Due to the popularity of our last post about the best African literature online we’ve been keeping our eyes peeled for more great stories. Instead of a physical book this week here is what has been keeping us interested on the digital playground instead.
First, “The Company” by Kenyan author, Sanya Noel on Omenana, where African speculative fiction stories find a home. New jobs are always nerve-wracking but especially so in this dystopian tale about a rigid corporate structure and new recruit’s first day there. Noel manages to mix terror, dark humour and satire artfully into this piece.
“The lady at the entrance is Madam Eighteen. You may look into her eyes. If she looks back at you while smiling, do not smile back at her. If you do that, do not say you weren’t warned. You may ask her to open the door for you. She will only do that for your first two weeks here. ” -Sanya Noel, “The Company“
Second, quite a sensation this week was the news that Zimbabwean author, Pettina Gappah has just been published in the prestigious New Yorker! Her story, “A Short History of Zaka The Zulu” will strike a chord with anyone who’s been to an African boarding school and it is written in Gappah’s typically insightful and humorous style. A must-read!
He was always a bit of an odd fish, Zaka the Zulu, but he was the last boy any of us expected to be accused of murder. Not a wit, a sportsman, or a clown, he was not a popular boy at our school, where he wore his school uniform every day of the week, even on Sundays. – Pettina Gappah, “A Short History of Zaka The Zulu”
Third, a new-ish story (we’re not sure how we missed this one) by Masande Ntshanga. It is the sequel to his 2016 Caine Prize nominated story – “Space” and is as modern, disturbing and haunting as its predecessor.
“Once a week, after shedding half a grand on Lona at the club, I’ll get in touch with my father on the line. I’m edgy, Thembi used to say, and I’d tell her how Pa used to get me that way since I was young. He’d heave me up on his shoulders in our hallway, eBhisho, until my stomach would churn, the acid catching at the back of my throat from fear.” – Masande Ntshanga, “Space II”
Her feet had started to ache as she crossed into 2006. She had met him at the corner store where every other week she had gone to get a pack of apple juice. With a bottle of red wine he stood, and when he spoke he reminded her of one of her leafy husbands just before it withered, the green vibrant still that signified a happy fleeting permanence. – Joy Isi Bewaji, “A Long Way From Home”
My dear Liyema—
Wena uli wele lam, my twin, I never thought myself a person who would go with a married man but that is who I have become. For the past two years he paid for all of Zinzi’s medical bills.
I told everyone—even Sakhumzi—that Madam Iffy helped me and I told the madam that your dollars helped me. – Irene Ndiritu, “The Beauty of the Nigerians”