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Senior Lecturer

Dr Christopher Ouma

MA PhD Wits

Office: Arts Block 124
Tel: +27 (0)21 650 5366


Chris received his BA (1st class hons) in the Literature Theatre and Film Department at Moi University, Eldoret Kenya. After completing his MA in 2007 in the Department of African literature at University of the Witwatersrand, Chris went on to receive his doctorate in 2011 in the same department, where he worked under the Andrew W. Mellon mentorship program. He specialised in new diasporic African fiction and focused on childhood as a set of ideas for engaging with contemporary African identity formation. In looking at the recurrent figures, images and memories of childhood the study engages with a range of ideas around memory, alternative archives, heritages, legacies, traditions and genealogies of identity and identity-making. Chris’s work has since then sought to find the connections between childhood and contemporary diasporic African identities, especially around the politics of cultural production and the migration of material cultures across continents.

Chris is co-founder of the Diaspora Working Group (DWG) at UCT. He is currently co-editor of the journal Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies.

Research Interests

Childhood(s) in African literature

Contemporary African diasporic literature

African Popular Culture

Recent Publications

Book chapters

“Daughters of Sentiment, Genealogies, and Conversations Between Things Fall Apart and Purple Hibiscus” in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. 1958-2008. David Whittaker (ed) (2011). 89-106 Amsterdam: Rodopi.

“Dialogic Childhoods: Chronotopicity in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun” in The New Violent Cartographies: Geo-analysis after the Aesthetic Turn. Michael J. Shapiro and Samson Okoth Opondo (eds). 2012. 33-48 London & New York: Routledge

(Co-authored) Performing Queer “In Time and Space”: a “politics of the event” in Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities. Zethu Matebeni (ed). 2014. 37-46. Johannesburg, Modjaji (with and introduction by Jack Halberstam)

“Late Achebe: Biafra as Literary Genealogy” in Chinua Achebe: Illuminations from Africa. James A Ogude (ed) 2015: 50-60. Pretoria: Africa Institute of South Africa

Journal articles

“Childhoods in Purple Hibiscus” in English Academy Review 26 (2) October 2009: 48-59.

“Composite Consciousness and Memories of War in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun” in English Academy Review 28(2) October 2011. 15-30

“In the Name of the Son: Fatherhood(s), Critical (Il)legitmacy, Sonhood(s) and Masculinities in Chris Abani’s Graceland and The Virgin of Flames” in English in Africa 38(2) August 2011. 77-93

“Navigating the Lagos Cityscape in Chris Abani’s Graceland” in Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing & Culture Vol XXXIV No. 1 2012. 141-154. (

“Reading the Diasporic Abiku in Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl” in Research in African Literatures 45 (3) Fall 2014. 188-205 (Special issue on “Africa and the Black Atlantic edited by Yogita Goyal with an afterword by Simon Gikandi)

“Countries of the Mind: Spacetime Chronotopes in Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus” in Matatu: Journal of African Culture and Society 45. 163-181(Special issue on “Tradition and Change in Contemporary West and East African Fiction” edited by Ogaga Okuyade)

Co-edited Book

(With Mbongiseni Buthelezi & Katleho Shoro) The Spoken Word Project: Stories Travelling Through Africa. Lektora Verlag. ISBN: 978-3-95461-031-0


“Popular Cultural Memory in Chris Abani’s Graceland

Creative work

“They Blossom, they wither” a short story in Howard University’s (USA) The Amistad – Fall2006.

Book reviews

Kwani? 5 (1) a book review in Africa Insight Vol 39 (1) June 2009: 101-104

“Literacy and Three Dimensionality” a book review in Scrutiny 2: Issues in English studies in Southern Africa 17 Vol 2 September 2012 : 138-143

Current Research projects

“Childhood, Diaspora, African fiction” – Monograph project

Contemporary African literary and Cultural Magazines.

Areas of Postgraduate supervision

Contemporary Diasporic African literatures

East, West and Southern African literature

African Popular culture