By Kwame Edwin Otu
In this essay, I conduct an afroqueer futurist reading of e-waste ecologies in postcolonial Ghana. I bring ethnographic observations undertaken at the Agbogbloshie e-waste dump, arguably the world’s largest e-waste dump, in
conversation with Nnedi Okorafor’s feminist and Africanfuturist novel, Lagoon, which focuses on the environmental consequences of petrochemical capitalism in Nigeria. The e-waste dump, located in Accra, Ghana’s capital, sits on the Korle Lagoon and Odaw River. These water bodies have become conveyer belts that carry waste from the city into the Atlantic Ocean. Their despoliation is synecdochic of the violent consequences of neoliberal infrastructural modernity. Here, I highlight how a “real” lagoon in Agbogbloshie and a fictional lagoon in petrochemical Nigeria amplify the impacts of ongoing global environmental crises on African bodies. I argue that both the bodies on the e-waste dump in Agbogbloshie and the characters in Okorafor’s Lagoon embody “agitated ecologies” (i.e., ecologies and bodies overwhelmed by suffering and resignation). How then does a queer novel like Lagoon, whose ecological aesthetics imbricate with the queerness of Korle Lagoon, provide a lens through which to explore what some scholars of e-waste
in Ghana call “blue political ecologies” of e-waste and vice-versa?
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