In Issue 121 “Childhood,” authors consider symbolic and ideological deployments of black childhood and explore children’s lived experiences—from nineteenth century Yorubaland, to 1920s France, to present day Colombia, South Africa, and the United States. Guest Editor Amy Fish pulls together these diverse offerings from Temilola Alanamu, Lise Schreier, Niousha Roshani, Alex Fattal, and Zetta Elliott. Other authors in this cluster reflect on personal coming-of-age experiences: Bernard Matambo describes his bittersweet dream of leaving Zimbabwe for college in the U.S.; Moraa Gitaa recalls idyllic days on the Kenyan coast with a friend whose family circumstances forced harsher realities on their paths to adulthood; Mbewane’s protagonist remembers his now-foreign homeland in a forgotten childhood photograph.
In addition, the issue features a sequel to Chris King’s 1998 article about the Nigerian democracy movement (Transition 77)—revealing details that were too dangerous to disclose at the time: chiefly, his and Wole Soyinka’s involvement in a plot to kill Sani Abacha.
Gripping poetry and fiction punctuate the issue, with youth poets Kayla Reado, Taylor Ashley Crayton, Darius Christiansen, and Ugochi Egonu examining black childhood from the brink of adulthood.
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Essays by: Chris King, Amy Fish, Bernard Matambo, Alex Fattal, Lise Schreier, Moraa Gitaa, Temilola Alanamu, Niousha Roshani, Grace Aneiza Ali.
Interviews: Zetta Elliott with Amy Fish.
Fiction by: Mbewane, Troy Onyango, Panashe Chigumadzi.
Poetry by: jacklyn janeksela, Kayla Reado, Taylor Ashley Crayton, Aaron Brown, Darius Christiansen, Ugochi Egonu, Wale Owoade, Terrell Jamal Terry, tmstringfellow.
Artwork by: Kwesi Abbensetts, Ulli Beier, Khadija Benn, Sandra Brewster, Sheila Pree Bright, Sokari Douglas Camp, Matthew Kevin Clair, Erika Defreitas, Endale Desalegn, Alex Fattal, Hew Locke, Armando Mariño (cover), Longinos Nagila, Khan Nova, and Keisha Scarville.