A Silent Song and Other Stories Guide | KCSE Setbooks Guide
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A Silent Song and Other Stories Guide

  2 hr, 30 min, 21 sec  75,163 reads 
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SYNOPSIS OF SILENT SONG AND OTHER STORIES

A Man of Awesome Power is an intriguing story about Tayyib al-Mahdi, who lives comfortable life after retiring from many years of service abroad. His current life is peaceful and uneventful. He spends time watching television, reading newspapers or listening to the radio in the comfort of his apartment that he shares with his wife since his daughters are already married. The story captures how an individual who is empowered when least expected utilizes the power given to him. His illusions of desire for a better country lead to his dream of power acquisition. 

One night, Tayyib dreams of a visitation by a man of radiant appearance who speaks to him in a kind tone, informing him that God had willed him the power to order things to be and they would be. Although he dismisses the dreamlike any other dream, its frequent recurrence makes him give it more thought. Tayyib confirms its reality when he orders his television to switch channels, and it happens. Endowed With the newly acquired power, he sets out to reform his country and the entire planet as he had often wished. 

He utilizes his power both for good and bad intentions. He starts by hitting back taxi driver who ignores him by wishing him an accident. He also causes a man who had physically attacked a woman in a bus to suffer stomach cramps. We seem engaging in meritorious deeds such as filing a gaping pothole, locking an electric box and removing a pile of rubbish that he trips on. 

The media does not escape his wrath as he causes one radio announcer to suffer massive sneezes after making an announcement that gave false hopes. As the story progresses, Sulayman Bey al-Hamalawi, a political leader who had evaded tax, isordered by Tayyib to go and pay the tax that he had been avoiding for a longtime. 

An unfortunate incident occurs when Tayyib is busy planning to effectively utilise spower for the good of all sectors in the country. He notices a beautiful woman at the entrance of the tea garden and uses his ability to satisfy his desires for her. Their intimacy costs him his incredible power. He pays this price for misusing the power that God had freely given him. The story ends with his sad realization that he no longer has power. His attempts to order the television channels to change do not bear fruits. He experiences a tremendous sadness that will haunt him for the rest of his life. 

 

CHARACTERS 

 

He is the main character in the story, and the story revolves around the awesome power that he miraculously acquires sometime after his retirement.  He does not reveal to his wife that he had been bestowed with such power. 

His initial intention is to use the ability to change his country and the entire planet like he had always wished. 

He is portrayed as religious, ambitious yet emotional and vengeful. 

EPISODIC ANALYSIS OF KEY ISSUES 

Man of Awesome Power' is founded on several pillars determined by the various episodes: 

1. Tayyib's dream — pg 1-2 

2. Utilizing the awesome power -pg 2-4 

3. Losing the awesome power- pg 5 

Nide to a silent son and other stories 

Some key issues arise from the episodes: 

Acquisition of power 

How Tayyib acquires his power teaches several things: 

One can gain power at any stage of life. 

Tayyib believed that he had completed his mission in the world. Before acquiring power, he lives a peaceful life as he enjoys the fruits of retirement. The writer notes

that 'He had generous insurance and more than adequate pension' pg 1 which do not prevent him from being given power by God. 

Power is God-given. 

Tayyib's power is bestowed on him by God. As seen from his words, "All praisetoGod, Lord of the Worlds' ', and listening to radio channels devoted to the Quran(pg1), his religious nature is one reason God willed to grant him power. The man who visits him in the dream tells him that starting that moment and as long as Godwilled, he had been bestowed with the power to order things to be and they would be. (pgl)

Utilization of Power 

Tayyib utilizes the power given to him in different incidents: 

✓ Encounter with the taxi driver (pg 2) 

✓ In the bus, to deal with the conflict between a man and a woman (pg3). ✓ Performing memorable services along his way to the cafe (pg 3). ✓ The radio announcer (pg 3). 

✓ Tayyib's wrath on Sulayman Bey al-Hamalawi (pg 3-4). ✓The beautiful woman in the Tea Garden (pg 4). 

Good utilization of power 

The episode shows how a person bestowed with power should utilize it. Tayyib Soliloquy during his encounter with the taxi driver captures the need to use power for the well-being of others and to make things better. 'Whoever is granted with power like mine, must utilize it only for good.' (pg 2) 

He uses the power to do several good deeds. Some of the outstanding servicesthat Tayyib performs include filling a gaping pothole, locking an electric box that was open and hanging dangerously, removing a pile of trash and draining sewer water that was flooding an alley. Many people in the neighborhood appreciate these services. (p 3). 

He also does a good deed of making Sulayman, who has been evading tax, gotothetaxi authorities and pay them millions of pounds he owed them. (pg3). 

Misuse of power 

Tayyib utilizes the power given to him for vengeance- The act of causing the tireburst of the taxi since the driver had ignored him is vengeful. Tayyib ignores the noble voice that reminds him not to use power for wrong purposes and lets his anger get the best of him. (pg 2) 

Tayyib causes harm/pain and suffering to the man who had slapped a woman public bus. Severe cramps strike the man, following Tayyib's anger focusedontheman's stomach. (pg3) 

He uses power to satisfy his lustful desires when he sees a beautiful womanand

makes her notice him, making them surrender to fate. (pg 4) Role of the Media 

The media is seen to fail in its role. It dwells more on giving false promises/hope instead of telling what had already been achieved. When Tayyib gets into thecafé, he listens to a radio announcer expounding on promising developments expected in future (pg 3). Tayyib's fury is directed at the announcer, causing him to suffer massive sneezing, forcing him to end the announcement and play a song. The Song- 'Walk Around and See' is ironically used to satirize the media for highlighting and emphasising what is yet to be seen (prophesies) instead of dwelling on the reality that can be seen. 

Immorality 

Sexual immorality is seen when Tayyib utilises his power to make the beautiful woman he notices in the Tea Garden fall for his advances. The woman barely noticesTayyib when she gets to the garden, but Tayyib shifts her attention to himself through the power he has. He forgets his faith and his life (Lack of self control) and surrender to fate. 

Tax evasion is another immorality that is seen in the story. Many leaders use their powerful positions to evade paying their taxes, such as Sulayman Bey al- Hamalawi. When Tayyib notices him, he commands, "Sulayman Bey, go straight to the tax prosecutor's office to repent and say you are sorry up the millions of pounds you owe." (pg 3) 

Loss of Power 

If power is not utilized for 'good', it will be lost. Tayyib loses his awesome power when he comes back to his senses and realizes that he had made some mistake. Although he had been secretive about his power, his wife Haniya keenly observed that he was not in his usual mood that evening. Tayyib's deceitful/ dishonest nature is depicted when he easily lies to his wife that he had a cold. Unfortunately, for Tayyib, he loses his power due to his mistakes. 'The miracle was gone —like a dream.' (pg 5) 

Change 

Tayyib confirms that he has been bestowed with power by ordering television channels to change. Changing the television channel from a religious one toaforeign one foreshadows the changes that happen to Tayyib once he acquires power. 

He is initially described as 'A good man; his sins were forgivable, he was a lover of virtue.. ...' (pg 2). However, power changes him. He becomes vengeful, lustful, deceitful and inhumane. He forgets his faith and life and lets passion and lust control him, which had never happened since he married Haniya. (pg 4) 

Power also helps change the risky living condition of the people gaping potholes

dangerously hanging an open electric box, Sewer flooding on alleys and piles of rubbish on the way. All these are rectified through Tayyib power (pg 3) 

INCIDENT IN THE PARK: Meja Mwangi 

Episodes / sub-episodes 

l. The description of the city park in August afternoon. (p6 - 7). 2. Two idlers' dialogue at the pond. - 10). 

3. An ambush by two city constables in the park ending in violence. 4. The fruit merchant condemned unheard. (p 12). 

SYNOPSIS 

The incident in the park, by Meja Mwangi, is a contemporary episode set in the city park and its environs were most citizens, hustlers and workers, spend most of their time as an Outdoor recreation center. We know it is the popular Uhuru Park inNairobi through its vivid description.

 

Metaphorically described, the park is seriously affected by the drought in August. There is a dirty lake at its base, and to the west, up the hill, a cathedral, modern fortresses and ministerial Offices overlooking the park below, and across it is the city itself. A highway, Uhuru highway, separates the park from the city, and onit, there is heavy traffic. In the east, parliament and two city clocks are seen. 

 

Therefore, the park provides a relaxing haven (chilling point) and a source of solace for the misplaced, lost Or frustrated masses flocking the city daily. This has attracted many people. including peddlers trying to make ends meet and idlers killing time here. The city's hungry office workers also buy cheap snacks during the lunch hour and return to their stations. Others rush down to River Road to buy chips and roast meat as the loiterers watch the Spectre in a jiffy. 

 

Soon, the park is left With a few idlers and peddlers. Under the slightest shadeliemen sheltering from the scorching sun. Watchers watch rowers paddling, reacting to the maxim that spectating is the next best thing to participating. A loafer keeps dropping debris to the fish pond despite the warning inscription on a board. Another man joins him, and a dialogue ensues, and they share a cigarette. 

 

An incident erupts when two city constables demand to see the license Of the icecream man and a fruit seller. The Old man helplessly searches and realizes he doesn't have it. Worse. he has no identity card, so he offers the five shillings he has, for he fears the judge and going to jail. He begs for forgiveness, offering all the fruits in vain. On seeing they are unimpressed, he flees to find refuge in the crowded city, and the cops chase him. He is nabbed by a man on the highway and eventually falls into a ditch. There, the poor man is condemned unheard of for being a 'thief'. 

Title of the story 

What is the significance Of the title Incident in the park? What is ironic about the two constables' behavior at the park? How else do the people spend time at the park? 

Thematic concerns 

With evidence from the text, discuss the urban problem that leads to the destitution of the masses. 

How does the city's jobless population escape their wretchedness? Compare and contrast the city workers and the jobless masses. What are the harsh realities of city life and the illusion of a better, promising life?How does the rural-urban influx affect people's lives? 

What does the presence of butts, used matches and stubs at the park tell you? How does the lack of identity cards and licenses affect peddlers?

Juxtapose the kind of identification the police demand from the fruit vendor and that awaits him at the mortuary. 

Referring closely to the fruit-seller shows how the mob and the legal system administer justice. 

Why does the merchant resort to flight and fight for his life instead of overcoming his fight for the justice system? 

Who is to blame for the death of the fruit-seller, the constables, the public, or the vendor himself? 

What lessons can be taken from the incident at the city park? 

What does the fruit seller's mention of the 'tyrant judge' tell us about the justice system? 

Problems of urbanization 

Urban population growth, driven by migration and searching for jobs, has become significant issue in cities like Nairobi. 

However, the masses end up frustrated due to a skills mismatch in the labor market, dwindling economy and poor governance. But every now and then, displaced person rose with a start... (p7). 

In a few seconds, the thousand or so strong swarm had been swallowed up by the yawning concrete jungle... (p7). 

Urban poverty is also witnessed as many remain loitering and idling reminding the park loungers just how many hours they had wasted lying idle.' (p7). 'A shaggy thin man sat under a shrub...' (p7). ' hairy loafer' (p8). ' The idler seated on the bank...' (p8)torn trouser legs.' (p8) 

'horny toes. (p9L 

There is also evidence of poor hygiene. The park is littered with debris, cigarette ends and butts. (p8,9). The two gentlemen share puffs on the cigarette. One offers a full cigarette, and smoking in this zone could be a form of escapism from their poverty. (p10). 

• The fruit seller has only ten shillings which he offers to the constables to sparehim. He cannot afford to pay for the license, or even the fine has on another case. (pl 1).

• Conflicts between city authority and street hawkers 

When the two constables accost and demand licenses from the ice cream anand the fruit peddler, they tell the merchant that he will only explain to the judge. 

• The fruit seller already has a case and is trying to sell to afford a fine. (pl 1). The Fruit seller pleads with the constables, who say nothing. 7he fruit seller cursed them and their wives and children... (PI 1). 

•Mob justice / Social injustice 

• The fruit seller is lynched unknowingly by the park people. By the time the constable ran up, the fruit-peddler lay like a broken and twisted ragdoll at the bottom of the ditch. (p12) 

• He cries and pleads for mercy in vain. . had drawn thick red blood over the sparsely bearded face. Dead' was his verdict (p12) 

• The word 'thief' hovered over the assembled crowd. the mob universally condemned him, and it is impossible to tell from which mouth the condemnation is issued. (p12) 

• Ironically the mob had had what was right. Justice fairly quickly and completely administered ... (PI 2). 

CHARACTERS The fruit seller 

• He is a poor old man who sells fruits at the park. He has no license or identity card. (pl l) 

• He is a responsible man as he remembers he has a family which depends on when accosted. I have a wife and children and... (PI 1). 

• He is hardworking because he sells fruits (two baskets) to earn his living despite being unable to afford a license. (PI l) 

• He is afraid and fearful that he will be fined or be castrated by the tyrant judge. (pl l)• Style and language use 

1. What figures of speech does the writer use to describe the park and events tinthepark? 

2. Why is it ironic for the fruit peddler to flee from the constables and lose his life?A comprehensive and detailed guide to a silent song and other stories 3. Explore the use of dialogue in Meja Mwangi's Incident in the Park. 

1. Urban centers are riddled with frequent conflicts with innocent Citizens. Discuss The truth of this assertion based on Meja Mwangi’s Incident in the Park. (20 marks).

 

CINEMA -Vrenika Pather- South Africa 

About the Author Vrenika Pather 

Vrenika Pather is mainly known for her acting prowess since she started her career as an actress at the age of eighteen. The Indian lady of South African originals written a few short stories, one of them being Ninema. Her stories mainly tell the life that many Indian ladies live and their everyday's encounters. 

Points to guide interpretation 

1. Tough life of a market vendor: 

• Rising early 

• Poor meals 

• Poor/lack of proper grooming • Dealing with different customers 2. Caste and relationships. 

3. Sexual harassment/immorality. 

4. Need to remain principled and focused. CHARACTERS a. Cinema She is one of the market gardeners who serves as the main character in the story. 

She is focused, ambitious, organized and strong-willed. Her admirable trait isseeninhow fond the other ladies are of her 

A comprehensive and detailed guide to a silent song and other stories and how many of her customers remain loyal. b. Mr Chinran He is a white man who is a loyal customer of Ninema. 

He admires Ninema, but both know that their relationship is prohibited since they're from different castes. While Mr Chinran is a wealthy lawyer from a Brahmincaste, Cinema is a poor girl from a low caste. 

He supports Ninema's business by buying more than enough herbs from her. c. Mrs Singh 

She is a wealthy older woman who is a loyal customer. 

She is known for haggling over prices, thus being difficult and troublesome. Shespends time negotiating with Ninema as a way of passing the time. d. The strange man 

He is the man who accosts Cinema on her way from the market. He is immoral, vulgar and lascivious.

 

SYNOPSIS 

Vrenika Father's story Cinema', is about the harsh life of market gardeners as represented by Ninema and the other ladies. The story explores the hustles that Ninema goes through on a typical market day, starting from rising at the wee hours of the morning to closing time which is late in the evening. Her home life is simple, suggesting the poor living conditions of such vendors. She has to prepare before going to the Indian market where she makes her sales. She only washes her face and feet with cold water from an outside tap since she cannot afford running hot water. This affects her grooming as she takes a bath once a week. She puts on her Chum Pal, symbolizing the poor condition and the only source of protection for her feet while on the way to and from the market. 

Cinema remains focused and does not let her beauty and attention from both men and women control her. Once in the market, Cinema organizes her herbs appetizingly to attract customers. 

The market condition is challenging as the weather is not favorable. It is hot, andNinema sweats until her Sari clings to her firm skin. 

She handles different customers who buy her herbs with wisdom and respect. Her focus in business enables her not to get carried away by Mr Chinran's attraction towards her. She does not encourage his infatuation with her but treats him like any other customer. with respect and appreciation. 

She firmly handles the troublesome and difficult Mrs Singh. Many customers who visit her stall are served well and are satisfied as she takes a personal interest in them. Her doctor, Dr Seedat, visits too, and she takes time talking to him about her mother's ailment. 

Having served her last customer,Ninema closes her stall after taking stock of the unsold herbs and her profit for the day. The rot in society is seen when a strangeman sexually assaults Ninema on her way home. He pinches her erect nippleandlaughs loudly before extending some invitation for Ninema to follow him. Ninema does not take this abuse lying down. She utilizes the only weapon she has —her chumpal, that protects the soles of her feet and her whole self. She hits the man repeatedly with her sandals as the other women cheer her on. The man is too shocked to react and thus ends up being beaten by Ninema until he whimpers. 

Feeling satisfied, Cinema continues with her journey home. She goes back to the poor condition she left in the morning. She safely keeps her sandals under the kitchen table before washing her face and feet with cold water, just like she had done in the morning. She takes a rest that leads her to a dream of a better tomorrow. 

The story ends with hopeful/optimistic Cinema, who dreams of having a home for herself, hot water and a kitchen inside the house. 

QUESTIONS 

1. Compare and contrast Ninema and other lady marketers 

2. What is ironic about Mrs Singh's behavior?

3. Cinema is a likable and admirable character. Do you agree? Give evidence from the story. 

4. How effectively has Vrenika Pather used description in the story? EPISODIC ANALYSIS OF KEY ISSUES 

I. Living conditions of Cinema - Pg13 and 16 

Il. Cinema's skill of trade - Pg 14-15 

Ill. Journey home - Pg 16 

Several issues are addressed in these episodes: 

The harsh life of a market gardener 

• As a market gardener, Cinema faces a tough life that calls for her principled, hardened(iron-willed), focused, firm, hardworking and determined. 

• She has to wake up very early to reap the herbs from herb garden - 'Four o'clockonMonday morning'. Page 13 

• Signs of acceptance always accompany her work — she faces many challenges and is winning. Page 13 

Nine lives a poor life - she cannot afford running hot water. She only washes her face and feet with cold water from an outside tap Page 13. 

• She has to carry the basket containing the herbs on her head as she walks the long journey to the Indian market 'It is a long walk' Page 14 

• She only wears her sandals when going to the market. The kind of meals shetakespoints to the poor life she takes a few sips of tea she brought with her Page14

(breakfast) 

• Some sandwiches that she packed from home are her only meal for lunchPage15. 

Time is limited for her — she only affords a weekly shower on Saturday after boiling water on the open fire Page Dealing with different kinds of customers 

Mr Chinran admires her and can almost be said to be in love with her. 'The lady teased her, saying he was in love with her. The writer also tells us that NinemamadeMr Children's day. He is almost always the first customer. Ninema handles him wisely and does not let this attraction control her. She does not encourage his infatuation but treats him with respect and appreciation like she does all her loyal customers. (pg14) 

She also has to handle demanding customers such as Mrs Singh, who though rich, will always bargain to lower the prices. Cinema shows her masterful skills by firmly and respectively handling her. (pg14)

 

She serves many affluent customers at lunch hour who are steadily flowing to get herbs for their evening meals. She pays personal interest to each as she has an ambition of living a better life just like most of these customers. (pg15) 

• Time limitation allows her to consult with her doctor - Dr Seedat, only when he comes to buy herbs from her. The two talk about Ninema's mother's illness showing that Ninema is equally concerned about her mother. 

