"Eat pig and become a beast": food, drink and diaspora in East African Indian writing

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Author: Dan Ojwang
Date: Fall 2011
From: Research in African Literatures(Vol. 42, Issue 3)
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Document Type: Essay
Length: 10,910 words

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Abstract :

By reading the works of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Jameela Siddiqi, and M. G. Vassanji, this article sets to show how and why food mediates the experience of displacement in literary enactments of Indian East African migrations. It examines what the symbolism of food conveys about the contests that characterize the lives of the African Indians and how food enables writers to imagine possible worlds beyond social antagonisms. Food in the literature acts as an index of the changing social status of Indian East Africans in the journeys that take them through Africa, and their eventual migrations to Europe and the Americas. It encodes histories of resistance, accommodation, and cultural exchange in contexts marked by racialism, violence, expulsions and inequality. It is thus, for the writers, a useful tool for mediating personal and communal stories, and an important focus of feelings of nostalgia, loss, and longing.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A268652366