I have learnt a lot about the African Literary Scene in the last 4 months since I started this blog. I still have a lot to learn too and when you consider the fact that I am yet to attend any actual events, this is pretty amazing. Hopefully, I’ll find it in me to move from behind my keyboard and actually become a live entity (when it comes to my blog, I mean…) There are so many people I would love to meet face to face.
One of the events I recently became aware of was the Writivism Festival. Of course, there was no way I could have travelled to Uganda, even if I wanted to, and I was happy enough following the events on Twitter. I thoroughly enjoyed observing the events, so when this anthology was released, I felt compelled to share it with you guys.
This little book is a collection of flash fiction from 12 up and coming writers from several African countries. There are four Nigerians in there, which I think is amazing and these stories are mostly about living/surviving in big cities with some of the characters engaging in a range of interesting behaviours.
The events in the first story, Justice by Adeola Opeyemi Salau of Nigeria, escalated pretty quickly. It succinctly illustrates:
- The dangers of dozing off in Lagos Traffic.
- How quickly bloodthirsty mobs can be formed in Nigeria.
- Why you should smack anyone who even thinks of accusing you of theft on the streets of Lagos across the mouth as fast as you can.
My favourite has to be The Escape by Margaret Muthee from Kenya. The story follows an older gentleman taking a bus ride away from the old people’s home his dutiful daughter has checked him into back to the place he lived with his late wife. This story gave me real Lagos vibes, the little dramas that occur when travelling by public transport could easily have happened in Lasgidi.
Another one that got my attention was The God of Death by Sima Mittal of Tanzania. Not necessarily the story but because I couldn’t stop thinking of this GOT meme.
The Convenient Doctor by Thato Angela of Botswana is the shortest and the grossest. Really, how desperate do you have to be to let anyone come near your privates with a mixture of turmeric and whisky?
A couple of funny stories in there, both by Nigerians, set in Lagos – Lagos Doesn’t Care by Socrates Mbamalu and Your Heart Will Skip A Beat (Title Story) by Uzoma Ihejirika. It is a measure of how bad the economy is when you have to exchange sex for rent. Or your girlfriend could get kidnapped over a 3000 Naira debt.
Juliet by Maguna Williams of Kenya was a fun read as well. Guy runs into ex he still has feelings for. Gets a text message from her while in traffic and promptly gets his phone stolen before he can read the message. Short and effective. Love it!
You can download a free copy of this collection here
This flash fiction anthology has been published by Bahati Books, in partnership with Writivism. Writivism is a Ugandan-based literature festival and author mentoring programme. Your Heart Will Skip A Beat And Other Stories is a compilation which forms part of its flagship annual festival.