Binti

by

Nnedi Okorafor

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Themes and Colors
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Science, Humanity, and the Ethics of Research Theme Icon
Community, Friendship, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear and Prejudice vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Binti, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Identity, Home, and Travel

Binti, the novella’s titular character, is a mathematically gifted young woman of the South African Himba people. Her world turns upside down when she’s admitted to Oomza University far across the galaxy—on a full scholarship. In the world of the novella, the Himba stick close to home and seldom leave their ancestral lands, even for nearby cities—and no Himba has ever gone to Oomza Uni. Notably, Binti leaves her home believing she knows exactly…

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Science, Humanity, and the Ethics of Research

Math and science guide life in Binti’s technology-rich world. Binti’s father is a skilled maker of astrolabes which, in the world of the novel, are handheld communication devices that also store a person’s entire life history. Binti herself ultimately travels to study math at Oomza Uni, far across the galaxy, on a spaceship that is a genetically engineered living creature. For Binti and for many of her future classmates that she meets on her…

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Community, Friendship, and Belonging

As teenage Binti details her friends’ and family’s less-than-ideal reactions to her acceptance to Oomza University in the weeks before she secretly leaves home to attend the school, it becomes clear that Binti doesn’t feel she belongs at home quite as much as she originally thought she did. By leaving home, Binti is able to discover that belonging isn’t as simple as staying home and following her family’s wishes for her future. Rather, Binti realizes…

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Fear and Prejudice vs. Curiosity

Teenage Binti, as the first member of the Himba tribe to be accepted into the prestigious Oomza University, is an object of curiosity and scorn when she enters the wider world populated primarily by the Khoush people, who are lighter-skinned and hold political power in Binti’s world. However, when jellyfish-like aliens known as the Meduse take over Binti’s spaceship, killing everyone but Binti and the pilot, Binti finds herself not just the only Himba…

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