Featured item from the ISC Research Library.
Str8, No Chaser
A short story as Part of our Research and Learning Series.
by Nick Mwaluko.
Nameless, without a country, within a village, our narrator is a twenty-seven year old virgin on a mission: he wants to become a “real” African man. Problem is, “he” is a “she” in an African woman’s body. To test his readiness for a new body, our narrator decides to sleep with a three hundred-pound whore who likes him. This feat is both preparation and precursor to his sex change operation. Their intimate encounter raises questions about “manhood”, womanhood”, “realness”, and the names we use to describe what emerges as the “true African identity”.
This story first appeared in African Reader II following a lecture series at Bard College in upstate New York. It was subsequently revised, revamped, overhauled and developed into its incarnation for the Institute for Social Change.
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About the Author
NICK MWALUKO was born in Tanzania and raised mostly in Kenya and other east and central African countries. From very early on, Nick worked as a filer for an international news agency, quickly rising up the ranks to write standard and economic copy for thirteen countries in east Africa, including the Indian Ocean islands. Lengthy feature stories detailing the dignified struggle of everyday folk, especially rural African women, eventually grew into source material for many of his stories. The lives people lead, choices they were given, sacrifices made left an indelible impression on Nick. So did the disparity between what people knew about his fellow Africans, which writers were given authority to tell their stories, which voices and optics entered the largest arenas for public discourse, how their cultural optics shaped what they saw and how it was described, characterized and disseminated. Nick came to New York, won several fellowships, grants and scholarships, took part in year-long residencies with Freedom Train Productions (2007-2008) and the Public’s inaugural Emerging Writers’ Group (EWG, 2008-2009), key inspirations in shaping many stories like S/He, Waafrika (a three-part trilogy based in a rural Kenyan village and New York), Asymmetrical We, Trailer Park Tundra, Ata and other works. A three-month long residency with terraNOVA Collective’s Groundbreakers ended in 2010, putting Nick in close contact with many talented writers from different genres. Str8, No Chaser first appeared in Africa Reader II following a lecture series at Bard College in upstate New York. The story was later massaged, revamped then overhauled thanks to significant revisions, developing into its current incarnation for the Institute for Social Change.