The Politics of Queerness and Queer Resistance in Cassandra (1999) by Violet Barungi: from Eccentricity to Unecccentricity

This article brings to light the relationship and the intense struggle that exist between the body, sexual identity, and gender affiliation in Violet Barungi’s Cassandra (1999). It looks at how these are exacerbated by broader global discourses of gender and queer politics within the patriarchal structure in the Global South shaped by feminism. The paper’s approach is informed by queer theory and black/postcolonial feminism as it examines the modalities of being queer that reside within the cultural norms. It further uncovers how the protagonist-eponymous character, Cassandra, challenges heteronormativity and engages the reader in queer resistance, whose trajectory aims at dismantling the queerphobic patriarchal structure and calling for gender-based reflections on the lives of African women who find themselves shackled in the miasma of the intersection of the politics of the body, gender identity and of cultural norms. To that end, the article analyzes the hegemonic secular construction of queerness as a modality in which the characters’ freedom from norms and morals’ becomes a regulatory framework for the ideal queer, premised on a liberal idea of freedom. Delving into the theories of attitude change, such as cognitive consistency theories in psychology, it further pinpoints how the protagonist adjusts to emotional changes and accommodates new attitudes.

Keywords: Africa, body, feminism, gender, patriarchy, politics, queer.