The immense landscape of unanswered possibilities are painless to ponder when you’re not struggling to survive systemic injustice. Manifestations of grace and abundance become more probable when your life is not threatened by the daily violences of a global design built for our failure. Innovative ideas, options, plans and actions for alternative realities are readily available when you are not battling inter-generational traumas of historical dispossession. When our expansive potential is integrated into ecosystems of support; when we are safe to be embodied and attuned to nature, when we are allowed moments of gentle and guided psycho-social release, relief and relaxation, our lived experience are gifts to and from spirit.
By interpreting realities with speculation as a broad narrative device, we lift cultural (and personal) fears and desires that are held in our collective imaginations. By playing them out, by giving them room, by liberating them from the unbridled burden of expectation, we gift ourselves opportunities to observe and be inspired by our deep emotional and spiritual philosophies that perhaps, we barely noticed before.
According to Mark Fisher, “It is easier to imagine an end to the world than an end to capitalism” because we have a deeply entrenched belief that capitalism is inescapable. Many of us fighting inequality are trying to prevent the worst effects of capitalism instead of ending it, apparently because we don’t think it is really possible. This inability to see and move beyond the global system of exploitation is rather politely described as a “reflexive impotence”. Nice. Mark Fisher, author of among other work the canonical Crack Capitalism, is widely viewed as one of the paragons of anti-capitalist thinking and is a white economist from the UK, a bit pissed off with the local reflexive impotence of his fellow Global North leftist bourgeois .
But what does this mean for us, who believe it can end, who want it to end, or are dedicated to the fall of the global systems of exploitation, othering and extraction, but are also subjected to this same bloody system for survival? We have always been deeply thinking, doing and imagining people. We cannot afford to wait for those with power in the same systems that have historically invalidated our ways of being, to recognise us. In an era of competing world influencers who fight with ideas, we are not just passive consumers of the stories we are told. We are vibrant, complex thinking and feeling people who are already mutually imagining the world as it is. Our communities are consistently told who we are and what is possible.
The myth that attempts to suppress our individual and collective ability to imagine a kind and equitable world is crumbling and it is our duty to grab our freedom and express, trust and embody our inherent wisdom and agency. This “real” world is an imagined world made tangible. We need the safety to trust that this potential is not lost or only accessible to those with privilege. It requires an acknowledgement of our trauma, the coercive power of the global system of imperialism and a recognition of the resources, networks and knowledges we can access so that innovation can be raised from the ground up.
During the crumbling of late capitalism, we need to strengthen our spirits, to act with courage, to deepen our capacity to discern and trust the narratives that are true to us. We can be led by community approaches to our collective difficulties and make/believe our own ideas and build a world that is in tune with nature. This book has been lovingly created and curated as an addition to the varied bodies of work that aim to inspire and support this kind of attentive make believe and encourage the conjuring of alternative imaginations.
Speculative Fiction as a genre and as a potentially transformative practice allows us infinite options in re-imagining the consensual real- ities that frame our worlds and to then respond to and act on these imaginings. To echo maverick environmental justice warrior Wangari Maathai, one of our continent’s most powerful and celebrated activists:
“There comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, that time is now.”
The intent behind this collection and the work reflected within it does not seek to pursue false positives or encourage overt optimism at the prospect of building out of the systemic ruins we find ourselves living within. We come into the work of imagining anew, coming with all we have been and everything we carry, and collectively, courageously visioning with and through it. In the words of the late bell hooks:
“To be truly visionary we have to root our imagination in our concrete reality while simultaneously imagining possibilities beyond that reality.”
The contributions offered in this book reflect a pervasiveness of speculative fiction interpretations that focus on exploring ancestral con- nections, spiritual alternative realities, and the generational interrelations between progeny and ancestry from varied African perspectives. We have come to understand the work as possible digital folklore.
Across the submissions, the presence of the spiritual realm, the ancestral plane and new mythologies with touches of science fiction emerged as paramount, revealing the defining power of our cosmologies on our lived experience. The painful and occasionally healing excavation of intergenerational legacies may hopefully imbue the current moment with compassion and momentum towards futures of our own imaginings.
In this anthology, we collectively offer catharsis, cautionary tales, hidden hopes, spiritual beliefs or dreams of the future, past or parallel present. We hope this offering finds a home in the hearts, hard drives and ethereal playgrounds of those who have been building the world, fighting injustice and soothing historic hurts. The extent of what you receive from the creative expressions we have collected, we could only (and happily) speculate. Our Move Next.