Category: Excerpts

The Fulcrum of Desire

By Emmanuel Iduma Photography is like hunting, Malick Sidibé says. When we visit, he is wearing a fitted white jalabiya, sitting outside a house, part of a cluster of buildings, each coated in reddish brown. His eyesight is failing. I cover his hands in mine, in greeting. A woman and a man prepare him for […]

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‘Things My Mother Taught Me’, by Barack Obama

JAKARTA, INDONESIA, circa 1971- “If you want to grow into a human being”, my Mum would say to me, “you’re going to need some values” Honesty-Lolo should not have hidden the refrigerator in the storage room when the tax officials came, even if everyone else, including the tax officials, expected such things. She had only […]

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A Tourist at the Sermon on the Mount

By Timothy White Bob Marley was slow in warming to the Rasta way of knowledge. He heard about it constantly from Rita, who never tired of describing Selassie’s visit in 1966, her glimpse of His Majesty in the limousine, the eye contact, the nod, the frozen moment. The intensity of Rita’s emotional involvement with Rastafarianism […]

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The Pauper Who Was Gifted With an Oil Well

Chief was sitting on a gilded chair that looked like a throne, sipping cognac and surrounded by guests. He sprang up. A smallish man, high spirited and ebullient. “Nneoma! Is this you? So you remember me today!” he said. He hugged Nneoma, moved back to look boldly at her hips outlined in her fitted skirt, […]

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The Last Stretch
to Freedom

She put miles behind her, put behind her the counterfeit sanctuaries and endless chains, the murder of Valentine farm. There was only the darkness of the tunnel, and somewhere ahead, an exit. Or a dead end, if that’s what fate decreed-nothing but a blank, pitiless wall. The last bitter joke. Finally spent, she curled on […]

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Was There Room To Think?

By J P Clark Earlier, in the elevator going up, I had started what turned out to be a proper prologue. ‘I have a letter for the editor’ I said. Oh, have you? And where is it?’ Mr Friendly asked in his warm baritone voice, crushing like gravel in a barrel rolling down a road. […]

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My ‘Romance’ With ‘The Other’ Zuma

I remember my first one-on-one conversation with Jacob Zuma as though it was yesterday. It took place on 25 May 2009, at the height of our very public confrontation over the composition of my cabinet, during which I had used his sexual proclivities as an example of the way the ANC generally regarded the role […]

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Black People Are Dangerous

‘I’m not trying to argue. Look, how can I help?’ ‘I just feel that . . . having another . . . a young child around . . . it would distract her, I’m sure. From her work.’ Marion felt the sting of embarrassment; she couldn’t say it out loud – she didn’t want her […]

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The Crippled Crook and Me

IN ABIDJAN, WHEN THE COPS SEE A bad guy with a gun in his hand, they don’t stop and chat, they shoot him quick like a deer or a rabbit and ask questions later. One day, the police shot three bad guys. Two of them died right away, but before the third guy died, he […]

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The author, Chimeka Garricks

They Took Over Our Playground

By Chimeka Garricks

We did not play football that day.

As we burst through the bamboo thicket onto the beach, we were stopped by an apparition. We stared in disbelief. There were fishing boats on the Maracana! The once pristine beach was cluttered with nets, baskets and other fishing gear. Fishermen idled, ingroups, by their boats, hard frowns on their faces.

It was an unwritten rule in Asiama that the fishermen only operated from the nearby Ofirima Island, and not from Asiama Town itself. From the beach we could see Ofirima Island, across the restless ocean, just off our left. Every single boat was now over on Asiama Town. The fishermen’s shacks were completely deserted. Ofirima Island looked sad and lonely. We turned our gaze to Ashawo Village on our right. We could make out movements; Ashawo Village seemed to be okay. Read more