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From his sector to sector 1

Last year, poco.lit. published some articles on Afrofuturism, Africanfuturism, and speculative fiction. This year, we’re pleased to publish some short pieces of creative writing that speculate on alternative futures on and of the African continent.

Today was the third in a row Azul ate plain rice with butter. “Is this the life that’s meant for me?”, he thought. As if his mom had read his mind, she said: “Azul, I am so sorry. If I could, I would cook your favorite dish right away!” She gave him a loving smile. “It’s not your fault, Mom.” She tried really hard to give him the best, but her options were limited. Luckily, she still had her little shop. The income from it was just enough to make ends meet. Azul packed his bag to get to work on time – another thing he could have hardly imagined five years ago. After all, he thought, he could finally explore the world and gain new experiences after graduation. Instead, he now got up every morning at five o’clock so that he and his mother could have something to eat.

After the virus was thought to be under control, it mutated into an even more aggressive form. Panic broke out and the government was forced to take harsh measures. But Azul never imagined that these “measures” would lead to his beloved Gaborone being divided by walls. The virus spread rapidly within a short period of time, initially forcing the government to seal everything off. However, after realizing that it would not be possible to treat the entire population and that the natural resources would not be enough for everyone, the city was divided into different sectors. Gaborone, once a lively town with many students, bars and restaurants, had been divided into four sectors. The walls separated them from each other, and society with them. When Azul thought of his beloved city, his heart grew heavy. He and his mother still had it pretty good, they were allowed to work and keep their house, but the people in sector three were not. In addition, different rules applied in all four sectors. Azul was glad that in his sector there was only a curfew from 8 p. m., so his mother was able to keep the shop open long enough to keep her income reasonably stable. But what he was most concerned about was the government. Everything was controlled. Drones flew around to monitor the people and the transfer to another sector was only allowed on presentation of a permit and thus strictly monitored. Moreover, he did not understand why the entire sector was cut off when the curfew began.

He hurried to catch his bus to the border crossing because he worked in sector one: with the rich and privileged. He was very lucky to have been drawn by chance to work as a gardener for Dr. Ketumile Masire. Azul got along very well with him and despite all the circumstances, he was glad to escape the dreary area in sector two from time to time. When the bus finally stopped, Azul got off and joined the long line in front of the border crossing. He had to set aside an extra hour every morning to get from his sector to sector one. When he had been waiting in line for about fifteen minutes, he suddenly heard someone yell his name.