The full title of Sihle Khumalo's travel account, Dark Continent My Black Arse:By Bus, Boksie, Matola . . . from Cape to Cairo (2007), already provides the reader with a possible lens through which to read the work. Khumalo's journey follows in the footsteps of those sons of empire who imagined a route from the Cape to Cairo and references the idea of Africa as "dark" and unexplored until seen by imperial eyes. A reader wanting Khumalo's text to resist these tropes is disappointed, however. This article aims to find a context for this book that will make its engagement with texts and genres other than travel writing visible. Its relation to travel writing, I suggest, is both obvious and limiting as a framework. Instead the argument here seeks to activate other intertextual fields, to make other trends in the text and our responses to it visible. A reading that yields more is one that reads this text as akin to the genre of self-help manuals that Khumalo admires and consults. This article also relates Khumalo's book to the FIFA World Cup and similar discourses about nationhood and continental African identities, arguing that these intertexts generate more contextualized readings.


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pp. 62-75
Launched on MUSE
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