Banana Cake! Book / Publication / Landmark Writing


NameBanana Cake!
Writer(s)Shasha Ali
Type of TextZine


Founded in 2016 by Indigenous Malay and Javanese writer Shasha Ali, BANANA CAKE! is a political zine made in response to a lack of Brown and Southeast Asian voices in the activist zinemaking community in Aotearoa. In the zine's opening letter, Ali writes that: "following the self-perceived unresolved, privilege-complicit-gearstuckness of Chinese and East-Asian dominance of the zine/collective that is known as Mellow Yellow Aotearoa, I am done waiting for ethnic majorities of minorities to open up space for its minorities". Released in 2016, BANANA CAKE! was committed to decolonisation and building solidarity between Indigenous communities and people of colour.

The content and style of BANANA CAKE! strongly echoes the political origins of zinemaking — the zine opens with a “Newsflash” feature about police brutality during a peaceful 2016 Persatuan Rakyat Untuk Pemebasan Papua Barat (People United For Free West Papua) demonstration. Existing as both activist literature and an educational resource, Ali curates a range of critical interviews and writing by Asian and Indigenous activists in Aotearoa. She openly states that the zine is a product of her experiences and that the curatorial choices reflect her particular interests: “This is my zine, in which I prioritise my thoughts, my emotions, my ideas and experiences, and invite those who intrigue me, or are intrigued by me, to participate with me”. Much of the text focuses on dismantling structures of privilege and power within minority communities, as well as scrutinising the problematic use of the term ‘Asian’ within contemporary Aotearoa.

Photographs accompany the writing in a documentary style, providing visual context for interviews or news events. The writing maintains a clear, conversational tone, presenting political themes and academic theories in a succinct style. Interviews are both casual and critical, applying academic theory to real-world experiences.

Although Banana Cake was intended to be a zine series, it was discontinued after the first issue in 2016 for unknown reasons.

Last updated: 29 February 2024 Suggest an Edit


A black and white photo of bananas on a black background with the words "BANANA CAKE!" in bold black text.

Shasha Ali, BANANA CAKE!, 2016

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