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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

by Frank B. Wilderson, III

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712301,621 (4.5)3
Frank B.] Wilderson will] become a major American writer. Mark my word.-Ishmael Reed In 1995, a South African journalist informed Frank B. Wilderson, one of only two black American members of the African National Congress (ANC), that President Nelson Mandela considered him a threat to national security. Wilderson was asked to comment. Incognegro is that comment. It is also his response to a question posed five years later by a student in a California university classroom: How come you came back? Although Wilderson recollects his turbulent life as an expatriate in South Africa during the furious last gasps of apartheid, Incognegro is at heart a quintessentially American story. During South Africa's transition, Wilderson taught at universities in Johannesburg and Soweto by day. By night, he helped the ANC coordinate clandestine propaganda, launch psychological warfare, and more. In his mesmerizing political memoir, Wilderson's lyrical prose flows from his childhood in the white Minneapolis enclave integrated by his family to a rebellious adolescence at the student barricades in Berkeley and under tutelage of the Black Panther Party; from unspeakable dilemmas in the red dust and ruin of South Africa to his return to political battles raging quietly on US campuses and in his intimate life. Readers will find themselves suddenly overtaken by the subtle but resolute force of Wilderson's biting wit, rare vulnerability, and insistence on bearing witness to history no matter the cost. A literary tour de force sure to spark fierce debate in both America and South Africa, Incognegro retells a story most Americans assume we already know, with a sometimes awful, butultimately essential clarity about racial politics and our own lives. Frank B. Wilderson, III is the award-winning author of Red, White, & Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms (forthcoming) and the director of Reparations . . . Now (in progress).… (more)
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A riveting memoir written in part in South Africa during apartheid and also part in the US. Wilderson really details the anti-apartheid movement, and how the radical (as always) ideas were sold out to mainstream economic viewpoints. He also writes about social issues in the US, being with white women and living as a black man in a racial society. ( )
1 vote lemontwist | Jan 31, 2010 |
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Epigraph
It seemed to me that Christopher's options and possibilities could change only when the actual framework changed: and the metamorphosis of the framework into which we had been born would almost certainly be so violent as to blow Christopher, and me, and all of us, away.
- James Baldwin,
Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
Dedication
for
Rebaabetswe Wilderson
Nehanda Abiodun
Jalil Muntaqim

and in loving memory of
Merle Africa
Safiya Bukhari-Alston
Bushy Kelebonye
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"Mr. Wilderson?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Frank B.] Wilderson will] become a major American writer. Mark my word.-Ishmael Reed In 1995, a South African journalist informed Frank B. Wilderson, one of only two black American members of the African National Congress (ANC), that President Nelson Mandela considered him a threat to national security. Wilderson was asked to comment. Incognegro is that comment. It is also his response to a question posed five years later by a student in a California university classroom: How come you came back? Although Wilderson recollects his turbulent life as an expatriate in South Africa during the furious last gasps of apartheid, Incognegro is at heart a quintessentially American story. During South Africa's transition, Wilderson taught at universities in Johannesburg and Soweto by day. By night, he helped the ANC coordinate clandestine propaganda, launch psychological warfare, and more. In his mesmerizing political memoir, Wilderson's lyrical prose flows from his childhood in the white Minneapolis enclave integrated by his family to a rebellious adolescence at the student barricades in Berkeley and under tutelage of the Black Panther Party; from unspeakable dilemmas in the red dust and ruin of South Africa to his return to political battles raging quietly on US campuses and in his intimate life. Readers will find themselves suddenly overtaken by the subtle but resolute force of Wilderson's biting wit, rare vulnerability, and insistence on bearing witness to history no matter the cost. A literary tour de force sure to spark fierce debate in both America and South Africa, Incognegro retells a story most Americans assume we already know, with a sometimes awful, butultimately essential clarity about racial politics and our own lives. Frank B. Wilderson, III is the award-winning author of Red, White, & Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms (forthcoming) and the director of Reparations . . . Now (in progress).

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