• She can entice a new customer by offering an extra bunch of mint for free. (pg15) This generosity makes the customer happy, thus promising to always shopwith her. 

Class discrimination 

The Indian society that Ninema hails from has a strong belief in the castle where those from the high caste — Brahmin Caste, are not allowed to intermarry with those from the lower caste. This is seen in her association with Mr Chinran. 'As muchasNinema dismisses the teasing of the ladies that Mr Chinran is in love with her, she's also aware that a rich lawyer from a Brahmin caste cannot be interested in someone like her — a poor girl from a low caste (pg14). Mr Chinran himself knows it too, and thus their relation can never go beyond early morning herb buys.He further understands that his mother will soon arrange a marriage for him, most probably a person from his caste. 

Hard Work/focus/determination 

The writer emphasizes the importance of hard work, focus and determinationinanindividual's life. Through the main character Ninema, the benefits of the three traits are depicted. 

Ninema's hard work is seen in how she rises early — four o'clock Monday morning, and goes to her garden to reap herbs. Her hard work in the garden has borne fruits since her crops are described as being healthy (pg13). Her hardworking nature also seen in how she ably attends to the many wealthy customers who flock other stall, especially during lunchtime. Even though the stall is busy and Ninema is quite busy, she ably attends to all customers and takes a personal interest (pg15). 

Ninema's hard work does not go unrewarded. She has several loyal customers who visit her stall daily. She has a steady flow of customers and feels she will need to sow more seeds to keep up with the rising demand (pg15). 

She does not let anything distract her from her business. She remains focused, which essentially aids to success in her business. The writer points out Ninema's beauty that makes heads turn when she walks through vivid descriptions. 'She is a beautiful woman... her hips sway from side to side as she moves... .Her thin, chiffon sari drapes effortlessly around her perfect body as if kept in place by her high, firm breasts. Long, toned arms and a cinched waist cause men to stop and stare' (pg13). 

Despite receiving this attention, Ninema keeps calm and focuses on her business.

'Ninema does not take the attention she gets to the heart. Her concern is with earning a living' (Pg14). 

Her focus is further seen where while other lady hawkers chat amiably with each other as they work, Cinema rarely talks back since she has no time to waste (pg14). 

Sexual assault/harassment 

The writer points out the sexual harassment faced by many women in society. Theencounter between Ninema and the stranger on her way home shows howwomensuffer sexual abuse even in public places. The man approaching Cinema grins lasciviously at her before extending his arm to pinch her erect nipple. As if this is not enough, he extends an invitation to Ninema — "If you liked that follow me." (Pg16). episode satirises men who assume women are sex objects to be mishandled. 

Ninema's reaction to the abuse is unexpected. The man is shocked when Ninemafollows him and hits him repeatedly with her Chumpal. She gives him a few extra hits on behalf of all the women.' (Pg 6) This shows that many women have beenvictims of sexual abuse but end up not fighting back. Cinema thus portrays a courageous personality as she fights for herself and even for the helpless women who had been or would-be victims of such abuse. 

NB 

The story "Ninema' is a story of hope. Ninema has hope that her life will change at some point. As the story ends, Ninema dreams of the home that will be hers someday soon: The house will have hot water too, and the kitchen will be on the inside. She will also have her large garden to grow herbs and some fruits for herself (pg16). 

QUESTIONS 

1. To succeed in business, one must have the necessary skills to handle customers. Using Ninema in Veronika's Pather's 'Ninema' supports this. 2. "Hard work and determination pays", Using illustrations fromNinemashowthe validity of this statement. 

3. Women traders experience challenges in their lives. Show howNinemadealswith these challenges. 

4. Ninema is an admirable character. Support from the story Ninema.

 

Leonard Kibera - Kenya About 

the author: 

Leonard Kibera is a Kenyan novelist and short story writer. Kibera was born inKabete, Kenya, attended high school at Embu and studied at the University of California and Stanford University. He taught at the University of Zambia and at Kenyatta University, Kenya, from 1976 until his death. His first publication was book of short stories, Potent Ash (1968), which he wrote with his brother, Samuel Kahiga. The book explores the guilt, betrayal, and failure of the Mau Mau. Several of the stories have been anthologized, especially The Spider's Web, which points an accusing finger at Kenya's elite for the state of Kenya since independence. Hisonlynovel, Voices in the Dark (1970), uses dark humor to question why most MauMausoldiers who fought for independence were forgotten and left to beg and die along the roadside. Kibera has also written several articles of literary criticism. EPISODES

1. Mbane's life of misery in the streets as a lame, blind beggar. (p17 - 19). 2. Mbanes's lonely self versus the bubbly world around him. (p18 - 19). 3. Mbane's nostalgia. (p18). 

4. Mbane's brother, Ezekiel, rescues him. (p19 20). 

SYNOPSIS 

A Silent Song by Leonard Kibera is a story about Mbane, a young, paralyzed, blindcat street beggar. He lives in destitution, begging from the passers-by while seething with pain and discomfort. His brother, a wealthy preacher, 'rescues' him from the barbaric city unto the 'light of God' after neglecting him for a long time. 

Mbane painfully reminisces his street life with nostalgia at his brother's lonely hut. He is not as happy though he is now in a more serene environment. He remembersthe bright weather, lovely morning and beautiful sunset as the city dwellers, pedestrians, dull and gay people during the day talk. At night, the good men and women turned drunk, pimps and whore galore had their turn to smile. He begs day and night for a living.

He is nursed by Sarah, his brother's wife, who administers bitter fluid down his throat. He swallows it painfully, and she assures him of being well. His religious brother, Ezekiel, preaches to him about Christ, the saved ones and sinners. He asks him whether he knows where sinners go when they die and whether he accepts Jesus, and Mbane says he doesn't know. Before he saves him, Mbane's strength wanes, the pain goes, his head jerks down to the bed, and he is gone. 

Title of the story 

1. Discuss the relevance of the title of the story, A Silent Song. 2. Brainstorm about the paradox in the title, A Silent Song. 

THEMATIC CONCERNS 

1. Explore the following themes as brought out in the story, A Silent Song. 

a) Pain and misery of physical handicap 

b) Religious hypocrisy 

c) Prostitution and sexual slavery 

d) Alcoholism and escapism 

Pain and misery of Physical handicap 

• In a sense, A Silent Song, an oxymoron, paradoxically echoes the moments of soul searching and reflections that mbane has had over the period he stays on the street. This creates a more vivid picture of his life and a cathartic emotional impact. 

• The miserable life on the street as a crippled, blind beggar seems less painful than in his brother's desolate hut, where he is lonely and suffering. (p18). • He has been speaking to himself in his thoughts and for a long time on the street except for his mechanical plea of 'Yes?', he has no one else to address but himself. (p19). 

• Mbanes undergoes much pain, agony, and suffering on the streets because of his life circumstances. Being blind and lame has impaired his ability to live everyday life. 'Sharp pangs', 'savage fury', pain tore his stomach'. (PI 7- 19). 

• He crawled on his knees and elbows... suddenly sharp pangs from his navel tore... He was paralyzed. Then the pain disappeared... but he knew it had only recoiled for another attack. (PI 7). 

• He has heard noises, songs, and sounds of different people, but he retires to solitude, and thoughts start going through his mind at the end of the day. It's Like a dream, a song of hope, and he sings his happy song silently to himself, secretly. (p20). 

• Mbane ponders the meaning of light to him... light means to a blind man... (p19). 

• At the point of death, as his brother urges him to get saved, with reticence, he ponders on God's place and meaning in his life. 

• People despise him on the streets. Good Christian men and women would once again curse and call him able-bodied, only crippled more every day by the idleness of leisurely begging. (p19). 

• He sits there (street back lane) and waits for his journey's end. His body smells of sweat, unwashed except in the rain, which he could but feel. (p20). • There is a wide gap between his beliefs and his brother's. His tortured body is already separated from his free soul when he dies. (p20). 

• The soul has already communicated in his silent song, smiling, at peace with his hosts, himself and everyone. (p20). 

Religious hypocrisy/Pretentious piety 

• Mbane's brother, Ezekiel, is so devoted to God a preacher but neglects him fora long time till he realizes Mbane is nearing his death. 

• He picks him up and brings him to his hut, claiming it is rescuing only for Mbane to feel lonelier and more miserable. "I rescued you from that barbaric city so that you can see the light of God. (p18). 

• The desolate hut is not a habitable place for him. It has a flea-ridden floor. (PI 7). 

• He could tell that there was meaning in his brother's silence of late... (p18). • Asked whether he knows a man called Jesus, he says "Yes' ', but whether he believes and accepts him, Mbane says, "1 don't know," and his brother saysMbane is worse than a Judas. This portrays hypocrisy, and Christians wouldn't talk like this. 

• It is ironical and hypocritical for Ezekiel to tell Mbane, "Mbane —I want Christ to save you..." (p20) as though he has already judged him as a sinner and that "Christ" will come down from heaven to do the good to him while his brother watches. 

• There is a pretense in the way good Christian men and women curse and call him names instead of bringing the 

• excellent knowledge of Christ to him. '... able-bodied, only crippled more everyday by the idleness of leisurely begging'. (p19). 

• He could only yearn impotently beyond the reach of darkness and lameness. At times, self-pity overcame him. (p18 - 19). 

• The God of the Gospel and religion are comforts beyond the reach of a wretched cripple. His God is his only hope of 

• deliverance from pain, destitution and despair. (p18 - 20). Prostitution and sexual slavery 

• There is evidence of such sexual evils as commercial sex and promiscuity. (p18). 

• The blind man knows, sees, and recalls City Street with nostalgia. Thenoises, drum beating and rhythms which Mbane calls the voices of good men and women turned drunk in the refuge of the night brothels, pimps and whoresgalore. (p18).

 

Alcoholism and escapism 

• The street, especially the back lane, had taught Mbane a lot 

..good men and women turned drunk in the refuge of the night brothels, pimps and whores galore. (PI 8). 

CHARACTERS 

l. Cite evidence from the text on the existence of the following character traits portrayed in A Silent Song. 

a) Mbane: observant, patient, skeptical, enduring... 

b) Ezekiel: selfish, cruel, hypocritical. .. 

c) Sarah: reserved, 

2. How can you tell that Mbane 'sees' and knows a lot in the city street despitebeingblind? 

STYLE AND LANGUAGE USE 

1. Why is it ironic for Ezekiel to claim to rescue his brother Mbane from a barbaric city? 

2. Why is Mbane reluctant to accept Christ? 

IVORY BANGLES 

By Eric Ng'maryo - Tanzania 

About the Author- Ng'maryo. 

Eric Ng'maryo is a published poet who has written poems such as Escape andTheJourney of Us. Although he is a practicing advocate in Tanzania, he is also respected for his creative writings which include the short story 'Ivory Bangles' 

Points to guide interpretation of the story 

 The pebble's message to the old man. 

 The tradition that demands wife battering. What happens to the old man

when he fails to carry out the ritual beating? 

 Polygamy and its value — The view of the old man regarding polygamy. ➢

The relationship between the old man and his wife ➢The conflict that exists between humans and wildlife. 

 Effects of failing to heed the advice given to an individual. THE TITLE

'IVORY BANGLES' 

The title captures the bangles that the wife wears- Twenty-four ivory bangles that were gifted to her by the old man on the day their firstborn and now only son is named. 

The Ivory bangles thus are a symbol of love that the wife enjoys from the oldman. 

The title also signifies the human-wildlife conflict that exists. For the old man to carve the bangles for his wife, he had to shoot an elephant with a poisoned arrow to get the ivory he used. 

CHARACTERS a. The old man 

He is the chief's councilor, a respected elder who is also a woodcarver and a brave warrior. 

He is married to only one wife. This causes some concern since it is unheard of for a chief to be monogamous. It portrays him as an alienated person who fails to follow the ways of his people. 

He is expected to beat his wife to avert her death, as the seer's pebbles dictated but is hesitant to do so b. The wife 

She is an attractive woman who the old man loves very much. 

She treats him with affection, making him return the favor by not molesting her until old age. 

Her cunning attempt to evade catastrophe as prophesied by the seer leads to her death. 

SYNOPSIS 

'Ivory bangles' by Eric Ng'maryo portrays a society rooted in some traditional practices that whoever departs from them ends up suffering some calamity. The Story begins with a troubled old man moving towards his house. Although his body moves, his thoughts are disturbed by the seer's words. 

The old man had consulted the seer after noticing traces of blood in the goat's liver that he had slaughtered. The people believed that such an occurrence was abdomen, so the old man consulted the tribal seer. 

The seer discloses that pebbles demand that he has to give his wife the ritual beating. However, the old man is hesitant to beat his wife, whom he much loves, asis seen from the fact that he had gifted her with twenty-four Ivory bangles that sheadorns throughout. 

We learn of the old man's life with his wife in the past through several flashbacks. We learn of his refusal to marry another wife even after he is made the chief'scouncillor, and the chief advises him to do so. The chief appreciates her attractiveness in another flashback as she is adorned in twenty-four ivory bangles. 

The old man tells the chief that he carved the ivory bangles for herself using the ivory he shot from the elephant using a poisoned arrow. 

When he gets home, his wife warmly receives him and his attempts to disclosetheseer's message do not succeed until much later in the night. The wife asks him to have his meal first, and after the two enjoy an intimate moment. When he later discloses the pebbles' message to his wife, she comes up with a scheme on how to cheat the pebbles. 

The following day, the old man goes to work while the wife goes to the market, where he hears people talking about a herd of elephants approaching the plains. Shestrategizes on the things she would do before faking her beating and going back to her brother's home. On her way home, she hears cries from scouts who warn people to beware of the approaching herd of six elephants led by a giant bull. 

After getting home, the wife prepares a meal for her husband and decides to till a piece of the grove that the husband had said was weedy. Unfortunately, she is killed by the bull elephant that catches her unaware. The people find her in a shallow grave after being crushed by the elephant. Her ivory bangles are also shattered. Her foreshadowed death is a lesson that failing to heed wise advice can lead to disastrous outcomes. 

EPISODIC ANALYSIS OF KEY ISSUES Episodes 

• A visit to the seer and pebbles demand - pg 21-22 • Shared moments between the old man and his wife —pg 22- 23. • The naming ceremony of the old man's son -pg 23 • The scheme —pg 24 

• A visit to the marketplace -pg 24-25 

• The wife's death- pg 25 

The following are some issues that arise from the episodes: TRADITIONS Believe in the seer 

The old man visits the seer, considered a priest of the people (Pg. 21). 

He goes to the seer because of his superstitious nature. He had to consult these since he had noted blood specks on the liver of a goat that he had slaughtered(pg. 21). 

Ritual beating/molesting of wife 

When the old man visits the seer, the pebbles disclose that the spirits were jealousof a happy wife, a woman unmolested by the husband until old age (pg. 21). It is not acceptable for a wife to enjoy a comfortable life with her husband in this community. 

The husband is thus expected to molest his wife to ensure that she doesn't enjoy happiness. Failure to do so would lead to a disastrous outcome as the pebbles foretell the wife's death.

The pebbles demand that the old man give his wife a thorough beating (ritual beating)and then send her back to her parents (pg. 22). Although the man tries to seek an alternative way to appease the spirits, like offering several goats, the pebbles insist that he must give a wife thorough beating and send her to her parents after the beating. 

The tradition of wife-beating/molestation is further seen through the old man's son. Unlike his father, the son had embraced the culture of wife battering, something that bothers his mother moments before her death. She is weeding the weed- infested grove when she remembers they had weeded the same patch only three weeks before, together with her daughter-in- law Leveri. She reminisces how her son had beaten Leveri to 'a fingernail's distance to her grave' (pg. 25). This shows the violent nature of her son and how traditional he was since he embraced wifebeating. 

Naming of children 

The naming of children is seen as an essential practice. We learn that the twentyfour ivory bangles that the wife wears were gifted to her when their only son was given name (pg. 23). 

The value of child naming is also seen because the old man's grandson is named after him. The writer refers to the young boy as her 'husband' (pg. 23). 

Polygamy and its effects 

The tradition of polygamy and its value comes out during the moments shared by the old man and his wife. After serving him his evening meal, the wife patronises the old man by calling him the son of a chief. The writer explains the position held by the old man — the chief's councilor (pg. 22). This position makes hima respected man. It, however, raises some debate as people talk much about him since he is monogamous. This is seen where the writer says, 'He still was the chief's councilor, much respected, but also much talked about because he had only one wife.. ..' (Pg.22). 

His monogamous status was a concern for the aging chief, who told him to get another wife (pg.23). This shows that the old man's society values the tradition of polygamy, and one who does not engage in it is considered a failure. 

The old man, however, holds a differing opinion about polygamy. His response to the chief via a riddle shows his view of polygamy: 

A woman went to the riverside 

Tie woman wanted to fetch water 

The woman had one water pot 

The woman arrived at the water point 

The woman found another water pot

The woman came back with a pot 

The woman brought a water pot with potsherds, not water (Pg. 23 The chief's interpretation of the riddle: 

"A wife, a co-wife, witchcraft and death" (Pg.23) explains that the old man considers having more than one wife as witchcraft 

LOVE 

The moments shared between the old man and his wife (pg. 22-23) point to their love. The kind of reception the old man receives when he gets home shows how much the wife loves and cares for him. 'His wife come unstrapped his leather sandals and led him behind the house to the lean-to, bathed him and rubbed him with sharp smelling unguent' (pg. 22). Her loving care is further seen when she asks him to have his meal first before they can talk about what the husband had heard that day (pg. 22). 

How the husband addresses the wife also shows that he loves her. Despite her old age, the husband calls her "girl" (pg. 22), a form of endearment. He also appreciates the meal she has cooked for him. "You cook, woman," he thanked, stretching himself and yawning (pg. 22). 

Their love is also seen from the intimacy they share once the wife joins the old man where he lay. rlhe old man tries to talk to her about the demands of the seer, but she ignites his past leading to an intimate moment. 'He unsprung slowly, when it came, it was like an intricate tattoo on a drum, coming unexpectedly and stopping suddenly, leaving the air quiet and pure.'(Pg. 23). 

Tie twenty-four ivory bangles that the old man gifted his wife on the day of naming their son also show how much he loved her. Specifically, the eight bangles she wore on either hand were etched with mnemonic marks for a long love poem(pg. 23). 

HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT 

The flashback of the naming ceremony of the old man's wife 'As she moved twenty-four ivory bangles she wore clanked like many castanets' (pg. 23). Elephants Had to be killed to obtain the ivory used to make the bangles. 

The truthfulness of this observation is seen when the chief also noted how attractive the old man's wife looked in the many ivory bangles she wore. The old man proudly explains to the chief that he made the bangles himself from the ivory he got when he shot an elephant using a poisoned arrow (pg. 23). 

