Read an excerpt from Jamil F Khan’s new book Khamr: The Makings of a Waterslams in the new issue of The JRB
More about the book!
In the latest issue of The JRB, you can read an exclusive excerpt from Khamr: The Makings of a Waterslams, the new book by Jamil F Khan.
A gift to his followers and those he considers the most marginalised in society, Khamr will give us all time for reflection as South Africans lock down in the fight against the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Khamr is a must-read for its thought-provoking retelling of Khan’s childhood memories as well as for his scholarly prowess in analysing how he and his parents, especially his father, navigated their lives in Kraaifontein outside Cape Town.
This memoir, which speaks to readers who gravitate towards literary works that centre on true life accounts, gender studies and contemporary culture, is in keeping with Jacana Media’s publishing mandate – to incubate authors and books that push the boundaries, rattle the comfortable cages we find ourselves in, and introduce new ideas of thinking that hopefully translate to affirmative changed behaviour.
Endorsed by prominent South Africans such as poet Lebo Mashile and author and academic Barbara Boswell, Khamr is sure to find resonance with particularly marginalised communities.
This is what Professor Boswell had to say after reading the book:
‘With Khamr, Jamil F Khan has gifted us an exquisitely crafted, groundbreaking memoir, destined to change and save lives. ‘Coloured’, Muslim and queer, Khan’s coming-of-age story sketches the process of claiming an autonomous, fully actualised self as he grapples with classism, colourism and homophobia in a middle-class Cape Town ‘Coloured’ community, where appearances are everything.’
About the author
Born in Cape Town, Jamil F Khan is a researcher, author, columnist and poet who is now based in Johannesburg. His research focuses on the politics of creolisation and Coloured identities in South Africa while exploring the interrelationships of power in race, ethnicity, gender, identity and sexuality. He is a doctoral candidate in critical diversity studies.
Read the excerpt:
On the night of their return to Johannesburg, I was having pre-club drinks with Neil at Spur when I got a text message from my mother: ‘I’ve been told that you are gay. Is it true? I won’t be angry, just tell me.’
My heart sank. Dominic had taken it upon himself to tell my mother after I had expressly told him I had not done it yet. I was outed before I was ready, but there was nothing I could do. I was surprised but somewhat relieved that I didn’t have to initiate the conversation. Her welcoming tone helped. I knew she would understand. It was my father I was afraid of.
I responded: ‘Yes, Mom, it’s true. We’ll talk when I get home.’
We ended up not going to the club, and I headed home around 1am. I walked into the house quietly, making sure not to disturb anyone. I took my shoes off and sat on my bed for a minute. I was grateful that my mother didn’t reject me and gave me a safe space to confide in her.
But then my bedroom door swung open with the force of the Southeaster. It was my mother with a scowling expression on her face.
‘Where do you come from now?’
‘From Neil, Mommy.’
‘I will never accept this!’ she screamed in a whisper.
‘What do you want from me, Mommy?’