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British Borders and/in East Africa: World War II and Multidirectional Memory in Nadifa Mohamed’s Black Mamba Boy

Authors
  • Lammers, Lukas
Type
Published Article
Journal
Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Jun 27, 2022
Volume
70
Issue
2
Pages
189–202
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/zaa-2022-2062
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The British myth of World War II has long been successfully mobilised to police the ideological borders of the UK. The article considers narratives about the war as a key site for the negotiation of British identity and the UK’s relation to its imperial past. It, first, seeks to unpack some of the contradictions of the dominant British view on the war to then consider the 2010 novel Black Mamba Boy by Somali-British writer Nadifa Mohamed. It is argued that the novel effectively opposes ideas of an ethnically homogenous nation. Drawing on Michael Rothberg’s notion of multidirectional memory, the article shows how the novel interweaves different traumatic histories and thus presents memories of the war as an opportunity, not to consolidate national borders, but to forge new solidarities.

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