Towards the end of the story, people in the marketplace talk about the herd of elephants approaching the plains. They fear the destruction that the herd will cause. They hope that those who know how to use poisoned arrows will save the situation(pg. 24). 

The ultimate sign of the conflict is the death of the old man's wife, who a wounded bull elephant kills. In an ironic turn of events, the old man's wife, whose husband had killed an elephant and used its ivory to make bangles for the wife as a sign of love, ends up killed by a wounded elephant. 'After bashing her on trees and banana plants, the wounded bull elephant put her on the ground and repeatedly stamped on her. They found her thus in a shallow grave: a mass of flesh and blood and shattered ivory bangles.'(pg. 25). The love is shattered by the same creatures whose ivory was used to make symbols of love. 

FAILURE TO HEED ADVICE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 

The seer's advice to the old man who consulted him is that the pebbles demanded ritual beating of his wife to avert the death of wife. old man is hesitant and offers to give some goats, but the pebbles insist on the beating and send her off to her parents after beating. Instead of heeding the seer's advice, the old man andhiswife develop a scheme on how to cheat the pebbles. The wife proposes putting up show by pretending to have been beaten. 

Their failure to follow the demands of the pebbles results in what the seer had foretold-The death of the wife who the wounded bull elephant kills as she is weeding. 

Although the wife's death is closely linked to the seer's warning, it can also be seen to be due to the wife's recklessness and failure to heed the warnings of the scouts. The wife heard the scout's warning when they noted the elephants were approaching. 'As she slowly made her way home, she heard the cries. They came from scouts who were perched on trees, observing elephants and warning people of the beasts' movement... 'Beware! People Of Mtorobo's homestead! The five she elephants are now in your banana grove! The bull is on the path coming from the stream' (pg. 24- 25). 

The wife chooses to weed at the groove instead of heeding the warning and staying home. NB: The writer has extensively used flashbacks to help us understand past life of the old man and his wife. 

QUESTIONS ON STYLES 

1) What is the effectiveness of flashbacks in this story? 2) What is ironic about the following? 

a) The wife being called "girl" by the husband? 

b) How does the wife die? 

3) What has the writer achieved by extensive use of dialogue? 4) Using an oral literature device in the story communicates

THE SINS OF THE FATHERS Charles 

Mungoshi -s Zimbabwe About the 

author: 

Charles Mungoshi was born in 1947 and raised in a farming family in the Chivhu Area Of Zimbabwe. After leaving school, he worked with the Forestry Commission Before Joining Textbook Sales. From 1975 to 1981, he worked at the Literature Bureau Asan Editor and at Zimbabwe Publishing House for the next five years. In 1985-87hewasWriter in Residence at the University of Zimbabwe, and since then, he has worked as freelance writer, scriptwriter and editor. Charles Mungoshi has written novels short stories in both Shona and English and two collections of children's stories, Stories from a Shona Childhood and One Day Long Ago (Baobab Books, 1989 and 1991); the former won him the Noma Award. 

He has also continued to write poetry and has one published collection: The Milkmandoesn't only deliver Milk (Baobab Books, 1998). He has won the CommonwealthWriters Prize (Africa region) twice, in 1988 and 1998, for two collections of short stories: The Setting Sun and The Rolling World (Heinemann, 1987) and WalkingStill (Baobab Books, 1997). Two of his novels: Waiting for the Rain (Heinemann 1975) and Ndiko kupindana Kwa mazuva (Mambo Press, 1975), received International PENawards. 

Episodes / sub-episodes 

1) lRondo's family in bereavement. (p26 - 31). 

2) Rondos confusion about his personality and purpose. (p28 34). 3) Political tension/rivalry between Rwafa and Mzamane. (p31 - 36). 4) The story of the white farmer. (p38). 

5) Rwafa's harangue and end. (p39 — 41). 

SYNOPSIS 

The Sins of the Fathers, by Charles Mungoshi, is a post-colonial story set in rural Zimbabwe. It takes place between Borrowdale and Bulawayo. 

Rondo is the antagonistic character whose revenge world opens at the story's very beginning. Rondo's father, Rwafa, is an ex- minister but still influential in the political world of Zimbabwe. This is evident from how a fraction of mourners just came to take pictures with him, for such photos would soon 'open doors for them. 

Rondo has a wife, Selina, daughter of Basil Mzamane, who is also into politicsasanM.P. and a businessman. In fact, he's a political rival of Rondo's father, Rwafa. Rondo's two children, both daughters (Yuna and Rhoda), are in an accident as they are driving home from a birthday party with their grandfather, Basil Mzamane, where, Rwafa takes to the podium to condemn his son for marrying from his enemy Basil. This has all along created bad blood between him and his son that this accident makes Rondo believe that his father has a hand in it. In their many stories, revelation of what his friend, Gaston, alludes to: "Have you ever wondered about theSecond Street accidents?" 

On their way to the birthday party, the trio - Rondo, Rwafa and Basil Mzamane- meets a group of youths (Chimurenga) chanting political songs. At a point, they meet a white woman whose car has broken down, and they charge to attack beforeBasil intervenes. Rwafa disappears, and Rondo remains confused about what is actually going on. 

Rwafa's speech leaves people surprised and shocked. They start going one after the other. This is where Rondo decides to send the children back with their grandfather as he remains with Selina. The two children and Basil, their grandfather, finally die in

a crash. People are here to mourn. Then with utter suspense, Rondo and Selinacome to finish Rwafa, who directs them out of the room, then a soft muffled plopis heard from Rwafa's room.

 

Questions for reflection on "Title of the story" and themes 

1) Discuss the role and significance of the title The Sins of the Fathers. 2) Which sins do you think the father commits in the story? 3) "Because I'd like you to watch some 'duck-shooting today'... ." What does this statement from Rwafa refer to? 

4) Make inferences from the following: 

a) "Do you know what your father does?" (p33) 

b) "Rondo had not been used to living his life from deductive or logical thinking but now, the accumulation of events and the history behind had made him so numb, he was almost a zombie." (p33). 

5) Brainstorm about 'Second Street accidents'. 

6) What is the role of the family unit during bereavement and children's growth?7) How are youths used to execute the selfish desires of the political elite?8) Why are power and prejudice significant in the ex-minister's life ? 9) How Does greed for material power affect the human character? 

Thematic Concerns 

The points of discussion and analysis include: Identity Crisis 

• Rondo suffers low self-esteem through the way his father treats him. Rwafaloathes and persistently frustrates his son. His first disappointment is when his father breaks his guitar and throws it into the fire when he is only four. (p30- 31). 

• Rwafa does not approve of or even attend his son's wedding. He purportedly

leaves town on state business for two weeks. (p34). 

• Through flashbacks, Rwafa thrashes his son, Rondo, when he is only eight, for stealing a neighbor's mangoes'. This memory gives him an uncomfortable feeling and effects his self-esteem. He must have understood what powerlessness meant (p40). 

• This grows into his adulthood when his father refers to him as an effeminate son who wants to demean his family by marrying into an ignominious muDzvitifamily. (p31 

• While Rondo admires and thinks his father is the greatest, his father, Rwafa, writes him off. Rwafa always gives Rondo "a little sad laugh" and labelshim"Slob". (p28, 31, 32). 

• His colleagues laugh at him at work, and Rondo doubts his mother and wife. He feels defenseless and resigns to accept being a fool. "Well, if you seemeas a fool, I'll be one." (p28). 

• Rondo has developed a stammer that makes him barely answer any of hisfather's questions. (p32). 

• His wife Selina tells him she could do better in his pants, and his friendandcolleague, Gaston, scolds him, "You can't be a child forever, Rondo". (p33). • Later, Rondo's father disparages him. With contempt, he enquires whether oneof Rondo's more intelligent friends has written for him the piece of paper hehands him. (p41). 

• Both Rondo and Rwafa have psychological problem that needs psychosocial support. (p26 — 41). Vengeance 

• The author expresses the theme of vengeance in the story's beginningthrough the flash-forward as Rondo comes to his father with a gun. (p26, 41). From the death ofhis two children and how his father has been treatinghim, he believes that he has a hand in the deaths, and therefore, he's here torevenge. (p29,33,34, 41). 

• Rwafa causes the accident as a form of revenge against the "traitors" or enemies. Furthermore, Rondo is not happy with what his father says about hismarrying Basil - his enemy. (p31, 39). 

• In his speech, Rwafa calls his son a 'traitor'. This is another reason for revenge. (p38). 

Political Bigotry and machinations 

• Politics run the story from the beginning to the end of this story. Basil Mzamane - Rondo's father-in-law-a businessman and an M.P. and Rwafa - Rondo'sfather, are great political rivals that don't see eye to eye. There is always tensionbetween the two. (p34) 

This is the greatest reason behind the crash that kills Basil and the two childrenof Rondo to settle political scores. This is what he tells his son that he will thankhimfor happening now and not later. (p28). 

• Rwafa loves himself so much that he prepared to destroy his son in hisendeavour to have an heir. (p32). 

• The existence of Chimurenga and the Second street accidents are evidenceofmachinations. (p34, 36, 38,39). 

• Rwafa calls his enemies, looters and cattle thieves personal enemies andswears that .. no son of the Rwafa family would ever play second fiddle to anyone'slead..." (p39). 

Racism/ colonial hatred 

• On their way to the birthday party, the trio meets a white woman whoneedshelp. Ihe political youths want to descend on her because she's white. (p36). • On the other hand, the white woman is already armed with a gun to shoot theblacks. (p36). 

• Again, from Mzamane's story about the white who lives in the Manhizemountains, we find out that he sends away the blacks who live there andtakes their ancestral land because they are helpless. (p38). 

• Having alienated the lands from the blacks, the whites are the source of thehatred and envy that fills the Rwafa clan, and Rwafa has his eyes on thewhitefarm in the Ruwa area. (p34). 

• Consequently, his youth obey him and have an unashamed rawlust for blood. (p36). 

Parental resentment /child discontentment 

• Rondo has never been close to his father as his memories of his past himmakehim cry. (p31, 40). 

At four, his father destroys his guitar, and at eight, he thrashes himwithout findingout what he has done. Rondo always feels more space with his father-in-lawandwould choose him as his father. (p34). 

• He carries many scars that thinking of his father as none other than a shadowhehas to live in becomes impossible. Rondo cannot think independently, andthisreduces him to an object of laughter and ridicule among his friends. (p28). 

Rwafa has no sympathy for his son as he despises him vehemently. He does not bother to answer when asked a question by his son. (p36). 

• His mother describes her husband as 'one bombed-out battlefield of scars' whosedeepest scar is that he can't forgive not only his enemies but anyone. This clearlyshows a rift in the family. (p30, 31). 

• At the party, Rondo and Selina feel relaxed with their parents. (p39). • Rondo could not look at his father. (p40).

Love and Friendship 

• She takes her head during the mourning night and puts it on her lap. She callshera great woman. (p29). 

• Friendship is also evident between the two women, Selina and her mother-inlaw(Rondo's wife and his mother). (p29,30) 

• Selina, the daughter ofMzamane, stays with Rondo even though Rwafa disapproves of their marriage. He says that his son became a 'traitor' by marryingSelina, from Basil Mzamane's clan - his sworn political enemies. (p29, 30) 

• However, Selina sticks with her husband, Rondo, until the end of the story. Shealso has a gun from the mother- in-law. (p41). 

• He lets his head rest against her belly, his skull nudging the underside of her breast. She makes him breakfast. She accompanies her husband to serverevenge. This is love. (P41) 

Ethnic tension / negative ethnicity 

 Rwafa believes in maintaining rigid boundaries in establishing social andpolitical relations. (p34). 

 In his tirade, he laments that he is hurt by the effeminate spineless sons of thefamily who marry into families of their enemies, poisoning the pure bloodof theRwafa clan. 9p34 - 39). 

 There has always been tension between Rwafa and Mzamane, a quarrel, a

misunderstanding, but the episode at the party renders it dramatic. Their speeches turn sour. The two old men are crystal clearly, political nemeses. (p34).  Rwafa cannot forgive and forget the effects of the war, once the Ndebele

attacked them, and the pain of the scars remained in him more than the relief of healing. (p30 - 32). 

 These adversaries contrast each other in character and demeanour. The former is the villain in his very nature, and the latter is a gentleman. 

 He belongs to the political elite who must fan clannism and ensure they remainat

the top. (p39, 40). 

 Primitive accumulation There is evident greed in the arch-nemesis, Rwafa, for he

strives to maintain the status quo by acquiring material power through underhanddeals. He leaves in the morning and returns in the evenings. (p33).  He is disappointed and bitter when Mzamane rescues the white womanfrom

irate Chimurenga warriors. He disappears and reappears froma bush twominutes after the white woman has driven off. (p34 - 37).  This shows that he plans to have her lynched so he can proceed to acquirethe

property. (p36) 

 Rwafa is preoccupied with the sudden beauty of the land they are drivingthrough. 

The land provides a breath- taking view of its immensity. (p36)  Affluence, material power and lavish extravagance are explicit in the family asthey flock around him. He gains recognition from his generosity by squanderingthe accumulated wealth in the form of favours, money, advances. (p31, 32)

 Many use his name to get something from legal firms, financial houses, or credit stores at month-ends. (p32). Rwafa desperately needs a grandson fromRondotowhom he can leave all his cars, houses and money. (p31). Death 

 The fear of death also hangs/lingers in Selina's mind. She fears losing Rondoaswell. (p30) 

 Mysterious deaths rock the family, and according to Gaston, Rondo's colleague, 

we know that a political hand is involved. (p33). 

 He asks Rondo, "Do you know what your father does?" (p33). 

 Selina's mother had died, and Mzamane marries again, but to the detriment of his

daughter, she alludes to the invitation to her father. (p34). 

 Assassinations could be the ex-minister's trade as he happens to control the

political group dubbed 

 Chimurenga, which also narrowly spares the life of Mrs 

 The old man had rambles (flashback) (p40). smoked out, flushed out, blastedout.. ." 

CHARACTERS 

Rwafa, Rondo, Selina, Mzamane, Gaston and Mrs Quayle a. Mzamane 

• Selina's father and Rondo's father-in-law. A peace- maker and crusader of tolerance. He takes a low profile, although he has the opportunity and abilitytoshow off. This shows he is peaceful and humble. 

• According to Rondo, nothing in his demeanour shows he is a man of opulenceasa successful businessman and the M.P. of a constituency in northern Matebeleland. 

• He is so liberal that even with his differences with Rwafa, he declares he isfreetothink as he likes. (p38). 

• His friendly and affable nature makes Rondo feel free around him. He is ahelpful man as he gives a hand to the white woman whose car is stuck. (p37). • He is tolerant, for he rescues her from being lynched by the angry youth. Hetellsthem, .. Today is cancelled. Go home.. ." he tells Rondo to grow up and seepeople as individuals. (p37). 

• Being rational makes him an embodiment of the voice of reason. b. Rwafa

• The ostentatious antagonist, so to speak. He is the arch- nemesis of Basil Mzamane and his son, Rondo. The 

• villain in the story is a ruthless, intolerant influential former minister whocannot forgive anybody. (p31, 34, 35, 39, 40). 

• He is contemptuous as he vilifies his son vehemently, affecting his self-esteem. (p28). 

• The snobbish father is so selfish for none of the words he uses to addressRondohave any respect, and he loves himself so much (selfish) that he is prepared to destroy his son. (p32). 

• He is proud, ssertive and aggressive as he talks of his prowess and declares, "Noson of the Rwafa family would ever play second fiddle to anyone's lead." (p39). Rwafa is bitter and vengeful, for his son terribly hurts him for poisoning thepureblood of the Rwafa clan. (p39). 

• As they drive to Quayle's farm, Rwafa remains sullen and sucking as he can't laugh while having a robust dialogue. "He is a man who laughs little." This shows that he is sadistic in nature. (p35). 

c. Rondo 

• A calm and modest son of Rwafa and husband to Selina. He is loving andcaringfor loves his mother, his wife and his father-in-law. (p29 — 32). • He is also apologetic for his father's wrongdoings which he perceives partlyresponsible. (p30). 

• He is respectful as he reveres and honours his father. 

• He is a gentle and friendly chap who has good relations with his colleaguesat work. Helpful for he could be called to help colleagues. (p33). Questions for reflection on characters 

1) Compare and contrast Rwafa and Mzamane as antagonistic charactersinthestory, The Sins of the Fathers. 

2) How does Rondos mother manage the psychological problems of bothher husband and her son at home? 

3) What do you think could have happened if Rwafa had told his only son, "Youare an intelligent son". 

4) Suppose Rwafa had had another son; could his attitude be different? THE TRULY MARRIED WOMAN 

Abioseh Nical- Sierra Leone 

The Truly Married Woman by Abioseh Nicol- Sierra Leone Abioseh Nicol was a Sierra Leone writer, poet and diplomat with a specialty in medicine as a physician. He died in the year 1994 having made great contribution to Sierra Leone literature. He was a writer of short stories, poems, academic literature as well as music. His works include Two African Tales (his first published work) and Creative Women(hislast published work). 

Points to guide interpretation of the story 

1) The difference between being together and being married. 2) Some factors that hinder people from getting married. 3) What parents want for their children compared to what they want. 4) Parenting styles and conflicts that can arise from them. 5) Missionary work — Is it a good thing or a bad thing? 6) Religious hypocrisy. Why Ayo takes time to put up a show by reorganising their house and even borrowing a wedding ring when the missionaries visit. 7) Ajayi's change regarding marriage. 

8) How marriage changes Ayo. (What is the value ofa marriage ceremony?) 9) Traditional practices before marriage, negotiation, giving of gifts to the bride. TITLE The truly Married Woman' 

What is the meaning of the title? 

A woman can live for long with a man (cohabit) and never be considered married—Ayo is not married, yet she has lived with Ajayi for twelve years. There must be a marriage ceremony (Church marriage) to be genuinely married. 

A truly married woman changes in behaviour. She seizes to be dutiful and demands more respect. Ayo refuses to prepare her husband's morning tea after she is married. 

CHARACTERS a. Ajayi 

• He is a government clerk who has lived with Ayo for over twelve years. • He meant to marry her in church, but he procrastinated until Ayo gaveuponthe dream of getting appropriately married. 

• He is cautious about his health and takes various precautions to ensureheremains healthy. 

• He is too strict and brutal as he beats his elder son Oju too much as afather. b. Ayo 

• She is a woman in her mid-thirties who has lived with her husband Ajayi for twelve years, yet she is not married to him. 

• She is thus considered a mistress to Ajayi. She loves himand even movesinwith him against her parents' wishes. She has hope of getting married, but thehusband's attack of the spending involved during marriage discouragesher. 

• She is seen as a good mistress who is dutiful, loving and kind to Ajayi. Her entrepreneur skills are noted because she does little buying and sellingwhenshe has free time. She is seen to live an ordinary life. 

• She is modernised. She attends women's meetings and also speaks tothemissionaries in English. 

