Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A long way gone; Memoirs of a boy soldier - Ishmael Beah

Imagine you were a little boy in some distant African country where the sun seems to kiss the earth and nature speaks in subtle tunes. You have always anticipated what it would look like to grow up in such a serene atmosphere when all of a sudden, war broke out between some factions in the society and you watch as your loved ones were butchered mercilessly like animals by some ruthless soilders. Against your wish, you were forced to enlist into the army and ever since then, all you have ever known is blood, war and death!
What future awaits the blood sucking animal that this once innocent African boy has been turned into?
Here is a review on a book titled, "A long way gone; Memoirs of a boy soldier - Ishmael Beah". A must read for every lover of the African art!

A captivating story of a young boy caught up in the Sierra Leone Civil War whose childhood suddenly changed in a dramatic and horrific manner from that of a young boy full of hopes and dreams to that of a boy soldier bred by an army of sociopathic and unruly rebel armed forces. He later finds redemtion at a rehabilitation camp funded by UNICEF and other NGOs which is where some hope of a normal life was restored until another way riddled the nation sending Ishmael Beah and his family on a flight for safety to the US where he now resides.

Here is a response sent by FREDRICK PASCAL MWAMBANDA on September 15th, 2007 at 1:00am.

This story is very touching and should serve as source of inspiration to the current africa continental leaders, to detest from using any means of violence to resolve their domestic differences.Our cultural diversity should instead solidify and strengthen us, since it shows our very rich history that has been enjoyed by our forefathers.If i may quote a swahili saying that goes; ‘the one who departs from his/her tradition is a slave’ rigtfully portrays how important our diverse culture is important to our identity.
The greed for power is one of the major causes of civil war, and the people who suffer most are children and mothers.These are the main elements of a family, and the family is the nucleus or core of the society.It can therefore easily be demonstrated that the repurcersion of a broken family set up will eventually disturbalise the society and the nation at large thanks to Ishmael Beah.

yours truly

Fred Mwambanda

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Women are African's Hope

I stumbled across this very short but witty piece while surfing the web about current events in Africa. I think this presents a very good perspective from which the African woman can be percieved.

"As I rested under a tree at midday a woman passed by, coming from nowhere and seemingly going nowhere. She walked past in silence. I mumbled 'Hello" in Kiswahili. Still walking with the weight of a bundle of wood on her head she turned effortlessly, almost gracefully and smiled.

'Jambo', she replied, acknowledging our presence. My thoughts turned to the heavy burdens so many African women carry, yet there is always the smile, the optimism and the hope.

Yes, the women keep this country going. As the men go to war or to drink or to work in towns far away, it is the women who carry the burden of home life. They will carry Africa into a hope-filled future.

Fr. Anthony Chantry MHM

Culled from this web page

Sunday, October 14, 2007


My beloved Africa,

On this path - this pain frosted path, laced with thorns that buries themselves deep into my flesh. On this ancient path where some have found true happiness and others lay shattered and battered and above all, heartbroken! It is on this same path, I found myself!

But my heart lingers on, taking each giant stride, one after the other. Knowing that in due course, I will experience true happiness.

But let me lay to rest my pilgrim's progress and relish in the flow of the moment. For I speak in this manner because I am not in doubt of the intellectual bountifulness of your children and I relate with you, not as with others but as would Lovers; for you and I alone know what we share.

I have graduated!

It meant nothing to me because I have waited for what seemed like eternity for it. But this morning, as I scribble this emotional piece, it is beginning to mean so much to me. It means so much to me now because I have just realized that what appears to have been an obstacle to our being together has just been subdued!

The journey so far has been rough and tough. For four years, I have laboured like my other black brothers and sisters, to distinguish myself in the gathering of men. Pursuing knowledge with all tenacity and putting all I have into it. Like Paul - the apostle, I can affirm, "I have fought the good fight of faith" - but in this case, it is a fight for survival! A fight of destiny!

