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Fiction Friday: An Excerpt from Jalada’s Afrofuture(s) – “Boonoonoonoos Little Bit Boonoonoonoos” by Binyavanga Wainaina

The latest anthology by Jalada Africa, the pan-African writers’ collective, has been published, brimming with exciting literature by African authors.

This edition, entitled Afrofuture(s), is compiled around the theme of African speculative fiction and features stories by Binyavanga Wainaina, Sofia Samatar, Richard Oduor Oduku, Babatunde Fagbayibo, Stephani Maari Booker, Awuor Onyango, Mwangi Ichung’wa and Suleiman Agbonkhianmen Buhari, among others. It also includes a podcast and transcript of fascinating interesting panel discussion on Afro-futurism between Nnedi Okorafor and Sofia Samatar at the University of Texas, recorded during their Symposium for African Writers in December last year.

This anthology is very welcome as it is arrives during a boom in speculative fiction on the continent. On home ground the latest edition of Short Story Day Africa’s annual collection is also centred around this theme, with Diane Awerbuck’s winning short story being praised for its “dark, twisted and visceral” qualities.

In an interview with Books LIVE, Nerine Dorman, an established spec fic writer in South Africa, said that she believes we, as South Africans, are “on the cusp of something” and expressed her hopes to see more genre-bending, “with authors taking well-worn tropes and moving them into unexpected places”. This new publication by Jalada Africa heeds that call, with thrilling stories touching an exciting variety of genres.

Read Wainaina’s story, “Boonoonoonoos little bit Boonoonoonoos”, which couldn’t begin more perfectly:

 

One Day I Will Write About This PlaceHow to Write About AfricaKwani?

It is Friday.

Eunice and Milka, sixteen and fifteen, are form-three students at Lamdiak Secondary school—a series of long dark wooden buildings that sit deep in a thick plot of soft Kikuyu grass in front of the Mau forest, one of the coldest places to live in Kenya.

It is five-thirty in the morning. There are already lines of girls washing in buckets at the end of their dorm. Form-four girls, cheeks burnt black with cold, have been up all night studying for exams.

The air is cold and foggy and smells of cow shit and charcoal irons and foaming Imperial Leather soap. When Eunice and Milka walk outside the cold squeezes them immediately, like two women holding the ends of a wet blanket and squeezing. For a moment it is hard to breathe. The throat is seized. Then heat and air bursts out of them, they puff out warm air from their bellies—it licks their noses, their cheeks.

Images courtesy of Jalada Africa and Think Africa Press

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