African Horror: Shades of Superstition with instructor Nuzo Onoh
7pm - 10pm
£10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concs / £45 Full semester pass
Instructor: Nuzo Onoh
This lecture aims to introduce students to the African Horror literary genre. While African Horror films have made great strides in recent years, thanks to the Nollywood film industry and the South African Horror Film Festival, African horror literary fiction is still to take its rightful place in the commercial horror market. We shall examine the term “African Horror”, and how it is portrayed by the popular media before discussing its place as a bona-fide literary genre, similar to other regional horror genres and its classification by distributors. We shall also discuss what constitutes African horror, and what makes it different from horror fiction written by people of African descent.
With over 4000 African tribes and counting, it would be impossible to study African Horror under one uniform blanket as each tribe has its own unique culture and lore. Therefore, I shall focus on the West African (specifically, Nigerian) region in discussing the evolution of African Horror from folk tales under the moonlight to early written works such as Amos Tutuolas’s The Palmwine Drinkard (1952), Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa’s Indaba, My Children: African Folktale (1964), to later African Horror works such as Ben Okri’s The Famished Road (1993) and Nuzo Onoh’s The Sleepless (2016). We shall also examine the mythos of African Horror, the lore, the superstitions that surround death, burial rites and the afterlife in African communities and the role colonialism, Christianity, politics, poverty and globalisation have played in creating situations that give rise to evils such as the harvesting of Albino body parts, the killing of child witches and the kidnapping of humans for witchcraft or political motives. These true-life horrors have all been bred by superstition, and these superstitions form the ethos behind most African Horror literature.
We shall discuss the relevance of African horror to the genre pool, especially as relates issues of negative stereotyping of the continent and the prevalence of poverty and other true-life horror situations in the continent which has led some critics to question the relevance of African Horror genre amidst these real life problems. I shall illustrate with video clips, images and press articles in an interactive session with the students. It is my hope that the students will accompany me on this unique journey into the deep mysteries of African culture and understand this emerging horror genre and the various shades of superstition that drive the African Horror narrative.
Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international organization that was founded by film writer/programmer Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010 and now has branches in London and New York. Miskatonic London operates under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Josh Saco.
All classes take place at the historic Horse Hospital, the heart of the city’s underground culture. Full semester passes are £45. Individual class tickets are £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concessions.
For full details of the next courses please check the Miskatonic website.
For all enquiries, please email Miskatonic.london[at]gmail.com.