Muthi Nhlema, Laura M. Pereira, and Ekari Mbvundula Chirombo.

Malawi digital anthology Mombera Rising just launched on March 8 and it is a free anthology of speculative eco-fiction stories. Written by Malawian writers Ekari Mbvundula Chirombo and Muthi Nhlema, the anthology envisions a Ngoni future over the next century.

The book launch for Mombera Rising was a royal affair in Lilongwe, Malawi led by His Royal Majesty Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa V of the Ngoni people and the authors Nhlema and Chirombo.

This anthology was made possible by the support of the Swedish Research Council, Formas Project No 2020-00670 and the Future Ecosystems For Africa programme at the University of the Witwatersrand in partnership with Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation. The collection was edited by Laura M. Pereira, Liam Carpenter-Urquhart, and Maganizo Kruger Nyasulu.

Set in a futuristic Malawi, Mombera Rising consists of three captivating stories, each inviting readers to imagine a preferable future where an Indigenous people (the Ngoni tribe of Northern Malawi) have the agency to step away from colonial notions of progress and modernity to manage their natural environments on their own terms, recalling their own knowledge and belief systems.

Straddling the intersection of nature, culture and technology, this anthology is the culmination of over a year’s worth of collaboration, conversation and even some contestation between scientists, writers, artists and the Ngoni community. This stunning collection illuminates alternative paths towards sustainable futures and engage with issues of sustainability from a local, African context.

Nigerian author Chinelo Onwualu remarked that the anthology is an important contribution to African eco-fiction narratives:

Through three stories, we are introduced to different visions of how societies can relate to the natural world in more harmonious ways than we are currently. Each works hard to preserve aspects of traditional culture to show that such alternative societal configurations can coexist with solid climate science. The authors are careful to present robust depictions of conservation, reclamation and reforestation within the context of the existing ecosystem…..they all feature strong characters and immersive plots that draw you in and keep you reading to the end. This anthology is a great place to start if you’re interested in eco-fiction from the African continent.

Read Mombera Rising for free here.