I watched myself mature in character, strength, Passion and in age, over the years. I watched as my pen took upon itself a personality of its own. Graduating from prosaic writing to an elevated use of words laced with symbolic connotations and heightened poetic prosody. But as much as I relish in the rhapsody of my maturity, I still keep wondering and pondering why I don't seem to look my age! I often have to convince people of my age because according to them, I look younger than my age. Should I rejoice or be sad? I am confused!

Africa - my beloved, I have missed you in the real essence of the word "MISSED". I have tried so hard over the past few months, to wash away those lofty thoughts about you from my heart but I have met with no success! Sometimes, in the stillness of my room, when nature has gone to rest and the distant whistling of the Cricket can be heard far into the dark and still night, I cry! I cried because I love you!

I bemoan how two lovers could have been so alienated from each other for this long! I bemoan the distance that my quest for education has placed between us! I bemoan your silence, which is evident in the stillness of the evening moon during one of those long and boring nights when loneliness cast its spell on me!
I don't know what this means to you but against all odds, I have come thus far to say, "Nothing has changed about how I feel about you".

I have heard of how you have been negatively painted in the international media. I have heard of the brutal treatment meted to your children all over the globe. They have described your land as a home to corrupt practices and a den for criminals. This they have done to tarnish your image. But their lies have been revealed by those who have tasted of your lavished hospitality and bountiful harvest of natural and human resources! Be that as it may, my love for you Africa, will remain untainted with age!

The pains are only there to remind us of the sacrifices that went into bringing us together nevertheless, I see a future of bliss ahead for us. I HAVE MISSED YOU MY BELOVED AFRICA!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I have been gone for a while…

*“The firewood of this world is for only those who can take heart, that is why not all can gather it…” (Songs of sorrow – Kofi Awoonor)

I have been gone for a while, adrift in life’s frightful tides: sometimes to float, sometimes to sink, but my purpose holds, to find answers to man’s meandering destiny. “I have been somewhere, if I turn here the rain beats me, if I turn there, the sun burns me. The firewood of this world is for only those who can take heart, that is why not all can gather it”. The cries of distant Africans who waste away in a sea of bequeathed hunger, the discomfort of the voiceless African child whose rights have been trampled upon by careless and insensitive mothers whose concern lies predominantly in gratifying their selfish whorish interest! They have eaten their piece of meat, yet they scramble for ours!

I have been gone for a while, basking in the euphoria of a successful ‘selection’ process which Nigerians called election, hoping that this new era would bring with it something better. I have been gone for a while but my wandering heart has not ceased to question the irony of nature’s prejudice to the black skinned which is a sort of benediction to our white skin brothers – “I am on the worlds extreme corner. I am not sitting in the row with the eminent. But those who are lucky sit in the middle and forget!”, Yet humanity teaches that we are all equal!

I have been gone for a while, uncertain of the silver lining of the dark clouds of political rain that has gathered; the virulent storm of religious and ethnic violence which has been rocking the nation in different quarters; the volatile state of affairs in the Niger Delta region of the country and the incessant cases of kidnapping and abduction which has rocked the nation for years and has caused us disrepute in the international scene; from these national maladies, I have sought a retreat! But, for how long? “I have wandered on the wilderness – the great wilderness men call life. The rain has beaten me and the sharp stumps cut as keen as knives (but must) I go beyond and rest?”

For how long can we shy away from the harsh reality that stares our nation in the face? For how long can we live with this escapist ideology when each time we make a come back from our reveries, our troubles have been doubled! The affairs of this world are like the chameleon faeces into which I have stepped, when I clean it, it cannot go”. Our child is 47 years old, yet we still spoon feed him! When will that child learn to be self-dependent?

This pen will never cease to lend a voice to the voiceless pleas of Africans, far and near! For someday, we will embrace true democracy and liberty if not absolute equality! For let not our voice raise a song of sorrow for this great continent – Africa and our great country, Nigeria!