Eating the Other: Erotic Consumption in Anti–Mau Mau Discourse
Having established that primitive normativity was viewed as an essential feature of “authentic” African life, chapter 6 shows how this discourse was used to discredit the Mau Mau rebels of the 1950s. The chapter focuses especially on issues of erotic consumption, both the consumption of sexualized substances that supposedly accompanied Mau Mau oathing rituals and the pornographic consumption of oathing mythologies, the set of narratives about the oaths produced and consumed by white audiences. As Mau Mau rebels demanded the right to consume the resources of the colony, oathing mythologies presented the rebels as indiscriminate eaters whose sexuality marked them as “detribalized” Africans. The deviant sexual practices that supposedly accompanied Mau Mau oathing rituals proved that they were not legitimate Africans—therefore, their demands for land and freedom could be ignored.