DZIDZOR

 

I have a story to tell. I must tell my story. My tale is a sad one embellished in the juicy stupidity and ignorance of a young me. It is said that he who laughs last, laughs the best and good things come to those that wait; but it is not always so. I am living proof of that assessment. I am an epitome of a soulless man wandering this earth for the next available force to snatch up and destroy.

There was this girl I admired so much. So much that I would readily make the ultimate sacrifice for her any day and anytime of my sorry existence. From far away, I could tell she admired me too and would readily accept my proposal. But fear and cowardice stood guard over me every second of everyday. They stretched their poisoned swords towards me and cautioned me not to take a step farther. And being an ignorant fool, I thought I had time and that love would surely take me one day into the compounds of Dzidzor, my love.

One might be tempted to be content with the proceedings of my story. Do not be! As this tale is not that of a happy ending. For he who drinks a calabash full of the locally distilled akpeteshie; with a smile on his face is a hypocrite and a liar. A fool like I was, I believed I had time to make myself a befitting gentleman, worthy of asking my Dzidzor’s hand in marriage.

For this, I embarked on a journey to my mother’s village, to find myself a good job so I can make enough money to offer my love the happy life she deserves; one befitting a princess. After six months of hard work, I had made enough to return home to fulfill my ambitions. My mother had died three months after I got to her hometown. I was grieving, but I had the memory of my Dzidzor to give me comfort.

I began my two-week journey back to my father’s village. Fourteen days until I saw Dzidzor again. Fourteen days until I could call her mine. A week into my journey, I saw Dzidzor on a dusty footpath leading to my village. She had a few of her clothes tied up in her favorite wrapper. She told me she was fed up with waiting for me and so she set out on this journey to ask me to come back home, and that she wanted nothing from me; nothing, except my love and devotion. You should have seen my excitement when this news came to me. I was surprised she knew the reason why I had left the village, since I told no one the reason for my journey. But why tempt fate and ruin such a good fortune? We celebrated our love on our way home. We made love. We were happy. We were in love.

When we got to the outskirts of our village, we were greeted by a mighty stench. A smell that was foul enough to drive flies away. But Dzidzor asked me to go pluck a mango fruit she had seen about five hundred meters back. She said she had a sudden craving for one. I happily set out to pluck this fruit for my love. When I returned, Dzidzor was nowhere to be found. I searched for hours and decided to go into the village to look for her. Perhaps I spent too much time plucking the mango. Perhaps she waited for me at home.

The village was empty, buildings were destroyed, the palace was torched, bodies lay everywhere. Apparently, there had been a war shortly after my departure to my mother’s village; and all the townspeople were killed. Women and children were not spared. The head of the chief of our village was on a spike in front of the torched palace.

I quickly ran to Dzidzor’s hut, and there she was, as beautiful as ever. Even in death, her smile consoled me in many ways.

No! She can’t be dead. No! I had been with a ghost this past seven days. No! Death has stolen from me the essence of my very existence. ‘Blewu lorlornye. Baba!’ This is my story; and it’s a sad one indeed.

Kofi Dzogbewu

MOMENTS 

And then the fleeting moments of life becomes the cherished memories of our existence

God made man
Man made life
And life inspires fun

Unappreciated seconds of life
Births the lasting canvases we scribble
Flashes of our essence
Night sea breeze
Wandering waves of happiness
At HINI central

Town of unappreciated beauty
Nature’s own masterpiece
Ghanaian music
Lasting friends
Sweet local dishes
Liquor brewed with love

Sounds of laughter
Smothering voices
Tunes of human crickets
Parading seashore dances
Male and female bonding
Body against body
Skin to skin
Natural body responses.

Plaguing compulsion for the pleasures of the flesh
Left foot. Right foot
Turn around.
Ecstasy, euphoria abound
Moving figures enchanted by the Azonto.

Happiness
I see you smiling at me……

​LIFELESS STORYTELLERS

This is a piece of writing in response to Poetra Asantewa’s “Coroner”

(A Response to Poetra Asantewa’s “Coroner”)

Death beckons on us all at the climax of purposely arranged circumstances

Whiles Life sits idly by and mocks our struggle against fate

I have investigated by inquest hundreds of deaths not due to natural causes

Some sad. Some pitiful

Some occurring with a bang –

and some of them so pitiful, you can’t help but give in to laughter

I spend all my days hiding from the commotions of the living

I prefer to hang around the silent corpses and dead essences of once promising humans

The stories these lifeless bodies tell are so full of life, its poetry.

