Robert Mugabe Street. A selection of skin bleaching creams on sale. Image courtesy of Karen Mukwasi

I AM BEAUTIFUL TOO!

I was approached by trader on the street the other day. She wanted to sell me a miracle product that would change my life forever. The cream she had could lighten my skin in just 7–10 days. “I like like my skin exactly as it is,” I told her. She looked at me like I had just told her I enjoyed going to work without my clothes on at times. Being the diligent saleswoman she was, she made all sorts of promises. Chinese skin, being one of them. In Zimbabwe, this has become a sought after commodity.

I am not Chinese. I am a black woman. So what’s wrong with that?, I asked myself later. I was born with dark skin. Is that supposed to be a disease? Why do I need miracle cure that will make me a yellow bone?

The God of Death

The God of Death

By Sima Mittal

“Who should I take away from you this time?” The God of Death asked in a small voice, “How about your brother’s son?”

“That Uncle Manju is a beast. He beats up his wife,” Sunitha accused. “He doesn’t deserve to live, take him instead.”

your-heart-should-skip-a-beat

Your Heart Should Skip A Beat

By Uzoma Ihejirika

“As you eat, you cannot help listening in on the banter of the other men. You listen to them recount stories: funny stories, scary stories, crazy stories, you-must-be-joking stories. A man laments the robbery he faced in the hands of traffic officials; another man narrates how he had sex with a ghost posing as a prostitute; another man recounts his ordeals with a female boss; yet another narrates how he had finished, wait for it, not one, not two, but seven cartons of beer.
Your phone rings. You retrieve it from your breast pocket and glance at the screen. Unknown number. The restaurant has become too loud to answer a call. You hurriedly wash your hands and go outside.”

Money shot

The Money Shot

By Amy Heydenrych

They have a checklist that demands scenes of abundance, women being employed and hands holding fountains of grain.

These pictures will be emailed to countries their subjects will never see. They will be placed on billboards and websites by men who believe their USD 100 000 grant is enough to transform entire communities.

“Karibu!” The owner of the factory I am visiting clasps my arm with chapped hands. The dank, malt scent of the animal feed they are processing coils into my lungs. I hold in the urge to wheeze.

Biafra.resized

1968

By Okwudili Nebeolisa

He took his army bag and stuffed it with a few clothes and shoes, for himself and his son. He had money in his pocket. He took the keys to his motorcycle and went out to look for his son. “We’ll be travelling tonight,” he told his son, in Igbo. When the boy asked about his mother, if she wasn’t going to leave with them, he was shouted at to shut up.
Quietly they left for the next village after he draped a bedspread over Gladys.

Rumpled sheets.rotated

Breaking Glass

By Saaleha Bhamjee

I expect fucking but this is nearly lovemaking. When he leaves, I am both emptied and filled. I sleep, curled around ‘his pillow’. I smell his hair every time I move. I miss the call from home. The kids want pictures of everything. This is the message they leave me.

Flying_Pigeon

Accounts of A Street Urchin

By Jude Mutuma

“Unadai?,” he asked you as he extended his arm to offer you a piece of half-eaten chicken wing. He was always so generous, Yusuf. You took the chicken wing quick and bid him goodbye. He just smiled at you, with that toothless grin.