• Ayo is seen to be calculative/ cunning, where she visits the soothsayer beforeher husband and the sister did to try and fix things. c. Oju 

He is the eldest son of Ajayi and Ayo. He is ten years old and is frequently beatenbyhis father for wetting his sleeping mat. The beating does not help but insteadworsens the situation. d. Ayo's father 

He is seen as a father who wanted the best for his daughter, Ayo since he hadhopedthat she would marry a high school teacher. 

He is authoritative as he made Ayo move everything she owned to his houseoncehelearned the planned marriage. He cautiously follows the traditional marriagepreparations rites to ensure that his daughter is safe in her new home.

SYNOPSIS 

Abioseh Nical's story, 'The Truly Married Woman,' is a contemporary story that merges both traditional aspects of marriage and modern marriage practices. storyemphasises the importance of valid marriage as compared to cohabiting. 

Through this emphasis, the writer, however, satirises marriage as it is not only economically draining but fails to provide happiness that should come with it. 

In the beginning, Ajayi and Ayo live together even though Ayo had always wantedtobe married properly. While Ayo tries to coarse Ajayi to marry her indeed, Ajayi ishesitant as he feels that marriage involves some wild spending and the ceremonyisunnecessarily costly. This view frustrates Ayo until she admits that it wouldnever happen; thus, she stops talking him into it. 

Their time together appears relatively amicable as Ayo performs her wifely dutiesfaithfully. They enjoy an everyday family life punctuated with minor conflicts suchasthe one that arises over Ajayi's beating of their son Oju. This conflict surprises

Ajayi as Ayo rarely ever disagreed with him. At this point, Ayo's modernisedtrait isrevealed as she discloses that she has been attending women's meetings wherethey learn modern ideas of oversea doctors. 

Ajayi spends his day in the office thinking about this revelation which makes himadmire Ayo the more. As the closing hours approach, Ajayi receives an unexpectedguest — missionaries from World Gospel Crusading Alliance (WGCA). 

He remembers that he had contacted them with the hope of getting free bibles, religious pictures and maybe some magazines. However, the missionaries areset on enrolling him as one of them, but the chief clerk saves himby explainingthat it was prohibited for government workers. 

He invites the team with the chief to his home, where the wife reorganises thehouseafter learning that guests are on their way. She even borrows a wedding ringfromaneighbour. After the missionaries' visit, Ajayi tells Ayo that he plans to marry her. 

Although she is shocked, Ayo welcomes the marriage and thus starts preparingfor it. Ironically, she turns down his sexual advances that evening, arguing that it wouldbeincorrect. She moves back to her parental home, where the traditional marriagepreparation practices are carried out. Soon, the church wedding ceremony takesplace. Ayo chooses to dress in a grey dress instead of the traditional white oneasAyaji had wished. The grey dress is symbolic of her impurity since she is alreadyamother of three. She also wanted a corset to ensure she did not look too massive. After the church wedding, a European ceremony is also conducted where a weddingcake is cut. 

Ajayi notices that Ayo had been transformed after the wedding. He sawher proudhead for the first time, and true to his observation, the following day, Ayo doesnot wake up early to prepare his morning tea like she always did. The story ends with

Ayo's declaration to Ajayi that she was now a genuinely married woman whoneededa little more respect and thus would not arise to prepare a cup of tea for the husband. 

Plot related Questions 

1) Describe early morning activities of Ajayi before he goes to work 2) Compare and contrast Ayo's behaviour before marriage and after marriage. 3)What does Ajayi's beating of Oju for wetting his sleeping mat reveals about Ajayi? 

4) What preparations does Ayo make as she waits for the guests? What doesthis reveal about her? 

5) Explain Ayo)s reaction when Ajayi tells her that he plans to marry her? 6) What does Omo's reaction to Ayo's disclosure about the planned marriagereveal about her? 

7) Briefly describe the traditional marriage practices that take place beforeAyo'smarriage. 

8) What is Ayo's old aunts' advice to the newly married? EPISODIC ANALYSIS OF KEY ISSUES Episodes 

• Life before marriage — pg. 42-45 

• Preparations for marriage — pg. 46-47 

The marriage ceremony — pg. 48 

• Life after marriage — pg. 48 

Several issues arise from these episodes: 

Cohabiting vs marriage 

Despite living together for twelve years and having three children already, AyoandAjayi are not considered married. The writer tells us that 'Ajayi and Ayo have beentogether for twelve years. They are not married. Ajayi had meant to marry Ayo, but the right moment never came. (pg.42). 

It is no wonder that while explaining to his friends who Ayo is, Ajayi refers toher asnot a wife but a mistress (pg. 43). 

Ayo is seen to have hoped that Ajayi would indeed marry her. During their first year ofmarriage, she kept telling Ajayi about their friends' weddings, hoping that he wouldget interested and marry her. She, however, ends up frustrated when insteadof showing an interest, he criticises the friends' spending due to the considerablecost of the ceremony (pg. 43). 

The priest emphasises the importance of people getting married through his sermon. The writer observes that the priest would speak out violently against unmarriedcouples who lived together about two or three times in a year (pg. 43). Thesesermons would make friends of Ajayi and Ayo look at them sympathetically, leadingto Ajayi keeping off from the church for a few weeks.

Despite not being married, Ajayi and Ayo enjoy some peaceful ambience in their marriage. Ayo performs her wifely roles dutifully. She would wake up at five toprepare his breakfast (pg. 48). 

Ajayi would wake at six-fifteen and find his cup of tea ready just as he likedit —'weak and sugary, without milk' (pg. 42). 

Ironically, after Ayo is married, things seem to change. Instead of continuingwithherwifely duty or making them better, Ayo is reluctant to serve her husband as sheusedit. The morning after the wedding finds Ayo comfortably beside her husbandwhenhis alarm goes off. Unlike other previous mornings, there is no tea ready for Ajayi. Heis initially alarmed as he thinks she is ill. Still, her shocking reply confirms her deliberately intention not to do it — "Ajayi, my husband,.. .for twelve years I havegot up every morning at five to make tea for you and breakfast. Now I ama truly marriedwoman; you must behave towards me with some respect. You are nowmy husbandand not a lover. Get up and make yourself a cup of tea" (pg. 48). This strangeturnofevents raises concern over whether valid marriage helps improve the home environment or destroys the home. Conflict due to parenting styles 

Different parents adopt different parenting styles. Some parents are very strict withtheir children to the extent that they use excessive force to ensure their childrenbehave as they wish. A good example is Ajayi, who beats his eldest son Ojufor having wet his sleeping mat (pg.43). 

On her part, Ayo feels that this is not right, and in one of the rare occurrences, shedisagrees with Ajayi about it. She tells him, "Ajayi, you beat Oju too much. ..hehasnot stopped wetting although you beat him everytime he does. Infact, he is doingit more and more now. Perhaps if you stopped beating him, he would get better." (pg.43). 

Through their disagreement, we learn of Ayo's modernised and informed traitsasshe discloses that she has been attending women's meetings where they aretaught modern ideas (pg.44). 

These traits are one of the triggers that make Ajayi marry Ayo after realisingthat sheis a woman to be proud of. 

We also see some conflict over what parents want for their children in relationtowhat the children want for themselves. 

Ayo's living with Ajayi had not been accepted by her parents — 'When she first cameto him-against her parents' wishes.. .' (pg. 43). 

The writer further tells us what Ayo's father had hoped that she would marry ahighschool teacher. However, Ayo fell in love with Ajayi, a government clerk, andmovedin with him (pg. 43). Hypocrisy 

There is a lot of pretence among people in society to portray a particular image. Ajayi wrote to World Gospel Crusading Alliance, pretending to be interestedinsomeinformation from them after a friend gave him a magazine that contained aninvitation to join the missionary Alliance. However, his true intention was not to work with them, but he hoped to get free items such as bibles and large religiouspictures that he would sell, give away, or use as wall pictures (pg.44). The depthof his hypocrisy is seen when he appears relieved that the chief clerk saved himfromalife as a missionary when he told the visitors that the government prohibitedhisworkers from working as missionaries. So appreciative is Ajayi of the chief clerkthat he presents a carefully wrapped bottle of beer to the chief clerk as a present for having saved him (pg.45). 

He hypocritically extends an invitation of the missionaries to his home. He liestothem that the roads are not suitable to prevent them from using a taxi. He intendstogive time to his wife to reorganise their home into an appropriate environment tohost the missionaries. Ayo also portrays high levels of hypocrisy. She changestheappearance of their home when she receives a message fromAjayi that he will be bringing white men to their home in half an hour. Ayo tookdownthe calendars with pictures of lightly clothed women and replaced themwithfamilyphotographs. She also replaced the magazines with religious books and hidthewineglasses under the sofa. In efforts to portray an actual spiritual image, she goesahead to borrow a wedding ring from her neighbour before putting on her Sundaydress (pg. 45). 

The missionaries are impressed by the show that she put up. The writer usesthisactto symbolise Ayo's hypocrisy even in her marriage. Ayo has been pretendingtobeadutiful wife for the twelve years before her marriage as she shows her true coloursafter the wedding. She refuses to prepare morning tea and breakfast for Ajayi (pg48). 

Her hypocrisy is further seen when she turns down Ajayi's advances on the eveninghe disclosed to her that he intended to marry her. She shyly says 'No' (pg. 45) andpushes him away, asking him to wait until after marriage. She argues that it wouldnot be correct. This is ironic since the two have lived together for twelve years, andtheir intimacy has borne three children. 

QUESTIONS 

l. What is the importance of tile traditional marriage preparation practices thaQrecarried out before Ayo's marriage? 

2. The institution of marriage should be treated with respect as it is of great value. ShowhOw Ayo fails to do so after she is truly married. 

3. Marriage is satirised in the story The Truly Married Woman„ Support thisassertion. 

TALKING MONEY 

Stanley Gazemba - Kenya About 

the author: 

Stanley Gazemba was born in 1974 in Vihiga, Kenya. Stanley Gazemba has publishedthree novels: The Stone Hills of

Maragoli (Kwani?, winner of the 2003 Jomo Kenyatta Prize for fiction, publishedinthe U.S. as Forbidden Fruit), Khama (DigitalBackBooks), and Callused Hands (Nsemia). He has also published eight children's books, of which A Scare intheVillage (Oxford Univ. Press) won the 2015 Jomo Kenyatta Prize for children'sfiction. Gazemba's fiction has appeared in 'A' is for Ancestors, a collection of short storiesfrom the Caine Prize (Jacana); Africa39: New Writing From Africa South of theSahara (Bloomsbury); Ihe Literary Review (Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.); Man of theHouse and Other New Short Stories from Kenya (CCC Press); Crossing Bordersonline magazine; among other publications. 

As a journalist, Gazemba has written for The New York Times, The East African, Msanii magazine, Sunday Nation, and Saturday Nation. Gazemba was the International Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in 2007. GazembalivesinNairobi, where he is the editor of Ketebul Music. 

Episodes 

1. Mukidanyi dismisses his elder brothers. (p49 - 50). 

A colli rchensive and dctailcd uidc to a silent son and other stories 2. The arrival of Galo and his lawyer for negotiation. (p50 52). 3. The disturbing night of evil spirits. (p53 56). 

SYNOPSIS 

Talking money is a story about Mukidanyi, a furious young man and a cattle trader who ignores his elder brothers' warning against selling his land. The story is set inthe vast rural expanse of Kakamega, Kenya. Mukidanyi's brothers NgoseyweandAgoya give up on him and leave. Obsessed with money in his mind, he refusestoheed his wife's counsel and instead flogs her. 

When his clients arrive, he receives them warmly, showing themthe fertile landandoffers to help where necessary. They then negotiate without a tussle, for they accept his first offer without haggling. He takes the huge amount of money without counting it and signs the papers with his thumbprint, for he had played truant andnaughty when his father, Kizungu, tried to take him to school. 

Enthusiastic and excited about the money, he cannot sleep until he is attackedbyvoices at night, which his wife tells him are evil spirits. He almost runs madashiswife laughs at him. Overwhelmed by nervousness and fear of the demons, hereturnsall the money to the Galos and flees back to his house. 

Questions for reflection on 'Title' of the story and themes. 

1. How relevant is the title of the story, Talking moneym 

2. Why do you think the money given to Mukidanyi "talks' only at night while inhiscustody?

3. Do you think the Galos are responsible for the talking ofthe money? 4. Explore and discuss the existence of the following themes in Talking Money. 

a) Ethnocentric beliefs in spirits. 

b) Primitive superstition on sources of wealth. 

c) Obsession with money and the power of guilt. 

d) Importance of consultation on family property. 

THEMATIC CONCERNS 

Ethnocentric beliefs in spirits. 

The concept of social superstition rooted in people's culture is linked with belief ingood and bad luck as a context-derived concept affects the people of that cultureinvarious aspects. 

Although the concept of superstition is common, many of its features and aspectsare still unclear. Some questions about these beliefs remain baffling and unanswered. Engulfed with immense doubt, Mukidanyi decides to obey his wife'swords and beliefs about the Galos. (p50). 

• At night, the hour of witches, viganda haunt Mukidanyi. He hears voicesspeaking, and he believes they are not dreaming voices. (p54). 

• Then his wife Ronika scoldingly tells him those are certainly viganda spiritsspeaking. (p54). 

Ronika takes advantage of her husband's extreme fear and makes more funof him. She reassures him that the Galos' money is speaking in the briefcase under thebed. (p54). 

• Confident and sure that he is terrified, she shouts and scoffs at himtotakethe money out. "Go with your devil money this very minute and find somewhereelseto keep it but not in this house, you hear?" (p55). 

Obsession with money and the power of guilt 

• The tough speaking and abusive man is now humbled and reduced toawhispering weakling. 

• Definitely, the warnings are ricochetting in his mind because of his guilt andfailure to consult before beginning the process of selling his land. 

• Scared by the unseen demons, Mukidanyi flees back to the Galos, returningall the money. (p55, 56). 

• He changes his mind. He is only left with his wife to trust, and his houseistheonly refuge at this 'hour of witches'. 

CHARACTERS 

1. Using evidence from the text, describe the character traits of the following

characters. 

a) Mukidanyi 

b) Ronika 

c) Ngoseywe 

d) Galo 

Style and Language use 

1. How is sarcasm employed in Stanley Gazemba's Talking Money? 2. Examine the use of dialogue and native dialect in Talking Money. GHOSTS 

Chimamanda Adichie - Nigeria 

About the Author- Chimamanda Adichie. 

Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi is an established Nigerian writer. She has writtenseveral novels, short stories and nonfictional works. Her major works include PurpleHibiscus, Americanah, 

The Thing Around Your Neck and Half of a Yellow Sun among others. Her story'Ghost' was published in The Thing Around Your Neck a collection of her short stories that was published in 2009. 

Points to guide interpretation 

 Suffering of retirees as they follow up on their pension. 

 Corruption in government institutions. 

 The University. 

 How people deal with ghosts of the past to survive at present. 

 War and its effects. 

 Counterfeit, drugs and their effects. 

Title 'Ghosts' 

The topic is metaphorically used to represent several things: The terrible memoriesthat most people are living with or haunted by. Most people have memories of horrible previous experiences that disturb them. For instance, Ikenna struggleswiththe loss of his family and his failure to succeed in the Biafran Civil War. Prof Jamesstruggles with the loss of his daughter, the destruction of property, the loss of theUniversity's glory, and the loss of his wife. 

Some people were thought dead but turned up alive such as Ikenna. The truly deadbut whose spirits visit their loved ones — Ebere -they offer consolation to thebereaved.

CHARACTERS a. Pro James Nwoye 

He is a seventy-one-year-old retired professor of Mathematics. 

He is the protagonist in the story, and the story is told through his voice. He isthenarrator of the story. 

He escaped Nsukka when the civil war broke in 1967 and fled to America. 

He loses his daughter Zik in the war but gets another daughter (Nkiru) while still inAmerica when he was a lecturer at Berkeley. 

He is currently following up on his pension, which is not forthcoming due tothecorruption in the University. 

He is constantly visited by the ghost of his late wife and has not disclosed thistohisdaughter Nkiru. 

b. Ikenna Okoro 

He is a man who was thought to have died in the 1967 Biafran war. During hisuniversity lecturing days in the sociology department, he was a renowned activist. 

He escaped the Biafran civil war on a Red Cross plane and went to Sweden, wherehehas lived since 1967. 

He lost all his family in the war and never remarried. He returns to Nsukka years later to see how things are. c. 

Vincent 

He is the former driver of Prof James. 

He served Prof. James in the eighties when he was the faculty dean. He is now retired and is following up on his pension, just like Prof and other retirees. 

He currently works as a cobbler near the university hostels. Although he is younger than Prof (In his late sixties), he looks much older. 

He is seen as a concerned and caring person who always minded about the welfareof Prof.James' daughter. d. Ebere 

She is the dead wife of Prof. James Nwoye, who appears to himas a ghost. Duringher time, she portrays some generosity as she would give her daughters oldclothesto Vincent for his children. (Satire - giving old clothes) 

She has been a caring wife who encouraged James to care for his lovely skin. Her death is said to have been caused by counterfeit drugs. 

SYNOPSIS 

Like the title suggests, Chimamanda's story "Ghost" mainly dwells on how people face and deal with past ghosts, thus informing their present and future. Professor James Nwoye currently lives in a corrupt part of Nigeria where the medical fieldprovides people with counterfeit drugs. 

When the story opens, the seventy-one-year-old Professor of mathematics is walkingthe grounds of the University Bursary, where he is following up on his pension, whichhe does not get. 

The many other retirees that he meets are equally frustrated. 

They associate the failure to get their retirement benefits to the corruption of theeducation minister or the University's vice- chancellor. 

Prof James chats for a while with his former driver Vincent who is to survivetheharsh times serving as a cobbler around the university hostel. Vincent inquiresabout Nkiru (Prof. James' daughter who lives in America), and James informs himthat sheis well. The suffering of the people is highlighted in their appearance and hunger. One of the men gathered under a tree requests Prof to buy thembananas as hunger was killing them. Even as he buys them bananas, Prof ironically observes that what they needed was some moisturiser to soften their skin. After leaving the group, Prof. James meets with Ikenna Okoro; a man thought to be long dead. rlhe encounter shocked Prof as he believed that Ikenna, a former colleague and a renownedactivist, had died in the Biafran civil war on July 6 1967. When he initially sawhim, hethought of throwing sand at him, which was what people do to ghosts. However, his education and the fact that he was walking on concrete grounds prevent himfromdoing it. The encounter between the two drives Prof down memory lane. He remembers their days at the University where Ikena rebelled when asked toput onties. 

He further remembers how Ikenna acted as an activist fighting for non-academicstaff to have better conditions. a flashback, Prof recalls their evacuation fromNsukka on July 6, 1967, when the civil war began. On that day, Ikenna, whostubbornly insisted on going back to the University to get his manuscript, wassaidtohave died. 

Ikenna discloses that he escaped Biafra that day on a Red Cross plane that tookhimto Sweden. He painfully explains that he saw no need to return after the war sinceall his family was killed when Orlu was bombed. 

