Queer, Christian and Afrikaans: The libidinal, sexuality and religion in Kanarie and Skeef





Afrikaans film, queerness, libidinality, religion, Kanarie, Skeef


Religion is often viewed as incompatible with queer sexualities and genders. In the Afrikaans-speaking communities of South Africa, Calvinist doctrine and dogma have been used to marginalise and ostracise those sexual and gender identities that stray from the heteronormative scripts sanctioned by cultural and religious practices. In this article, I examine how the libidinal is central to the way in which queer and faith communities interact in Afrikaans-speaking communities in two films: Kanarie and Skeef. The two films represent different filmic genres with Kanarie a fictional feature film and Skeef being a documentary. The two films, despite their different genres, broach the difficulty of being queer and religious. At the same time, the films show that it is possible to rethink religions/faith communities. Such rethinking creates accommodative spaces within faith communities in a way in which queerness is not viewed as a deviance or an abomination. I read these Afrikaans-language films against the conceptualisation of the libidinal offered by Keguro Macharia together with the ideas of queer agency proposed by Adriaan van Klinken. This queer agency marks not just a transgression of heteronormative Christian norms but also engenders expansive ways of understanding human sexuality and gender identities.


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Author Biography

Gibson Ncube, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gibson Ncube is a lecturer in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa. His research interests are in gender and queer studies.


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How to Cite

Ncube, G. (2023). Queer, Christian and Afrikaans: The libidinal, sexuality and religion in Kanarie and Skeef. Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 60(1), 22–30. https://doi.org/10.17159/tl.v60i1.14054



Research articles