Six years ago, two friends were having a meandering conversation that spanned everything from the state of literature in Kenya to their explorations of feminist thought. Driven by youthful naïveté and blind ambition we felt the need to share these conversations with other people.  Hence the birth of Will This Be A Problem.

Will This Be A Problem began as a site to explore social issues and create African fiction. Will This Be a Problem? defiantly posed a challenge to the world around us. It was a rhetorical question that showed anyone who insisted we colour within the expected lines the door.

A number of years down the line, we have penned multiple essays, platformed several talented writers and released three fiction anthologies out into the world. We’ve done much of what we set out to do and we’re proud of what we’ve been able to achieve. However, so much around us seems to have stayed the same, much to the point that it feels like we have been shouting into the void. Rather than give in to these frustrations and give up, we opted to regroup, rethink and restrategize.

Living in precarious times has emphasised a need to participate in more imaginative ways, to challenge ourselves to envision a world that is a testament of our true convictions. We hope to veer away from inadvertent pontification and focus on re-learning how to converse, how to increase our perspectives and how to evolve our outlook.

Moving forward, our focus is shifting – we are making fiction our main priority.  There is a lot to be said about the power that can be harnessed when we’re allowed to explore topics through stories. Stories are always better than facts. To quote Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, “Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.”

As you can see, this anthology comes at a point of transition for Will This Be A Problem and it is appropriate that the 5 stories contained within it are explorations of transition. People in passage, seeking to change who or where they are. These stories come together to weave a complicated tapestry of human emotion, especially in times of unprecedented events. They capture the frustration of being faced with uncertainty, the stubborn denial of what is real and present, the flimsy air of pretence that fails to conceal the underlying stench of desperation, all culminating into a simple and final truth – that whatever our coping mechanisms are, they will hold us together only for a while, but we must ultimately face the inevitable.

In Cheryl S Ntumy’s Nonchalant, we find a character caught between the person she loves and being true to herself. “She’ll leave because I promised to get better, to try, and I didn’t. She’ll leave because she thinks I love my demons more than I love her, and who will fault her? No one. Not even me.” 

We see this theme spilling over into Lauri Kubuitsile’s The Sacrifice, in which Saebe sees his idyllic life, the only life he knows, slipping away from him. We are locked in the room with a man who takes measure after desperate measure to do whatever he can to maintain normalcy.

Kevin Rigathi’s Where The Gods Go tells the story of a young girl determined to find answers, caught between history and memory, perception and truth. “My thoughts have circled and worked around it, careful never to get too close; never to let it burn. Now, knowing what I know, I can approach the memory and walk around it. I can look closer and finally see.”

In James Kariuki’s Counting Heads, we are in the headspace of a man faced with an opportunity that has him debating the need for hypervigilance when there is no food on the table and bills need to be paid. “A few years of selling illegal drugs had left Koyo with a keen sense of distrust for deals that sounded too good to be true; but he reluctantly agreed to the meeting.”

In Nyembezi’s Funeral, Jerá forces us to contend with perhaps the most tragic yet inevitable change of all, “ …‘We are God’s clay pots. He can smash us if he wishes. What can we do?”

In addition to our anthologies of short stories, we’ll be adding a new series of projects to our repertoire. Some of the characters and themes we want to explore and bring to life have been too complex for short stories. Our readers have also expressed interest in something longer to sink their teeth into. Novellas are currently having a renaissance in the world of speculative fiction, their length allowing grander possibilities. Will This Be A Problem is currently working on releasing three novellas from three writers. The excerpts are featured in this anthology.

Manes & Dandelions, an urban fantasy story from Kevin Rigathi takes you on a wild journey of unexpected magic through familiar settings that you’ll never look at quite the same again. Pieces of Wood, a chilling horror from Peter Nena which delves into the grotesque and unearthly, and is guaranteed to leave you unsettled. And Asylum, from Olivia Kidula, an unholy mash of dark genres that will leave you disoriented and out of breath.

The fiction in this anthology allows us to sit for a while with people we would rather not meet, dredging up emotions we would rather not feel. And despite this anthology being in production long before the COVID-19 virus outbreak, reflections of our current reality are scattered generously within these pages. So sit back, relax and get used to the new normal. We’re going to be indoors for a while.


Olivia Kidula & Kevin Rigathi



The Decolonisation Project

Decolonisation! A term I got acquainted with when I first commenced my studies at the University of Cape Town. It’s rather a peculiar term that I had never heard before and I must say, I was confused at first about its meaning or significance. How do you undo something that has already manifested itself?

My idea of colonialism stemmed from the vague education system I received in high school. The chronological events of colonialism: the Berlin West African conference, the partitioning of Africa, the arrival of missionaries and the colonial administration systems. Therefore, with such a layman’s understanding of colonialism one that emphasized the course while neglecting the cause, the consequences, implications and effects I really wondered what people meant when they spoke of decolonisation. Did it mean we ought to reverse the whole colonial process? As in go back to Berlin and redraw the borders and build ships and take back all the descendants of the white man? Take back all they stole from the hinterland? It sounded rather unrealistic for me.