On his part, Prof James went to America with his wife Ebere but came back in1970when the civil war ended. However, they were devastated to find everythingintheir home destroyed, and their piano was missing. They thus returned to Americaandonly returned to Nsukka in 1976. When Ikenna inquires about their daughter Zik, Profpainfully answers in Igbo that the war took her. He, however, tells himthat theygot another daughter after the war—the two talk about life during and after the war, witheach mentioning their worst moments. 

Ikenna asks Prof James about his wife Ebere, and James replies that she died three years ago. He tells him that she visits him. Ikenna appears surprised at the disclosure, so James corrects himself and says that Ebere visited America quiteoften since their daughter works there as a doctor. Knowing that Ikenna is educatedjust like him, James knows that Ikenna does not believe in ghosts. He, too, never believed in them until his wife visited him three weeks after the burial. 

The two talk about the situation ever since the war ended and how things havesignificantly changed. They point out at the rot in the University —where insteadof teaching, people are playing politics and instead of reading and working hard; students are buying grades either with money or their bodies. 

The corruption in the university offices does not escape them. James reportshowone Josephat Udeana, a vice chancellor for six years, ran the University like hisfather's chicken coop leading to the disappearance of money and favouritisminpromoting workers. James notes that the current vice-chancellor is not any different, thus why he is yet to get his retirement benefits. 

He further explains how people are bribing to have their years before retirement added since nobody wants to retire. Ikenna raises the sensitive topic about fakedrugs. It triggers painful memories in James since his wife Ebere is thought tohavedied because of counterfeit drugs. James dismissively says that counterfeit drugsare horrible in efforts to avoid this topic. 

He parts ways with Ikenna after telling him how he has been 'resting' ever sinceheretired. He extends an invitation to Ikenna to join him in his home, but Ikennaturnsit down. 

Once in his home, Prof. James turns on the TV and remembers howa man accusedofimporting fake drugs had justified this act through a TV interviewon NTA. Theman had explained that his drugs do not kill people but only fail to cure their illness. He wonders why news about Ikenna being alive never came up, yet there werevarious other stories of the 'living ghosts'- people thought to be dead but turnedupalive. The tale ends with Prof. James in his study hoping that his daughter Nkiruwill call to tell him about their grandson, and if she does not, he will go to bed andawait the visit of Ebere. 

EPISODIC ANALYSIS OF ISSUES Episodes 

• Prof James Nwoye's visit to the University Bursary -pg. 57-59 • Encounter with Ikenna Okoro- pg. 59-65 

• Talk about the civil war on July 6 1967- pg. 60 

• Talk about fake drugs -pg. 65 

• Prof James back home-pg 66-67 

Various issues arise from these episodes: 

The retirees suffer frustration due to being denied their retirement benefits. Whenthe story opens, Prof James is at the University Bursary to ask about his pension, which he has been following up for some time.-"l was there to ask about my pension, yet again." (pg.57) He is, however, frustrated when the clerk tells himthe moneyhasnot yet come. 

Prof is not alone. Several other retirees are clustered under the flame tree, filledwithsimilar frustration. Out of frustration, they curse the vice-chancellor who is saidtohave stolen the money meant for their pension: "His Children will not have childrenHe will die of diarrhoea." (pg.58). 

We also see that these people suffer from poverty. The encounter between Prof andhis former driver, Vincent, points to the poor living condition of the people. Vincent has been forced to work as a cobbler to earn a living. He complains about thefailureof the students in the hostels to pay him on time for mending their shoes (pg. 58). 

The description of Vincent's current physical appearance also shows that hehaslived through tough times. Although he was younger than Prof, he looked older withonly a little hair left pg 58. 

The plea of one of the men to Prof to buy them bananas shows the sufferingthat thepeople have gone through. The man tells Prof, "Hunger is killing us" (pg.58). 

These people cannot afford decent meals for themselves. Ironically, Prof observesthat they need more moisturiser since their faces and arms look like ash (pg. 58). 

The civil war also causes the suffering of many. Many people suffer trauma (ghostsof the past) due to the war. Prof James lost his daughter Zik to the war (pg. 61). 

The people's suffering is further captured when Prof James wonders why hehadnot heard about Ikenna not having died. He notes that people evaded the topic of war and memories of what they had gone through during the war. "But we hardly talkedabout the war When we did, it was with an implacable vagueness, as if what mattered were not that we had crouched in muddy bunkers during air raids after which we buried corpses with bits of pink on their charred skin, not that we hadeaten cassava peels and watched our children's bellies swell frommalnutrition, but we had survived" pg. 66 

Corruption 

The explanation why Prof James and other retirees have not received their pensionis due to corruption. Ihe men clustered under the flame tree say, "The EducationMinister has stolen the pension money... it was the vice-chancellor who haddeposited the money in high interest personal accounts." ( pg.58). 

In the University, corruption is further seen where James tells Ikenna about Josephat Udeana, the great dancer, who, once chosen as vice-chancellor, perpetuatedcorruption at the University's high office. "Josephat was vice chancellor for sixyearsand ran this University like his father's chicken Money disappeared, and thenwewould see new cars coop stamped with the names of foreign foundations that didnot exist." (pg.64)He also dictated who would be promoted and who would not. The situation didnot change after Josephat left since even the current vice-chancellor is also saidtofollow the corrupt route faithfully. 

corruption is also reported in the Personnel Services Department, where lecturerswho do not want to retire bribe, someone, to have some years added to them(pg. 64). 

Further, corruption is seen among university students. Prof tells Ikenna that insteadof reading and working hard to earn fair grades, the university students havebought grades with money or their bodies (pg. 64). 

War and its effects 

The Biafran Civil war that the story highly relies on has significant negative implications on the people: 

Loss of loved ones 

Pro James Nwoye lost his daughter Zik to the war (pg. 61). Ikenna lost the wholeof his family to the war, thus the reason he has lived in Sweden ever since. He tellsProf, "My whole family was in Orlu when they bombed it. Nobody left, so there wasnoreason for me to come back." (pg. 61) 

A great genius - Chris Okigbo, also died in the war Nsukka lost a great mind- astar whose poetry moved everybody. His prowess is compared to that of a colossus; thus, a significant loss for the people page 62. 

• Displacement of people and separation of loved ones When the civil war startedonJuly 6, 1967, the people had to evacuate Nsukka in a hurry Prof James andhiswifeEbere moved to America while Ikenna moved to Sweden using Red Cross planes(pg. 61). 

Prof James and his daughter live separately due to the war. His American borndaughter Nkiru is a doctor in America while James lives in Nsukka. He feels that thewar has denied him an opportunity to teach his grandson the Igbo language andtheculture (pg. 67). 

Destruction/Loss of property 

After the civil war ended in 1970, Prof James and Ebere returned to Nsukka fromAmerica. They were, however, disappointed to find some of their properties havingbeen destroyed and others missing. "Our books were in a charred pile in the front garden. ...the lumps of calcified faeces in the bathtub were strewn with pagesof mymathematical annals, used as toilet paper, crusted smears blurring the formulasI had studied and taught Our piano - Ebere's piano was gone...our photographswereripped, their frames broken." (pg. 61) 

On their way home that day, Prof James and Ebere saw a landscape of ruins, blownout roofs and houses riddled with holes, injuries, and physical pain (pg. 62).

The day Prof James and Ebere drove back to Nsukka, Biafran soldiers stoppedthemand shoved a wounded soldier into their car, and his blood dripped onto the backseat of their vehicle (pg. 62). Counterfeit/fake drugs 

fie selling of expired medicine is the current plague in the country Ikenna tellsJamesthat he has been reading about fake drugs in the papers (pg. 65). 

The effect of fake drugs has been felt by James, whose wife Ebere's death islinkedto the counterfeit drug deal. Prof James thinks that Ikenna must have heardof 'HowEbere had lain in the hospital getting weaker and weaker, how her doctor hadbeenpuzzled that she was not recovering after her medication how none of us knewuntil it was too late that the drugs were useless' (pg. 65). 

In addition, Prof James bitterly remembers how he had watched some broadcast of an interview on NTA. Through the interview, a man accused of importing fakedrugs- typhoid fever drugs, had defended himself by claiming that his drugs do not kill people but only fail to cure illness (pg. 66). 

Dealing with past ghosts 

Prof James is presented as an individual struggling with ghosts fromhis past. Theillusion of his wife's return like a ghost is one of the mechanisms he adopts todeal with his terrible past. It is an attempt to deal with the absence of Ebere andthedevastating effects of war. The freshness of the memories of war is brought out through the many flashbacks used by the writer. One of the flashbacks capturestheday the civil war arose (pg. 60). Another shows the return to Prof and Ebere toNsukka in 1970 (pg. 61-62). By remembering these events, Prof James showsthat the memories of the war are still deeply etched in his thoughts. Essay Questions

1) Society today is filled with many evils that cause suffering to others. Support this from Chimamanda Adichie's 'Ghost' 

2) War has devastating effects and thus should be avoided at all cost Usingillustrations from 'Ghosts' by Chimamanda Adichie 

3) Many individuals struggle with ghosts from their past Show howtrue thisassertion is based on 'Ghosts' by Chimamanda Adichie. 

Questions on styles 

1. How effectively has the writer used flashbacks in the story 'Ghosts, 

2. The dialogue between Prof James and Ikenna carries the critical messagesinthe story. Is it true? 

3. The higher learning education sector is satirised in the story. Showhowthisisachieved.

GOD SEES THE TRUTH, BUT WAITS 

Leo Tolstoy Russia About 

the author: 

Leo Tolstoy was born in 1928 in Tula Province, Russian. A master of realisticfictionand one of the world's greatest novelists, Tolstoy is best known for his finest novels: and Peace (1865 69) and Anna Karenina (1875 - 77). His shorter works includeEllieDeath of Ivan Ilyich, The Living Corpse and The Kingdom of God is within You, inhislast three decades, Tolstoy worked as a moral and religious teacher, an embodiment of nature and pure vitality. Though dead now, his soul lives as a living symbol of thesearch for life's meaning. 

Episodes / sub-episodes 

1) Aksionov's excursion for a Trade Fair at Nizhny. (p68 - 69). 2) Aksionov's arrest and 26-year imprisonment. (p69 71). 3) The coincidental encounter with the real killer. (p71 - 72). 4) Makar's confession. (p73 74). 

SYNOPSIS 

God Sees the Truth but Waits is a parabolic story about Ivan Dmitritch Aksionov, ameek young merchant with two shops in Vladimir, Russia. 

Ivan bids his family and sets out on a Trade Fair in Nizhny despite his wife's premonition through a dream. Midway through the journey, he meets another merchant, and they put up at the same inn for the night. A rogue thug kills themerchant at night and flees, leaving his blood-stained knife in Aksionov's bag. Aksionov is arrested on suspicion and is sent to 'Siberia' for twenty-six years. Onenquiry about his character, Vladimir people say that Ivan is now good after hestopped drinking. 

However, even his wife now doubts him! Coincidentally, the rogue murderer, Makar Semyonich, is brought to prison for a minor offence, and Aksionov is severely disturbed by his presence that he feels like killing himself. 

Makar commits another offence in prison, and Aksionov finds him, but the manbegshim to keep quiet and not betray him, or he will kill him. Aksionov tells himhehadkilled him long ago, and he will do as God shall direct. 

When the Governor implores Aksionov to tell him the truth about the prison offence, for he trusts only him, Aksionov refuses and tells him he can do what he likeswithhim as he is in his hands. At night the killer, Makar, confesses and begs Aksionovtoforgive him. 

As Makar sobs, Aksionov weeps, for he has no desire to leave the prison. Whentheorder for his release comes, Aksionov is already dead.

Title of the story 

a) How relevant is the title of the story, God Sees the Truth, but Waits? b) Why do you think Aksionov refuses to tell the truth about the prison incident?c) Do you think the Governor is to blame for Aksionov's prolonged imprisonment?Explain. 

d) What is the impact of Ivan Aksionov's faith in God on his life? e) Why is Ivan reticent to go back home? 

f) Explore and analyze the existence of the following themes in God Sees theTruth, but Waits. 

i. Mistaken identity. ii. 

Crime and Confession 

iii. Wrongful conviction and imprisonment. iv. 

The concept and context of truth. 

v. Justice delayed is justice denied. vi. 

Betrayal and Tolerance 

vii. Coincidence 

THEMATIC CONCERNS 

Wrongful conviction and imprisonment. 

The values of honesty, truth and justice are tested through this story. 

• Aksionov comes out to question the essence of these values if he suffersinthe prison caves of Siberia under wrongful conviction and subsequent incarcerationfor twenty-six years. (p71). 

• Mistaken identity runs through this story. Ivan Dmitritch is arrested for spending a night with an acquaintance a fellow merchant at the inn who leavesbefore dawn. 

• This is because the merchant is killed during the night by a thug whohidestheknife in Ivan's bags. This is what makes the police officer arrest himon suspicion. (p69, 70). 

• At the story's beginning, Aksionov is characterized by dynamic character andsetting. He is lost in liquor but later starts a business and owns two shops. (p68). 

• He leaves and loses his home, family and his freedom. This story sendsthemessage that none of these things matters in the long run. 

The concept and context of truth. 

• Aksionov learns the hard way that when the chips are down, nothing remainsexcept God at his side, who knows the truth. (p73). 

• Truth depends on context. It is true that the bloody knife is found in hisbagsand that he had slept close to a fellow merchant, but then it is not true that hekillshim. (p69).

 

• By the end of the story, Aksionov has an opportunity to be free and returnhome, but he no longer desires to leave the prison but only hopes for his last hour tocome. Ivan is a man who seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Heisunlucky, mentally strong, and religious. He is unfortunate because he is sentencedtoprison for 26 years for a murder that he did not commit. 

He is also mentally strong because he can endure many tragic events, suchaslosinghis home and business. 

Faith and devotion 

Finally, he displays a strong religious devotion by growing closer to God duringdifficult times. 

• However, at the story's end, he only seems to care about his faith andbeingclose to God. 

• Ivan relies on God as he is the only constant in his life. At the end of thestory, he has no desire to return home. His only wish is to be with God. 

At the story's beginning, Ivan and his wife don't have the best relationship as heleaves for Nizhny Fair even after his wife asks him to stay. Later, she doubts hisinnocence after he is convicted of murder. 

• Faith keeps Ivan going after losing everything, being charged with murder andsent to prison in Siberia. He could have completely given up, but he insteadleansonhis faith in God. 

CHARACTERS 

l. Describe the character traits of the following characters. 

a) Aksionov 

b) Makar 

c) The Governor 

2. Focusing on their prominent character traits, compare and contrast theprotagonist, Ivan Aksionov, and the Makar. 

3. Citing evidence from the text, describe the character traits of the followingcharacters. 

a) The Governor 

b) Aksionov's wife 

Style and Language use 

1. How is symbolism employed in Leo Tolstoy's God Sees the Truth, but Waits?2. Examine the use of irony and paradox God Sees the Truth, but Waits.

3. What does Siberia represent in this story? 

Essay question 

1. The average human attribute is evile Discuss this assertion using illustrationsfrom Leo Tolstoy's God Sees the Truth, but Waits, (20 marks), 

THE NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH 

Rern'y Ngamije Rwanda And Namibia About 

the Author Rem'y Ngarnije. 

Reni'y Ngamije is a writer and a photographer who is of Namibian origin but wasbornin Rwanda. He founded an organization that supports literary works and is alsoachief editor of the first Namibian literary magazine- 'Doek'. His story NeighbourhoodWatch' is a contemporary story that was recently published in the Johannesburg Review of Books. Streetlife — Crime and violence in the streets

The secret struggles/suffering 

Harsh living conditions. 

Inequalities / Class difference — 

The rich vs poor 

Desperation — suffered by those living in the streets. 

Waste disposal — what is the ideal way to dispose of waste? TITLE 'The Neighbourhood watch' 

The title is a phrase used to refer to an organised group that engages in crimeandvandalism prevention in a particular neighbourhood. While deviating fromtheideal image of a neighbourhood watch that aims at reducing crime, Rem'y Ngamijeironically creates a haphazard group of five homeless people who scavenge androam around different neighbourhoods/suburbs in Windhoek. The crewengagesinminor criminal activities instead of working to curb crime in the neighbourhoods. 

CHARACTERS 

a. Elias 

He is the oldest member of the Neighbourhood watch group and thus their leader. He mainly helps get food for the group by working with Lazarus and Omagana. 

Elias has had a tough past as he experienced the South African insurgency; thusisstrong and had suffered some loneliness in his first years in the streets. 

Memories of the war still haunt him, as often in his slumber. b. Lazarus 

He is Elias's Lieutenant.

 

He is the eyes of the group and the source of protection, as his presence in anyfight is believed to change the bookies' odds drastically. 

He is an ex-convict though he does not like disclosing this information. c. Omagano 

She is the only female member of the group. 

She works as a member of the food crew (Elias, Lazarus, omagana) that goesout looking for food for the group. d. Silas 

He is a member of the group who likes risks. 

He steals from people. 

Although Elias constantly warns him, he does not stop the stealing habit. e. Martin 

He is the newest and youngest member of the group. 

He mainly works with Silas to look for essentials such as discarded blankets, mattresses, useable shoes, broken crates, trolleys and toothpaste tubes. 

He faithfully follows Silas around, trying to learn a few tricks fromhim. f. Old Mrs Bezuidenhout 

She is an old generous and kind lady who lives in the wealthy neighbourhoodof Eros. 

She is considered as one of the pillars of the Neighbourhood Watch as she givesdifferent gifts such as canned food, old clothes or blankets, old books and rosariesthat they use to pray at night. 

SYNOPSIS 

Set in the suburbs of Windhoek, Namibia, 'The Neighbourhood Watch' is a modernstory of a street group made up of Elias Lazarus, Silas, Omagano and Martin. Thestory explores the daily life of this group, their struggles, crimes and desperationtosurvive in the harsh conditions that street life presents. 

The story opens in the morning, where Elias wakes up the family members toprepare for the day's activity. The harsh living conditions in the streets are evident from the lack of breakfast and the single can of water that the group shares tocleantheir faces. Their "home" - below the bridge- which the author sarcastically callsprecious real estate is their territory that is marked and safely guarded. 

The group sets out early to the CBD, where the food crew (Elias, Lazarus andOmagano) go looking for food while the valuable crew (Silas and Martin) lookfor other essentials. They reunite later, and the food crew produces half a loaf of brownbread, some salt mashed potatoes, soft grapes and some water which the groupshares for lunch. The valuable crew has brought a stack of newspapers, plastic piping and two battered, floppy poor boy caps, which Elias and Lazarus pick. 

Elias orders the group to rest as they would be heading to Auasblick that night. Ausiblick is one of the nice suburbs as the bins there provide some bounty harvest as the people there still know how to throw things away. This is unlike OlympiaandSuiderhof, which are already crowded. 

