Wilderson [will] become a major American writer. Mark my word.
- Ishmael Reed
Into the wake of great literature fighting human bondage, Frank Wilderson pours Incognegro. And, like the offerings of Ellison, Fanon, Baldwin and Morrison, this revolutionary love story must be widely read, generously shared, and relentlessly engaged.
- Joy James, author of Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics
Fast paced, critical, humorous, hilarious at times, Incognegro asks provocative questions about post-Apartheid South Africa and post-civil rights America with all the passion, the drama and the political clarity of a great autobiography. With perspectives from different times and places in the two continents, and with an unerring eye and ear for a telling detail and image, Frank Wilderson brings a novelistic and dramatic imagination to a story of our times. It is a multi-layered narrative of a life molded in struggles for human dignity in America and Africa, at once a gripping story of race politics and a biography of his soul.
- Ngugi wa Thiongo, author of The Wizard of the Crow
"An incredible piece of history, of Black life domestically and globally, written with brilliance, panache and delicious wit. He miraculously recapture[s] the fury, the funk and the sweetness of the '60s--and its broken dreams... and bitter betrayals... He is truly a wonderful writer!"
- Mumia Abu-Jamal, author of We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party
In 1995, a South African journalist informed Frank 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 in South Africa during the furious last gasps of apartheid, Incognegro is a quintessentially American story. Wilderson taught at Johannesburg and Soweto universities by day. By night, he helped the ANC coordinate clandestine propaganda, launch psychological warfare, and more. In this mesmerizing memoir, Wildersons lyrical prose flows from childhood episodes 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 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 Wildersons 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, but ultimately essential clarity about global 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 (Duke University Press, forthcoming) and the director of Reparations
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