Africa: The Limits of Imagining Pleasure – Writing the History of African Sex


Is kissing unAfrican? Is foreplay unAfrican? These questions speak to ideas which view certain aspects of pleasure and sexuality as foreign. Through fiction, Rafeeat Aliyu says African writers can challenge stereotypes and assumptions of the place of both romance and pleasure in history by creating stories that push at imposed boundaries.

Is kissing unAfrican? Is foreplay unAfrican?

“Love is not African in concept,” I once heard a secondary school teacher say. That such opinions exist today suggests that Africans, generally speaking, view certain aspects of pleasure and sexuality as foreign.

There is difficulty in seeing ancient or pre-colonial Africans as sexual beings. This is not surprising when one considers just how understudied African history is. There is…

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