revolutionary literature

Nigeria: Cassava Republic presents ‘And Then He Sang a Lullaby’

By Ani Kayode Somtochukwu

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Posted on May 26, 2023 10:29

 © Ani Kayode Somtochukwu author of ‘And Then He Sang a Lullaby’
Ani Kayode Somtochukwu author of ‘And Then He Sang a Lullaby’

Twice a month, we bring you an excerpt from a book to be published by the Nigeria-based Cassava Republic, a renowned publisher on the continent, leading the way in African literature and non-fiction. This week, author Ani Kayode Somtochukwu introduces his book ‘And Then He Sang a Lullaby’, which is due to be published in July this year.

This excerpt is from Chapter 14 of And Then He Sang a Lullaby. I selected it because I think it highlights an essential point about how we negotiate and conceptualise ourselves when struggling with queer identity.

The passage explores the uncomfortable feelings of one of the protagonists, August, who is confronted by homophobia from his own circle of friends, albeit homophobia, which is not targeted directly at him. The derision and disgust with which his friends regard Chiemerie for having a gender expression they consider too feminine is virulent, but August is worried that pushing back against this might call his own masculinity into question. In those moments, he chooses not just his own safety but his image in the eyes of other men. He then grapples with what that “choice” says about him as a person.

Of course it is quite ironic and all too real that he is in love with Segun, who

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