show how their experiences are intertwined with socio-political realities. I give close attention to the stories’ different possible meanings, and place them in their socio-historical contexts in order to make an important intervention into the literary history of Cameroon: LGBT work must be included in our discussions of contemporary Cameroonian cultural production. It is part of our modernity.
Keywords: Cameroon, collective imaginary, homosexual identities, LGBT activism