“A week ago Nnam took a month off work and sent her sons, Lumumba and Sankara, to her parents in Uganda for Kayita’s last funeral rites. That is why she is naked. Being naked, alone with silence in the house, is therapy. Now Nnam understands why when people lose their minds the first impulse is to strip naked. Clothes are constricting but you don’t realize until you have walked naked in your house all day, every day for a week.”

Let’s Tell This Story Properly is a short story written by Jennifer Makumbi, an Ugandan novelist. This story was published in 2014, went on to be shortlisted for the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. It became Regional Winner, Africa region.

This short story centers grief, deception, death, life of Ugandans in the diaspora and family dynamics.

I truly did not see this story coming and the first line of this story is one of the best I have read so far. The short story is equipped with everything to draw you into the story and while it is a story dealing with pretty heavy themes, Jennifer Makumbi writes with a light hand and sprinkle of humor that does not take away from the magnanimity of the story.

“In Britain grief is private – you know how women throw themselves about howling this, screaming that back home? None of that. You can’t force your grief on other people.” 

I truly love how this story started and wrapped up. It was written in a fashion that made me hunger for more and see how Nnam is doing. I definitely want to read more of Jennifer Makumbi’s short stories.

Should You Read?

Definitely. This is one of the best short stories I’ve read.