On our lists this week: Ariana Grande, Kei Miller, and Helen Oyeyemi

Pure magic: Helen Oyeyemi writes engaging fairy tales

Pure magic: Helen Oyeyemi writes engaging fairy tales


Thank u, next by Ariana Grande

Along with 115-million other humans I am really enjoying “Ari” Grande’s music video for the surprise break-up hit Thank u, next, which I never saw coming and haven’t stopped playing since it came out last month. She cute, she smart and she made a break-up anthem that centres her healing but jazzes it up with an early-2000s rom-com homage to faves such as Mean Girls, Bring it On and Legally Blonde. (MB)


It’s 2003 again.
I’m sitting cross-legged with a bowl of cereal in my lap singing along to the theme tune: “My life is complicated. Boyfriends? Don’t wanna talk about it. Teenage? I’ll work it out in the eeeeeend.” I’m making a habit of binging on things that I watched in my teen years. I get a laugh remembering what used to make my world go around. I wish I could put the part of me that problematises my favourite cartoon on airplane mode, though. (ZH)

The Reading List

The White Women and the Language of Bees by Kei Miller

This dry, persistent and important essay on the tenuous intimacies between the children of colonisers and the descendants of slaves draws attention to the tensions that when a white women is confronted, through the writings of a fictional black man, with the reality of the hurt she causes by not knowing the context, the language and the reality that has birthed her immigrant identity in an unnamed island country. Miller knows exactly where to land his tool in a piece that examines race, whiteness, proximity, friendship and the silences that bind us. I have subscribed to preelit.com for this and other writing from the Caribbean. (MB)

Anything by Helen Oyeyemi

Perhaps, for reasons that have something to do with our past, escapism in this place is underrated. For a lack of, uhm, imagination, I will merely say that Oyeyemi writes fairy tales for adults. Her words are dreamy, the sentences are indulgent and the stories pure magic. Over the past year, I have watched a friend fall deeply in love with this writer, stealing my books before I could get to through them and amassing titles such as The Icarus Girl, White Is for Witching, Mr Fox and The Opposite House. It’s a lifelong relationship. I keep telling my friend to interview her, and present the damn thing as a transcript. We live in hope. (KS)

The Lists were compiled by Milisuthando Bongela, Kwanele Sosibo and Zaza Hlalethwa

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