Poethics of Queer Resurrection in Black South African Performance: I Stand Corrected and Somnyama Ngonyama

Aylwyn Walsh


I propose critical attention on the queer undead; the resisting object; the refusing subject or the subject of refusal. The article circulates around, and examines, the figure of a zombie, working through the notion of resurrection in two artistic representations: I Stand Corrected (Mojisola Adebato and Mamela Nyamza, 2012-2014) and Zanele Muholi’s collection Somnyama Ngonyama.

The contested, often ambiguous nature of knowing can be foregrounded in and by performance in particular and distinctive ways. I seek to mobilise performance analysis towards Southern epistemologies. The value for Southern feminism is in how knowledges of bodies and experiences speak beyond the local context of South Africa to conceive of how interlocking oppressions trace links between performance, aesthetics, and theory. To do so, I tease out Brazilian feminist ethicist Denise Ferreira da Silva’s concept of a poethics of Black refusal. This is valuable for an emergence of hopefulness in what might be called a (decolonial) cultural revolution of and from the South. As such, I theorise Southern Feminisms as a project of poethics.


zombie; queer; poethics; Black optimism; South Africa

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