Writing Madness: Borderlines of the Body in African Literature

Introducing the perspective of 'writing madness' into African literature means seeing that literature from a different angle, through the lenses of writers who have ruffled up the surface of realist representation and have explored issues and styles that represent a trespassing of borders, introducing an element of risk and instability. This study follows the transformation from colonial narratives projecting settlers' horror of the 'heart of darkness' onto the African body and mind, to African writers' interaction with these narratives and their own projections of what constitutes madness in a colonial and postcolonial world. The regional focus is on writers from Southern Africa: Dambudzo Marechera, Lesego Rampolokeng, Bessie Head and Tsitsi Dangarembga, but also included are writers from francophone and East Africa, Sony Labou Tansi and Rebeka Njau, and an analysis of how writing by women displays the gendered violence of the process of mental colonisation.