Yesterday, the body lying on my table told so good a story, I broke out in tears

The seeming delicacy had within its splitted hollows an artistically woven autobiography of a life lived in solitude, love and music. 

The dimensions of her story branched out in colorful embers of vicious membranes laced with tunes from a flute of African descent

Others have told tales of heartbreaks and migraines and depression smothered by injustice and tribulation that the mind can’t begin to imagine

They told stories of young humans getting caught in a web of pointless affairs and insignificant hurts of yore.

They spoke of modern butterflies plagued with curses of ancient moths and whispers of the dead.

These lifeless storytellers all have their stories spiraling in an abyss of guilt, regret, torture, shame and a lot of unanswered questions; except my dearest Afreh 

My favorite storyteller – Afreh nuamah – narrated her tale in acoustic tunes of contentment

She had a steady stream of happiness in her life story

This, she acquired through defying society and chasing after her own happiness

She sung tales of gigglish love affairs and tickling streams of pleasure ……
Dear voice seeking answers, you define your own storyline in your own handwriting

And even I, your coroner, cannot tell you your story

I can only read them within the splitted catacombs of your lifeless body.
Image source: https://goo.gl/images/Qh7sa5

TALES FROM 2065

Episode One – Easy Virtues

A series of stories about the experiences of a young boy in the University of Ghana. The stories are mostly true with some fictionalized parts for the benefit of the story. Enjoy.

Episode One – Easy Virtues

Africa, for a long time has limited the actions of Africans; especially women. She labels some actions as immoral and some just ‘unworldly’. Sexual liberation in Africa is an unforgivable offense; punishable by vivid obloquy. But in recent times, the hold Africa has on her subjects is weakening drastically and a new breed of Africans are emerging. Ones that believe in liberalism and the choice to do whatever they want to do with their bodies and who they wish to do it with. “customs and traditions be damned; the age of the new Africans is here”. 

It all started some few years back in the university when my friends and I were back to our dormitories after a lecture. The conversation on the way back was centered around the lecturer – Miss Root – and the way she was such a conservative and how were it up to her, Africa would remain in the past whiles the rest of the world leaves us behind. All of a sudden the conversation turned into how these Africans (Miss Root’s kind) have made sex and having sex something only a ‘god’ could do and talk about. One of my friends who claimed she was one of the modern-day feminists (rolls eyeballs repeatedly in their sockets) claimed she didn’t see sex to be anything extraordinary. She made it clear she would have sex or been having sex anytime she wanted. You should have seen the excitement on my face for finding a kindred spirit. 

Sometime, the next day, I was fast asleep in a friend’s room. We were all supposed to go out for a program, but I was too tired to go and just slept. I was alone in the room but left the door unlocked. In the course of my sleeping, I began to hear an annoying sound. Creak-creak-creak. I pushed out he sound and continued sleeping. But the sound was relentless and was bent on making me angry. Creak-creak-creak. 

That was it. I was going to find the source of that sound and give it/him/ her – whoever it was a piece of my mind. I opened my eyes only to see something I never thought I would see. I have never claimed to be innocent or pure. Far from it; because I’m not. I have done things people cannot begin to imagine – bad things, immoral stuff, etc. – but what I saw when I opened my eyes shocked me to the core. A little. I saw a naked lady (naked from head to toe) bouncing up and down an equally naked roommate of my friend who was sitting in a chair. For Christ’s sake, there was a person sleeping in the room. Of all the things I allow my imagination to explore, I never imagined being an audience to people having sex. (Not without a screen separating us; if you know what I mean). It is no wonder why some Christians believe imagining (making your mind explore) is a sin. I had to feign sleep until they were done and out of the room before I could get out of bed and walk solemnly into my room. The next Sunday, I rededicated my life to Christ. God have mercy. 

