Coming of Age in a Hustler Economy: E-fraud Narratives and the Postcolonial African Bildungsroman

Daniel Chukwuemeka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines how textual articulations of e-fraud narratives offer a historiographic approach to the Bildungsroman genre within the framework of Nigeria’s neoliberal capitalist economy. It engages Sefi Atta’s short fiction, ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ (2010) and a film by Faraday Okoro, Nigerian Prince (2018), to see how they narrativize the anxieties of maturation in an environment where self-realisation is constrained and complicated by the crisis of modernity. Following a Marxist perspective to the question of economic liberation, the chapter reads engagement in e-fraud economy by Nigerian youths as a corollary of the postcolonial state’s stillborn development, looking at how character development of the protagonists and their conscription into an exploitative space centre the decadence of postcolonial Nigerian state in its neoliberal reduction of all values to those of the market. Like the young postcolonial Nigerian nation-state, itself still grappling with its colonial legacies and extant economic crisis, the protagonists are forced to adapt to a hustler economy – to imbibe an expedient sense of self-development as an alternative to their truncated childhood dreams and aspirations, and to contend with the dilemma of psychosomatic subjectivities in response to the demands of expediency. As such, e-fraud narratives articulate engagement in internet fraud as an ironic and paradoxical response to Africa’s development crisis. The protagonists aim to escape the entrapment of their indigeneity (Nigerian Prince) or to understand their role within a chaotic socioeconomic space (‘Yahoo Yahoo’) through an involvement in an exploitative economic system, thereby reinforcing the matrixes of the same state exploitation under which their identity, as postcolonial subjects, is overdetermined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTitle
EditorsArnab Roy, Paul Ugor
Place of PublicationLincoln, US
PublisherUniversity of Nebraska Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Apr 2024

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