A Note—Imagining an Africa That Never Was:

The Anti-Racist / Anti-Imperialist Fantasy of Charles R. Saunders's Imaro and its Basis in the Africentric Occult


  • George Elliott Clarke University of Toronto




Despite the cautions of Frantz Fanon (and others), Afrocentrists have continued to mine the African past to find and assert proof of Black Genius and achievement to refute the Negrophobic propaganda of White Supremacy. African-Canadian Fantasy-genre novelist Charles R. Saunders follows an African-American precursor—Frank Yerby—in limning a pre-Transatlantic Slave Trade Africa that is magical—either in authorial imagination or in actual history. While these approaches to writing Africa may instill greater pride and self-awareness in, presumably, black readers, both Saunders and Yerby also simply "blacken," as it were, the racialist imaginings of white authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose strictures would have found support from Euro-American occult beliefs. In a sense, though striving to author a literature of Black Pride, both Saunders and Yerby integrate themselves with Euro-American occult fantasies. Yet, such may be the contradictory conceptualization of "Afrocentrism."

Author Biography

George Elliott Clarke, University of Toronto

The inaugural E.J. Pratt Poet/Professor, of Canadian Literature, at the University of Toronto, George Elliott Clarke hails from Black Nova Scotia (Africadia). He has served as Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15) and Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2016-17).