In Africa

In Africa we are rebels

In Africa we are on their tables

In Africa we read more their tables

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa we are

FRELIMO

LLA

AL – SHABAAB

MPLA

BOKOHARAM

LRA

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa we are rebels

In Africa we are wrapped in their labels

In Africa we are glued to their cable

In Africa we still hope to sit at their table

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa we are

FRELIMO

LLA

AL – SHABAAB

MPLA

BOKOHARAM

LRA

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa we are rebels

In Africa we dream more their fables

In Africa we are hooked

In Africa we are booked

In Africa we are crooked

In Africa we are umbilically uprooted

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa we are

FRELIMO

LLA

AL – SHABAAB

MPLA

BOKOHARAM

LRA

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa we are rebels

In Africa we learn well their lessons

In Africa we work hard to fill up their silos

In Africa we have emptied ourselves the African mile

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa we are

FRELIMO

LLA

AL – SHABAAB

MPLA

BOKOHARAM

LRA

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa we are rebels

In Africa we are wolves in their sheep clothing

In Africa we write their mystery over our history

In Africa we are circus lions following instruction

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa we are

FRELIMO

LLA

AL – SHABAAB

MPLA

BOKOHARAM

LRA

In Africa we are unable to be African?

 

In Africa before spilling blood

For whatever good reason

We must first learn being African

Chris Msosa is a malawi-born Poet. He has recited his poems at several Art and literature events including Lake of Stars and the Story Club. Visit his blog, Chris Poetics for more poetry.

Biko

I have not seen

a monument raised.

I have not seen

vultures waiting.

        I have only seen

        Batons

        Unloving hands

        Blood streams

        Swollen body

And words said, forgotten

A man alive, then dead

And forgotten

 

Biko, what was all that fire for?

Chris Msosa is a malawi-born Poet. He has recited his poems at several Art and literature events including Lake of Stars and the Story Club. Visit his blog, Chris Poetics for more poetry.

At Your Old House

At your old house

We were the misplaced

Jamaicans

Who lit up their smokestacks

At 2am, whilst playing

Fela and Nina uninterrupted

 

Our tired bodies

Waiting on our invigorated minds

Not many sat outside

Their homes in June

Talking Marcus, Malcom and brother Biko

Not many out here

Took plunges into Piñon noir

Without the notion

Of ever thinking

It was never a habit for the black

 

Not many talked about

Vegetables

And organic gardens

Without losing their black

 

Not many, loved to love

And talk Africa

Except for the two souls

At your old house

Chris Msosa is a malawi-born Poet. He has recited his poems at several Art and literature events including Lake of Stars and the Story Club. Visit his blog, Chris Poetics for more poetry.

Time

I speak of an enemy friend

Friendly to the wise

Yet impatient to the ignorant

He who separate a mother from the child

He who brings those separated together

Time! An unpredictable element of life

I speak of the one who changes fate

He who challenges the mind of the young wise men

He who controls the circle of life

I speak of a famous stranger

Known by many yet misunderstood

His work speak volumes with no voice

His actions speaks for themselves

The grave yard can be my witness

Time…an element of life

Jokes aside truth be told

Step out of ignorance

And smell the roses

Be careful of the thorns

They protect the precious rose

Time is of utmost importance

Take a walk down memory lane

Pay the dead a visit and wake them up

Hear their story

Maybe we can understand the importance of time

Maybe we will know the purpose of time

Let’s pay the dead a visit and listen

To their grieving voices

Some are crying for waisted opportunities

If all spent their time wisely

We wouldn’t have ghost

You see a ghost is an unhappy soul

Seeking for peace and quiet

A soul that never fulfilled its purpose

Yet we say may their soul rest in peace

Time ….an element of life

As the hands of time move

As seconds turn to minutes

Minutes into hours

Hours into a days

Days into months

And months into years

As seasons change and nature changes

There’s a common thing here

Time is of utmost importance

Time waits for no man

Many have died before time

So we say because of the pain we feel after loosing a loved one

Truth is they were given their time

Question is who knows when will they die

Truth is……..

