Speculative fiction and African urban futures: Writing food in Billy Kahora’s edited collection Imagine Africa 500
I this article I explore the place of the future African city as presented in contemporary African speculative fiction. I focus on the short stories in the anthology Imagine Africa 500: Speculative Fiction from Africa (2015) to look at how the urban space is conceptualised in these narrations of an imagined future Africa, 500 years from the present day. While the discussion looks at the urban space and imagined technological development, it highlights the ecological narratives and the contrast drawn between the city and the rural and the local and the foreign, as imagined for the future by relying on the employment of food imagery in these stories. I look at the use of food in these speculative narratives as a link between the familiar and these strange, imagined futures as presented in the anthology. I aim to provoke a debate on the imaginations of what a future African city may look like as presented through literary works and the significance of these imaginings today within developmental and environmental lenses. I read the future city through use of language, space, images, form, and style to look at how the modern short story is theorising on African futures.
Keywords: speculative fiction, dystopia. post-apocalypse, urban, city, food, nostalgia.