Another day not too long after my encounter with the sex maniacs, I walked in on another couple doing the ‘dirty’ in bed. It was like the discussion I had with Benedicta on our way to the hall after the lecture had made me available to all sorts of sexual encounters in the university. Like I was saying, i went to visit a friend in her room. I knocked on her door several times but there was no response. I turned the knob on the door and it opened freely. When I entered the room, this lady friend I had gone to visit, was seriously being pounded into by a thick-waisted-rigid-assed-guy I know very well. Both of them were stark naked and so much into what they were doing. My surprise on seeing them kept me glued to where I was standing for several moments. When I finally got a hold on myself, I gently walked out and closed the door. The two ‘sexers’ did not even know anyone had walked in on them. It seems some deeds are too pleasurable it takes everything else around you out of focus. 

I could continue to talk about the couple who did the deed in a room full of sleeping boys, and played Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire’ afterwards but I’ll leave that for another day. I don’t want to corrupt the innocent ones among you all in one day. 

My brother once asked me, “Felix, do you have any great memories from University?” My answer was “No”. that was definitely a lie; and now you know why.

BLASPHEMY 

I have a problem with religion. I don’t understand it. It confuses me; limits me and makes me feel guilty about almost everything. What is religion? What is its significance?
Among the several religions in the world, Christianity makes more sense to me. It is followed by the African traditional religion. Mind you, I didn’t say these religions make sense to me. I said they make MORE sense to me than the others. 

I am a Christian. Although that is debatable. A friend in one of these Charismatic churches once told me we Catholics are not Christians. But I have some problems with Christianity; and I would like to share them. 

It is written in the Bible that, God created man in his own image. And then the ‘owners’ of the religion claim God is white. Of course, the Bible makes us understand that Jesus Christ was born in a part of the world where only whites were inhabiting at the time. So it makes perfect sense that God is white. 

So my question is, Do Black people not fall within the category of the word “man’? And if they do, then I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the notion that God created man in his own image. This is because, there are many ‘images’ – if I may pit it that way. There are Black people, Asians, Latinos etc. unless we want to argue that God has many ‘images’. And that would be a weak argument in my opinion. I had this debate with a white friend some years back and he cautioned me that my argument was getting very close to blasphemy. I had to stop, lest I end up in hell fire. 

One other thing my mind refuses to fathom is the menace of sin and why humans would be punished for committing certain sins. The Bible tells us that there was a great war in heaven. The arch angel Michael and other angels fought Satan and his followers. The result of the war was that, Satan and his followers were cast unto the earth. The earth which was and is the home of humans. Mere mortals with no power whatsoever were cursed to live with one of the most powerful beings in the entire universe; who had the guts to wage war against God – the creator of all things and most powerful being in the entire Universe. “…woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath because he knoweth that he hath a short time”. Rev. 12:12. 

And the way the devil has sworn vengeance against God is by using his powers to influence man (a powerless entity) to commit sin. And if man then commits sin, he would be punished for it. The punishment won’t be for a day nor a month, or even a year. The punishment would be for eternity. What I don’t understand is that why during the war in heaven, where the devil fought with the arch angel Michael and other several powerful angels who had powers of immense magnitude failed to kill Satan, but rather forced him out of heaven unto the earth. The earth where powerless men lived; to be tormented and forced into sin by the devil. These humans who have only will-power to fight the devil, will be punished by fire for eternity should they succumb to sin.  How is this fair?

The powerless human is to be at war with the devil and his minions and all their influences from the moment they could distinguish between good and bad till the day he or she dies; whiles, to the best of my knowledge, the powerful angels who are soldiers of God, were at war with satan for only a short period. How is this fair? But what do I know? The Bible tells us a day unto man is like a thousand years before God and vice versa. Maybe the war in heaven lasted for thousands of years.

I am however aware that the Bible also tells us to pray and ask for forgiveness and our God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. But my Sunday school teacher told me that, the Bible tells us God knows the thoughts in our minds and the desires of our heart; and that we can’t keep consciously sinning and think we can trick God into forgiving us all the time. 

An innocent human born on the first day has already sinned even before being born and would burn eternally in a sea of fire if he doesn’t get baptized as a Christian. This is because the infamous Adam and Eve – apparently first man and woman respectively, disobeyed God. I dare ask if the price of the iniquities of the ancestors is to be paid by the descendants? How is this Justice? The very fact that you are born unto the earth, (a decision that didn’t involve you; but rather God and partially, your parents) have already made your soul impure and would most likely lead to your eternal damnation if you are not baptized and you don’t receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal savior. 

