Lauren Beukes's post-apartheid dystopia: Inhabiting Moxyland

Louise Bethlehem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This article reads South African science-fiction writer Lauren Beukess first novel, Moxyland (2008), set in a futuristic Cape Town, from the perspective of Lindsay Bremners notion of "citiness", asking how cities produce the modernity of the subjects who inhabit them. The novel is remarkable for its dependence on the social geography of the South African city. The article charts Beukess resolutely mobile characters as they negotiate the spatial itineraries and technologies of governance in which they are embedded. It explores how Beukess futuristic urban setting fuses punitive forms of digital technology with the biopolitical regulation of social relations in an unsettling reprise of the apartheid groundplan. The analysis relates Moxyland to discussions of African city textualities - a critical rubric introduced by Ranka Primorac in this journal to signal the interplay of urban and textual networks in constituting the African city.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)522-534
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Taylor & Francis.


  • Biopolitics
  • Dystopian fiction
  • Lauren Beukes
  • Post-apartheid literature
  • Science fiction


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