If You Keep Digging

is a moving collection of short stories which was published in 2019 by BlackBird Books. The selection of stories highlights marginalised identities and looks at the daily lives of people who may otherwise be forgotten or dismissed. 'Monkeys' is a skilful commentary on domestic violence, toxic masculinity, patriarchy (and how it is racialised), power dynamics between white and black men and how children come to 'know' that they are white or black. 'Skinned', whose protagonist is a woman with albinism, is a powerful story about learning to accept that you deserve love when the world constantly tells you otherwise. In 'Fourteen' the author deftly demonstrates the ability to play with concepts of time and reality. It is a compelling story about potential and how one can feel unfulfilled despite having hopes and ambitions. The collection is also deeply concerned with covering the post-democracy years in South Africa. The book implores one to think about diverse topics and perspectives, difficult family relationships, abandonment, racism, social and class issues, power dynamics at school and at work, mental-illness, sexuality, domestic abuse, the ancestral realm, and among other things.


  • *One of Brittle Paper's Top Debut Books of 2019.
  • *James Murua Literature Blog's Most Outstanding Short Story Collection of 2019.

Keletso Mopai loves us through her stories and no one has the luxury of pretending not to know.
- Kagiso Lesego Molope, author of Such a Lonely, Lovely Road

I'm struck by her gifts as a writer-sharpness of observation, social awareness, lucidity of language, wit and narrative control.
- Okey Ndibe, author of Never Look An American in The Eye

Mopai writes in a very minimalistic way, allowing the deeper meaning of each story to shine through implicitly.
- Bianca Marais, author of Hum if You Don't Know The Words

If you keep digging, you sometimes find diamonds, and this is a literary gem I am extremely happy to have discovered.
- Karina Magdalena Szczurek, author of Invisible Others

This book is a gem. Keletso Mopai is one of the best short story writers of our time.
- Siphiwo Mahala, author of Red Apple Dreams and Other Stories

Ms Mopai demonstrates a prowess in storytelling and I look forward to reading more of her.
- Sue Nyathi, author of The Gold Diggers

Keletso Mopai has managed to bring a new life to short stories. Simple, clean prose but what a delight. Definitely a talent to watch.
- Thabiso Mahlape, publisher of BlackBird Books