For Sizakele

by Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene


Taylor, a queer Nigerian college student, is in a passionate relationship with Lee, a black American basketball-playing pianist. When Taylor develops romantic feelings for Sy, a Cameroonian photographer whose similarities make them instant family, Taylor battles Lee’s jealousy. As Taylor encounters challenges to her femme and African identities, she finds ways, through the kinship of her friends, to define herself on her own terms. For Sizakele addresses transcontinental identity, intimate partner violence, queer gender and how we love as illuminators of who we are.

"For Sizakele is a poetic and intimate journey through the dense thicket of the lives of lovers.  Cultural displacement, deep wounds and youthful passion are the backdrop for this vivid series of encounters between women—butch and femme—who must learn to know and trust themselves for love to be possible. Etaghene has created a heartbreaking yet encouraging glimpse at the mountains women of color must climb to see the sunrise." —Jewelle Gomez

“As African lesbians from South Africa and beyond, especially in places where prejudice, ‘curative rapes’ and brutal murders of us occur in our formative spaces—including our homes, workplaces, churches, schools—we are thirsty for text like [For Sizakele]. Our ... communities still lack narratives produced by our own in a manner that we are able to articulate our issues as we choose. [For Sizakele] will help our queers, lesbians, dykes, femmes and trans people and encourage each and every one of us read, write and be read... not forgetting many who can’t dare to come out due to sexual orientation and gender expression still outlawed in many countries in Africa and around the globe. It is through this writing that many queer generations after us will get an opportunity to reference what she captured.”

—Zanele Muholi, visual activist, author, Faces and Phases


Reviews of For Sizakele:

For Sizakele Is the Right Blend of Black Love and Black Majic (Omit Limitation)

Review from Writing with Color

Review on Good Reads

2015 Roundup from Sistahs on the Shelf

Tagg Magazine interview with Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene

Review in Make/Shift magazine (Winter/Spring 2015/2016):

"For Sizakele is the novel we have been waiting for...This novel is populated by us—the brilliant, overworked, creative survivors of color that make up our communities and chosen families, the people we spend all our time loving. This book is about queer women of color making their own art and founding their own organizations, on top of so much love and longing and loss and pain and genius." —Alexis Pauline Gumbs



Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene

Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene is an Ijaw and Urhobo Nigerian dyke performance activist, poet, dancer, educator, actress and mixed-media visual artist. Etaghene has performed internationally, produced four solo visual art exhibitions and is the founder of Sugarcane, an LGBTQ of color writing workshop series. She wrote and performed in two multimedia one-woman shows, Volcano’s Birthright{s} and GUAVA. Etaghene has published four chapbooks of poetry: afrocrown: fierce poetry (2000), write or die (2004), tongue twisted transcontinental sista (2006) and skin into verse (2014). For Sizakele is Etaghene's first novel.  

[Photo copyright © 2008 by An Xiao.]

254 pp.

© 2015 by Yvonne Onakeme Etaghene

Cover design: E.M. Corbin 

ISBN-10: 0-9899405-1-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-9899405-1-1

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