n English in Africa - Misfits in the margins : transgression and transformation on the (South) African frontier

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



The story of the European encounter with Africa includes many liminal characters who mostly play little part in the larger sweep of events but everywhere suggest alternative scenarios that might have developed, or at least discordant readings of what did actually happen. They range from the Khoi interpreter Coree, who was taken to England in 1614, to a group of London women sent to Sierra Leone in the 1790s to marry local slave traders, or from various Cape avatars of Shakespeare's Caliban to several picturesque originals for Defoe's African eccentrics; from early African articulants of African independence and dignity, such as the Prince Naimbanna of Sierra Leone, to many intriguing individuals (both African and European) who emerge from the records of Portuguese shipwrecks along the southern African coast and the sixteenth-century Portuguese penetration of south-east Africa. Nor is the story short on the occasional African Queen and Sable Venus who not only enliven events but at times impact significantly on the developing politics of colonialism.

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