Saturday Read : How To Survive A Heat Wave by Chika Unigwe September 14, 2019 – Posted in: Literary Lifestyle – Tags: Better Never Than Late, Cassava Republic, Chika Unigwe, Dutch, How To Survive A Heat Wave, LitHub, Short Story, Writer
It’s raining heavily here in Lagos, Nigeria. Surfing the net and looking for intriguing short stories to keep me company, I came across this beautiful piece by Chika Unigwe.
Chika Unigwe is a Nigerian-born Igbo author who writes in English and Dutch. In April 2014, she was selected for the Hay Festival’s Africa39 list of 39 sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature. Previously based in Belgium, she now lives in the United States.
How To Survive A Heat Wave is excerpted from her soon to be released book, Better Never Than Late.
One of the “Cassava Shorts” and set for release on the 22nd day of October, 2019, Better Never Than Late charts the unconventional lives and love affairs of a group of Nigerian migrants, making their way in Belgium. The collection is centred around Prosperous and her husband Agu, and the various visitors who gather at their apartment each week. These interconnected stories explore their struggles and triumphs, from unhappy marriages (of convenience or otherwise), to the pain of homesickness, and the tragic paradox in longing to leave Nigeria so that you may one day return to it.
Why did this woman send you unshelled egusi sef? Oge complains. She could have had it shelled and ground at so little cost. Who sends unshelled egusi to someone abroad?
See? Añuli says. This place spoils you. Back home, we wouldn’t have thought anything of shelling melon seeds. This is a place of choice and convenience. You want pounded yam? You buy it powdered. You want spinach? You buy it washed and chopped.
She scooped up a handful of egusi. This isn’t so bad. Sitting here, doing this together . . . . community. This–she stops because her voice is already breaking.
This short story made me cry, it made me cringe, it made me think about my feminity and the vulnerability I feel whenever a man walks behind me as I walk down my street after work…
Drop a comment after reading let’s talk about it!