‘The Future Starts With An Image’: Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi (2009)

Using Wanuri Kahiu’s film Pumzi (2009), I will demonstrate how fiction has become an increasingly important tool for mobilising different political imaginaries beyond the predatory futurist projections of neoliberal capitalism. At a time when many contemporary commentators remain critical of Afrofuturism’s sustained diasporic parochialism (Okorafor “Africanfuturism Defined”; and, “African Science Fiction is Still Alien”), there is good reason to investigate how African filmmakers, such as Kahiu, are producing alternate image-worlds in order to disrupt, reimagine, and reconfigure the confines of what appears possible in the space-time of the future. By thinking in, with, and through the image-world that Kahiu constructs, this paper amplifies the generative capacity of Afrofuturist fiction, that is: the way in which their imagined spatialities mobilise a capacity for alternate modes of being and becoming beyond the parameters of their textual form.

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