Main Article Content
The mobility trope is a key aesthetic feature in Afropolitan fiction and it crystalizes as the act of travelling which has become an important subject-matter in postnationalist African fictions by women such as Chimamanda Adichie, Noviolet Bulawayo or Chika Unigwe as a way of intervention on the debate of the Afropolitan female quest for existential subjectivity in 21st century African fiction. This is against the backdrop of negative essentialism and the exertions of patriarchy evident in the representation of African women’s in 20th century African fiction. Drawing from the foregoing, this paper interrogates Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street (Hence OBSS) to demonstrate how the writer deploys mobility trope which manifest as travelling as a signature of the Afropolitan female quest for existential subjectivity. I argue in this paper that, though existing studies on OBSS portray Efe, Sisi, Ama and Joyce as exported commodities in neoliberal sex market, their relocation however opens up a new vista to understanding their motivation and quest for new subjectivity, empowered fluid agency, individual autonomy and translation into Afropolitans. This is within Achille Mbembe’s phenomenological criticism of Afropolitanism and a methology that is based on qualitative content analysis of the text—OBSS. On the long run, the identity which travelling confers on the female characters is fluid, as they represent an African being in a globalized world and a strong sense of cultural mobility.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Journal of Gender and Power is an Open Access Journal. Copyright of the article published in the Journal of Gender and Power is retained by the authors with first publication rights granted to the Adam Mickiewicz University Press.
- ASHCROFT, B. (2015) Travel and Utopia. In: Kuehn, J. & Smethurst, P. (eds.) New Directions in Travel Writing Studies. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- BRATMAN, M. E. (2007) Structures of agency: Essays. New York: Oxford University Press.
- CHUKWUDI-OFOEDU, A. E. (2017) The domination and sexual objectification of women in Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street. Journal of humanities and social policies. 3 (1). Pp. 1–9.
- CHUKWUMA, H. (2003) Accents in the African novel. Nairobi: Pearls Publishers.
- COURTOIS, C. (2019) The travelling bodies of African prostitutes in the transnational space in Chris Abani’s “Becoming Abigail” (2006) and Chika Unigwe’s “On Black Sisters’ Street” (2009). In: Pellicer-Ortín, S. & Tofantšuk, J. (eds.) Women on the Move: Body, Memory and Femininity in Present-Day Transnational Diasporic Writing. New York–London: Routledge. Pp. 25–45.
- EDE, A. (2018) Afropolitan Genealogies. African Diaspora. 11 (1–2). Pp. 35–52.
- EGYA, S. E. (2018) The Gendered and Commodified Female Body in Contemporary Nigerian Fiction. Africa Development. 43 (1). Pp. 75–89.
- KAMALU, I. & EJEZIE, B. O. (2016) Ideational representation of prostitution and social meaning in Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street. Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. 8 (2). Pp. 108–116.
- LIGAGA, D. (2019) Ambiguous agency in the vulnerable trafficked body: Reading Sanusi’s Eyo and Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street. Tydskrif vir Letterkunde. 56 (1). Pp. 74–88.
- MBEMBÉ, J. A. & NUTTALL, S. (2004) Writing the world from an African metropolis. Public Culture. 16 (3). Pp. 347–372.
- MORALES, D. (2017) An Afropolitan 2017 update. Journal of the African Literature Association. 11 (2). Pp. 223–237.
- NDIAYE, N. (2014) The role of women as Afropolitanists, a new brand of feminism for today’s Africa? OSIWA. [Online] Available from: http://www.osiwa.org/afropolitanism/the-role-of-women-as-afropolitanists/.
- NNOLIM, C. (2009) “Contemporary Nigerian Fiction” Issues in African literature. Yenagoa: Treasure Resources Communication Limited.
- NWAPA, F. (2007) Women and creative writing in Africa. In: Olaniyan, T. & Quason, A. (eds.) African literature. An anthology of criticism and theory. Wiley-Blackwell. Pp. 526–532.
- OGUNDIPE-LESLIE, M. (1994) Re-Creating Ourselves: African Women and Critical Transformations. Africa World Press.
- OLORUNTOBA-OJU, O. & OLORUNTOBA-OJU, T. (2013) Models in the construction of female identity in Nigerian postcolonial literature. Tydskrif vir Letterkunde. 50 (2). Pp. 1–14.
- OSHANA, M. (2010) The importance of how we see ourselves self-identity and responsible agency. Lanham: Lexington Books.
- OTU, O. O. (2016) Prostitution: The Economics Of Sex And Power Dynamics In El Saadawi’s Woman At Point Zero, Adimora-Ezeigbo’s trafficked And Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street. World Journal of English Language. 6 (4).
- REINARES, L. B. (2019) The Pedagogies of Sex Trafficking Postcolonial Fiction: Consent, Agency, and Neoliberalism in Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée. 46. (1). Pp. 56–76.
- SARTRE, J. P. (2016) What is subjectivity? Verso Books.
- SMETHURST, P. (2008) Introduction. In: Kuehn, J. & Smethurst, P. (eds.) Travel Writing, Form, and Empire: The Poetics and Politics of Mobility. New York: Routledge. Pp. 1–18.
- UDUMUKWU, O. (2007) Signature of women the dialectics of action in African women’s writing. Owerri: Onii Publishing House.
- UDUMUKWU, O. (2015) Literary Theory and Criticism: An Introduction. Port Harcourt: Charles-Martins Higher Education and Consulting Company.
- UMEZURIKE, U. P. (2015) Resistance in Amma Darko’s Beyond the horizon and Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street. AFRREV LALIGENS: An International Journal of Language, Literature and Gender Studies. 4 (2). Pp. 152–163.
- UNIGWE, C. (2010) On Black Sisters’ Street. London: Vintage.
- URAMA, E. N. & NWACHUKWU, C. O. (2017) Human trafficking: Commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic labour in African literature. Journal of Language and Cultural Education. 5 (2). Pp. 123–137.