south african blogger, south african lifestyle blogger, Running and Other Stories by Makhosazana Xaba Review,

Reviewing Makhosazana Xaba's short story collection.


I got this book at the end of 2017, I think and tried to read it last year but I only made it through a few stories before eventually abandoning it. While reading it on my commute this month, I couldn't recall where I bought it. I haven't made a book order on Takealot in a long time so it couldn't have been from there. Then, thankfully, when I posted it on Instagram I mentioned the buying and it clicked that it was from African Flavours.

Anyway! On to the book.
Running and Other Stories by Makhosazana Xaba Review, south african lifestyle blog, south african blogger,

"Running and Other Stories" by Makhosazana Xaba is a collection of short stories, featuring 10 stories 168 pages. Xaba is also an award-winning poet. The book was published by Modjaji Books in 2013.

The title story, "Running" is as relevant today as it was when it was written when it won the award or the time period it is set in. It is set in Lusaka in 1989, ANC Comrades and UMkhonto Wesizwe operatives have convened a conference to deal with sexism as they look forward to building a South Africa of dreams. Reading this story feel eerie because this is not a South Africa that is safe for women

The collection contains varied stories, but these stories still exist in the same universe. There are women loving women; women whose hearts have been broken by women; there are women recovering from men both lovers and family. The "new South Africa" is prominent as the people in the different stories try to find their feet.

The characters have beautiful names like Nomandla, Phathekile and Ntombizoluntu. There are characters who know exactly who they are and those keen to learn.



The stories are horny in places too, which is something I support, as you know. Bhekiwe, the protagonist of "Inside" visits her crush, Zodwa, and it feels so cosy as she takes in the flat, strokes the spines of books and wonders what her crush looks like in the shower. 

"Her mind goes back to that night at Kippies: the copper bangle on a narrow but strong wrist; the whiff of citrus fruit in the jazzy night air of Jozi; firm thighs under a pair of black pants." 

And I know that this is a Johannesburg I will never know. On the other hand, there's "The Trip" featuring Qhamkile and her young daughter, Nontsikelelo, on a trip from Johannesburg to somewhere in KwaZulu. That Montrose break was so familiar.  

The women in this collection are not often young, which I found refreshing. This is especially because I generally write about black girls and young black women, that's whom I'm constantly thinking about. Although fictional, "Running And Other Stories" is an important look at the lives of black women in and of post-apartheid South Africa




PS: What I watched and listened to in 2018