Short Story Review: The List by Aito Osemegbe Joseph

This must be every parent’s nightmare… Well, actually almost every father’s nightmare.

That was my conclusion and I was only 85 words into the 3,465 worded piece. I giggled because I saw my late father written all over Aito’s introduction.

Aito spins a tale of old pride in cultures that are slowing dying. A reality that is seen in communities and countries that used to rely on certain traditions now making compromises and sometimes not for the better.

She was the stubborn fly that was following the corpse right into the grave.

A tale of parents’ expectations met with the very real reality of who they have raised and having to deal with the choices their children make.

As they slowly traverse the list, each member from either side coming to grips with the uncertainty that is about to enter their world.

“Eeeehhhhhhh, what is this? We asked for goats and you people are here with rabbits.” She struck her open mouth with her palm repeatedly, making mocking noises.

Two worlds, each from opposite ends of the spectrum and none of them about to back down.

In my opinion, this was a good read.

I especially like the detail with which Aito explores the thoughts running through Adaeze’s uncle’s head as well as the different emotions that surface through other key characters.

Aito also has the sneaky art of playing with emotions; as just when you are hopeful, he snatches the rug right from under you! Consider this your warning…

I think this story is easy to relate to because most of us know an Adaeze and sympathise with her uncle.

What would you have done, if you were Adaeze?
(Read the story here)

The List by Aito Osemegbe Joseph was announced as having been shortlisted for the Writivism 4th Annual Short Story Prize. It has now been published at Munyori Literary Journal head on over there to read it yourself

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Short Story Review: Boyi by Gloria Mwaniga Minage

I am not sure about other cultures around the world, however, I have found that African culture is filled with the oddest colloquialisms. These are often belted out by an angry parent faced with a child whose troubles they cannot comprehend. These ridiculously funny sayings are often used in speech but rarely in written prose.

Our very boys, who ate oaths to protect our ancestral land have turned on us like the hungry chameleon that eats its intestines

Mwaniga’s 3,492 worded story of indebtedness and the audacity to present living collateral. Mwaniga presents one of the stories behind land rows, the kind you will not find on your television sets – but may be on radio, local community radio if they dared.

She aptly presents the frailty of a mother’s broken spirit and resolve to believe in any hope that she can clutch onto, as well as a father’s anguish and his strong innate need to justify the actions that ensued.

She tells the story through the eyes of an observer, a witness to the silent madness that proceeds a home stolen of joy. She also aptly presents the effectiveness of the local community communication system, which was a real marvel considering how glued we are to our cellphones in the real world.

Do you think the plague of deafness descended on us in the night?

Mwaniga makes you feel the pain of her characters.

Her style of writing made this book an easy, very believable read.

Boyi by Gloria Mwaniga Minage was announced as having been shortlisted for the Writivism 4th Annual Short Story Prize. It has now been published at Munyori Literary Journal head on over there to read it yourself

Short Story Review: The Swahilification of Mutembei by Abu Amirah

This story has been added to my list of the most delightfully descriptive stories I have ever laid my hands on.

Amirah’s use of words in this story had the power to pick my up from my desk in Kampala and plant me at the coast. Close enough to pick up whiffs of ocean breeze carried by the wind to tantalise me as I resist to be drawn in.

An Ocean the smell of slavery, broken promises, Portugal and Vasco Da Gama’s piss, washing away hopes and aspirations, so much so that new generations have nothing which resembles their ancestor’s footsteps to fit or surpass.

In this 3138 worded piece, Amirah allows us to eavesdrop on a conversation between two men whilst they played a popular board game called drafts. Might this drafts be the equivalent of meeting at the well – I’ll let you decide.

As Mutembei, the protagonist of the story, engages Nasoro in conversation, his mind takes on a life of it’s own. Fleeting all over the place: between grappling the importance of honey and milk to the fact that it appears, he is losing the game.

We are given a glimpse into the estrangement between Mutembei and one of his parents, as well as his consideration to take on the Swahili culture.

The view is as breathtaking and contagious as the touch of a fleeing lover, who in her routine disappearances leaves one with the anticipation that indeed tomorrow, if it ever comes, will hold better and perhaps more compelling narratives than yesterday.

Because Amirah’s writing transported me to the fictional reality that he envisaged made this story even more enjoyable for me.

It is my sincere hope that he shall expand this into a novel.

The Swahilification of Mutembei by Abu Amirah was announced as having been shortlisted for the Writivism 4th Annual Short Story Prize. It has now been published at Munyori Literary Journal head on over there to read it yourself