We know our date of birth but….

No one knows their day of departure

You see life is like a blackjack game

We all call the cards to beat the dealer

That’s time

But none of us know what card is up next

Only time will tell

Time is of utmost importance

Every moment is meant to be precious

Every second is meant to be treasured

After all an hour is made up of sixty seconds

Once waisted never regained

Due to negligence and ignorance

We neglect what matters most

Focus on that which is worthless

Disregard that which we need the most despise those we need

Later regretting the decision made

forgetting that time waits for no man

Its not an instrument we use as we please

But an element that life revolves around

Time is of utmost importance

Live like there’s no tomorrow

Forget the mistakes you made

Its a lesson learned and experience gained

But respect today for it honored its appointment

Take nothing away from the fact that

You were granted today to fix the mistakes made yesterday

Focus not on yesterday for its gone

Master today to overwrite yesterday

Perfect what you couldn’t yesterday

Live not for yesterday but strive

Strive to be better as time passes by

Use time wisely for it was given to you for a reason

Time is of utmost importance

Time! An important element of life

The core partner of existence

A dictator of our destiny

Its never late nor early

Always on time

It never sleep nor does it quits

Time the only one who fulfills his promises

Time …..the element of life

Mziwanele Anele Mayekiso was born in Eastern Cape, Queenstown . a young and upcoming poet. Currently works at Golden Horse. A dealer by profession and a poet by choice.

The President

On Friday morning, the breaking news in Lufrika was about the death of Fisadi. There were different versions about this Lufrikan leader’s death. One theory said that certain key leaders from the neighbouring country had bribed the doctors to euthanize him. Another theory was that God’s wrath was on him because he had enriched himself through the sweat of the poor. Others said that Fisadi was becoming a nuisance to the leaders of the neighbouring lands, because he never allowed them to dictate policies. People suspected that his death was organized, so that they could put their own leaders in office, who would dance to the tune of the policies that worked for them and benefitted their economy. Those leaders were known to plant their own leaders in government, whom they could use as puppets, with the intention of progressing their own agendas. Although Fisadi was a corrupt leader, he would be remembered for his firm stand against any manipulation by the neighbouring leaders. Lufrika needed a strong leader who would courageously administer the right dose of resistance to the oppressive neighbouring leaders. Fisadi rubbed shoulders with the neighbouring states when they wanted to introduce foreign ideologies that were meant to kill home-grown ideas.

Lufrika was one the most intelligent nations, with innovative people – although they were untapped. The land had a warm, cultured and educated populace. In spite of this beauty, the land was run by some neighbouring authorities. Lufrika exported raw materials at a cheap price, but bought back the finished product at exorbitant prices which were set by their exporters. The wealth of Lufrika benefited neighbouring lands more than it benefited those living in the land. Fisadi was hated by neighbouring lands because he eloquently told them to stop raping Lufrika, by using unbalanced multilateral trade. His speech and his relationship to a few neighbouring countries that were not trying to oppress Lufrika was positive, but it was offensive to those countries that exploited Lufrika.

A week later, Fisadi was laid to rest. The Tumbo Kubwa stadium was filled to capacity. People from all walks of life, the rich and the poor, as well as dignitaries from other lands, came to bid Fisadi farewell. Death could be a celebration of a well-lived life. However, the death of Fisadi was a celebration of the death of a bad leader. The majority of the populace were looking forward to seeing Fisadi leave the office because they were sick and tired of seeing their money being spent on building ‘a kingdom’ in his compound. They were sick and tired of seeing roads that were in a mess, despite the fact that the taxman followed Lufrikans everywhere. They were sick and tired of seeing escalating levels of corruption, with Fisadi doing nothing about it. They were sick and tired of seeing Fisadi and his comrades involved in numerous scandals, including the arms deal scandal and the siphoning of public money.

