How to Change the Name of a Place

Photograph by Ayo Akinyemi

Say, “It is not Abakaliki. Aba Nkaleke.”

Repeat: “Aba Nkaleke.”

Be born there. Grow up there.

At St. John’s Primary School Okpaugwu, listen to the kids from the other states talk about where they come from, …

You are near yet you are far

You are Cameroonian. Yet all your Nigerian writer friends say you are Nigerian. You’ve never even been to Nigeria before. So how can this be? You wade through their observations about your Nigerianess.

“You’ve got our vibe…you look Igbo…you speak …

White Patches

Photograph by Ayo Akinyemi, from the series Afterlife.

What’s all the fuss and flurry about Christmas, I wondered as I drank my fourth glass of red wine. Most of the guests were dressed in different forms of white attires; …

Great Rift Valley

Photograph by Ayo Akinyemi, from the series “The Sacred Architecture of Osun Grove”

Mieso was a speck on Ethiopia’s map. A small place, remote and tucked away. We were Lesotho without the diamonds, and sometimes without the water. Caught between …


Losing My Father

Photograph by Ayo Akinyemi from the series “After Life”

The journey towards my truth is littered with untruths.


Like that time I denied being queer when dad asked me directly. It was right as I was starting grad school …

Interview: Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀


Emmanuel Iduma

Why was it important to tell the story from Akin and Yejide’s point of view, to balance the narrative in that way?

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

I’m interested in how deeply subjective our experience of the …

A Writing Life: Jumoke Verissimo

I am afraid of heights, climbing hills, moving up narrow ladders or sometimes climbing spindly stairways with rusty uprooted banisters.

My heart is in a state of flurry, I can hear footsteps  and voices rushing into my head, asking me

May the Odds Be in our Favour

I arrive in the city of Uyo for my Youth Service. The scarcity of traffic jams here compared to the car-choked roads in Lagos is not the only excitement I feel. The abundance of voluptuous women gives me further impression …

Last Day in Cotonou

Like every other morning since moving into this short-stay rental apartment, I wake up to the raspy voice of my neighbour admonishing her children while going about her morning chores in the backyard. I hear a rumble of dishes being …

Black Cattle, White Egrets: A Posthumous Review

A few deaths have rocked my world lately – notably Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Umberto Eco – but none felt so personal as Walcott’s. The first instinct, after the shock of Akin Adesokan’s retweet of Jeanne-Marie Jackson’s tweet, was …

Saraba is a literary magazine focused on the work of new writers in Nigeria and other parts of the African continent. Since 2009, we have published several issues of a magazine, editions of poetry chapbooks, and online-only work.
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