At this point, it’s not secret that I love short stories (see: 5 African short stories to read online and 5 LGBTQ+ African short stories). It seems like other people love them as well! My blog post about African short stories to read online is my most popular post. If you’re looking for something to read while you wait for a virtual appointment to start or you want to dip your toes into the vast waters of African literature, the five short stories below are great options.
This short story recently won the Plimpton Prize for Fiction (and deservedly so). It’s about a gay man in Nigeria who lives his life on his own terms, in the face of familial disapproval. Without spoiling the story too much, I like how things came almost full-circle at the end.
A quick tale about an Egyptian man falling in love with a woman in a café. Once the reader becomes accustomed to the narrative, the author delivers an interesting twist. The short story was translated from Arabic by Katharine Halls and is also available in its original Arabic format.
3. Osun by Bolu Babalola
Osun is a love story for the gods—quite literally. The story is about Yoruba goddess of the rivers, Osun, her desire to be seen and the love she eventually encounters. This is an excerpt from the author’s collection of short stories, Love in Colour.
4. Beggar Friday Playing in the World Cup by Mia Couto
In this excerpt from Sea Loves Me, a collection of 64 short stories by the Mozambican author, a beggar named Friday narrates his experiences using football or soccer as a metaphor. The writing is poetic, and I finished this story feeling a lot of empathy for Friday and other poor people who are oppressed by our capitalist society.
5. The Faraway Things by Alboricah Tokologo Rathupetsane
“The Faraway Things” starts off like a typical rural story, narrating the routines that form Lesedi, a cattle herder characterised as “not right in the head” by his community—that is until Lesedi makes a crucial discovery. This short story was shortlisted for the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy these short stories as much I did. What novels or short stories have enjoyed reading since the pandemic started? Let me know in the comments.