In his tenure, the economy had waned as a result of the huge wage bill, which had grown by the day, due to the creation of new ghost workers. A bunch of employees had smart pay slips at the end of the month, yet they had never worked anywhere. These ruthless ticks that relentlessly sucked the sweet blood of taxpayers, looked for more godfathers in office, so that they could fit them into the job system somewhere else. Having a good job, and more than one job, was about whom you knew in office, and not about one’s merits, qualifications or experience. God forbid! As if that was not enough, nepotism, ethnicity and racism was a huge problem during his tenure. Fisadi’s family and his relations were rewarded with the best jobs. It was pointless to apply for tenders or to consider looking at the gazetted tenders, because of the high level of corruption. Those in power knew who was to be given the job or tender, even before the job interview or tender was publicized. It was the time of a new generation in this land, that drove fancy cars and lived extravagantly, only a few months after they had been employed or received tenders.

It is important to mention that race was a factor that dictated who was smarter in a job. As if skin colour helped one to think better or less; as if skin colour determined who delivered the best or the worst work; as if skin colour determined who could be less or more corrupt, if he was given a job. Gosh! Wonders never cease. Some races had to work a little harder at school because the system had set their bar higher for certain races. There was no ‘I have got these certificates with these qualifications’, but it was all about ‘I look like this’ or ‘I speak like that’. This had demoralized learners, because they were never assured of a job opportunity in their own country, the schools never taught about having an entrepreneurial spirit, neither in the early stages, nor in the later stages of their schooling. All the learners knew was that they needed to work hard to get a white collar job. Period. Education was not regarded as a tool that enabled one see how one could employ oneself and others, or how one could transform society, but it was a tool that determined the type of white-collar job you would get.

The requiem mass was celebrated by Father Pesa. He loved money more than anything else. Pesa and money were inseparable. Some of his flock made jokes about him, saying that even if he died and later rose from the dead, his first question would be, ‘Where is my money?’ In Lufrika, most of the clergy were like Father Pesa in terms of their materialistic attitudes and attachment to money. In all his sermons he made sure that he spoke about money, although never directly. He was known for telling people that if you bring your gifts, God would bless you and you would be rich. The flock gave huge amounts of money, because they feared that they would be cursed for failing to give, or for giving meanly. As if that was not enough, Pesa faked miracles, when his sermons did not woo people enough to tithe open-handedly. In most of his crusades, Pesa told people to ask the Lord for flashy vehicles, well-built houses or a good life, a good spouse, and so forth. His perception of success was materialistic and not a holistic one, which focused on spiritual, moral and physical pursuits. For him, and for many other fake preachers in Lufrika, the Gospel was used for personal and monetary gain and not for the holistic transformation of the people. The Gospel was made to talk money, instead of untainted truths. Establishing a church in Lufrika was a money-spinning enterprise. If yourbusiness failed, you needed to open a church and money would flow into your pockets, as fast as the flowing waters of the Niagara Falls.

On the day of the funeral, Pesa was the main celebrant and would take any available opportunity to make a kill. He knew those who attended the funeral were big shots, and was therefore prepared to focus his sermon on his financial target. He brought deeper baskets, to hold the hefty donations that he anticipated. More ushers were deployed and were on standby, from the time that the celebration began. This day was his moment to look out for money and please other politicians, instead of exercising his prophetic mission – this was the time when politicians robbed the poor people of their hard-earned money. You would expect a clergyman in his capacity to console the bereaved and, at the same time, talk about the need to mend one’s ways and to turn back to God, whom they had abandoned when they got involved in corruption and all sorts of injustices.

Due to his greed for money, Pesa never corrected the politicians who used citizens for their political agendas. During Fisadi’s tenure, the church was cohabitating with politicians. The church had abandoned its prophetic mission and slept with politicians and affluent people on their golden beds. The beds were so comfortable that they would never again see the value of walking with the populace on the edge. The marriage between Father Pesa and Fisadi’s leadership saw the death of a preacher that was once vocal and who spoke his mind fearlessly. He was now a preacher masquerading in the mask of a loving preacher, yet he was a traitor in the community of have-nots.

