5 African Short Stories to Read Online

5 African shorts

Recently, I’ve found myself reading more short stories because I no longer have the free time (or patience) to read long novels, but I still crave a good story from time to time. If you’re in a similar position, or you’re looking for an introduction to the world of African literature, or just scouring for free reads on the internet, here are 5 short stories written by African writers, that are available for free on the web.

1. Let’s Tell This Story Properly by Jennifer Nansugba Makumbi

Focuses on Nnam, a Ugandan woman who discovers her husband’s ‘second life’ after he passed away one morning in their Manchester home. The story explores Nnam’s grief and shock in a relatable way with some light humor.

2. A Private Experience by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this story, Adichie explores tribal conflicts between Igbos and Hausas in Nigeria, and how the conflict impacts people’s lives, including the two women hiding in an abandoned shop during a riot. This story is featured in The Thing Around Your Neck, the author’s collection of short stories. For more short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, check out this article.

3. I Am Not My Skin by Neema Komba

‘I Am Not My Skin’ is about a one-armed albino man who interviews for a security guard position in the city. This story depicts some of the horrors that albinos face in a society that places value on their bodies for witchcraft.

4. Who Will Greet You At Home by Lesley Nneka Arimah

A chilling tale of an alternate world where women make children from whatever materials they can afford, and the direct consequences of this situation for Ogechi a woman who cannot afford any of the good materials needed to make a child.

5. Missing Out by Leila Aboulela

This is the story of Majdy, a Sudanese man working on his PhD in London, and his wife Samra, a devout Muslim woman who left her family to join Majdy in London. ‘Missing Out’ draws comparisons between Khartoum and London through the contrasting perspectives of the husband and wife. It also presents themes of religion, political instability, and adapting to a new culture.

Please leave a comment if you’ve read any of these stories. Or if you have any other suggestions for African short stories available on the internet.

Update (5/5/2021): If you like the short stories listed above, I have more recommendations in this post, and some short stories featuring LGBTQ+ characters here. Enjoy!

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