Beyond Survival: Tales from the Afro-Future
Over the next ten weeks, 400+1 will release a series of short stories that were written to spark the collective imagination of the African Diaspora. It is our duty to imagine, envision, and dream. It is our hope that these stories can act as a catalyst for movement towards a cultural shift toward abundance and away from the component of our experience that is characterized by mere survival.
Anele is a Black trans-woman who was part of an experimental attempt to improve the uterus transplantation process. After the scientists conducting the experiment were forced by the government to shut down their operation, Anele, unwilling to give up her dream of birthing her child, conspires with her fellow participants to steal the organs and genetic material intended for them. After Anele’s conspiracy turns out to be fatal for many involved, she is sentenced to life in prison. Just as Anele begins to lose hope of ever living a life in which her identity isn’t synonymous with marginalization, a violent abolitionist movement erupts internationally, resulting, one by one, in the closure of every prison except the one in which she’s caged. This is the story of Anele’s struggle to maintain faith in a world that has always failed her; in a humanity that has never acknowledged her own.
Adebiyi is President of New Mocambo, a young, socialist country on the sovereign planet formerly known as Jupiter. Recently elected in New Mocambo’s controversial voting system, Adebiyi struggles to fulfill the promises he made while campaigning to his country’s racially monolithic population. In a society in which race is not a factor of marginalization, Adebiyi must focus on building and maintaining an administration that addresses patriarchy, colorism, toxic militancy, and the human tendency to perpetuate elitism. Worse still, with the entire planet watching New Mocambo’s process, Adebiyi’s actions will determine the characterization of Black nationhood for decades to come.
The Afro-Peripatetics are a band of Black wanderers; descendants of those who have been forced out of their physical homes, neighborhoods and communities. After years and years of subjugation to the traumatic cycle of displacement, The Afro-Peripatetics have embraced nomadism as a lifestyle that empowers them to break the chains of racial and economic oppression. But as more Black folks reject their attachment to physical spaces, and the Afro-Peripatetic movement becomes stronger, intensely Xenophobic immigration policies take effect across the globe, making Blackness illegal everywhere.
Rema and Boatem, twins, are separated during The Great Parting; a process through which men and women undergo a series of ten, year-long simulations to prepare themselves for productive and equitable co-existence. But in their second year, a male insurgency breaks out across the matrix and Boatem is faced with tough decisions. His sister, Rema, contends with a harsh reality that pre-matrix society has largely protected her from. Together, they experience the remnants of inequities past and are present for a moment in which society can move forward or go backward.
A dramatic shift in the United States’ political climate leads the country into a severe economic downturn. Facing starvation and deeply imbedded societal violence, Jahari, once a prominent Black organizer, seeks refuge in a neighboring country; only to realize that the folks who reside there are neither forgetful nor forgiving. As he comes to the understanding that the unity he called for within Black America was the result of a negligently narrow Black politic, Jahari’s rude awakening feels far too late.