“Please be seated, Sisters and Brothers in Christ,” Pastor Pesa begins. “Dear Brothers and Sisters, we are gathered here to celebrate a well-lived life, the life of a man who dedicated his life to raising the standards of Lufrikans.” (People signalled each other with their lips, as they disapproved what the preacher said). “We bemoan the loss of a champion for the less fortunate on our soil. Fisadi will leave an unfillable gap in the hearts of those women and men whom he served indefatigably.” In order not to hurt the politicians allied to him, whom he adored because of his passion for money, he spoke really well about the deceased. ‘Do not bite the finger that feeds you’, goes the saying. Although the late Fisadi was a criminal who liaised with other politicians in siphoning off public money, before his ascendancy into power as the leader of Lufrika, Father Pesa canonized him throughout the funeral proceedings.

None of the projects, of which he was in charge, was ever completed. Most of the institutions and departments which he had headed up, had collapsed. Fisadi had blood on his hands. During his tenure, many people disappeared in politically-organized car accidents, gang shootings and food poisonings. These were all organized by Fisadi and his government. Despite his hands smelling of blood, Father Pesa (the man of God) still canonized him as a saint during his sermon, because the deceased had sustained him with blood money.

Father Pesa went on praising Fisadi, saying how good he was, how he brought development, how he empowered the youth, women and children, and how he improved the dilapidated infrastructure, and so on. In spite of him being a criminal, he was presented with saintly accolades that made him out to be a harmless dove. These preposterous praises that were poured onto the deceased, were hated with passion by most of the suffering populace that saw his leadership as an era of tribulation and hell. The ‘chicken’ that Father Pesa had been eating with the politicians in their intimate marriage, caused him to lose his moral authority as a pastor, while he was meant to bring hope to the suffering.

*excerpt from The President by Anthony Gathanmbiri Waiganjo available here

Anthony Gathambiri Waiganjo was born in Kihurin village in the Nyeri Country, Kenya. He wrote the novel ‘The President ‘ while pursuing his PhD degree in Gender Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), and lecturing at the same university.

 

Speaking Tongues

For Harold, it only took till he was 15 for him to lose interest in the church. It wasn’t a gradual thing, nor was there any particular reason, but one day he found himself in that humble building with its wooden benches, cement floor, stained glass windows and raised dais – Such a familiar sight once – and it inspired nothing in him anymore.

Perhaps, with the few inches he had gained while growing up his pride had increased as well. Perhaps his greater interest in being popular with girls took him away from the spiritual experience, perhaps it was the beer he’d been drinking, or the simple fact that television was more interesting.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. There were many possibilities. All he knew is that he wouldn’t do anything about it. Forget about missing out on church – As far as his family was concerned there was no negotiation.

Mr. And Mrs. Likoma were always a humble couple. Both university students and teachers, with a very strong relationship with their extended family, as was the right way to go. When it came to church however their humbleness ended: They busted out the best clothing they could, they were the loudest, the proudest, the most charismatic.

They were a power couple of the church, and if their son dared show anything other than rapt attention or respect for the services, there would be hell to pay.

But the day he lost his interest, was the day all hell broke loose for him. After a particularly uneventful Sunday, Harold simply didn’t bother trying to get out of bed.

“What are you doing, you’re going to be late.” His mother asked, opening his door.

“I’m not going.”

“Of course you’re going.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Ok…” She said. And it seemed to be the end of that, but then his father came in, nostrils flaring, all the calm wise soft-spoken nature of him a long memory gone.

“What did you just say to your mother, Harold? Explain it to me.”

Harold felt sick in his stomach with fear. No matter how he changed his tune now, it looked like he was in for trouble.

“I just wanted to-”

“Get up right now. We’re leaving.”

More knots in his stomach. Harold didn’t dare disobey. He walked meekly past his father, all dressed up in his suit, and felt a rough hand on the back of his neck, shoving him out of the room and towards the door.