The writer compares these neighbourhoods to old neighbourhoods that the crewused to scavenge. Through a flashback, the past life ofElias and Lazarus is brought out. In their earlier days, the two were not choosy on areas to frequent. They visitedthe poor neighbourhoods such as Katutura, Hakahana, Goreangab, WanahedaandOkuryangava on Tuesdays and Fridays. While scavenging these neighbourhoods, thetwo found a baby, thus deciding to prepare a timetable and stop going to poor people's places. 

Another flashback takes us to the way the crew used to visit Khomasdal onWednesdays. On one Friday's visit to Khomasdal, Amos, a former crewmember withElias and Lazarus, gets killed. He fails to control his tongue and guts after gettingdrunk thus is stubbed by someone he insults. 

Elias and Lazarus escape the scene of death just like everybody else for fear of beingquestioned and harassed by police. However, they are caught and are badly beatenand injured before they are set free. They thus decide never to return to Khomasdal. 

The crew spends their Friday and Saturday at the Headquarters. They consider it safe since those are the days that police patrols drive around looking for mischief. Silas, however, chooses to roam around, thus leaving the other four crewmemberstalking about people who idle around waiting to get some specific jobs that arerarelyforthcoming. Martin talks of the hope of getting a job for these people in thefuture. This raises the debate that leads to the crew's slogan that there is only today andthat every day is today. 

Sunday is the best day for the crew since they visit the affluent suburbs suchasAvis, Klein, Windhoek and Eros. These suburbs are associated with the rich and arecloseto the crew's home — Headquarters. One of the good things about Eros is thegenerous old Mrs Bezuidenhout who waits for the crew and gives themgifts suchascanned food, books and old clothes. 

The story comes to an end with the crew worried of the day that Mrs Bezuidenhout will no longer be around to give those gifts, yet they will still want to take andhavesomething to help them survive the harsh street life. 

EPISODIC ANALYSIS OF ISSUES Episodes 

1. At the headquarters- pg 75-78 

2. The past; poor suburbs -pg 78-80 

3. Death of Amos-pg. 80-81

4. The wealthy suburbs —pg. 82-83 

Various issues arise from these episodes: 

Street life And Its Challenges 

Living in the streets is shown to have several challenges: 

Crime and violence 

The neighbourhood watch must safely hide their valuable items at the headquartersto prevent theft. hidden stash is considered safe since they are a feared group—they have a fierce reputation (pg. 76). 

Lazarus is considered the Lieutenant of the group and one of its pillars due tohisviolence (pg. 83) shows that life in the streets involves some violent acts. Violenceisseen to be a necessary survival skill in the street. 

The death of Amos after knife stabs also shows the level of violence facedinthestreets 'The knife flashed quickly In, out, in, out and then slashed across..... ..Amosfell.' (pg. 80-81). 

Silas, one of the crew members, engages in some crime. He is said to have hadahabit of discovering things that have had previous owners. 'Silas steals' ( pg. 77). If he gets caught while stealing, he might be beaten or arrested. 

Secret struggles 

The Neighbourhood Watch has to struggle to ensure that the valuables are safelyhidden to prevent theft. After splashing water on their faces, the empty can isstashed away with other valuables in a hook under the concrete abutment of thebridge (pg. 75-76). 

They also have to protect their territory — The bridge underside precious real estate. To achieve this, the abbreviations NW are sprayed onto the bridge's columns whichcommunicate that it is marked territory (pg. 76). 

The group must struggle to camouflage and appear like any ordinary personwhileroaming the streets to evade police. They have to look presentable, thus why Omagano struggles to straighten her kinky hair using her fingers. They alsohavetowear their best clothes. One of their greatest challenges is how to disguise their foul smell. The writer notes, "But smelling bad is something they try to avoid as muchaspossible since a smelly man is despised everywhere." (Pg. 76). 

Struggle to get food 

The crew relies on waste food and leftovers to survive. It is said that 'Elias knowsmost city hotel's kitchen staff who leave the group some decaying produce or someleftovers when they feel kind from the previous night' (pg 76). 

The struggle to get food forces them to use dubious means such as havingOmagano satisfy the sexual needs of guards who deny them access to bins that might contain high yields (pg. 77). 

The lunch that the group shares show that getting enough food for a meal is areal struggle for them 'The food crew shares the lunch: Half a loaf of brown bread, somesalty mashed potatoes, soft grapes and some water' (pg.78). 

The group heavily relies on Mrs Bezuidenhout's generosity as she gives themcannedfood such as beans and peas, fruits and other valuable items (pg. 83). 

Struggle with poor health conditions 

Elias has a racking cough that worsens each day. It is so severe that, 'Sometimesthere is blood in the gunk from his chest, but he waves everyone's concerns away' (pg. 76). 

Inequalities/Class Difference 

By splitting the city of Windhoek geographically into different neighbourhoods, Ngamije is able to use place as a marker of inequalities and class differencesthat exist among the people. 

The content of rubbish bins in the different neighbourhoods shows the differencesbetween the rich and the poor. The first suburb to be visited by the crewis Auasblick. It is described as a nice place since the people there still know howto throwawaythings The Neighbourhood Watch is assured Of scoring good things such as 'brokentoasters, blenders, kettles water bottles, Teflon pots or pans scrubbed rawscreentelevision cardboard boxes, and maybe some food' (pg.78) This shows that thepeople who live here are well up and live comfortable lives. 

The suburbs of the poor such as Katutura, Hakahana, Goreangab, WanahedaandOkuryangava, are also described. 

Using the flashback of the crew's Tuesday and 'Thursday visits to these poor suburbs, Ngaminje brings out the living conditions of the poor based on the content of their bins. One day, Elias and Lazarus found a baby wrapped in some newspapersthrown into a big bin. Ihis encounter made them smart and move away frompoor people. They decided that on Tuesday and Thursday nights, they would stopgoingtopoor people's places because poor people had nothing left to throwaway but themselves (pg. 80) 

Khomasdal is closely related to the poor people's suburbs. It is, however, a drinkingden. The neighbourhood watch never enters Khomasdal since it is crowdedwithother starving, roving cliques (pg. 80). It is also in the same neighbourhoodwhereAmos was killed. 

These lowly suburbs are contrasted to the suburbs ofthe wealthy such as Avis, Klein, Windhoek and Eros. Avis has complex apartments that bring a fresh crop of binstothe interlocked pavements. lhough made up of rich people, 

Klein Windhoek portrays some meanness as they only put up their bins at thecrack of dawn to dissuade the dustbin divers from perambulating through their streets(pg. 83). Eros is the best suburb for The Neighbourhood Watch due to the presenceof Mrs Bezuidenhout, who waits for the crew and gives them some gifts. This shows

the wealthy nature of the old lady, the people living in this neighbourhood, andMrsBezuidenhout's generosity. 

Desperation 

Life in the streets is filled with moments of desperation. When Elias and Lazarusmet, they would desperately flick through every bin they could find in every suburbtheycould reach. As the writer tells us, they had no room to be choosy as the writer tellsus, 'They were indiscriminate and desperate and always hungry.' (pg.78) 

Elias shares these experiences with the other crew members and tells them, "Whenwe started when you have to we weren't picky. We had to survive survive, youdon't get to choose what you have to do." (pg.79). 

We further see that the crew's desperation to get food and survive makes themuseany possible means. Omagano is a precious survival tool for the group in suchdesperate times. This especially happens where the bins in some areas are fencedoff and guarded by guards who threaten to beat the crew if they trespass. Theguards have to be bribed to let the crew scavenge in these bins. When the crewhasmoney, Elias pays the guards. 

However, when the crew has no money and needs to get food, Omagano is their onlyway out. She goes behind a dumpster with a guard and does what needs tobedone(pg. 77). 

Waste disposal 

Ngamije shows the actual situation around waste disposal in many urban neighbourhoods. The Neighbourhood Watch crew solely depends on the disposedwaste for their survival. By describing the kind of waste found in different neighbourhoods, the writer communicates the need to ensure that waste is appropriately disposed off. The crew's appreciation of high-end suburbs suchasEros, Windhoek, and Eros emphasises the need to recycle and separate different waste products. These suburbs have people who recycle. Different bins containingdifferent wastes are also seen- 'The paper cardboard, plastic bottles, tins, cansandaluminum foil are sorted in separate plastic bags. Some people even wash thetrashbefore they throw it away. Everything else that is of no use goes in the big greenbins' (pg. 82). 

This serves as an advantage to the crew as it saves time and prevents disappointment. The writer subtly advocates for waste separation and recyclingtoensure proper waste management. Other lowly suburbs such as Katutura, Hakakana, Goreangab, Wanaheda and Okuryangava display poor waste disposal where all sortsof waste are put in the same bin. The writer communicates the inappropriatenessofthis waste disposal approach through the grave voice adopted by Elias as heshares their past experiences with the crew. 

"Usually in a bin you have to be ready to find shit Old food, used condoms, womenthings with blood on them, broken things." (pg.79) 

This waste disposal method is not just disgusting, but it makes proper wastemanagement difficult and ultimately impossible. Similar waste disposal methodsareseen in Ausblick, where everything — including electronic gadgets such as brokentoasters, blenders and kettles- is disposed of together with water bottles, cardboardboxes, and even food wastes. 

Questions 

1. Proper waste disposal makes it easy for waste to be appropriately managed. Using illustrations from Rem'y Ngamije's "The Neighbourhood Watch" showhowthismessage is communicated. 

2. Street life is not for the faint-hearted Show the truthfulness of this statement based on the story "The Neighbourhoodd Watch." 

3. In every society, some inequalities exist that affect people's way of life. Usingillustrations from Rem'y Ngamije's "The Neighbourhood Watch" support this assertion. 

DECEMBER 

Filemon Liyambo - Namibia About 

the author: 

Filemon Liyambo is a Namibian writer and former newspaper columnist for theNamibian Sun Newspaper. He has also contributed social commentary articlesfor the New Era Newspaper. A qualified geologist, he is now an educator. His workwasincluded in Erotic Africa, an anthology of short stories published by Brittle Paper inDecember 2018. He is currently working on a novel. 

Episodes / sub-episodes 

1. September's arrival from the U.K. (p84 — 86). 2. December's psychiatric condition. (p86 - 88). 

3. Ezekiel Shikongo's dreams and taboos. (p85 - 90). 

SYNOPSIS 

December is a story about a girl named December, unconventionally, by her father, Silas Shikongo. The story is set in a town in Namibia. 

December has a younger brother named September. According to their grandfather,

Ezekiel, there are traces of idiotism in September, his grandson, for he takes after hisyoungest brother, Josef. 

December nurses September when he is young, but there is a mishap in whichsheinjures the boy accidentally with hoe, and the boy bleeds. Flhe old man thenforbidsher to eat chicken, saying that is how things are. September suspects that hisgrandfather is hiding something because he cannot explain the reason clearly. However, the two siblings are academic geniuses. 

Suddenly, just before joining a Teachers Training College, December developsapsychiatric condition and her grandfather, Ezekiel, insists that she is bewitchedandthere are dark forces behind it. He takes her to the hospital and dumps her there. September, who now studies in the U.K., visits his sister at the hospital, but thenurseintercepts him for being late. However, Tshuuveni, a supervisor, and a familiar faceappears and begins talking with him. This light chat makes the nurse calm, andtheguards are sent away to allow him some time. The nurse softens when she learnsthat September is December's brother who studies abroad. 

September finds his sister in a horrible condition, but they have a warmmoment, andhe hands her the gifts: a jersey, a pen and a book full of puzzles, a t-shirt, andyummychips from KFC. 

Meanwhile, Tatekulu, their grandfather Ezekiel, has dreamed of a pond whereleopards drink and Josef is seated on the edge, eating. A search party is sent, andJosef is found at the exact place in Ezekiel's dream. 

The next day, September buries his grandfather, with his secret, next to his father inthe village graveyard. 

Questions for reflection on 'Title' of the story and themes 

1) How relevant is the title of the story, December? 

2) Does the Naming convention of Silas Shikongo affect his children? 3) Why do you think Ezekiel refuses to tell why he forbids his granddaughter toeat chicken? 

4) Do you think Josef gets lost? Explain. 

5) What does the Union jack symbolize in the story, December? 6) Explore and analyze the following themes in December. 

i. Mental illness and child neglect 

ii. Superstitious beliefs and taboos 

iii. Healthy living, eating iv. Hope/optimism Thematic concerns 

+ Consequences of superstition on mental illness o December, the story's title, isalso the central character's name. The name is given to her by her father against his own father's wishes, who calls it idiotism. Conventional or not, thisnaming creates confusion and distortion of facts simultaneously. (p85- 86).

 

o The story itself is mixed with a patched-up plot which renders the storylineunclear. The plot is not linear. Like in most Namibian, there was indifferencetowards those who didn't reside there. Sticking out was a serious crime: (p84- 90). 

o When Ezekiel Shikongo faces death and illness, anxiety, fear, and despair creep in, engendering adherence to delusions that have no logical or scientificexplanation and lead to superstitious behaviours caused by a false notionof the causes. (p84 - 90). 

o It is rooted in human ignorance and significantly affects people's cultureandhealth, prevents them from beginning restoration, and harms individualsand society. The mundane illogical beliefs derived fromignorance cannot beproven objectively and scientifically. Ezekiel forbids December to eat chickendue to the mishap. (p85 89). 

o The extended family of Ezekiel grapples with hereditary ill patients (Josef andDecember), and the old man blames their mental illness on superstitiousthoughts such as "evil eye" or "dark forces." 

o This pandemonium is created by Silas, December's father, to showhisdivergent opinion and disbelief in his father's taboos. (p85). 

o Their disagreement, therefore, gets complicated when December is borninSeptember and September in July. Then when September returns fromabroad, his grandfather dies in October. (p86). 

o Ezekiel refers to the naming as 'idiotism', and indeed his younger brother Josef exhibits traces of the problem when he starts to lose track of timeinhisteens; days of the week are a blur to him. The fact that September is absent- minded at times complicates the matter more. (p84 - 86). 

o Ezekiel's superstitious belief could be premised on an archaic generational and cultural illusion that other forces cause problems. (p86). o Josef eventually loses himself. He is lost for a month. In his dreams, Ezekiel tellswhere exactly to find him but does not say what he is eating until he exitsthelife stage. Ezekiel's death signifies the end of the old traditions and thebeginning of civilization. (p89). 

o When September breaks the news to his grandfather that he will study abroadtwo and a half years earlier, Ezekiel is happy. September had cried. "My sister..." (p88). 

o The old man reassured him. "I will take care of her." "She's been at thehospital for six months. (p88). 

o Superstition makes him believe that mental illness is caused by other forcesnot normal or conventional in nature. He takes her to a traditional healer, andshe comes back looking skeletal as if the healer had tried starving out thevoices in her head. (p88). o Ezekiel represents intensely superstitious Africanpeople who turn to indigenous treatments such as charms and witchdoctorsto treat their illnesses. Modern technologies have not been able to reducetheir superstitious tendencies. (p88) 

o "There is no brother listed in her file," the nurse said. "Only a grandfather." This is child neglect. (p88). 

o Superstitious thinking becomes harmful when it enters the health domain, affects people's well-being, and becomes part of the family's health beliefs. The values that society believes affect the quality of life and treatment choiceduring illness. Ezekiel's beliefs affect all family members. (p84 - 90). 

Hope/optimism 

• Their life of hope begins when September arrives at the hospital fromtheU.K. December, who is at the hospital probably being discharged to start her life freeof her grandfather's superstitious interference. (p87). 

Remember when September comes from Europe, he brings December a T-shirt withan imprint of the Union Jack, representing modernity or a formof enlightenment. But still, this is confusion on ideologies: between colonialism and civilization. 

• The T-shirt is precisely the same as the one December had ripped upall thoseyears before to stem September's bleeding. This implies that her ordinary lifeisrestored by her brother's hope and concern for her well-being. (p89). 

• The two reminisce their puberty days when September got himself a puppynamed Kali to keep off boys who pursued December when she was younger. Tshuuveni enquires whether September is bringing home an oshitenya fromoverseas, but he says he still hasn't found the right girl. (p87). 

Professional medical practice should be relied on to guarantee the quality of life, control and treatment of diseases, and complications is not a secret to anyone. 

The medical fraternity should fight these superstitious thoughts to lower their adverse consequences. will bring hope. Hope is also symbolized when it rainsafter Ezekiel Shikongo's burial. Then Josef is also found. (p89, 90). 

CHARACTERS 

1. Citing evidence from the text, describe the character traits of the following characters. a) December 

b) September 

c) Ezekiel Shikongo 

d) Silas Shikongo 

Style and Language use 

1. What does the coming of September from Europe and the dying of Ezekiel inOctober symbolize? 

2. How is sarcasm employed in Filemon Liyambo's December? 3. Examine the use of irony and paradox December.

BOYI 

Gloria Mwaninga- Kenya 

Gloria Mwaninga is a fictional writer from Kenya. Her story 'Boyi' captures the occurrences of the 2005 land war in Mt. Elgon. 

points to guide interpretation 

a) Land war and its effects: 

b) Demand for land protection fee 

c) Recruitment of young men into the militia 

d) Murder/ killing of people- consider how the militia kills e) people while the government forces the killing of militia members. f) People are forced to flee their homes/ Displacement of people g) Betrayal h) The pain and suffering that the people face due to war and the rise of themilitia. 

i) Traditions 

Title 

The title of the story- 'Boyi' is borrowed from the main character's name, whoisthebrother to the narrator. Boyi is recruited into a militia group and ends up deadwhenthe Armed Forces troops come to flash out members of the militia. CHARACTERS

a. Boyi 

He is the brother of the narrator- A fifteen-year-old boy recruited into a militiagroupwhen his parents are unable to pay the land protection fee and the betray feethat theleader of the militia demands. 

He grows and rises in rank to become the right-hand man of Matwa Kei, the militia'sleader. 

He is presented as a jovial, sociable, and outgoing person who always engagedingames and played tricks with his sister. 

He is reportedly killed by Armed Forces troops sent by the government to flashout the militia to end the war. b. The Narrator 

Boyi's sister, through whom the story is told, is keen and observant as she cannotethe things that happen in her family and even outside the family and report theminthe story. She had a close relationship with Boyi thus is greatly affected by hisrecruitment to the militia and devastated once she learns of his death. 

She senses Boyi's death when the huge Nandi flame tree at the front of their housefalls.

 

c. Baba 

He is the father to Boyi and the narrator. He aided the government representative, who gave land to strangers by giving him a panga and makonge ropes, thus beingconsidered a traitor by the militia. 

He hands over his fifteen-year-old son- Boyi, to the militia group leader whenheisunable to raise the 40,000 fees demanded from him. d. Mama she is the mother to Boyi and the narrator, and the wife to Baba. She is deeply affected when Boni ishanded over to the militia by Baba. 

she remains hopeful that Boyi will escape the militia and come back home. e. Matwa Kei 

He is the leader of the militia group. He is presented as a ruthless, vengeful andbrutal person who demands that Baba should pay 10,000 land protection tax and30,000 betrayal tax failure to which the militia would show Baba smoke without fire. 

f. Chesober 

He is Baba's friend who taught at Chepkurkur Primary School. 

