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Grounds of EngagementApartheid-Era African American and South African Writing$
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Stéphane Robolin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039478

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039478.001.0001

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Remapping the (Black) Nation

Remapping the (Black) Nation

(p.70) Chapter 3 Remapping the (Black) Nation
Grounds of Engagement

Stéphane Robolin

University of Illinois Press

This chapter traces the migration of a later South African exile, Keorapetse Kgositsile, who emigrated to the United States in 1962. It argues that Kgositsile labored to reconfigure how readers understood the world to be arranged, and his repeated, explicitly geographic references throughout his 1971 poetry collection My Name Is Afrika played a large role in this process. Guided by the principles of the burgeoning Black Arts Movement he engaged upon arriving in the United States, his poems sutured together South African and American sites of black revolutionary struggle. By insistently coupling South African and American places, his poetry militated against the segregationist logic encouraged by South African and U.S. states to keep liberation efforts on either shore separate. Kgositsile's approach was based in a dynamic cultural milieu, and occasional turns to his ideological foils and counterparts—from Nat Nakasa to Gil Scott-Heron—help to put his artistic project into relief.

Keywords:   migration, Keorapetse Kgositsile, My Name Is Afrika, Black Arts Movement, South African exiles, segregation, Nat Nakasa, Gil Scott-Heron

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