In silence the family took the car and went to church. Harold had never seen his father that angry before. He snuck a glance at his mother and she resolutely stared out the window, hands over her purse, ignoring him.

What had gotten in them? Had he done something evil?

When they came to the church, the warden-prisoner style escorting continued. Mr. Likoma pushed his son into the church, and even though the service had not yet started and people were hanging about and talking to each other, they all saw the expression on his face and sensed the mood.

“Ah, morning Paul…”

“Hey, what’s the matter?”

Mr. Likoma resolutely ignored the men before coming to the front of the church.  With some unspoken signal he let his wife stand next to Harold while he talked to the pastor in quiet but firm tones.

Harold wanted someone to save him, anyone. Maybe the pastor would calm his father down. Instead it seemed that Mr. Likoma’s dark mood was contagious – The pastor wore the same expression he did, giving a subtle nod to his father, signalling him to continue with whatever this was. A crucifixion? Harold wouldn’t be surprised if someone came with some wood and nails for him.

By then nobody had spoken up and were all well aware that some sort of spectacle was about to happen. Harold was going to be disciplined against the church.

Mr. Likoma stood on the right side of his son, putting a firm hand on his shoulder.

Later, he’d feel some anger, come up with a hundred imaginary solutions to the situation where he ran away, where he stared his father down, where he begged for help, but that was only the courage that returns to a man after the danger had passed –

In this present Harold only knew a primordial fear.

The church slowly filled up. Every new comer sensed the scene and their smiles and greetings turned to questioning whispers. The pastor ushered everyone to take their seats, and led a prayer.

“Let’s close our eyes and pray.”

Harold barely heard the prayer.

And now, everyone’s eyes were open. The prayer was finished. It was time for whatever it was.

“I’m sorry for the strange scene here.” Mr. Likoma spoke, “But I wanted to be upfront about showing you the power of the devil in our lives. None of us are perfect, we all meet temptations in life and moments of weakness. We always say ‘It’s a small thing. Tomorrow it will be better. It’s just a small sin, it’s just a small lapse of judgment. Tomorrow I will pray in my room, and then I will smile when I enter the church and it will be fine.”

He looked everyone in the eye, one by one. The church members were already enraptured.

“But that is the way of the devil. He works in darkness, and thrives in darkness. My son, my faithful loyal son has been tempted. Tempted.” He toned the last word and people almost shivered with the gravitas of it, “He does not want to come to church. He does not want to pray. A demon is upon him, and sin is crouching at his door. I want all of us to come together, pray to the Holy Spirit to drive this demon out! We will baptize him with the Holy Spirit here and now, and God will work his wonders. See if he won’t!”

Harold could barely speak as his father suddenly embraced him and started praying.

His mother touched his back and started praying fervently too.

In a few moments, the entire church bowed their heads and started praying too. Some stood up, some knelt, one or two came over to touch Harold and pray as well.

Harold felt a distinct strangeness overcome him.

His fear had somehow turned into something else.

It had turned into a mixture of stage fright, of light-headedness. Was this the holy spirit?

They were starting to talk in tongues. He didn’t understand anything they were saying, and as the prayers reached some sort of cacophony, he felt a push, and as though it had been practiced a thousand times, he let himself fall.

People praised God, and Harold found himself embraced. His father and mother weeping, the church gleeful. Their emotions alight.

Later, as the service closed, everyone came to share some words with Harold. He smiled non-committedly and accepted their blessings and prayers.

More than anything, the people spoke with his parents more. There was pride there, awe. They praised their faith, and wished them well.

When Harold went home, his parents were back to being conversational, and they spoke normally the whole day. Just like that, the week came and it was time to go to school again.

What had just happened? Had he just been used for something?

Was that the holy spirit that had made him fall?

No, he knew the answer.

He knew that the fear of not reacting to all that fervent prayer was what had made him fall over.

Still, he felt nothing. But he dared not let that be known by anyone. He wouldn’t risk it again. Harold never missed a day at church again.

