Reparation as transformation: Radical literary (re)imaginings of futurities through decolonial love

Yomaira C. Figueroa


This article examines how Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) and Joaquin Mbomio Bacheng’s Matinga: sangre en la selva (2013) engage theories of reparations and futurities through practices of decolonial love. Through these readings I map how Díaz and Bacheng imagine and (re)imagine reparations in Afro-diasporic/Afro-exilic and decolonial contexts. The dialogue on reparations draws on the work of Robin Kelley and discussions of decolonial love draws on the work of Chela Sandoval, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, and Junot Díaz. In Díaz’s Oscar Wao I examine reparations and decolonial love in relation to the psychological and psychosocial legacy of slavery and the coloniality-of-power and gender. Mbomio Bacheng’s novel Matinga, links the future of Equatorial Guinea to past political and activist struggles while making Matinga’s blood a crucial part of the reparations that would lead to a more loving future. Critical insights from Indigenous Feminisms enrich the analysis of Matinga. The article highlights two distinct ways that these Afro-Latinx and Afro-Hispanic writers conceive of reparations beyond the material and toward a philosophy of decolonial love.


decolonial love; reparations; Equatorial Guinea; Afro Latinx; Junot Díaz; futurities

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ISSN 1929-8692