"The Virus" (Magogodi oaMphela Makhene)

"The man the Steenkamps mistook an attacker turned out the first cyvivor, as we call them now. We went from dismissing him a crazed American bloated on too many McBurgers, to something of a never-ending Vakansie Mann (tourist). Then, eventually, after news reached us in the papers, we took a real interest in this Cyberwar Refugee. But the cyvivors always resisted that name. Sounds too much like Africa, I suppose, even though the government said Africa, having never really been inter-webbed, is the one true refuge."

"The man the Steenkamps mistook an attacker turned out the first cyvivor, as we call them now. We went from dismissing him a crazed American bloated on too many McBurgers, to something of a never-ending Vakansie Mann (tourist). Then, eventually, after news reached us in the papers, we took a real interest in this Cyberwar Refugee. But the cyvivors always resisted that name. Sounds too much like Africa, I suppose, even though the government said Africa, having never really been inter-webbed, is the one true refuge."

South Africa / 2016

First published in The Harvard Review, "The Virus" tells of a hypothetical war in which American "cyvivors"—survivors of a national cyber holocaust—flee America and settle as refugees in South Africa, where they attempt to colonize white Afrikaaners. Makhene tells the story through the lens of an Afrikaaner man, which is interesting. Her writing style is very different from what I've usually encountered; it's incredibly sharp, fast, immersive, and hectic. "The Virus" is nominated for this year's Caine Prize. The Caine Prize for African Writing is a literature prize awarded to an African writer of a short story published in English. This year's five nominees were named on May 16th. The winner will be announced on July 3rd.

Read "The Virus" in full here.