Exploring Nnedi Okorafor’s decolonial turn in the Binti Trilogy

Decolonising Speculative Fiction

Keywords: Speculative fiction, Nnedi Okorafor, Binti trilogy, decolonial turn, Sankofa, Africanfuturism


Nnedi Okorafor is one of the best-known speculative fiction writers who has centred African perspectives and delinked from Western models. In her trilogy, Binti (2015), Binti Home (2017) and Binti the Night Masquerade (2017a), Okorafor disrupts the dominant white-masculine supremacist convention and traditions for a more diverse and inclusive narrative. In this article, I use decolonial thinking and the lens of Sankofa, a decolonial and African knowledge philosophy and wor ldview, to explore how Okorafor uses set tings, characterisation, and ancient African traditional knowledge to achieve a decolonial turn in speculative fiction. By centring Sankofa, Okorafor sets her fantastic stories in Namibia among the indigenous and marginalised Himba people. She creates strong female characters who embody a multiplicity of beings operating intricately in a complex earthly, spatial and spirit world, and she exploits ancient African traditional culture and knowledge systems to create her ‘organic fantasy’ and a world of speculative fiction that transforms Western understandings of the genre.