In the burgeoning field of queer African studies, theatricality receives short shrift. Instead, anthropological studies of LGBTQ identities and practices in Africa emphasize theoretical frameworks of sexual discretion, elusiveness, and ambiguity. This essay explores the coarticulation of discretion and theatricality in Binyavanga Wainaina’s 2011 play Shine Your Eye, which features a queer Ogoni hacker in Lagos. The play borrows from Afrofuturism to articulate a queer African identity that is both enigmatic and spectacular. I then shift focus to Wainaina’s viral “coming out” essay “I Am a Homosexual, Mum” (2014), not to construct a progressive narrative from closeted discretion to theatrical outness but to explore the dialectics of theatricality across genre. Although the title enacts a clear declaration of sexual identity, the essay itself shares the play’s investment in African technologies of queerness that emphasize interdependency and elusiveness. As queer Kenya becomes increasingly out, loud, and sexy, Wainaina’s work serves as a powerful reminder that ambiguity can be theatrical too.

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