Peter Abrahams and the Bandung Era: Afro-Asian Routes of Connection

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This paper reads Peter Abrahams’ writings on Africanness in the context of exchanges between anti-colonial thinkers in the Bandung era, spanning the period from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s. It examines the output of the Afro-Asiatic Writer’s Association (AAWU) through Lotus, a quarterly journal that brought together work by artists and thinkers such as Abrahams, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Yahya Haqqi, Breyten Breytenbach, Ousman Sembene, Chinua Achebe, and Thu Bon, among others. Abrahams’ contributions to Lotus, among his other writings, reflect on the transnational by yoking cultural production and politico-economic conditions. In doing so, Abrahams insists on constructing the transnational through models of solidarity that unsettle self–other binaries and attempt to map cultural as well as financial capital along a South–South axis. He highlights problems with modernity and its cultures that are particularly productive to explore as we grapple with notions of transnationalism. Abrahams reminds us of the importance of attending to race relations as well as imperial relations by examining the economic disparities they involve instead of approaching them as abstracted romances of a black homeland or of an exotic Africanness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-40
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Arts
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 3 2020


  • Afro-Asian Writers Association
  • Lotus
  • Peter Abrahams
  • South–South solidarity
  • globalization


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