There ought to have been more to this, perhaps I was missing out on something and was oblivious to a more conscious understanding of what colonisation was exactly and its implications.

Exploring the concept of Colonialism

Have you ever heard of the poem “the white man’s burden”? This is a poem which grasps on the idea that the white man was burdened with the task of trying to civilise the dark continent of ‘savages’. That is what they called us. To them, civilisation involved causing a paradigm shift in the mentality of the natives. It was a doctrine that regarded the natives lost souls in dire need of redemption, education and a new language. One wonders what was to be left for the natives to take pride in.

Therefore colonialism primarily involved addressing the mind of the native in a way that would lead to a people with an inferiority complex. A people who might unconsciously disdain their uniqueness, colour, customs, culture and heritage, discarding it for the culture of the white man.

Another important aspect of colonialism was the issue of divide and rule. It all started from the macro level by dividing territory without the consent of the ethnic tribes. This proved to be problematic for it meant imposing unity among different tribes and perhaps separating tribes without any consultation with those tribes. On the micro scale, this division entailed enticing enmity among the natives, tampering with and undermining their existing customs and elevating the ‘good boys’ at the expense of the traditional chiefs which resulted in tension between the former and latter.  

Then, the most apparent aspect of colonialism was the extraction of Africa’s raw materials, which further boosted the economies of the metropolitan states of the colonisers while impeding Africa’s growth.

Therefore what does decolonisation entail?

If we are to address the issue of decolonisation pragmatically, in a way that does not make it ambiguous and cause confusion like it did for me when I first heard of it, we ought to begin by addressing the key elements listed above. This means for the purpose the article, trying to achieve decolonisation first entails deconstructing the mind-set and mentality of Africans. Dispositioning them from a state of inferiority to one of self-pride.

Decolonisation also entails promoting the ideology of unity and Pan Africanism. This might assist in fixing our continent which is deeply entrenched in intra conflict within states of which Politics, ethnicity and religion remain the genesis of the conflict. Decolonisation also means addressing the major problem of Africa’s resources which seem to benefit external players. We dwell in a neo colonial system that has found inconspicuous means of continuing to suck out Africa’s wealth while disguising itself as the functional global economy.

Well, is the Decolonisation Project Practical, Viable and Possible?

  • Knowledge is Power.  Addressing the mentality of the African people will take a great amount of effort on both the people instilling this knowledge and the people receiving it. With the education system pervasive in Africa, one that emphasizes primarily on making people potential job candidates, we might not reach the level we want as a continent. We need to incorporate elements in our education system where we expose students to different narratives of African literature, ones that are also intellectual and not primarily academic. Ones that do not enforce a white supremacist doctrine.  

    Now, we are forced to depart formal education with the mentality that civilization and modernisation is western and affiliated to whiteness, neglecting the fact that Africans and black people have made major contributions to the world’s modernity. So what we need is an education system that exposes the detrimental effects of colonialism and its impact today, while promoting a culture of breeding think tanks and problem solvers with solutions on how to fix the problem. Only then can we envisage the decolonisation Project’s success.
  • The problem of Unity. Unfortunately, we have not excelled on the topic of unity and we might not have taken any steps in this journey of a thousand miles.  This is linked to the previous point as our education system can also endorse the agenda of uniting and appreciating each other as Africans in our distinctiveness.
    I am also convinced that unity should not be a concept that is only ideological but should carry practicality in it. If Africa does not promote a culture of interaction between states, through regionalisation, trading and more multilateral and bilateral relations we will always remain a delusional continent. This notion stems from the neo liberal school of thought and the ‘prisoner dilemma’ notion that states are likely to cooperate together when there are institutions that promote practical interactions and trade among them. I was impressed by the recent development as there might be an introduction of the African passport. However, its implementation remains in question.
  • Thwarting Neo-Colonialism. Today,  Africa remains a continent that boasts of its mineral wealth but shies away from the fact that it remains an impoverished continent up to date This is the incongruent nature of Africa’s current affairs. Many will blame the international system for continuing to undermine Africa’s potential however I must state that the endurance of the enemy’s oppression is partly determined by our tolerance and acquiescence. The main problem remains political. Africa suffers from the cancer of unscrupulous leaders, who enrich themselves at the expense of the economies of their respective countries while serving the interests of the western and eastern giants hungry for Africa’s goodies. Therefore decolonisation in this regard will depend on the willingness of the leaders to prioritise national goals and the national and African vision above their self-interests.


My next article will carry the same theme as I analyse the African Union’s contribution to the decolonisation Project.