An Afrofuturistic Reading of Nairobi in Tony Mochama’s Nairobi: A Night Guide through the City-in-the-Sun

Maureen Amimo

Abstract


This paper explores how narrative performs both a mapping and a dis-mapping of cities through attention to infrastructure. Here, mapping is used metaphorically to refer to the representation of infrastructure through narrative prose. Tony Mochama’s Nairobi: A Night Guide through the City-in-the-Sun is a narrative that through the persona of the night runner, dis/maps, contests and envisions alternative identities of Nairobi’s infrastructures. I argue that through a creative spatio-temporal reflection on infrastructure Mochama offers counter-imaginaries of the city, weaving an image that transcends the concrete. The night runner’s Afrofuturistic gaze on Nairobi’s infrastructure complicates the way urban infrastructures are thus mapped and the potentialities within them. The night runner’s exploration of pasts and presents of city-infrastructure produces a map of futures that contest the limits of the gentrified city and offer beginnings of trajectories into Nairobi as both space for travel and dwelling.

 


Keywords


Infrastructure; Nairobi; City; temporality; futures; Tony Mochama

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