He delivers news that the militia had a long list of people who had aided the government exercise to divide the people's land to strangers. g. Chesaina 

He is an old friend of Baba who works as a watchman in a grain depot, far awayinChwele market. He brings news to Baba,s family that Boyi was nowa markedmansince he was Matwa Kei's, right-hand man. h. Simoni 

He delivers a copy of the Nation newspaper, which contains news about Boyi'sdeath. SYNOPSIS 

Gloria Mwaninga's story, 'Boyi', is a contemporary story about forming a militiagroupto revolt against land allocation to strangers. The story heavily alludes to theMt. Elgon land war in Kenya that began in 2005. The Sabaot Land Defence Forcemilitiagroup was formed to protect the land of the Sabaots from being invaded by strangers. Still, the militia ended up causing harm and suffering to its people. real group was led by Wycliffe Matakwei hence the name of the militia leader in thestory- Matwa Kei. 

Told in the first-person narration voice, the story 'Boyi' opens with the narrator remembering how their Baba pushed Boyi to the Matwa Kei when the militialeader came to demand 40,000 land protection tax and betrayal tax which he couldnot raise. 

Matwa Kei is the leader of a militia group formed to protect the people's landwhenthe government decides to divide the peoples' land and give some of it to strangers. Baba, the writer's father, is considered a traitor by the militia since he lends the

government's surveyor apanga and makonge ropes. 

News breaks out that the militia has begun attacking government representatives. The narrator's family lives in fear of this attack to the extent that they block thesitting-room door with sacks of maise and beans. The narrator and Boyi laughabout it as they feel that the militia would not harm them. However, the narrator recallshow the militia came to their home and demanded money. Baba offers to givethemeverything he owns; his savings, a hunting gun, Sony transistor radio and evenpromises to sell his bull to save his family. However, the militia group declines, forcing Baba to hand over his son, Boyi, to the militia. 

After Boyi is taken away, Mama starts behaving like a mad person. She, however, lives in the hope that Boyi would return by escaping from the militia. The narrator recalls how at first, neighbours would visit them often to console them, but later theystopped coming. 

Later, Saulo visits the family to inform them the government had launched "Operation okoa Maisha" and had dispatched a troop of two hundred armedforcesmen to flash out the militia. next day, Baba and his cousin Kimutai dig a shallowgrave at the back of the house to burry a banana stem wrapped in a green cottonsheet believing that his son is dead. Mama refuses to participate in escortingBoyi'sspirit away. 

Seasons passed as the brutality of the militia rose. They would cut up peopleandthrow the bloodied bodies in the rivers, pit latrines, and public wells. They wouldforcibly recruit boys as young as ten years and even started taking girls to goandcook for them. Cases of rape also increased. As a result, people lived in fear makingmany of them run away to Bungoma and Uganda. 

After the army troops arrive, Chesaina, an old friend of delivers news that Boyi hadbecome a marked man since he was Matwa Kei's, right-hand man. news further devastates Mama and the narrator, who spends the night in Boyi's bed. 

The following day, Simon visits the narrator's house. He delivers the Nation Newspaper, which bore the news "Ragtag militia leader killed by the Army forces" It now dawns on the narrator that her brother is no more. 

She rushes to the parents' bedroom and hands over the newspaper to Baba toread. Upon reading the news, Baba crumples to the floor while Mama's laughter is heardpiercing the morning dawn. Surprisingly, even after Simoni's description of howBoyi was thrown out of an aircraft by Sah-gent, Mama does not weep but speaks Boyi'sname softly as she sits on his bed while Boyi's sister lets tear roll down her face. Asthe story ends, the narrator explains how she sensed Boyi's death when the Nandi flame tree at the front of their house fell. 

Styles and Plot related questions 

1. How has the narrator used flashbacks in the story?

 

2. Briefly describe Mama's behaviour after: 

a) Boyi is handed over to Matwa Kei 

b) Baba and his cousin Kimutai dig a grave to bury a banana stemc) Chesaina's news that Boyi was a marked man 

d) News about Boyi's death. 

3. What is the implication of the dream used in the story? 

4. The narrator gives a detailed description of what happens when the long rainsfall (pg 94). Explain how symbolic the description is. 

5. Explain the use of irony in the story. 

EPISODIC ANALYSIS OF ISSUES Episodes 

l. The demand of the Militia- pg 91-92 ll. 

Life after Boyi left- pg 92-93 

Ill. Operation Okoa Maisha pg 93-96 

IV. Boyi's death pg 96- 97 

Thematic Concerns Traditions 

Belief in Djinnis- The community in the story believes in the presence of powerful evil spirits known as Djinni. This is seen when Mama talks to the visitors who frequent their home once Boyi is taken away. She tells them, 'How Boyi saved her marriagebyconfirming that Djinnis did not tie up her womb.' Pg 93. 

The people also practice the ritual of burying a banana stem to send death awaywhere a person disappears and their bodies are not found. The narrator reportshowBaba and his cousin Kimutai dug a shallow grave and buried a banana stemwrappedin a green cotton sheet. The father muttered, "Death, take this body. .. Take it, anddonot bother my home with your visits again." Pg. 93 This ritual is performed after Saulo's story that the government has launched Operation Okoa Maisha, wherearmed Forces troops are sent to flush out militia members. It shows the fear of thepeople that the operation will lead to more deaths. 

The people are also seen to hold on to some superstitions. The falling of thehugeNandi flame signifies something significant was bound to happen. The narrator seesthis as a bad omen while the mother thinks it means the end of evils for her family'I knew it was a bad omen even though Mama came out of her roomjubilantly declared that the evil which was to come to our house had been struck downandswallowed by the Nandi flame, pg 96. 

Land War And Its Effect 

The story is rooted in a revolt resulting from the government dividing land andgiving

it to strangers. Ihe revolt leads to forming a militia group to counter-attack thegovernments' decision and fight those who collaborate with the government. 

The militia has various effects: 

They demanded the land protection tax. They had chopped off the heads of thefamilies if one did not give them money (pg.92). 

The recruitment of young men to the militia. Boyi is recruited by force to the militiabecause Baba has given him out since he cannot afford to pay the money demanded: "Hold on to the boy until I find you forty thousand land protection tax, and thenI will have him back" (pg. 91). 

So many other young men had been recruited into the militia. Mama says, "Hadhisears not caught stones of neighbour's son recruited by the militia?" (pg.92). Themilitia goes from house to house, forcefully recruiting boys as young as tenyearspage 95. 

People living in fear- The villages of Kopsiro, Savomet, Chepkyuk all live in fear ..athick yellow fog of fear over them." (pg. 95) 

People fail to work 

Farmers did not clear their shambas for the second planting of the maize cropbecause the militia stole young crops from the fields and goats fromtheir pens(pg. 95). 

The narrator's friend, Chemutai, said that the narrator's breast grewtoo fast becauseshe had spent too much time outside ......... instead of working chap chap likeanormal musaa tree girl (pg.95) 

Murder/brutal killings 

The militia cut up people and threw their bloodied bodies in rivers, pits, latrines, andpublic wells (pg. 92). The people say that they even cut off their necks. 

The narrator overhears Baba being told that those recruited have to go back homeand kill a close relative so that their hearts are strong to kill others (pg. 95) Boyi iskilled for being part of the militia (pg. 96-97). 

Displacement of people from their land and homes 

"People flee from their homes since there is a mass exodus to Bungoma andUganda' page 95 

Lack of schooling 

The narrator says nobody went to school anymore because of the war. She spendsher days under the Nandi flame tree with half-closed eyes (pg. 95) 

Suffering 

The writer points out clearly how society goes through suffering as a result of the 

war: 

Mama experiences emotional suffering when Baba gives out Boyi to the militiatoberecruited since the family could not afford the forty thousand land protectionfee. The writer says that madness had entered 

Mama's eyes the day baba pushed Boyi to Mativa Kei. She tore off her kitengeandstarted shouting at Baba, telling him that he was sick in the head if he thought Boyi would return (pg. 91). 

Mama did not eat her food and starved in the days that followed, mutteringtoherself. Her ugali would remain untouched until a gusty brown film formed. The narrator hadto throw it away to the chicken coop. She also continued engaging herself inmonologues (pg. 94). 

The narrator also experiences pain and suffering. She felt queasy once Babainformed them that the militia would have killed them for not giving out the fortythousand land protection tax. The narrator felt as if someone had pulled her insidesout through her nostrils.' (pg. 92). 

When they were informed of Boyi's death, she cried bitterly. She let the tears roll down her face and soak her blue silk blouse and purple boob top (pg. 97) 

Baba suffers when forced to hand over his son Boyi to the militia. He experiencesagony when Mama questions him since he knew very well if he didn't, he riskedhisfamily being killed by the militia. 'He sat there and held his rage firmly with hishands. He pulled his lips to a narrow thread like a line drawn on his dark face by a ruler.' (pg. 92) 

When they are informed that Boyi is a marked man, Baba goes through someemotional torture. For the first time, the narrator saw her father crying "That dayI saw Baba's tears..." (pg. 96) 

The community undergoes suffering because of the war as some of the peoplearebrutally murdered the militia cut the people and threw their bloodied bodies inrivers, pit latrines and public wells' (pg. 96). 

Some of the militia are said to kill close relatives so that their hearts are strongtokill others. The militia forgets its initial objective of protecting the land. Instead, "Nowthey even cut off our necks" (pg. 95) 

The militia also rapes their blood relatives who give birth to babies (pg. Betrayal 

The writer points out how some people betray others in society. Baba betrayshiscommunity by assisting the government representative with a panga and makongeropes when the government divides the people's land and gives it to some strangers(pg. 92).

The militia betrays the community it was meant to fight for by meting out evil onthepeople whose land they are fighting. The narrator overhears their neighbour Korostelling her father 

"They forgot that they were to protect our land from being given to those lazy strangers. Now they even cut off our necks" (pg. 95) 

The government betrays its people by dividing their land and giving it to strangersleading to the formation of the militia. 

Questions 

1. War leads to suffering. Using illustrations from the story show the validity of thisstatement. 

2. How effectively is Imagery used in the story? 

3. Describe the role of Baba inthe Story; 

CHEQUE MATE 

Kevin Baldeosingh - Trinidad About 

the author: 

Kevin Baldeosingh was born in1963 in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. He isanewspaper columnist, author, and Humanist involved in many controversial social issues. He has worked with the Trinidad Express, Newsday and the TrinidadGuardian. He worked for 25 years in the field of journalism. 

Episodes /sub-episodes 

1. At the bank, with the teller. 

2. Back to her apartment. 

3. At the company office, with Randall. 

SYNOPSIS 

Cheque Mate is a story about Sukiya (Ms Chansing), a poor damsel fromPenal, theCaribbean island of Trinidad, and her boss, Randall A Credo, of the Amerindiantribe. She is on the platinum credit cards queue and intends to deposit thirty milliondollars(five million U.S. dollars), but there is a mistake that throws her into panic anddilemma. 

Sukiya is an executive corporate secretary recently promoted, and her salary raisedtenfold. Fifty thousand dollars go into her savings account each month-end, but themoney does not show her actual income. She avoids the bank manager, for shehasaccumulated more and more, and her deposits are pretty frequent and high. Mr Randall makes these five million cheque payments for fear of cleaning by offshore accounts hacker’s syndicate. The teller advises her to open a U.S. savings account and return the following day. 

As she drives her posh car back to her apartment, she is Obsessed with the fivemillion dollars but pleased and relieved that she has successfully handled anawkward situation. She has to check her private records before seeing her boss, Randall. She weighs all possibilities of legal investigations, discovery and embarrassment but finally convinces and assures herself there is no cause for worry. She romanticizes what she could do with such vast sums of money, especially her residential abode. 

Randall has her as a corporate secretary who draws up contracts, studies conveyances and writes legal opinions. However, her critical role, for which sheishandsomely paid, is to create loopholes in such documents, including the saleof themethanol company to the Chinese government. Randall is also a major campaigncontributor. Thriving in such an environment, the poor girl suddenly turned prosperous, is delighted that she has accumulated a lot. 

After confirming that the sums and dates on the cheques are correct, she goestosee Randall for an explanation. Then the truth about the trick unfolds: the moneyisafee for keeping her mouth shut on the Chinese methanol deal which Sukiya undervalues the shares by 50 percent. At a time when technology can be usedtoconceal fraudulent secrets in cryptographical codes, it now dawns on Randall that it can also be used to reveal them. It is a fraud Sukiya has to deal with herself or together with her cheque mate, Randall, thanks to her cyberspace technology skills. 

Title of the story 

1. How relevant is the title of the story, Cheque Mate 2. Who are the cheque mates in the story? 

3. Why are cheques preferred as their payment modes? 

4. How do the cheque mates exploit contracts' complexity and detailed naturetocommit fraud? 

5. Explore and analyze the existence of the following themes: 

a. Corruption / Fraud/ bribery 

b. Deceit and Betrayal 

c. Loyalty cheques 

Thematic Concerns Corruption / Fraud/ bribery 

The banks and government will surely unravel and nab the cartel's underhanddealsin cryptocurrency camouflaged in the cheque deposits and contracts. (p108). 

The first eyebrows are raised when the bank teller repeats the question, "Ms Chansing,? Do you want the 'thirty million dollars' deposited in your savings account

or would you prefer to open a U.S. dollar account?" (p98). 

The official deductible salary standard for top executives does not showin her actual income through platinum credit cards. 

Sukiya has accumulated over ten thousand dollars, an amount she deposits fivetimes every month. (p99). She avoids encounters with bank managers for a bankmanager might wonder how a fifty-thousand-a-month salary becomes sevenmilliondollars in savings within six years. He would know enough to make some educatedguesses. (p99). 

The bank teller reminds Ms Chansing that the cheque is for five million dollars, U.S. equivalent to 30,242,000 Trinidad and Tobago dollars. (p99). 

She is responsible for moving vast sums through various channels when theoil andgas boom starts and money flows into the company. Sukiya will need to providethesource of funds, of course. (p101). 

Randall had watched too many movies where unrealistically cunning criminalscleaned out businessmen's offshore accounts by hacking into them. (p100). 

Ironically, when Sukiya, a lawyer, is hired as a corporate secretary to detect andclosefinancial loopholes in documents, she gets paid the largest cheques for creatingsuch loopholes. (p103). 

The five million cheques she gets she assumes is her fee for having drawn upfor thesale of the methanol plant by Randall. It could be a surprise bonus. But now, according to Randall, it is her fee for keeping her mouth shut during that deal. (p101— 107). 

Then the truth about the trick unfolds: the money is a fee for keeping her mouthshut on the Chinese methanol deal which Sukiya undervalues the shares by 50 percent. (p107, 109). 

• It is a deal that the Chinese considered protocol even with the bribe. (p103). 

• It is clear that the frauds committed, both inadvertent and deliberate, are rewarding, but eventually, the perpetrators will have to pay dearly. 

She is almost at the point of betraying herself, insinuating in her mind her readinessto offer herself unto Randall, for he is a man. Sukiya wants every advantage if themeeting turns into a negotiation. (p105). 

Deceit and betrayal 

Eventually, Ms comes to terms with the reality that all this time she has workedfor the company under Mr Randall A Credo was a disguised syndicate for whichshewill face the force of the law. 

When investigations are done, she will have to defend herself as to howshe hasaccumulated all this wealth over a very short period since she started workingasa

poor young girl from Penal. Now she swims in opulence, affluence and prosperouslyapparently does not need money as millions of dollars accumulate in a desk drawer. (p104 - 105). 

When she examines the cheques, the sums and dates are all right, signed by Randall and countersigned by herself. (p105). 

She could put various clauses into contracts to achieve certain ends or prevent theother party from attaining certain ends. (p106). 

However, she has been duped and used as a conduit for Randall's fraudulent deals. Ihrough the valuation report, Sukiya signs the document without reading it properlyorbecause Randall tells her to do so. Further, Randall himself forges his signatureusing Sukiya's pen. This form of deceit and betrayal sharply undercuts her. (p107-- 108). 

Margaret, Randall's executive assistant, is paid more than most managers inthecompany's subsidiaries. She knows more about Randall's dealings than anyoneelsein the company, including Sukiya. (p106). 

Loyalty cheques 

It seems everything throughout the story is conducted in terms of cheques. Askedabout the cheques' amounts, the figure runs automatically through her head. (p101). 

Sukiya has to fly from Trinidad to Grand Cayman to deposit cheques to her account every two months. (p 104). She keeps both her Us and T. T. cheques in the samedrawer, which is how the mix-up occurs. (p105). 

CHARACTERS 

Citing evidence from the text, describe the character traits of the following characters. 

a) Sukiya 

b) Randall 

STYLE AND LANGUAGE USE 

l. How is sarcasm employed in Cheque Mate? 

2. How symbolic is the title, and how does the duo execute their corrupt syndicate?3. How is dialogue used to achieve revelation of the rotten ills of the cheque mates?4. Why should corruption be made unattractive to perpetrators? Sample answered essay Questions Question 1: 

Ninema is an admirable character. Support this from Vrenika Pather's 'Ninema' 20marks. 

Ninema is an outstanding character who is liked by many of the people she

associates with. We see many good traits that she portrays in the story "Ninema". 

To start with, Ninema is presented as a principled person. She does not let thebehaviours and traits of others change what she believes in. Her business manner isunique only to her, and she does not change it to fit or be like others. Althoughshewas one of the traders, something about her was different. 

She ran her business with an iron fist which made some people like her whileothersdisliked her, -Tie people's reactions do not affect her as she remains herself. 'Theladies in the stalls admire _her mainly because they had gotten compromisedat work and home. 

In addition, Ninema is admirable since she is organised. She plans her work earlyenough, making it easy to run her business. 

She wakes up early in the morning to reap the herbs that she takes to the market for the day. She organizes her herbs in an appetising way, which draws many customersto here She does not chat with other ladies aimlessly, which would waste her time. She plans to ensure the stall is organised before she takes her breakfast. Onceher stall is ready and only when ready, she takes sips ofthe tea she had brought. Her meals are packed early in the morning, which points to this organised personality. She packs tea and some sandwiches that she takes for lunch. 

Nlnemaås also admirable since she is skilful wise, She handles different customersmasterfully, thus making her earn their loyalty. She can handle Mr Chinran, infatuatedwith her, by treating him with respect and appreciation instead of encouraginghisinfatuation. She also handles Mrs Singh firmly but respectively, thus winningher even though Mrs Singh is difficult and troublesome. Ninema's ability to enticeanewcustomer by offering an extra bunch of mint for free shows that she is skilful inbusiness, thus making her admirable as a trader. 

Lastly, Ninema is seen to be courageous, making her admirable. When a mansexually harasses her, she does not let him go scot- free. She follows the manwhopinches her erect nipple and hits him with the only weapon at hand —her Chumpal, which makes the man too astounded to react. The other women hawker jeer andcheer as Ninema repeatedly hits the man. She even gives himextra hits on behalf ofall the women, thus depicting her as the fighter of her rights and those for others. Byfollowing the man and hitting him with her sandal, Ninema shows her courage. 

