Love in Africa

In recent years, scholarly interest in love has flourished. Historians have addressed the rise of romantic love and marriage in Europe and the United States, while anthropologists have explored the ways globalization has reshaped local ideas about those same topics. Yet, love in Africa has been peculiarly ignored, resulting in a serious lack of understanding about this vital element of social life—a glaring omission given the intense focus on sexuality in Africa in the wake of HIV/AIDS. Love in Africa seeks both to understand this failure to consider love and to begin to correct it. In a substantive introduction and eight essays that examine a variety of countries and range in time from the 1930s to the present, the contributors collectively argue for the importance of paying attention to the many different cultural and historical strands that constitute love in Africa. Covering such diverse topics as the reception of Bollywood movies in 1950s Zanzibar, the effects of a Mexican telenovela on young people’s ideas about courtship in Niger, the models of romance promoted by South African and Kenyan magazines, and the complex relationship between love and money in Madagascar and South Africa, Love in Africa is a vivid and compelling look at love’s role in African society.

Love in Africa (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009)