ISBN 9789956616060
Pages 334
Dimensions 229 x 152 mm
Published 2010
Publisher Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
Format Paperback

Intimate Strangers

by Francis B. Nyamnjoh

Intimate Strangers tells the story of the everyday tensions of maids and madams in ways that bring together different worlds and explore various dimensions of servitude and mobility. Immaculate travels to a foreign land only to find her fiancé refusing to marry her. Operating from the margins of society, through her own ingenuity and an encounter with researcher Dr Winter-Bottom Nanny, she is able to earn some money. Will she remain at the margins or graduate into DUST - Diamond University of Science and Technology? Immaculate learns how maids struggle to make ends meet and madams wrestle to keep them in their employ. Resolved to make her disappointments blessings, she perseveres until she can take no more.

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“Don’t be deceived by Immaculate, a key voice in Francis Nyamnjoh’s Intimate Strangers. At first glance, her observations about the country in which she’s called makwerekwere are open-eyed, light-hearted, going with the flow. Beneath the flow of her experiences, Nyamnjoh has created a darkly hilarious, incisive, and brilliant commentary on what it means to be known – and unknown – in contemporary Southern Africa. The novel is crafted with precision, wit, and a delicacy that exposes your own heart even as it suggests – with simplicity and elegance –- new ways of seeing the familiar.”

Jane Bennett, Director, African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Intimate Strangers is both an engaging story of a stranger in a strange land, and a feast of revealing observations that link matters such as xenophobia and race relations to the intimacies of sex, romance, friendship, and betrayal.  Brimming with humour, humanity, and cross-cultural curiosity, this book leads the reader through a fascinating set of encounters that provide a vivid and convincing portrait of contemporary life in a modern southern African society.”

James Ferguson, Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University, USA

"I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. It generated a healthy debate within my mind and stretched my thoughts about the fixed ways in which I formulated opinions based upon expectations and measures of accepted behaviour."

"On one hand it reads as a collection of rich, raw ethnographic content awaiting analysis. Yet, elements of it are pure fiction. It appears like a piece of creative non-fiction which offers, among other things, a subtle exploration into the relationship between fiction and ethnography."

About the Author

Francis B. Nyamnjoh

Francis B. Nyamnjoh joined the University of Cape Town in August 2009 as Professor of Social Anthropology from the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dakar, Senegal, where he served as Head of Publications from July 2003 to July 2009. He has taught sociology, anthropology and communication studies at universities in Cameroon and Botswana, and has researched and written extensively on Cameroon and Botswana. In October 2012 he received a University of Cape Town Excellence Award for “Exceptional Contribution as a Professor in the Faculty of Humanities”. He is recipient of the “ASU African Hero 2013” annual award by the African Students Union, Ohio University, USA. He is: a B1 rated Professor and Researcher by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF); a Fellow of the Cameroon Academy of Science since August 2011; a fellow of the African Academy of Science since December 2014; a fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa since 2016; and Chair of the Editorial Board of the South African Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Press since January 2011. His scholarly books include: Africa’s Media, Democracy and the Politics of Belonging (2005); Insiders and Outsiders: Citizenship and Xenophobia in Contemporary Southern Africa (2006); “C'est l'homme qui fait l'homme”: Cul-de-Sac Ubuntu-ism in Côte d'Ivoire (2015); and #RhodesMustFall: Nibbling at Resilient Colonialism in South Africa (2016).

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