Somewhere along the line, he became the poster boy for church: He spoke in tongues, he jumped up and down and shouted the loudest in church. His parents were proud of him, and he didn’t need to be afraid anymore. Indeed, he seemed to be getting more popular by the moment.

What did it matter if he didn’t really believe in any of it?

What did it matter if he didn’t love his parents anymore?

What did it matter if he hid the truth about his feelings.

Perhaps he really was being touched by the Spirit. Some days, Harold found himself fine with this conclusion.

The security, the joy of being highly praised, it was better than that spiteful glare he’d seen on his father’s face, on the pastors’ face.

Anything was better than that.

Mordecai Banda is a Malawian-born science student who currently lives in Germany. In his free time he enjoys writing on a variety of topics including those related to his homeland. He lives on books and coffee.

 

On John Chilembwe’s Uprising: was it too early?

This is the era of the charismatic leader on whom populations pin their hopes and dreams. Within the African realm names like Paul Kagame and John Magufuli come to mind, names that elicit lively debate both on social media and in face-to-face conversations along the lines of,

“That is a strong leader that one. He will change EVERYTHING! Look at what he has already done!”

Across the seas other names that, for many, are more demagogic than charismatic come to mind: Rodrigo Duterte, Donald Trump…

On the flipside, this is also the era in which national problems can also be pinned squarely on a singular political figurehead; never mind complex local and global contributing factors. Of course many times the figureheads are to blame however; it is the personification of political heroes and anti-heroes that is a poignant trend. Reverend John Chilembwe also finds his name conjured up within this trend.

As John Chilembwe’s legacy continues to span a wide spectrum ranging from a hero-status that culminates in his gracing the bank notes of our (depreciating) currency; to disdain for the perceived hurts he has done to the same currency. This disdain sometimes takes on religious and mystical tones,

for example I once overhead a discussion that went, “Since his face came on there, the Kwacha has fallen. And do you know why? He is cursed. He killed CHRISTIAN colonisers.”

Perhaps a fitting rejoinder would have been along the lines of, “what about them? They killed a Christian too in killing John Chilembwe.”

A somehow related but more persistent expression of disdain is economic in nature and it is in response to this that we must attempt to grapple with the question: did freedom come too early?

The answer to that usually reflects the views of the questioner. On one hand you have those who have a high view of chitukuko, physical development.  Take a look at the charismatic leaders mentioned earlier, praises attributed to them have much to do their respective visions of prosperity. On the other hand are those who have a high view of psycho-social development ufulu, bata, mtendere.  It is my view that the two views rarely overlap although they should. Case in point, we are known as the Warm Heart of Africa – surely that should go on to translate into holistic well-being.

 Was the Burden of Freedom Necessary?

“It’s bad enough . . . when a country gets colonized, but when the people do as well! That’s the end, really, that’s the end.” Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions

Looking around the African continent, it is a hard fact that Malawi ranks poorly when it comes to infrastructure and economic might. Worse yet, Malawian people themselves rank comparatively  poor in terms of income, numbers in quality education, access to health, travel and so on. It is a fact that is hard to live with because it forces us to confront the question of the “why”.  When our country appears so often on the world’s poorest lists; it is necessary to ask questions and in the spirit of the current hero/anti-hero narratives. It is tempting, very understandably, to imagine how Malawi would have been miles ahead had we waited to have our independence. Is such an imagination plausible? I propose that we take a critical look…

First off, who is to say that the colonial British administration would have pulled off economic success in what was then regarded as a “Cinderella of the British colonies” – beautiful but poor (sic)?  The factors spurring economic booms for our neighbours or fellow colonised territories at the time were sadly few and far between for us such as mining enterprises, lucrative cross national trade, harbours and skilled labour (some of whom trekked off as economic migrants to neighbouring countries). But supposing that they could have pulled it off, where would the average Malawian stand in that economy? I think we can all agree that people like Chilembwe and his fellow freedom fighters across Malawi sought to recover a dignity lost, suggesting that the status quo at the time was “indigenous Nyasalander last” – indigenous Malawian last. The America’s, the South Pacific and until a couple of decades ago, South and South-West Africa all show us a possible scenario for the indigenous amidst colonial prosperity.

Yet, we must acknowledge that many feel we would have still been better off and the price we have paid for our dignity is too high when we consider whom and what we have lost since our independence that came in 1964. We can think of lives lost due to inadequate health care and social welfare; corruption, the ongoing brain drain due to political and economic instability; exploitation; inequality; erratic service provision and security; fear-mongering. Looked at this way, we have not progressed as our forebears had hoped. However, as the saying goes, let us not throw out the baby with the bathwater.  There are some things that freedom has honoured us with beyond dignity and we would do well to build on them. In doing so, we can draw from Chilembwe’s leadership model – not that of a messiah or anti-hero but a visionary within challenging circumstances.

 

Providence Industrial Mission: a model for vision and (sustainable) growth

We can learn from Chilembwe the attitude to progress that has local empowerment at heart while utilising both local and global assets.  He took the opportunity for study presented to him by Joseph Booth and the African-American Virginia Theological Seminary and College. He used the knowledge at home to resist empire and grow his community the best way he knew how, finally paying the ultimate price. He tried to (re) instil “the values of hard work, self esteem and self help in his community”. Of course some of his methods are dated by now and as with many visionaries, not all his ideas were achievable; however, the principle remains that in this ever changing world, there are opportunities within the grasp of Malawi’s sons and daughters. Thus, what input is missing from those among us that have the knowledge, leadership and financial capital to make lasting changes? What teamwork has been replaced by cycles of hero-worship and anti-hero bashing?

Chilembwe’s vision, at its best, has had lasting historical ramifications. His first church building was destroyed but its replacement still stands with its architectural integrity intact.  His uprising, together with the sacrifice of other Nyasaland freedom fighters triggered our kwacha moment that eventually arrived in 1964. His life was cut off but his vision somehow survived. There is an inspiration in there somewhere, that we were once victorious – although his work is incomplete, for we are still under other oppressions chief among them material poverty in an age where cash actually saves lives. Wishing we had remained under the colonial administration changes neither our current reality nor the future. It is also merely an idea and dream because who knows what would have become of us had we remained there. Looking for a messiah-type of leader who will cure all our ills or someone else to pin blame on whether that blame is spiritual in nature or otherwise is helpful either.

Yet we can collectively adopt Chilembwe’s example, his visionary drive for emancipation and expand that vision to us all to empower our participation in creating a Malawi that favours all that call it home.  We have the visionaries, we have the can-do men, women and children.  We can do it. We were once victorious, we can be again.

Thandi Soko is a Malawian PhD student and Trainee Research Assistant in Theology in the Netherlands. She lives in the South of the Netherlands with her husband, a Pastor in the Protestantse Kerk in Nederland (PKN) and their daughter. She has studied, interned and worked in Malawi, the USA, South Africa and the Netherlands.’

The Fourth Finger

Heartbreak to him would always be Bon Genre by Maxazria. It was the perfume she had on when she finally ended things with him.

She had let him kiss her as they both lay on the bed in his hotel suite which could have been a love haven for both of them that weekend. But she had chosen to lodge in another hotel and visited him only after her meeting with the furniture company executives she had flown in to see.

He kissed her. She kissed back. They kissed each other until his hand found her breast.

She stopped him then, pushing back and leaving the bed. When he made to touch her, she recoiled. And then she gave him the talk. It was a long one, unlike all the others. She talked about Salma a lot and about Folarin too but said nothing about their feelings towards each other. It was as if, to her, the way he loved her meant nothing. In her long speech, she missed out the part where he adored her like she was an old shirt that came out from the wash, smelling fresh and new, yet resting on his form intimately. Or how every morning she was to him like that exhilarating, matchless moment on a rollercoaster ride for the first time where one’s heart lurches and all they want to do is to scream out.

Christie was to him an endless weekend where he woke up in the middle of every night and realized there was no work the next day and he could sleep for as long as he wanted. However to her, they both had slept too long, thus she shattered his heart without mercy. And when he threw away his pride to beg her, he saw in her eyes that she was really done with him.

“For our spouses, Raji. For the kids.”

A cold stare from her met his desperation but beneath it there was pain; and if she had stayed with him in that hotel room long enough, he could have reached in there and matched that pain with his and healed her.

But she walked out the door and never turned back.

No phone calls to or from him. No texts either. No sight of her. She was really gone.

It had been just a day without her yet it felt like his entire lifetime. He was back in Lagos where reality was waiting. Salma and the kids had returned home. Parked outside the house, he sat in his car in silence, not feeling the burning Sunday sun above him.

Christie had instructed him to go back to Salma and make things right, in the same manner she was planning to do with Folarin.

“You love Salma somewhere inside you, Raj. You have to find that place just as you found your hidden crush for me and rekindled it.”

“This is more than a crush, Christie. I love you.”

“Love does not hurt others. It does not throw away family and kids. It is not selfish. We’ve been selfish, satisfying our emotions and temporary pleasures and forgetting the ones that needed us most. I can’t continue this. And just so that we’re clear, you were not a crush either. You held me in the place where I kept that part of me that I could share with no one. You held together the secrets that wanted to pull me down without even knowing what you were doing. You took my sins and loved them the way they were. How could I have not loved you?”

“And yet you want to leave.”

“We don’t belong to each other. We must return to the people we belong to.”

So here he was, returning to Salma even though he was still lost in Christie.

An excerpt from The Fourth Finger by Sally Kenneth Dadzie. The book will be up in Amazon in the next couple of days, but can be found on Smashwords and Okadabooks:

Sally Kenneth Dadzie won the Nigerian Writers Award (fiction writer of the year) in February 2017.She lives in Lagos, Nigeria, happily married with children. Sally discovered her passion for literature since her early childhood days, which blended easily with her colorful imagination. Hence she found outlets of her Crestview through stage dramas in her local church, then short stories, and then a Web series on her blog. The Fourth Finger is a courageous work, the result of an exercised passion and repeated thrive galvanized by her beautiful personality. It is a creative transformation of one of her series into a debut novel : The forth finger.

Nonso had neither been defeated nor humbled by Papa’s comment about his failure of JAMB. He only remained quite for a moment, then continued being himself again when a whiff of malodorous hot lazy air wooshed past our noses, then came back and settled “hummmmn” he started, loud pressing his nose tightly in a firm grip of two fingers “who just messed?” everybody had a hand in nose except Papa who was driving. I was stroking my nose nervously. In that noisy fuss, Papa spoke heavily in a fury-tinged tone “You children are very stupid, you can cause accident, nya-en, nwetakwa the person that mess this kind of mess, mma a dowa y’ike” he wound down his window and threw saliva, his face face had dissolved into a coy frown. It gladdened me that he was addressing those at the back seat, not me. For a moment I contemplated the question “who messed?” because I had not heard it for a very long time, and I had never heard it in past tense “messed?” “Nawa! American food can release evil spirits from people’s anus, god-I’ve-suffered” Obiageli said, half-crying because of the fart, raising her threadbare blouse to shield half her face, her nose served as the boundary. I just couldn’t take responsibility for that powerful fact, it deserved a sudden squeal of brake that could throw our car to crash headlong into the bushes of Ogun State. If the fart had a color, it would be ghastly indigo and dark grey. “Odikwegwu” Mama said and shrugged, with sagging lips and wrinkle jaw, gathering saliva.

Excerpt from Because of Bread, by Anthony Nonso Dim.

Free Mixtapes

They say Love is a thoughtful mixtape, today Afreecan Read is showing u some love! Here are two free mixtapes for you to downlad and have fun on this valentine’s day.The Herbsman’s Love Potion & Valentine Love Lines!

Also check out our valentine’s day love poems: What love Would Be Like in Ten Years; She Smiles and Naked Parables.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!