South African experiences in a restructured post-apocalyptic geo-political future as depicted in speculative fiction

Decolonising Speculative Fiction

Keywords: coloniality, decentring, decolonisation, domination by the Global North, epistemic freedom, speculative fiction


This article draws on science fiction’s aesthetics of instability and multiple perspectives that disrupt the dominance of a Euro-American narrative voice (Langer 2011), as well as decolonial concepts such as coloniality, decentring and epistemic freedom (Ngũgĩ 1986, 1992; Quijano 2007; Grosfoguel 2011; Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2018), to analyse the human condition and geopolitical patterns reflected in post-disaster worlds as depicted in Gillian Armstrong’s “Elton” (2011), Abigail Godsell’s (2011) “Taal” and Sarah Lotz’s “Marine Drive, Durban Beachfront” (2014). The notion of multiple perspectives and contexts, and Smith’s (2012) disruptive view that science fiction occurs everywhere, are used as lenses to examine the decolonised literary imagination. Ngũgĩ argues (1986, 1992), that such an imagination moves the literary setting and vision from the Euro-American centre to another centre, in this case to a speculative post-apocalyptic South African future. The article argues that the depicted literary future and unfolding human experiences enable the constitution of decolonised literary imaginings and a cultural geography that restructure the current domination of geo-political and spatial mappings by the Global North. This restructured imagining places South Africa, and by extension Africa, at the centre of a speculative vision of humanity’s sense of itself, knowledge production and agency, which are needed for the future survival of both the environment and other global inhabitants.