African and South African Short Stories

I will keep adding African and South African short stories to this page as I find them.

Some of the stories were written by African or African-American authors, and some are set in Africa or have African characters.

The South African stories have their own section.

• African Short Stories •

A Carnival Jangle | Alice Ruth Moore (Dunbar-Nelson)

It’s Carnival in New Orleans. Everything is decorated and the streets swarm with people in costume. When two groups of young people cross paths, Flo is invited to leave hers and accompany the other.

“A Carnival Jangle” is the first story in the Amazon preview of Great Short Stories by African-American Writers.

The Arrangers of Marriage | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A woman from Lagos arrives in America to join her new husband. She discovers the reality of her new life, getting to know her husband, living situation, and American customs.

“The Arrangers of Marriage” is the first story in the Amazon preview of The Granta Book of the African Short Story.

No Witchcraft for Sale | Doris Lessing

The Farquars have a son, Teddy. He’s loved by Gideon, a servant of the family. When Teddy is six, he makes a disparaging comment about Gideon’s son, causing Gideon to distance himself from Teddy. One day Teddy has an accident.

This is the seventh story in the preview of African Stories.

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber | Ernest Hemingway

The Macomber’s are an American couple on an African safari. They have a guide, Wilson, a professional hunter, who will lead their outing. It is revealed that Francis had panicked in an earlier hunt when a wounded lion charged at him.

This is the first story in the preview of The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.

“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Ernest Hemingway

On the African savannah, a man’s leg is rotting with gangrene. His wife tries to comfort and encourage him. As he waits for death, he thinks about his life.

This is the third story in the preview of The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway(62% into the preview)

Civil Peace | Chinua Achebe

Jonathan Iwegbu and his family rebuild their lives after the Nigerian Civil War.

Read “Civil Peace”

Vengeful Creditor | Chinua Achebe

The African government is now offering free primary education, causing a lot of servants and lowly paid workers to return to school. The Emenikes, educated and affluent, are upset when they lose some servants, including their nurse. Things turn around for them when the government suspends the free program due to higher than expected enrollment.

Read “Vengeful Creditor”

My Father, the Englishman, and I | Nuruddin Farah

The narrator remembers when he was a young boy and his father was an interpreter for the Administrator of the Ogaden. His father is subservient to the white man. His mother disapproves of her husband’s behavior.

A Mild Attack of Locusts | Doris Lessing

Warning of a swarm of locusts from the north reaches a farm. It’s been seven years since the last swarm, so they expect their maize crop to be destroyed.

Read “A Mild Attack of Locusts”

The Green Leaves | Grace Ogot

African villagers look for a group of cattle thieves. One of the villagers tries to steal from one of the dead thieves.

Read “The Green Leaves”

Uncle Dick’s Rolf | Georgiana M. Craik

Uncle Dick tells the story of when he and his dog Rolf were out walking on a perfect African summer day. Dick decides he wants to go for a swim. As he undresses, Rolf interferes, excitedly jumping up at him and trying to drag him away from the river bank.

Read “Uncle Dick’s Rolf” (Pg 68)

• Short South African Stories •

Happy Event | Nadine Gordimer

Ella is recovering from a medical procedure which she had so she and her husband could take their planned six month vacation. Before they leave they have to deal with the disagreements between their gardener and newly-hired maid; she has an important decision to make.

The Ultimate Safari | Nadine Gordimer

The narrator, a young girl, tells us that her mother and father left one day and never came back. Her village has been targeted by bandits who have taken everything. Fearing for their lives, the girl and her extended family set out on a long and difficult trek through South Africa to a refugee camp.

Africans | Sheila Kohler

The narrator tells the story of she and her sister, Mkatie, growing up, going to boarding school, and her sister’s eventual engagement. Along the way, the family’s servant, John—a Zulu, a people known for their loyalty—is an important part of their lives. When Mkatie gets married, John moves in with her and her husband.

Death of a Tsotsi | Alan Paton

Spike is in a reformatory in South Africa. He is a member of the tsotsis, a black gang. Spike gets visits from his mother, sister and her friend, Elizabeth, whom they want him to marry. He also gets visits from his fellow gang members. Spike knows he has to decide which way he will go, and prepares for the consequences.

A Company of Laughing Faces | Nadine Gordimer

Seventeen-year-old Kathy is taken by her mother to an affluent society party to meet people her own age and have some fun. She has trouble fitting in and has some eye-opening experiences.

Read “A Company of Laughing Faces”

The Train from Rhodesia | Nadine Gordimer

When a train stops at a poor, rural town the locals approach the windows to sell their wares and beg for pennies. An old African man tries to sell a carved lion to a couple, but they think the price is too high.

Read “The Train from Rhodesia”

Town and Country Lovers | Nadine Gordimer

In part 1, a white geologist and a black cashier become involved even though there’s a law against such relationships.

In part 2, a white farmer’s son has a relationship with the black daughter of a farm worker. Shortly after, she marries a black man who has loved her for a long time.

The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses | Bessie Head

In South Africa under apartheid, a group of political prisoners are used to having some leeway in prison.  There’s news of a new warden, known for being strict and harsh.

Read “The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses”