Friday, July 10, 2009

Crime Story – An eye for an eye

By Irena Pearse

The breeze shifted the fingers of the trees against the moon, as he dragged the body to the edge. He let go and looked down, pulling deep breaths. He dug into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. Something thudded at his feet. He started. Stood back and made a swift bend down. The metal glinted, and he exhaled, reached for the stone cold pocket knife, wiped it on his trousers and slipped it carefully back in his pocket, easing his legs straight as he stood tall again. He wiped the handkerchief across his brow, staring at the glinting, running water below and feeling the breeze now cooling him down.

It had been a tough job getting the body down here. He’d worked in the mines before and was used to heavy loads, but for some reason a human body of 100kg was more of a burden to shift than precious sand of the same weight. Maybe the soul weighed something when it needed to be felt. The soul. He reflected on this for a moment. How can he think this man had a soul? After what he’d done. He kicked at the chest. The body juddered. The hands and feet were trussed together, like a pig ready for the spit. Perfect.

He packed his moist handkerchief into his pocket and with his other hand pulled out his phone. Flipped it open. Began to text. The blue glow of the screen drew long shadows on his face, like a villain of melodrama in front of the footlights. The body groaned. The play was about to begin. He snapped the phone shut and fiddled with the knife in his pocket, turning it round in his hand, feeling the smoothness of the metal with his thumb. Waiting and watching. The body started to turn now, come to life. That ‘soul’ must be doing something, he thought. He let go the knife and lit a cigarette, drawing the tobacco slowly into his lungs. This would be a night to remember.

“Wakey, wakey.”

The body’s eyes opened and suddenly violently pulled against the rope.

“I wouldn’t move too much. There’s quite a drop below, some nasty looking sharp rocks along the way – ouch!” He flicked the cigarette stub over the ravine and watched the glow diminish into dark air. The body grunted, its mouth distorting on the gag, saliva seeped out and it started choking, spluttering. “Calm down, calm down, you’ll suffocate yourself, and that will ruin our little party tonight.”

To increase the dramatic effect he took out the knife and flicked it. The body froze.

“I should really have sharpened this before I came out, the blade will cause such a mess as it is. Oh well ‘beggars can’t be choosers’. The body’s eyes opened wide, the white’s shining under the moon. It was shaking its head frantically.

“We’ve done the others already. Distributed the parts we didn’t need down the river. That’s why my knife’s so blunt. We should really get a machete. Maybe the others will bring one tonight, or it will be such a long process.” The body shuddered. “We can’t start without them I’m afraid, so you’ll have to be patient.”

The body’s chest was heaving up and down, the nostrils flaring with each breath in order to drag the oxygen in. The man looked impassively at the body struggling, then a decision was made and he reached down. The body flinched as the man slit the gag with one violent cut, then gulped the fresh air through a fish-like mouth.

“No one to hear you scream, and like I said, we can’t have you suffocating.”

The body moved its jaws, drawing its tongue across its teeth and lips, willing the numbness away. The eyes stared, appealing, at the man.

“You’re making a big mistake” the voice rasped. “I’m connected - I’ve done nothing - you’ve nothing to prove. I was in town. I know what you’re thinking but I’m innocent. Really. An innocent man. Think of my wife. Children. I have an old mother at home. Three orphans I’m putting through school. It’s a mistake - I know those criminals; we were going to get them – we were double bluffing, just waiting for the evidence – to catch them red-handed, you know. You’ve acted too soon. Let me go, we can deal with this together within the law. Take me back to my station. You’re a ……umpf.”

The man had smashed the nose. Blood started to pour out. The body screamed in panic.

“Shut up you worm. What was it you and your friends did? First the beating? A broken rib here, a smashed tooth there, a cigarette burn somewhere else. Did gin numb the humanity in you? Did you ever have any? Did you take part, or just stand and watch the show? Did you think the entertainment would reward you with magic? Or did you only believe in the magic of the money you’d get? What happened next? The ritual slaughter, the slow razor over the throat, letting the blood seep out, slowly, painfully until the life had seeped out too. More gin. Sharpened knives. The legs, then the head? Did you take off the finger nails and hair before or after death? Which carries a higher value? But the head is most precious, uh. How did you decide who to trust with that? You weren’t very careful about how you packed up the pieces, so easy to trace your steps. But we’ll be much more careful, I assure you officer.”

A car door slammed in the distance. Then, as if in echo, three more.

“Ah ha. They must be here. You’re long wait is over, my friend.”

Against the blue moonlight the body looked wide-eyed at the gnarled horizon and through the trees, made out a host of angels. In unison they moved closer. White faces, white hands, curly white hair, white lashes, pink eyes. They were carrying sacks which clinked ready to reap a moonlight harvest.

The end.

Friday, June 12, 2009


By Eric Kalunga

The clock on the table it read 10pm. She stared at it a moment longer as if by sheer will she could change the time.

How could he make her do this? How could he humiliate her like this? She felt rage rising inside her. It rose from her stomach, a burning wave of fury, that rose through her chest, scorching her heart and then settling on her head... overpowering everything else there.

But in the next second the anger was gone and what came in its place was hope and understanding.

He was going to come, any time now. Suddenly she was sure that she could hear the doors of the lift, at the end of the corridor outside, hissing open and then closing. She could even hear the soft chime that the lift made as it opened its doors.

But it was another false hope. No one came to the door knocking. In fact no one even so much as passed outside the door.

So hope was gone and its place came the fear this time. Something had gone wrong. He was on his way to see her at the hotel and has had a terrible accident. Right at this moment he is lying in a bed in a hospital, perhaps Muhimbili, breathing through tubes...
Oh My God...

And his wife, she was probably there too and their children. And here she was...

But this scenario suddenly left her head to make room for one even more terrifying. That he had simply decided to ignore her. He had left work but instead of driving here to the hotel he simply decided to go home to his wife.

Panic closed its fingers around her tummy and squeezed. She let out a small gasp and had to go back and sit on the bed.

She had switched off all the lights in the suite save for the one in the bathroom. This one spilled out through the open bathroom door and formed a pool of light right before the main door.
Joy, a lawyer with one of the biggest law firms in the city, lay back on the bed and closed her eyes, trying to decide what to do.

She should just leave and forget the whole thing. Yet as her her hands felt the soft sheets on the bed she couldn’t but imagine what would be in store for her if she waited and he came.
Joy, its been three hours... a voice spoke up inside her head. She looked at the clock again. 10.08 it read.

Only eight minutes had passed since she looked at it last but it seemed hours had elapsed.
No she would wait here, she decided. She would wait until he came because HE was coming. And when he did, when he knocked on the door, she was going to cooly open it.

He was going to reach to her and start apologising but she was going to brush him away like an annoying fly. She was going to enjoy the look of surprise and hurt on his face.

Then she was going to pick up her purse of the table, slowly walk to the door and walk out...
No wait....

She was going to walk to the door, open it and then pause. She will turn to look at him, smile and say: “Go back to your wife Mike, we are done.”

Then she is going to walk out and close the door on him and their relationship. It felt good thinking like that.

She looked at clock again, 10.09, it said.

So she was going to wait... but not because she was desperate and wanted to feel his arms around her and their warmth and...

Stop it...

She was going to wait because she wanted to let him know how disappointed she was with him and that she was ending the affair.

You could just call him... now...

That annoying voice again... no, she was not going to call him. that did not have the same power as saying the words to him face to face.

The thought that she was not calling him because she was afraid of what that might reveal bubbled to the surface of her mind. For a brief moment she thought of it: she pressing the numbers and pushing call, hearing the phone ring on the other hand, and ring... and then the abrupt silence as he rejects her call... because he simply doesn’t want to talk to her or see her night.

Suddenly the initial anger returned. She was a lawyer for goodness sake, prosecutors tremble when they face her in the courtroom, judges treat her with respect and powerful men in the country beg her to take their cases...

She should not have to go through this. Suddenly Justine Timberlake began singing Cry me a river. It was her phone. She frantically fished it out of her purse and blindly accepted the call before pressing the phone to her ear.

“WHERE ARE YOU?” she cried.

“Uh? I am at home dear, is the seminar over?” a confused male voice.
Then she understood and felt irritation creep over her, “No, why are you calling?”

“Well, the children are asleep and you said you would be back by 8. I was worried,” he said.
Now she was just mad. “No, just go to sleep Jonathan. I will be very late.”

“Well, ok dea_”

She cut him off. For a moment her thoughts were not on Mike but at her home on her children.

They were asleep. That was good. She will see them tomorrow morning. Martha would need....

At that moment the unmistakable chime of the lift floated through the air and reached her ears...

This time it was for real, someone was coming. Excitement built up inside her. The bastard was coming. She was going to give him a piece of her mind and then walk out of here.
Footsteps came to a stop outside her door and there was a knock. She walked over and opened it. He walked in and scooped her up in his arms.

His lips fell on hers and hungrily fed. She fed too. He led her towards the bed.

She was going to give him a piece of her mind... just as soon as this night was over. first she was going to let him...

Oh that felt so good.

“I love you,” she whispered.

He lifted up his head and smiled, “I love you too baby,” then the head went back down.
And there her thoughts ended as her body screamed with pleasure.

Tomorrow, she was going to end it all tomorrow.



By Shanande

I remember the time that I messed with an opportunity given to me, when I badly treated the one, whom by now he would have married me.

I met him when I was just in my early years of secondary school. He proposed me for his girlfriend for the first time in my life, at his office, where stamps for posting letters where sold.

“I think it is not my first time to see you here, by my window purchasing stamps, whom specifically do you send the letters, aaah is he or she and eeh...” he asked and before continuing I understood what he meant and so I interrupted him, “Yes, I normally send to my school mates. Our school is for girls only”. He then asked me to discuss more beside his window and I accepted.

“I am Ajos” He introduced himself “what is your name?” He asked me. “My name is Shalla” I replied. He shared with me certain areas of his interest in me from the first time he saw me and gave me an appointment of meeting each other somewhere else in the future, for lunch, and I did so.

“I would like you to become my girlfriend Shalla” he spoke to me after his long self introduction, life background, and hobbies, much related to what he had called me there for.

“I know you are required to have much attention to your academic issues, but I promise that I am not going to be a cause of discontinuity in your studies, hence support you toward better performance than before. You are such a beautiful lady whom I wouldn’t allow to stay away from” he insisted.

“Ajos, I am still very young to start involving myself into love affairs, for I am also scared of things like…mmh” I failed to mention want I intended and he asked me “ what?...eeeh… what? Say it, don’t be afraid of me Shalla!… after all, what is your age?”,

“I am just sixteen…and if I become pregnant there are lots of problems that I will face…for stance be chased away from school, and…”

he interrupted me “ I promise Shalla my…my…ooh my dear, all that will be taken in control, I will never let them happen, please, please, please, give me the chance and you will see, for I will not commit with you anything bad till you finish your studies” he insisted.

“I know most of ladies tend to demand a lot of money from men, whom they are in love with, but for me, you have to understand that I don’t need that, since my parents provide me with enough of it, unless you wish to provide me with presents, I mean, gifts.” I explained and he really appreciated.

There were ups and downs in our relationship. He used to buy me gifts during my birthdays, ceremonies like Christmas, Maulid and Easter; meeting my academic needs, and helped me writing notes in my school exercise books when I failed to cover them on time.

Our relationship lasted for more than five years before I messed.

Ajos had one bad attitude that I hated most, sharing love with more than one woman. I can remember very well the time I visited him and found having love affairs with another woman in his room. The room he rent after departing from her sister’s family, which he lived with when we started our relationship.

This bad attitude of his was spoken out and openly to me by many friends of mine and so I one day with great hunger went to his room and told him that I was going to react the same. He slapped for the first and the last time, and chased me out of the room. I really did the same without counting the side effects of it, and at that that the dangerous disease was another great disaster to our society.

I became pregnant with my teacher. I hardly tried to hide that from Ajos till when I finished and went back home from the boarding school that I was in, for I shared that with my family members and the news spread to reach him. He was so shocked to hear about that he decided to visit our home for an approval. My young sister lied to him that I was not in, and so we didn’t meet.

“But what have I really done” I spoke to myself, “What the mess have I committed with the opportunity I had” I sadly imagined.

I delivered a baby four months later after completing my secondary education. Ajos came home to greet me and the new born baby, with some gifts.

“Shalla, I know I was the cause of all these, can we forgive each other please and continue with our relationship?” He requested. I did not answer him nor comment anything for I was guilty, and knew that was not really coming from his consciousness. I tried to imagine the day he slapped me as I informed him of his attitude that I was going to do the same. So what he said was meaningless to me.

I shared all what Ajos said to my mother, who was around when he came. “Do not let that happen in your life for he may do worse than the experience you had before. For he accepted to be the cause of this, I advice you to keep him at a distance since he knew what bad he was doing by then”. She insisted.

I decided to follow my mother’s advice and so I one day went to his place to inform him of my decision. He was shocked and couldn’t compromise with in the beginning, though I strongly expressed my stand on it. I left him bowing his heard saying “ Okay,….Okay….okay…”

I am single for more than fifteen years now since I broke my relationship with Ajos, who is now married with a five years old child. I sometimes feel proud of being a strong decision maker in challenging issues of life, but there are times I regret of the mess I committed and think of “having price to pay” for the opportunity I lost.

I sometimes meet Ajos in town. He does not react me badly when I great him with a smile that hides a lot of pain and sadness. “Shalla you are as beautiful as I met you in the first day…don’t worry I still love you and…”He tried to encourage me, as I interrupted him, “Wooow… really!?...thank you though nothing is valid between us anymore”.

Love, has nothing to say that you are sorry. If it is well invested, its profit has to very well utilizes too, otherwise, there may be “A price to pay…”


Friday, June 5, 2009


By Shanande John

Helena, mwanamke mwenye ujauzito wa miezi mine, amekaa sebuleni, ndani ya nyumba nzuri ya kifahari, waliyonnunua na mumewe Samson, anawaza na kutafakari maisha ya ndoa yake yenye miezi mitatu tu, ilivyo na kila aina ya purukushani.

Anakumbuka enzi za urafiki wao, hadi uchumba, kabla hajaolewa akiwa tayari ana ujauzito wa mwezi mmoja. Ujauzito uliomlazimu Samson afunge naye ndoa. Sharti lililotoka kwa wazazi wa Helena. Maisha ya uchumba yalitojaa kila aina ya raha na starehe.

Samson alizoea kufika kwa Helena na kila aina ya zawadi. Alihakikisha jokofu ya Helena imejaa kila aina ya mboga, tunda na juisi. Nguo na viatu, na hata maua alipelekewa.

Kwa sasa, Helena anawaza hayo, kuwa mbona hayafanyiki tena, na ikiwa wapo pamoja, hizo huduma zinapelekwa wapi!! Na tena imekuwa siku hizi akidadisi jambo anapatiwa majibu ya mkato, hata kupigwa. Ni miezi mitatu tu katika ndoa.

Katika kuyawaza hayo, Helena anakumbuka rafiki yake Suzana. Anaamua kumpigia simu na kumwomba afike nyumbani kwake Helena mara moja.

Suzana anafanya hivyo, na kumkuta Helena sebuleni akiwa na huzuni kubwa sana. Suzana anadadisi “kulikoni?”

Helena anamweleza rafiki yake Suzana, maisha anayopitia na mumewe na kuhisi ana maisha mengine kwingine. Anamwomba Suzana amsaidie cha kufanya, kwa kuwa wamekuwa wakisaidiana tangu maisha ya chuoni, ambapo Helena aliweza Suzana malipo mbalimbali na ada.

Katika kulitafakari hilo, Helena anamhoji Suzana kama ataweza kujifanya mpenzi wa mumewe Samson, ili amrejeshee kwake, na awe kama walivyokuwa wanaishi kabla hawajaoana, kwa hali na mali. Wakapanga namna itakavyokuwa.

Suzana analitafakari hilo na kulikubali, na kumuahidi Helena kuwa hatamuangusha.
Huko nje, Suzana akawa anamvizia Samson, kama vile kumwomba lifti kuelekea sehemu tofauti tofauti, kwa kuwa aliishi karibu nao. Akawa anajifanya kumsema vibaya Helena, kwa mumewe Samson.

Samson akajikuta ana mahusiano ya karibu na Suzana, na kwenda naye sehemu mbalimbali za starehe. Suzana akaendelea “kumchafua” Helena mbele ya Samson, lakini anafanya kinafiki tu, kwani anapokutana na Helena, anamweleza kila kinachoendelea, japo pia Samson akiwakuta nyumbani, Suzana hujifanya kumdhalilisha Helena kuwa ni mwanamke mchafu na hafai kuwa mke wa mtu, ili mradi tu Samson asilkie hayo, kumfanya aone kuwa Suzana na Helena hawaivani kwa sasa.

Samson anaamua kumwagia Suzana hela lukuki. Anataka hata kumfukuza mkewe Helena nyumbani akidai nyumba inanunuliwa, na ameshapatikana mteja. Kumbe anataka kumpatia Suzana, naye Samson bila kujua kama Suzana anawasiliana hayo yote na Helena mkewe, tena anampatia na hizo fedha japo anazificha Samson asipopajua.

Wakati anafikiria na kupanga namna ya kuiuza nyumba, Samson akawa anafikia hotelini. siku moja Helena anaamua kwenda akijifanya kumtafuta siku nyingi, akiwa amembeba mwanae wa kike, aliyejifungua miezi mitatu iliyopita, mchafu mchafu, akimsihi mumewe arudi nyumbani wakalee mototo wao. Kumbe ni sanaa anamfanyia mumewe. Samson akajifanya hamtambui na kuamuru wahudumu wa hotelini wamfukuze.

Suzana na Helena wakatafuta nyumba nyingine ya kumhifadhi Helena kwa muda Fulani, pamoja na mototo.

Akiwa ndani ya nyumba ya Samson na Helena, siku moja Suzana anaamua kumwalika Samson, bila kumwandalia chakula wala kinywaji chochote. Samson anafika na kukaribishwa kiti ndani ya nyumba ya kifahari ambayo kwa sasa anamilikishwa Suzana.

Suzana anaamua “kumwondolea uvivu” Samson, kwa kuanza kumweleza nia na madhumuni ya wito huo, kuwa si kama amefanya yote hayo kwa nia ya kumdhalilisha rafiki yake Helena, bali ni kumsaidia. Angependa kuona ndoa yake Samson na Helena inaendelea na kukua vema.

Anamuelezea habari nzima tangu alipoitwa na Helena kumwelezea matatizo ya ndoa yake na hata leo hii. Suzana anagonga meza mara tatu kwa nguvu, kama walivyoashiriana na Helena kabla.

Helena akiwa amembeba mototo wao wa miezi saba, wamependeza sana, anaingia sebuleni akitokea chumba kimojawapo cha ndani, na uso wa tabasamu zito. Anamwendea mumewe na kumsihi asimame ili ampokee mototo wao. Akiwa katika hali ya mshituko na mshangao, bila kuamini na yanayotokea, na kama vile hajielewi, anasimama na kumpokea mototo.

Anamwangalia Suzana bila kujua afanye nini au aseme nini.
anasimama na kuwaaga akiwaacha ndani wawili na mwanao ambaye mama yake alikuwa hajampa jina, akimwita “Baby”. Helena anajikaza na kumsogelea mumewe huku anabubujikwa na machozi yaliyojaa “heri na shari” anamkumbatia na kumwambia “Nakupenda sana mume wangu”…MWISHO

Looking for love

By Irena Pearse

He laid the empty cup carefully on the table. Flicked his eyes down at his phone.

“I have to go.” He cleared his throat. Pushed his chair back and stood up.

“I miss you.”

“Yeah. I have to go.” He took her hand as if to shake it and she stood up and hugged him tight.

She picked up her cup as the door clicked shut, and sipped at the now warm, bitter tea. She grimaced and put the half empty cup down. She reached out and collected up the two plates with their crumbs and half eaten bits of toast, his empty cup and then, carefully, her own half cup of cold tea. In the kitchen, she scraped clean the plates into the rubbish and poured the rest of the tea down the sink. She watched as the brown liquid seeped away amongst the debris of kitchen waste caught in the sink drain. She made a mental note to give it a good clean sometime soon.

The phone rang.

“Christine, it’s Dad. How are you?”

She sighed. “Fine. How’s things your end?”

“Your mum’s not feeling so good. Might be nice if you came by.”


She punched the red button to hang up.

The train out of London took 20 minutes. As she walked to the house she felt the mixed rush of nostalgia and distaste which came with the familiarity of this commuter suburb, this shopping centre town. The bland concrete office blocks, the functional roads, the terraced cottage-houses built solidly for the tied-workers of Victorian times, so many generations ago. Now, this area was known as “the village”. The posh part near the railway station. Young couples moved in and out renovating the houses and selling them at higher prices, and the value of the neighbourhood had risen dramatically. Christine’s parents had bought their house before this trend and were one of the few who bought the house out of love, not to make money. Christine had been born there, was raised there, she’d seen the street change over time. Her parents had extended and decorated the house to make it suit their family. “It’s got a good feel,” her mother had said. “We thought about moving at one time but no house had the happy atmosphere as this one. It’s just something you can feel. As though all the owners before were happy. I can’t explain it.”

Christine turned the key in the front door, called and stepped inside. Her dad shuffled along the hallway.

“It’s good to see you.”

He had a full cup of tea in his hands, steaming, smelling fresh. “You want some? Maybe you could take a cup to your mum.”

Christine carried the two brimming cups up to the bedroom, and found her mother lying flat on her back in bed, radio on, towel over her head. Her skin was pale and damp, and her short dark hair stuck to the sides of her temples. She slowly lifted the towel from her eyes and squinted at Christine. Half a smile crossed her lips.
“You’ve brought me tea. Thanks.”

She eased herself up. Christine placed the cups gently on the side table and sat on the bed.

It was a reversal of what used to happen as a child. Christine remembered the time she had measles, her mother coming in, bringing in the cold and fresh smell from outside, cooling her eight year-old flushed cheeks with her hug. Her mother taking out fizzy drinks and some crackers for her – special treats for the sick child. Her words were those of the Great Healer. The mother knew exactly what to do, exactly how to make her feel better. She knew when she was sick and when she was faking it. She knew when Christine needed to go to bed and sleep, better than Christine herself. But although Christine was now the one bringing in the outside world, the caring words, she didn’t feel she knew what was the right thing to do or say.

Her mother handed her back the emptied cup.

“There’s more downstairs. Shall I bring some?”

“No thanks, that’s enough for now.”

Christine took the cups and flicked her eyes across at the clock radio.

“I have to go.”

“We miss you Christine.”

“Yeah. I have to go.”

She stopped by the chemist on the way home to her shared flat. Decided this time she’d pay the high price for this one-time only kit, a bit of plastic packaged in a pink box, as if the large box made the price seem right. A couple were slouched over the counter, looking through their holiday photos and giggling at the memories. The pharmacist waited patiently for them to confirm the pictures were theirs and pay the amount stated on the receipt he held out in his hand. Christine pretended to look at the hair products. Her eye moving from images of clean sun-kissed floating hair to dark sexy auburn burnish. Maybe she needed a change too. She glanced at the young woman, hair clean and golden, her boyfriend’s hand playing at her neck with it. Christine took a box of blond.

The flat was empty when she got back. Rachel had probably gone out – it was the weekend after all. She filled the kettle, flicked it on. Sighed. And felt her heart beat pick up. She took out the pink box. Took it to the bathroom.
“Mirror mirror on the wall, tell me what the future holds.”
Back downstairs, Christine switched the kettle on again as she heard the key turn in the lock.

“Only me.”

Absent mindedly, she started cleaning out the debris in the sink. She turned on the tap and soaped the sink. The kitchen door opened and a blast of fresh outdoor air whooshed in.

“How’s it going? What you doing? Look, I got some great deals down the market, look at this.“

Rachel took out a large floppy jumper and a spangley, top. Christine dried off her hands and they went through the bag of clothes together.

“Nice. Love it.”

They both sat exhausted, as if they’d just been shopping all over again, steaming cups of tea in front of them.

“I bought something too today.”

“What’s that?”

Christine brought out the box of blond.

“Hey, cool. Let’s do it.”

“What now?”

“You’re life is going to change, believe me.”

“I hope so.”

The End.

Monday, April 6, 2009


(english version below)


Kwa sababu ya tar 10/4 kuwa Ijumaa kuu na baadhi yetu si ajabu kutaka kwenda kanisani, ule mkutano wa waandishi mahiri wa soma (Teh! Teh!) hautakuwepo.

Badala yake tutaendelea kukutana hapahapa.

Kama kuna mwenye mawazo mengine yoyote (kama ombi maalum la kutaka tukutane siku nyingine wiki ijayo) unaweza acha maoni kwenye blogu au kutuma barua pepe hapa

Asante sana na siku kuu njema...


Because Friday 10/4/09 is going to be Good Friday and some of us might wish to go to church in the evening we will therefore not have that meeting of Soma’s amazing writers ;)

Instead we will continue meeting here.

But if someone has a special request (like to want a special session to meet next week just for your work or because you just miss everyone so much) you can just post that on the blog.

Or email :

Thank u so much n happy holiday...

The end.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Plate of Ugali

By Sandra A. Mushi

My mama used to say a real African man doesn’t eat chips or pasta. That’s food for a mzungu man who gets his nails manicured, face scrubbed and lips conditioned with lip balm. A real African man eats ugali, my mama used to say. With their calloused fingers with rough nails he would mould the stiff porridge into little balls, dunk each ball into a stew then dunk the stew covered ball into his mouth with chapped lips.

I would sit at the corner of the room watching his Adam’s apple bopping up and down as he swallowed a ball of ugali and meat stew. His jaw always moving in super-human speed as he chewed, making the veins on his forehead pop out angrily.

Ugali would make your man strong, my mama used to say. Strong enough to take care of you and our family, she would add. What she didn’t add was that ugali would make him strong enough to beat me black and blue. But maybe she was always right, because it was a plate of ugali that gave me strength today.

It had started with his plate of ugali not being warm enough. Then the following time he beat me black and blue it was because the bowl of stew did not have enough meat. The other times before that it was the disciplinary slap, as the elders called it. Married women needed the slap every now and then, they would say, to keep them in check.

Then he beat me again black and blue when I failed to pound his kisamvu the way he liked it. I had been vomiting the whole day; infact even getting up was a problem.

“My mother cultivated a whole farm the day she was giving birth and you say you can’t cook for your husband?” He had bellowed. “What kind of a woman are you?”

“But mume wangu, the doctor said …” lamenting, I had tried to explain before I was interrupted by a slap. The room started spinning around me.

“Has the doctor married you?” He gave me another slap which sent me reeling to the floor vomiting blood, “is the doctor your husband now? Or are you having an affair?”

My baby did not make it. I almost did not make it too. I broke a few bones and I almost became blinded on my left eye. After that I became numb to the pain. It was one reason after another – as long as I was his punching bag – and almost always it was a plate of ugali that started it. Yep, his source of strength. Like the hair on Samson in the bible. Maybe ugali makes one mad. Maybe it had a drug.

Today he broke my two front teeth – after breaking four others last week. I laughed madly as I looked at my four year old with his milk teeth missing. He grins at me nervously showing his gums.

Today he beat me because I refused to serve his mistress a plate of ugali. Like my body numbing to pain, my heart had numbed to reason. Maybe it was my fault when the plate of ugali wasn’t warm enough because I had run out of coal to warm the food; maybe it was my fault when I didn’t negotiate with the butchery to give me more meat than the money could buy; maybe it was my fault that I was too lazy too pound cassava when I was due; maybe it was my fault when I had used to the last of the flour to cook my baby porridge for lunch instead of cooking him his ugali; maybe it had all been my fault. But how could this be my fault? My mama told me my husband came first, then my children.

I had put some food aside for my husband, then fed the remaining to my children. How was that my fault? I never said anything when he brought her and moved me out of our marital bed. I said nothing.

He kicked his plate of ugali when there wasn’t enough for his mistress and made me eat from the floor after beating me black and blue - wounding the scars that had not even healed. On all fours I bent down and ate like a dog. As I lay clutching my stomach I see the mouse that I have been trying to catch for a while, rushing to the last crumbs of ugali on the floor. No amount of rat poison seemed to kill it. Rodent. Maybe I had been giving it the poison with the wrong food. Rodent. Rodent. I should have mixed the poison in ugali. Rodent. Or is it rodent and man. Rodent man. Kick. Rodent man. Kick. Rodent man, I think.

I feel humiliated when I hear her cheering him on. It was okay before, as I probably needed disciplining. But it’s not okay now. She is not supposed to be here, cheering on. But the ugali gave me strength.

“Stupid woman! Go make another plate,” he had kicked me on the shins as his mistress laughed again, louder this time. “And make it enough to give us strength for the work ahead of us tonight!”

Ugali has given me strength too. I look down as I limp to the back yard. I don’t want them to see my face. The smile on my face. Yes, ugali has given me strength.

Quickly I grab a khanga to hide my new scars, covering myself I dash to my neighbour to borrow me some money from her. Just as quickly I send my oldest to the market. Flour, kisamvu, coconut, curry powder, peanuts, nyanya chungu and some powder that will kill that rodent. Today I will make the best plate of ugali ever. The kisamvu will have peanut sauce and the dagaa will have coconut milk and nyanya chungu. Today I will catch that rodent with a plate of ugali for sure.


By Sandra A. Mushi

We all loved watching Uncle Aziz eat. Was it the towel that was the attraction or the big belly or the shirt? Mohamed and John from down the street once fought over that. They argued heatedly until their fight of words turned into a fight of fists. We never knew what it was that drew us but we were always drawn to that dining room window during lunch hours. The street would suddenly become quiet when Uncle Aziz ate; all games on the dusty street would cease, the laughter of happy children would cease, the critter clutter of dirty running feet would cease.

We would all huddle outside the window watching him – waiting to see the towel - with our ball of old socks for a make shift football next to us. Our dirty little stubs of fingers would cling on the chipping window sill staring. The flowers that were once under the dining room window not flowers anymore, but a tread mat to cushion our grubby feet.

Even baby Maria, who was a difficult eater. Aunt Miriam would place her on a mat in front of Uncle Aziz, as if hypnotized by the movements from the towel to the face then back to the plate and eventually mouth, baby Maria would stare open mouthed and quickly Aunt Miriam would spoon feed her.

Uncle Aziz had a big laughter, as big as his belly. He always laughed when the table was being laid, his big throaty laughter that sounding like Mount Kilimanjaro rumbling.

Aunt Miriam always set the table, making a clattering noise as she lifted and moved the ceramic dishes. The clanking noise of the dishes was a sign for Uncle Aziz – this was when he would go inside to his room and change from the trousers he had been wearing during the day into a kikoi. We always wondered why he never left the shirt in his room when changing as he always took it off eventually.

Uncle Aziz would walk into the dining room, laughing – the small overflowing room vibrating with his laughter. The small room becomes even smaller with his big frame swallowing each corner of it. His big belly would bump into a chair or two as he walked to his chair, sometimes knocking over the already cracked vase with plastic flowers – the centre piece of the old mninga dining table.

Aunt Miriam would place a plastic table cloth on top of the white starched cotton table cloth with her famed immaculately stitched colourful embroidery. She would then place several plastic table mats before placing a big plate. Then the big jug of ice water cold water and a long glass would follow. The jug was always covered with an equally immaculately stitched colourful embroidered doily.

Re-wrapping her loose khanga and wiping the sweat off her brow, Aunt Miriam quickly would walk from the kitchen to the dining room with plates and bowls of dishes – until the table was crammed with a plate of ugali or mihogo or wali, the coconut milk in rice or in the cassava fragrancing the room; a bowl of maharage, Uncle Aziz always like sultanas in his beans; a plate with pieces of meat stew or deep fried sato, meat stew swimming in oily sauce of potatoes, green peppers, nyanya chungu or the fish glistering with oil; a bowl of matembele or kisamvu, the potato or cassava leaves cooked in peanut butter; a bowl of chachandu, the strong fragrance of the chillies and garlic condiment overpowering our young noses; a glass of mtindi, the fresh yoghurt sweetened with honey and a bowl of fruit salad with mangoes, pineapples, pawpaw and bananas. Finally the towel would be placed on the right side of the big plate, a white starched neatly folded towel.

Uncle Aziz would then walk to the sink tucked at the corner next to the china cabinet and quickly wash his hands. As he passed his chair, Uncle Aziz would unconsciously finger the towel – as if feeling if it is well starched. Just as quickly he would dry his hands on the fading blue towel draped on the loose once chrome towel ring.

He would massage his stomach in circular motions before finally sitting down. His chair the one at the head of the table, next to the china cabinet; before sitting he would take off his shirt, then drape it warily on the posts of the old mninga chair as if careful not to crease it. Even if the weather was cold, Uncle Aziz always took off his shirt. His big belly would make a jelly movement as it spilt out from the shirt. We would stifle giggles as we watched the jelly freedom dance as we called it. We always thought of it as a relief dance – relieved of being released from being squeezed in the shirt. He would then pull out the chair, while all the while eyeing the towel.

He would then unfold the towel and place it on right shoulder. We would all shift comfortably under the window sill watching more closely now, Uncle Aziz totally unaware of his young audience.

Uncle Aziz would then move the big plate closer, and start dishing out – a bit of this and that, maybe a bit more of this and that and then he would pour some ice cold water in the tall glass, his laughter still ringing resonating in the room, and the towel slowly shifting from his big naked shoulder. He would then take the towel and wipe the little spots of sweat slowly forming on his forehead, before taking a sip of the cold water. John who believed it was the towel that was the attraction would giggle gleefully.

With his right hand, Uncle Aziz would start eating. Swiftly the dance with his hands from the plate to his mouth to the towel to his face and finally back to the plate again would start, his shirtless belly shaking, while we stared in amazement.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Uncle Jonas

By Demere Kitunga

Uncle Jonas is our local pastor. He is a frail seventy years old man walking with a limp. Despite his age and frailty, Uncle Jonas spits fire and brimstone from the pulpit. As one member of the congregation—a deaconess who also happens to be his sister would put it, “If you are not converted listening to his sermons, then you are beyond saving.”

To our chagrin, except for my mother of course, it is rumoured that Uncle Jonas is about to start a splinter church. The rumour has it also that the reason he is going to do so is because he is not satisfied with the way things are run at our church. According to him, the rumour continues, sermons are becoming too sombre and focusing too much on the after life leaving the Lord’s flock at a loss for what to do under the extreme poverty they are facing today. Some people go further as to suggest that they heard him say the spiritual bread regular pastors serve is not filling enough so in his splinter church one will have to be a miracle worker like him to conduct service.

‘People are looking for miracles’ thus it is claimed Uncle Jonas was heard trying to convince his fellow pastors. Those who know the story allege also that instead of heeding to his call his fellow church elders resorted to reporting him to higher authorities. The rumour goes on to allege that the people from headquarters have already carried out an enquiry and found him faulty; and that Uncle Jonas is about to be excommunicated.

I t is obvious that these rumours originate from two opposing sources. Either the opposing sources are Uncle Jonas’ foes on one side and friends of the other, or those faithful to our church against those ready to join his splinter church. All in all, one version of the rumour has it that our church will remain empty when Uncle Jonas starts his own church; and that this will be very soon. Even though I am no fun of Uncle Jonas on account of the grudge my mother holds him, I tend to agree with this group. I can bet on my departed grandmother’s kindred soul his church will be more popular than our church. Already the market place overflows on days when Uncle Jonas holds open sermons and healing service.

The lead theme of Uncle Jonas’ mission is wealth. “God did not will for his people to languish in poverty.” Uncle Jonas is often heard preaching to those who care to listen. And listen they do especially the good for nothing young loafers who would rather while away the time in ‘kijiwe’ corners rather than perform the least of a days labour.

Listening to his sermons, Uncle Jonas reminds me of King Leopold’s message to the missionaries heading to the Congo in those many years past that we hardly have any memory of these days. According to my history readings, this King of Belgium during the time of ‘Scramble for Africa’ on the 19th century gave an opposite message to missionaries coming to Africa to convert ‘natives’ into Christianity. He instructed them to teach the ‘nigger’ that only the poor would inherit the earth and to urge them not to belabour with seeking worldly possessions but to seek the virtues that would grant them a ticket to partake in the glories of the after life which perpetual poverty was ranking highest on the list. And while at it, he urged them to tell their subjects to obey their new White rulers because all authority comes from God and He has willed them to rule the universe.

Uncle Jonas’ sermons are an antithesis of the philosophy attributed to King Leopold, the architect of African colonisation. As I listen to him and marvel at the gymnastics punctuating his speech, I wonder if his is not a call for his congregation to wake up from over a century old stupor created by the purveyors of the said philosophy. This thought kind of fascinates me but I don’t say it aloud for fear of my mother’s wrath; and with it a strain in our relationship. If you want to upset her, all you need to do is say something positive about Uncle Jonas within her ear shot.

It is out of curiosity that I found myself amidst the throng that listens to Uncle Jonas every Wednesday at the market square. Curious to know what it is that makes people flock at his sermons I sneaked to the market place against my Mama’s good judgement. This happened a day or two after my mother made official her sentiments about him. I had known all along that mother held him with suspicion, but I didn’t know how deep her disdain and mistrust of him went. Just to test the waters I asked her if she didn’t mind me attending Uncle Jonas’ sermons. Mother pursed her lips and lifted her shoulders in exasperation and looking the other way responded,

“Listening to people like Jonas can send you to hell. People like him ought to be in jail!”

No amount of cajoling would make mama say more on the issue. Though it did not deter me from listening to Jonas, from then on, I make sure I always do it or anything to do with Jonas behind my mama’s back. It is not what she said that wetted my curiosity, but what wasn’t said. With all my heart I have since wanted to get to the bottom of what lays behind my mothers loath of Uncle Jonas. To start with, I resorted to the art of eavesdropping that I had developed and perfected as a child. This is how I was able to pick anecdotes from disjointed conversations between mother and her buddies that gave me a bird’s eye view of the matter.

‘He is harbouring a sinister secret in his heart that will send him running for the rest of his life. With all his gymnastics, I don’t think he will have the courage to face Jesus if he comes down today.” I heard Mama telling one of our neighbours one day.

“I wonder what he will do if they ex-communicate him.” The other woman wondered.

“Even if they excommunicate him today, he will, like Lucifer, find a way of rehabilitating himself, even if it means sacrificing the lives of his believers, he will. The man is a criminal I tell you and he didn’t start today.”

The conversation always dies as soon as mother becomes aware of the presence of an unwanted attention. “There are clouds.” Mother would caution her interlocutor, who would understand the code and stop in mid sentence.


My mother used to be a good church goer until Uncle Jonas was appointed our local pastor. Since then, Mama goes to church only when the pastor is away. It is a wonder that she has neither been excommunicated nor received a visit from church elders to explain her reasons for backsliding. Apparently, her loath for Uncle Jonas has a long history. I once heard her say Uncle Jonas had no guts to order her excommunication. When asked why, she simply said, “The man is not only a criminal he is a coward!”

Convinced that there is a big story concerning Uncle Jonas that Mama is privy to, I decided to investigate. “I have to do this to put my mind at ease,” I say to myself as I plan my investigation. I start by putting the pieces together but the more I try the more complicated the puzzle becomes. I one evidence after another gives me an impression that whatever it is that made Mama hold such a grudge against Uncle Jonas, must have something to do with the late Aunty Lulu. By the way mama talks of her, you can tell she was very fond of her late cousin. I decide to make her memory my starting point. Time and again I ask mother to tell me about Aunty Lulu. Try as I can though I do not manage to make her go beyond what she meant to her. Mama was only ten years old when Aunt Lulu died, but until now, the telling of her death draws tears from her eyes. Once she is thus overcome by emotions the story reaches a dead end.

I once had the audacity to suggest some connection between Aunty Lulu and our local pastor. “They grew up together, didn’t they mother?” I asked feigning innocence.

“You are too nosy, child. Learn how to behave or the dung in your neck folds may never drop.” She said and added “Why pry into secrets of the departed? If you continue this habit of pocking into other peoples affairs, you will one day get into trouble a tell you!” I was about to apologise when she sneered, “Jonas is a ruthless man and now he claims to be a man of God. He cannot have his name be mixed up with sinister stories like what happened to your Aunty Lulu, do you hear me? Never should I hear you talk like that again?”

That closed the chapter. It however just fanned my curiosity as it added to the mystery. The chapter I closed with mother was as fast opened with my grandmother; with whom we shared many secret and a common trait of mirth. With her, I didn’t have to do any cajoling.

“How did Aunty Lulu die?” is all I needed to ask.


Long time ago, when my mother was young, Aunty Lulu and Uncle Jonas were lovers. Her father was a teacher working far from home. Because the mission school located in our village was better than the one in which Aunty Lulu’s father taught, he decided to leave his children behind. What is more, he wanted his children to be anchored in the ways of his people rather than pick habits of strangers among whom he worked and lived. All the children, five of them in total, became boarders in our local mission school but each was placed under the care of a relative just in case they needed something the school could not provide. Aunty Lulu was left under the charge of my grandmother who was her mother’s half sister and best friend.

Uncle Jonas’ parents lived in the backdrop of the mission settlement and he was among people who valued mission education but not the faith it preached. He father figured out that he would bequeath to his son his way of life as a polygamous man and member of the occult when Jonas is ready to be introduced to the oracle when he reaches puberty. In the meantime, he sent him to school among the people whose religion was in direct opposition of his belief system. To make matters worse, by the time Jonas his first born son was mature enough to take his rightful place in the order of things, he was already baptized and training to become a pastor.

Both Aunt Lulu and Uncle Jonas were boarders in the mission school middle school. On week ends, they both came to visit my grandmother who was also a paternal second cousin to Uncle Jonas’s mother. Middle schools were few, and more prestigious than local authority schools; the only government funded schools available to ordinary African children at the time. ‘Those were the days when we were under the rule by wazungu,’ my grandmother interjects as she explaining, making sure in the process she gives me a history lesson she thinks they haven’t taught me properly at university.

Problems started when Aunt Lulu discovered that Uncle Jonas was deceiving her. She found out that his people had already spoken to the people of another girl who was also a student in their school. When Aunt Lulu discovered that the two families were about to close the betrothal deal without her Jonas mentioning anything of the sort to her, she was devastated. She confronted him with a threat that she would endtheir relationship but he insisted those were nothing but malicious rumours. But as it is today, it seems some things could not remain a secret for long in our village and especially when it involves juicy gossips about which girl has been spoken for. Any betrothal meant a big feast attended by the whole village and no one wanted to miss out on a rumour of an impending feast.

It is said that Aunty Lulu was prettier than the girl Uncle Jonas was going to marry; and that in actual fact, he was not in love with the latter. The only problem was that Aunty Lulu being a daughter of converted parents did not undergo traditional rite of passage and Uncle Jonas’ parents who were followers of our indigenous religion and cultural practices would not allow their son soon to be a member of the occult as they thought he would, to marry a kighiria. His protests that he had already promised Lulu marriage fell on deaf ears of parents who were raised to know as a fact that no son of theirs would promise marriage to a woman before consulting with and soliciting consent from them. Even Granma had cautioned Lulu about such traditions when she heard her chatter to friends and family about the promise she shared with Jonas at Kwanamzange, the spot where young people went on Sabbath afternoons to while away the time.

“Even if we have received the light, there are things about our culture we cannot turn our backs on.” Granma cautioned.

In her excitement, Lulu did not grasp the full extent of that advice until things turned sour.

Jonas was caught in a dilemma. On the one hand he had made a promise he was being pressured to honour, on the other he had parents he wasn’t expected to disobey. While he juggled between appeasing his lover and buying time with his parents who were already performing a string of rituals required before the final day arrives for the clans to be united, Aunty Lulu made resolved to move on with her life. A difficult decision it was but no sooner than it was made did it get reversed as it turned out to be a burden she wasn’t willing to carry alone. Why? She discovered that she was heavy with child. Now it was a matter of life and death for her to make sure Uncle Jonas takes responsibility for her condition. But Uncle Jonas had just been accepted to train to become a pastor so he wasn’t about to jeopardize his chances by accepting to have anything to do with making a girl pregnancy before wedlock.

“We can get married before it shows,” Aunt Lulu tried to reason with him. “The Pastor will not go along with your parents objections.” She implored citing ample cases in which the church had intervened when the local customs were put forward as a stumbling block for brothers and sisters of the light to be united. Wasn’t this among them? Aunt Lulu reasoned. But deep down she had another fear. She too was afraid that if they didn’t do something about it she would be excommunicated from church and be ostracized by family and community—of light and dark faiths alike! Pregnancy before wedlock was a worse crime for both worlds especially if no one came forward to acknowledge fatherhood.

“I have a plan,” Uncle Jonas came up with a strategy one day after many evasive confrontations.

“Let’s use Amos! Amos has been after you for a long time. Why don’t you agree to marry him let your people receive visitors for you from a his folks while we figure out what to do about my impending marriage to Miriam?”

Aunt Lulu was desperate. She wanted so badly to believe him; that he would honestly make things right; for above all she loved him. “You give me your word of honour Jonas, don’t you?”

“Of course Lulu, what are you thinking? You know I love you but if I get expelled what will become of us and the baby?”

It made sense. His voice betrayed no personal ambition…. Aunty Lulu thought of his devotion to church and its mission…. Jonas was a choir master and he played the organ in church… he was a model of good behaviour and he had charm. Every girl envied Lulu her good fortune to have Jonas fall for her. Of course none of them knew that back home, outside the reach of mission settlement and the light, Jonas so revered his father and the rituals of indigenous faith that his father still practiced with zeal when he was on leave. Deep in his heart Jonas knew that unless a miracle occurred he would not alter the course of his impending marriage to the daughter of the high priestess simply because he had found a new faith which would secure him a job in the modern knowledge industry but saying that aloud would cause him so much trouble with Lulu he preferred to tell a lie to buy time.

After a lot of hesitation Aunt Lulu accepted to go along with the plan though she wasn’t sure how long she would be able to sustain such a lie. Amos was a decent man whose only crime was to love her. She was certain his love for her was true even if her heart was for Jonas. Deceiving him was something she did with a heavy heart, but her mind was so much focused on her own survival she wouldn’t allow herself time for empathy.

It didn’t take long for a marriage proposal to be made and the wedding date to be set. In those days, girls went to school only until they were betrothed, so Aunt Lulu’s parents received word of their daughter’s betrothal with joy. They were happy to receive dowry and be relieved of the anxiety of caring for a post pubescent unmarried girl growing up away from the watchful eye of her mother and who was even not initiated into indigenous ways of self discipline. The greatest fear was the shame of having a grandchild whose pedigree is not acknowledged. It was beyond shame for such a thing to happen though since the new religion came; which made it taboo for converts to partake in traditional initiations; more and more girls were falling pray to such pregnancies. Lulu’s parents still valued traditional rites and wished their children could partake in them so as to internalize values that would make them full citizens of their society, in communion with both the living and departed members of their clan; but they wanted to have the best of both worlds and the new religion which prohibited such practices promised a secure income for them and exposure to a wider scope of modern life. It also promised a happy after life with no interference from nagging ancestors.

By the time Lulu’s marriage negotiations ended, she was already five months pregnant. She was caught up so deep in a web of deceit she no longer knew how to extricate herself. Jonas her co-conspirator was by then already married and Amos was so convinced that she had returned his love that she felt pain at the pit of her stomach at the mere though of him knowing that it was all nothing but illusion. As Aunt Lulu languished in the agony of betrayal and deception, things took another twist. Word was returned from Amos’ people—who lived two hills away from the mission and its surrounding settlement of people of the new light; that Lulu’s mother needed to hold counsel with her daughter before they would accept her as a bride. This message held meaning that all mothers understood. Grandmother handled it with great secrecy waiting for the go betweens to finish the ritual of telling and retelling before she could break the news whatever it was to her sister; Lulu’s mother.

As it turned out, Lulu’s in-laws were not sure if the child she was carrying was their son’s. They noticed her condition immediately they had a chance to greet the bride to be, but the negotiations were too advanced for them to raise the issue at the time. They sent a secret emissary to enquire from Granma, who had already noticed it before and quizzed her niece who insisted it belonged to Amos. Granma echoed what Aunty Lulu had told her back to the go-betweens. Mother in-law who was privy to the rumour about the previous relationship wanted a confirmation from her son. When she queried Amos if he had indeed transgressed into her fiancée’s bed chamber before it was officially sanctioned, he was shocked at the mere suggestion! His chastity and hers were things he had taken for granted relishing the day she would be truly his with the full sanction of God and congregation. Fearing the humiliation that would befall her bride if the rumours were confirmed, he resorted to asking her privately as soon as he returned from his village.

“Is it true Lulu?”


She didn’t have to answer. Her reaction told the whole story.

“So?” Amos asked. “What are we going to do?”

It is the word we that did the trick. After such maliciousness on her part, Lulu was overwhelmed to note that Amos was still seeking for a joint solution. Unlike Adam who distanced himself from his erring Eve, Amos still considered them united. She confessed and promised to rectify things by confessing in the presence of the pastor. Devastated, Amos did not wait. He left school that very evening and no one from our side of the hills has seen or heard of him since.

With Amos gone, Aunty Lulu could have gotten away with her lie, but her conscience would not let her. She sought audience with Jonas and gave him advance notice that she could no longer live with the burden that heavy and that she was going to spill the beans. The though of him being expelled from school, thus cutting short his career as a pastor was too much for him. So Uncle Jonas hatched another plan. He sought the service of a medicine man who gave him a portion to make Lulu forget the nonsense about making their shared secret public. He also wanted the medicine to cleanse her of her pregnancy. That way there would be nothing to stop him from his ambition.

Jonas tricked his wife into preparing the best dish he needed to take to his protégé at the mission. He gave her ingredients and instructions on how to prepare Chicken in ikungu source just the way he knew Aunty Lulu would like it. This is the food Lulu used to serve him whenever he visited as a special guest at Granma’s place where she often spent her holidays. One fine evening, he invited her to meet him at their usual rendezvous. Even though their relations had thawed, he promised her he wanted to iron out a few things with her and that he was willing to acknowledge her even if it meant being expelled from school. He even promised he would search for Amos and have him absolved from responsibility and reinstated in school. He wrote all that in a letter that was hand delivered by a young messenger who gave it to my mother asking her pass it on to her big sister who was on a self imposed seclusion. In the letter which mother read before handing over to Aunty Lulu, Amos had itemised things they would discuss and agree on.

Aunt Lulu was convinced. The meeting happened as planned. No one knows what exactly transpired. It was at dusk when Aunt Lulu came back. She sneaked in the room she shared with mother and went straight to bed. She didn’t even take supper. When mother asked her what transpired, she said Jonas served her best meal, was very loving and had promised her that her problems would be solved that same night.

“How?” Mother asked but all Aunty Lulu said was,

“He is working on it tonight. Be patient, she continued, tomorrow isn’t that far is it?”

In the small hours of morning Aunty Lulu started to haemorrhage. The local midwife was called and tried all she could to make it stop with no success. The school matron trained in the new ways of taking care of prenatal complications was also called together with the mission dispensary attendant but no medicine or therapy could stop the haemorrhage. In the meantime, Aunty Lulu was in agony and hallucinating. She kept shouting to something or someone only her was seeing, saying over and over again, “Go away you lier, so this is how you planned to solve the problem?”

Eventually she lost her speech altogether. All the while she was still struggling to say something that no one would understand. By midday, she was dead.

No one but Mother knew about the letter, the food and the stuff Jonas had talked to the late Aunty Lulu about, but she was too young for her word to be taken seriously by the grieving adults. Mother tried to search among Aunt Lulu’s stuff so she may share her worst fears with the grown ups but the letter was nowhere to be found. It was her word against a deafening silence that became her everlasting memory of Aunty Lulu.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


By Eric Kalunga

Once upon a time in land far far away there lived a little girl who had a cat. The cat was called Nunda and it was evil and it ate the neighbour’s chickens_

The neighbours complained but the little girl and her parents refused to do anything about it because the little girl loved the cat so much.

So Nunda ate and grew and it ate some more. Soon it ran out of chickens and began to eat goats. It ate the goats and it grew.

It grew so much that people began to fear it. They pleaded with the owners to get rid of it but again they did not listen.

Then nunda began to eat calfs and then cows. It ate all the cows in the village and all the goats and the sheep as well until there were no animals left.

Then it began to eat little children. By this time it was too late to do anything. The cat had grown to the size of a small house.

People tried to escape but it ran them down and ate them. Soon there was no one left but just one woman who was pregnant.

She was frightened and went to hide in the ceiling of her house. The beast never found her.

She gave birth to a baby boy. The moment that the baby came out she placed him inside a hot frying pan with sizzling oil. She fried the baby.

And the boy then leaped out of the frying pan, grown and talking.

She called him Kaukalange, child of a snake.

He asked his mother about his brothers and sisters and his mother told him that nunda ate them. He then asked where his aunts and uncles were and his mother told him that nunda ate them. He asked about his neighbours and all the other little boys and girls outside and his mother told him that nunda ate them all.

Kaukalange then vowed to kill the monster that ate his village and free everybody. So early the next morning he set out with a bow and arrows to seek and defeat the monster.

In the evening he came back dragging behind him the carcass of a huge animal.

He called out to his mother, “mother is this nunda?”

His mother peeked out of the house and shook her head, “no, my son, that is not nunda. You have just killed an elephant, nunda is a thousand times bigger.”

The next morning Kaukalange set off again in search of the monster cat. In the evening he brought back a lion.

“Mother,” he called out again, “is this nunda?”

His mother peeked out of the house and shook her head, “no, my son, that is not nunda. You have just killed a lion, nunda is a thousand times more terrifying.”

The morning after that the boy set out again to find nunda and free his people. Later that evening he came back empty handed.

His mother came out to meet to him, “what happened my son?” she asked.

He said, “I met a big and terrible animal today, we fought and I defeated it. But I couldn’t bring it here for you to see because it was too heavy.”

“Come, show me where this animal is and I shall tell you of it is the terrible nunda,” his mother told him.

Together they set off. Deep in the forest they came upon the carcass of an animal as big as a mountain. Arrows were sticking out of its body and the trees nearby were all flattened to the ground.

“Is this nunda, mother?” Kaukalange asked.

“Yes indeed my son,” his mother replied, “this is the beast that ate everyone in our village.”

Kaukalange quickly drew a knife and sliced open the belly of the beast. All the animals and people that nunda ate came tumbling out.

It was a long stream of people and animals. People set up fires to warm themselves in the night chill while waiting for others to come out of Nunda, There was great joy as old friends and relatives saw each other and hugged.

The last person to come out was Kaukalange’s uncle. He had an arrow sticking out of his left eye. One of the arrows that shot the animal went through to him. He was not very happy.

“Who did this to me?” He screamed angrily.

He wouldn’t listen when people told him it was an accident. He demanded that they hold Kaukalange for him so that he could pierce the boy’s eye in return.

At hearing this everyone was very angry. They then took him and put him back inside the stomach of nunda. Then they sew the belly shut with him still inside.

Everyone was glad to see him go. They thanked Kaukalange for freeing them and went back to the village where they lived happily ever after.

The end.