From the story, Ninema is genuinely seen to be admirable due to her courageous, skilful, organised and moral nature. 

Question 2 When one is given power, he/she should use it onlyforgood but moreoften than not people use it for wrongpurposes. Support this statement basingyourargument from Naguib Mahfouz's 'A Man of Awesome Power' 

Many people who are in powerful positions or who have been gifted with somesort of power tend to abuse it. Instead of utilizing it for improvement of the society at

large, they use it for their own selfish interests or to punish those that have wrongedthem. same scenario is seen in 'A Man of Awesome Power through a number of illustrations. 

We see Tayyib al- Mahdi utilizing the power given to him for revenge. This is not agood a way of power utilization as it causes harm to others. Tayyib realizes that hehas power to order things to be and he sets out to utilize the power to change' hiscountry. However, the first episode where he utilizes this power shows that heisutilizing it to hit back at a person who offends him. The driver of the taxi that hehailssuffers his wrath for refusing to stop. When Tayyib is on his way to the heart of thetown, he hails a taxi but the driver simply waves a hand at himin haughty refuses. Tayyib's irritation makes him stare at the rear wheels of the taxi and the twoexplodesuddenly. 

He ignores the voice that reminds him that he should only use his power for goodand lets his anger control him. This act of revenge was deliberate since as Tayyibbypasses the driver he feels that he has taught the man a lesson. By utilizinghispower to hit back at the taxi driver, Tayyib shows that people with power useit for wrong purposes. 

We further see wrong utilization of power where Tayyib causes the man in thebustosuffer stomach pains. Although the man had physically attacked a woman, causinghim to suffer stomach cramps not justified. Tayyib encounters a confrontationbetween the man and a woman in a public bus and the man ends up slappingthewoman. Just like the incident with the taxi driver, Tayyib lets his anger control himwhere he focused it on the man's stomach and immediately the man suffers severecramps that cause him to moan and scream in pain. The pain is so intense that anambulance had to be called to fetch him• 

Allowing his anger to control him and causing pain to the man who had slappedawoman is a vengeful act which is wrong thus showing how people with power useit for wrong purposes. 

Beside, Tayyib uses the power bestowed on him to interfere with the radio presentation by causing the presenter to start sneezing. While seated in the café, hehears a radio announcer expounding on the developments that were to be expectedin the future. Tayyib feels that the announcer should report on what has beenachieved yet instead of giving false hopes to the people. Tayyib thus decidestocause some sneezing to attack the announcer since it was the only way tostophim. 

Soon after, the announcer develops massive sneezes that prevent himfromcarryingon with the presentation. Tayyib feels happy and victorious after the unexpectedconclusion of the announcement. Although his desire is to purify the broadcastingsector, the approach of causing massive sneezing to the presenter is harmful andthus wrong. 

Lastly, Tayyib is seen to use the power given to him to satisfy his sexual passionand

desires. Tayyib utilizes the power to make a woman that he is attracted to noticehim. While he is seated at the tea garden planning how to effectively use his power, Tayyib notices a beautiful woman approaching the entrance of the garden. Thewoman does not notice him at first and Tayyib thinks of how through his powershecan cause her to be head -over-heels with him. He then sends her a hidden messageand she responds to him. He sees nothing wrong with satisfying his desires as away of repairing himself. He closes his note book and they surrender to fate, This isanimmoral act since Tayyib is married to Haniya whom he had remained faithful tothroughout their marriage. 

People gifted with power should strive to use it only for good purposes and not to cause pain and suffering to others or for immoral deeds like Tayyib did. 

Question 3 

Some cultural practices do not add value hence should be done away with. Show the truthfulness of this assertion basing on Eric Ng'maryo's 'Ivory Bangles'. (20 marks) 

Culture keeps people together and governs their way of life thus is important. However, there are some traditions that are of no benefit and in some cases suchtraditions cause harm to people who continue to embrace themas is the caseinIvory Bangles] 

For this reason, such traditions should be discarded. Polygamy is one such cultural practice that has continued to be embraced yet it has no value. We realize that thecommunity in the story holds in high esteem this practice. As such, a man whodoesnot ascribe to it is seen to be a topic of discussion: 

This comes out clear where the old man who is a respected Chief's councillor istalked about because he had only one wife. According to the story, it was unheardof for someone as powerful as the old man- a small chief, to have only one wife, 

However, this value is seen to have no value since the old man is happy in hismarriage and he really loves his wife to the extent that he gifted her twenty-four ivorybangle Besides, the riddle used by old man when responding to the Chief's demandthat he marries another wife shows that polygamy causes harm. The riddle's interpretation A wife, a co-wife, witchcraft and death points to the harmful effectsofthe practice. As such, polygamy should be abolished as it causes harmandaddsnovalue. Another cultural value that has no value is believe in the seer and the act of seeking his guidance. 

 

The old man goes to seek the advice of the seer after noticingsome blood specks in the live at he goat that he slaughtered, He does this sincehispeople, believed in him as their tribal seer and their priest. We also see howvaluedhe is when the old man's wife dismisses his demands. The old man harshly rebukesher telling her that the seer is the mouthpiece of their departed fathers, we however {see that this belief does not add value since some of the advices given are boundtocause harm. The advice given to the old man by the seer supports this as theseer

tells him ‘That the pebbles demand that he beats his wife and send her back toher father's home. According to the seer, the pebbles are jealous of a happy wife- awoman unmolested by her husband. This shows that this believe in the seer isof nobenefit but rather causes harm. 

The superstitious belief that having blood specks in a goat's liver is a sign of something bad about to happen does not add any value, Tris is not based onanyproven basis but is just a traditional belief. The old man goes to consult the seer 

since he had noted some blood specks in the liver of the goat he had slaughtered. The belief is so strong that the man does not agree with the wife's dismissal of theseer's demands. According to the wife, the seer was hitting back at her for turningdown his marriage proposal. This argument that had been used previously doesnot appear believable at this time as the old man reminds the wife that the seer didnot put blood specks on the goat's liver. 

Wife battering is another cultural practice that the people hold in esteemyet it causes more Karm than good. When the old man consults the Seer about thebloodspecks in the liver of the goat he had slaughtered, 'the seer's pebble disclosethat awife was going to die since the spirits were jealous of a happy wife, a womanunmolested by her husband until old age. This (Shows the value attached towifemolestation. To avert the death, the old man is asked to give his wife the 'ritual beating before sending her back to her parent's home. Although the old manoffersto give a number of goats to avert the catastrophes, the pebbles keep demandingforthe ritual beating forcing the old man and the wife to come up with a plan of trickingthe pebbles. The harmful effect of the ritual beating is seen through Leveri, thewifeto the old man's son. The wife remembers how her daughter-in-lawhad beenbeatento a fingernail's distance to her grave by the son. This shows that the ritual beatingcan almost cause death hence the reason it should be discarded. 

Although culture is a glue that holds people together, some of the outdatedpracticesshould be gotten rid of as the cause more harm than good. 

Question 4 

War causes a lot of harm and thus should be avoided at any cost. Validate this statement basing your illustrations from Chimamanda Adichie's'Ghosts' (20 Marks) 

Whenever parties engage in some form of fighting, there are grave implicationsthat follow as is seen in Ghosts' where the civil war that happened in July 6, 1967causesuffering and pain to the people. 

To start with, war is seen to cause displacement of several people. Many peopleareforced to run away from their country and their homes when the civil war broke. 

Prof. James and Ikenna's meeting takes James down the memory lane whereherecounts how they were forced to evacuate Nsukka in a hurry in July 6, 1967whenthe war began. Through their conversation, we learn that Ikenna has lived inSwedenever since the war began and has only come back to Nsukka recently. He discloses that he was flown out on Red Cross planes just like many other children hadbeenairlifted to Gabon. Prof. James did not escape the displacement since he andhiswife, Ebere had to move to America when the war broke out. Many people areseento have been forced to leave their motherland as a result of the civil war. 

secondly, we see that war leads to loss of lives. Several people had their livescut short due to the civil war that broke out. The return of Ikenna comes as a surprisetoProf, James since Ikenna was thought to have died in the war. It is no wonder that Prof initially thought of throwing a handful of sand at him just like his peopledidtoensure that it was not a ghost. Actual loss of life is seen through Ikenna's family. While explaining to prof the reason why he never returned to Nsukka after thewar, Ikenna tells him that his whole family was killed when Orlu was bombed duringthewar thus he had nobody to come back to. It is not just Ikenna who lost lovedonesbut Prof too. His first daughter Zik died in the war. He tells Ikenna that the war tookZik. It is no wonder they named their second daughter Nkiruka which means: what isahead is better. 

Thirdly, war is seen to cause massive destruction and loss of properties. WhenProf James and his wife first returned to Nsukka when the war ended in 1970, they noticemajor destructions that had occurred. Prof recounts how they found their houseanditems destroyed. His books were lying in front of the gate, his Mathematical Annalstorn and used as tissue paper, the bath tab used as toilet and their photos rippedandtheir frames broken. The massive destruction of their house was too much that theyhad to be assigned a different house in a different street to avoid seeing their oldhouse. In the process of their house being destroyed, they lose their Piano that belonged to Ebere. Prof also remembers the landscape of drove back to Nsukkaafter the war. The massive destruction a recounted by Prof shows howdestructivewar is. 

Lastly, war causes psychological and physical suffering o live with nightmaresthevictims. Those who experience war and sad memories of it. Prof James is seentohave lived with the memories of the war. He easily remembers every detail of thewaras he recounts it to Ikenna. Ikenna has suffered psychologically as is seen fromthefact that he lost all his family in Orlu hence the reason he does not return toNsukka. 

His psychological suffering is further seen from the fact that he never remarriesafterthe war took his wife. Further evidence o psychological pain is seen where Prof observes how his people avoided the topic of war and if they engaged in it, it waswith some vagueness. The naming of their second daughter Nkiruka- what isaheadis better, also shows the pain that Prof and Ebere: were trying to avoid. The peoplealso suffer physical pain. Prof.James remembers how a wounded soldier wasshoved in their car on the day they returned to Nsukka« 

War causes loss oflives, displacement ofpeoplej and destruction of propertiesamong other effects. People should thus strive to live in harmony and avoidit at all costs.

 

Question 5 

Lack of courtesy between the police and civilians leads to lethal conflicts. Justifythe validity of this statement using illustrations from Meja Mwangi's Incident inthepark. (20 marks)

Across the world, over centuries, the behaviour of some of the police officershascaused dire repercussions. Sometimes this happens due to excessive use of forceor simply wrongful application law and policies, but majoriy this occurs as aresult ofimpolite 

Incident in the Park shows how city dwellers, hawkers and loafers find themselvesinconflicts with the police over flimsy and petty reasons often ending unpleasantly. When the two constables accost the fruit peddler, he gets startled and confused. They demand for his licence and identity card which he obviously doesn't have. Thenhe offers five shillings which doesn't seem good enough as one constable shrugs. This means that at times if the offer were attractive, they would have acceptedit andleft him. 

The police refuse to listen to the fruit merchant and harshly shove himalongthestreet to the city telling him he will explain to the judge. This complicates matterseven more because the fruit- seller fears the judge more. It throws himintomorepanic as he has a case that is coming up the following week and the judge is a"tyrant". He explains further that he is selling this time so that he can affordof mebut all his entreaties fall on deaf ears. They remain unimpressed saying nothinguntil he breaks away and flees into the crowded city. 

The situation escalates when the constables chase the fleeing man shoutingfor helpfrom the passers-by. They actually betroth him unto the mob. A city man interceptshim and another man lunges for him as shouts increase. Tossed here and thereasasuspect, the desperate fruit peddler stumbles and falls into a ditch. No one seemstocare to find out what really is happening before taking action. No one listens ashepleads for mercy. 7his is where he meets his 'verdict' which is death. Accordingtothe crowd, 'justice' is administered. The mob universally condemn himwithout plausible evidence. 

By the time the police arrive at the scene, it is too late. Their action is irreversibleandfatal. Flie mob has already killed him for being a "thief". They who are supposedtoensure public safety an security have aided the killing o/a hardworking hawker bytheir silly mistake. This should not have happened if they had treated the manPolitely. An innocent life is so unnecessarily lost. This makes the public loseconfidence in the police. after investigations the truth will come out and it will behard to trust the police. 

In a nutshell, wanton conflicts and deaths of innocent citizen could be avertedif thepolice handled matters with courtesy and sobriety. 

Question 6

74 | P a g e 

A Silent Song — Leonard Kibera. 

Action speaks louder than words. Discuss the truth of this saying using illustrationsfrom Leonard Kibera's A Silent Song. (20 marks) 

The character of an individual tells more than what they actually say. Mbane'sbrother, Ezekiel, preaches water and takes wine. He is so devoted to God as apreacher, but neglects Mbane, to agonize in the streets for a long time until healmost dies. 

When he brings Mbane to his hut claiming to rescue him fromthe barbaric city inorder that he can see the light of God, the blind beggar starts to feel more lonelyandmiserable in the desolate environment. lhe desolate hut is not a habitable placefor him as it has a flea-ridden floor. One wonders why he cannot live with his ownbrother in his own house! This action tells that the preacher does not love hisbrother. 

It ironical for Ezekiel to keep preaching to his blind brother about Christ andsalvationinstead of first saving him from the harsh street beggary. Ezekiel seems tohavealready judged him as a sinner and that "Christ" will come down fromheaventodothe good to him. Mbane dies miserably without much help fromhis brother. Thisisleast expected from a man of God who should Have preached to his brother throughactions of care and concern. 

Ezekiel portrays religious hypocrisy since Christians would not throwinsults andabuses to God's people when they don't agree with them on some issue, or whenthey do not show that they believe in Jesus Christ. When Mbane shows no interest inChrist, his brother tells him he is worse than a Judas. EIT1is lack of patiencefor aChristian, especially a preacher, is not morally acceptable. 

Another action that tells of the preacher's action is the meaning in his silencelater asMbane nears his death. Christians, good men and women on a Christmas morning, also display pretence in the way they curse and call him names instead of bringingthe good knowledge of Christ to him. They claim, in his hearing, that he is anable- bodied person, only crippled more daily by the idleness of leisurely begging. Hecouldonly yearn impotently beyond the reach of darkness and lameness. At times, self-pityovercomes him. To him, the God of the Gospel and religi

 

on are comforts beyondhisreach as a cripple. His God is his only hope of deliverance frompain, destitutionanddespair. The people's actions discourage him about Christianity which they professbut not practice. 

In conclusion, the true gospel is the action of an individual because it is morepractical than mere words. Actions work and satisfy the heart more than proclaimingthe word ofGod. 

Question 7 

Incident in the Park -- Meja Mwangi. 

1. Lack of courtesy between the police and civilians leads to lethal conflicts. Justify

 

the validity of this statement using illustrations from Meja Mwangi's Incident inthePark. (20 marks)

Across the world, over centuries, the behaviour of some of the police officershascaused dire repercussions. Sometimes this happens due to excessive use of forceor simply wrongful application of the law and policies, but majorly this occursasaresult of impolitel interactions between the two parties. 

Incident in the Park shows how city dwellers, hawkers and loafers find themselvesinconflicts with the police over flimsy and petty reasons often ending unpleasantly. When the two constables accost the fruit peddler, he gets startled and confused. They demand for his licence and identity card which he obviously doesn't have. Thenhe offers five shillings which doesn't seem good enough as one constable shrugs. This means that at times if the offer were attractive, they would have acceptedit andleft him. 

The police refuse to listen to the fruit merchant and harshly shove himalongthestreet to the city telling him he will explain to the judge. This complicates matterseven more because the fruit- seller fears the judge more, It throws himintomorepanic as he has a case that is coming up the following week and the judge is a"tyrant". He explains further that he is selling this time so that he can affordafinebut all his entreaties fall on deaf ears They remain unimpressed saying nothinguntil he breaks away and flees into the crowded city. 

The situation escalates when the constables chase the fleeing man shoutingfor helpfrom the passers-by. They actually betroth him unto the mob. A city man interceptshim and anotherman lunges for him as shouts increase. Tossed here and thereasasuspect, the desperate fruit peddler stumbles and falls into a ditch, No one seemstocare to find out what really is happening before taking action. No one listens ashepleads for mercy, This is where he meets his Verdict' which is death. Accordingtothe crowd, 'justice' is administered. The mob universally condemn himwithout plausible evidence. 

By the time the police arrive at the scene, it is too late. Their action is irreversibleandfatal. The mob has already killed him for being a "thief". They who are supposedtoensure public safety and security have aided the killing of a hardworking hawker bytheir silly mistake. This should not have happened if they had treated the manpolitely. An innocent life is so unnecessarily lost. This makes the public lose confidence in the police. after investigations the truth will come out and it will behard to trust the police. 

In a nutshell, wanton conflicts and deaths of innocent citizens could be avertedif thepolice handled matters with courtesy and sobriety. 

Question 8 

A Silent Song — Leonard Kibera.

 

1. Action speaks louder than words. Discuss the truth of this saying usingillustrations from Leonard Kibera's A Silent Song. (20 marks) 

The character of an individual tells more than what they actually say. Mbane'sbrother, Ezekiel, preaches water and takes wine. He is so devoted to God as apreacher, but neglects Mbane, to agonize in the streets for a long time until healmost dies. When he brings Mbane to his hut claiming to rescue himfromthebarbaric city in order that he can see the light of God, the blind beggar starts tofeel more lonely and miserable in the desolate environment. The desolate hut is not ahabitable place for him as it has a flea-ridden floor. One wonders why he cannot livewith his own brother in his own house! This action tells that the preacher doesnot love his brother. 

It ironical for Ezekiel to keep preaching to his blind brother abou Christ and salvationinstead of first saving him from the harsh street beggary. Ezekiel seems tohavealready judged him as a sinner and that "Christ" will come down fromheaventodothgood to him. Mbane dies miserably without much help from his brother. Thisisleast expected from a man of God who should have preached to his brother throughactions of care and concern. 

Ezekiel portrays religious hypocrisy since Christians would not throwinsults andabuses to God's people when they don't agree with them on some issue, or whenthey do not show that they believe in Jesus Christ. When Mbane shows no interest inChrist, his brother tells him he is worse than a Judas. This lack of patience for aChristian, especially a preacher, is not morally acceptable. 

Another action that tells of the preacher's action is the meaning in his silencelater asMbane nears his death. Christians, good men and women on a Christmas morningalso display pretence in the way they curse and call him names instead of bringingthe good knowledge of Christ to him. They claim, in his hearing, that he is anable- bodied person, only crippled more daily by the idleness of leisurely begging. Hecouldonly yearn impotently beyond the reach of darkness and lameness. At times self-pityovercomes him. To him, the God of the Gospel and religion are comforts beyondhisreach as a cripple. His God is his only hope of deliverance frompain, destitutionanddespair. lie people's actions discourage him about Christianity which they professbut not practice. 

In conclusion, the true gospel is the action of an individual because it is morepractical than mere words. Actions work and satisfy the heart more than proclaimingthe word of God.

 

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