Narratives from the Future: Home Spaces and Identity in Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti trilogy (2015 – 2018)

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This article examines the negotiation of the concepts of “home spaces” and “identity” in Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti trilogy (2015 – 2018). The Africanfuturist Binti trilogy begins with Binti (2015) and is followed by Binti: Home (2017) as well as Binti: The Night Masquerade (2018). The plot of the series revolves around how the physical and psychological journeys of Binti, the human protagonist. Being the first Himba on Earth admitted to the most prestigious university in her galaxy, she becomes an outcast to the others and the Himba. Other than “edan”, which is a piece of ancient technology Binti discovered accidentally, Binti has no friend. Most students from Earth have prejudice against the Himba which alludes to the Himba people in reality. “Edan” is also the device that saves her from being killed by the Meduse massacre on the spaceship, which is an alien species that had been at war with another ethnic group on Earth and attacked the spaceship she takes. Interestingly, she becomes a friend of one of the Meduse, Okwu, while arriving at the university as the only survivor. The confusion of Binti intensifies as she becomes closer to Okwu yet rejected by the Himba people. Since then, she has been in constant negotiations about the way she understands “home” and “identity.” The plot is strikingly similar to the narratives of the Black Americans who are of African descent but caught in the triangulation of “Blackness,” “Americanness,” and their emerging senses of belonging and individuality. As such, this article argues that Okorafor’s Binti trilogy recreates the experiences of contemporary Black Americans by interrogating the essentialized meanings of “home” and “identity.” With a plot that intertwines the gender, socio-political, and historical discourses of Binti and Okwu as well as their kind, I argue that Okorafor rewrites racial intersectionality by portraying how the protagonists wrestle with reconciliation, violence, cultural assimilation, as well as technology and Artificial Intelligence. This study theorizes Okorafor’s popular trilogy into a navigation of the concepts of “home” and “identity” of contemporary Black Americans through the lens of Africanfuturism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of African American Women’s Writing
EditorsDrake Simone
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Jun 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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