Male humans, are fundamentally biological beings who respond automatically to what they see. It’s biological. It cannot be helped. Male humans will automatically respond to beautiful women. Yet, when a male human watches a woman lustfully (mind you, men have no control over this), you have automatically sinned and you are sentenced to eternal torture. Humans are biological beings, as I have pointed out already. There are a number of processes that one cannot do without and have no control over. An example is sexual arousal. When humans hit teenage, certain biological processes leads to the release of certain hormones which compels the humans mind towards sex and attraction of the opposite sex. Just to point out again, humans have no control over these processes. But we are taught as Christians to fight against our very nature and avoid sex until marriage.

I must explain that, the years between teen age and the age humans marry today, is averagely twelve (12) years. The human is therefore supposed to fight against their urges for twelve years before they can have sex. Not everybody is fortunate enough to find a suitable partner for marriage. Some people therefore are not able to get married their entire lives. Humans are in addition to fighting the devil (sin) all their lives, supposed to fight their own sexual impulses for life. An alternative to having sex with a partner is the act of masturbating; and that too is sin. Why put all these feelings inside man if they are not supposed to act on them. My question is “were humans created to suffer?”

But there is hope for humans after all. There is eternal happiness after death. When we overcome all these temptations and fight against our very nature our whole lives, we get to go to heaven to meet our maker and rejoice with him forever.

Only recently, I had a conversation with somebody and this changed my entire expectation of going to heaven. Of course, hell is not a favorable place at all by any standard and the earth also would pass away after judgement. 

In my conversation, with the devout Christian, I got to know that when we all get to heaven, we are going to spend every moment in the presence of God. I thought, “yeah, that’s a good thing.” But then he went ahead to say he loved music a lot, and that he always sung music. He concluded this conversation with the words, “…after all, we will all be singing and praising God every moment in heaven.” This was confirmed by every other person I questioned. 

We would be spirits when we get to heaven. We can’t feel hunger or lust or any other mortal desires. Our every thought would be to praise and worship God. My plans of doing all the things I couldn’t do on earth when I go to heaven was thrashed. No eating of any food I couldn’t eat on earth. I can’t even start a relationship with that girl I liked so much but couldn’t approach. I can’t do anything, except praise and worship God for all eternity. 

What is religion? What is its significance? Why was man created?

I end here. My white friend would tell me all these thought running wild in my mind are blasphemous; which would probably damn me for eternity.

“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I have been blasphemous in my thoughts, in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do….”
Image source: http://dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/08-Dec-16/blasphemy-in-indonesia

PURPLE HIBISCUS

Editphoto source: mybookaffair.net

BOOK REVIEW

TITLE: PURPLE HIBISCUS
AUTHOR: CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
PUBLISHER: ALGONQUIN BOOKS
PLACE OF PUBLICATION: CHAPEL HILL, US
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: OCTOBER 2003
NUMBER OF PAGES: 307
ISBN: 978-1-56512-387-8
NAME OF REVIEWER: KOFI DZOGBEWU

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an exceptional piece of literature that evokes unexpected emotions as the reader travels with a Nigerian family from a stable life to a very unsettling one. The novel talks about how Kambili’s father, Papa, uses verbal, mental and physical abuse on his family in the name of being a devout Catholic.

The story made me feel oppressed when I was reading, but then I realized that was Adichie’s genius. She did not mention the word ‘oppression’, nor did she describe ‘pain’ in the beginning of the story, yet  all the details she outlined made me feel like something was terribly wrong, not just in Kambili’s family, but in the country too.
The title of the novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ is very significant and relevant to the story. The purple hibiscus in Aunty Ifeoma’s garden represents not only the clash of cultures experienced by the characters in the novel, but likewise a hope for a better future. In contrast to the startling red hibiscuses in Enugu which symbolizes a violent past, the purple hibiscuses in Nsukka represent the future. Nigeria has gained independence from the British Empire but is challenged by new conflicts in the post-colonial era. The colour red is often associated with Achike and their home in Enugu. There we find the red hibiscuses, ‘the blood on the stairs’, and Father Benedict’s robes- all red. Red often suggests anger and passion and so is perfect in keeping with the plot. In contrast, the colour purple, as in the purple hibiscuses found in Aunty Ifeoma’s house, is often associated with feelings of calmness and solitude, which is repeatedly connected to the characters of Father Amadi, Aunty Ifeoma and other positive figures in the novel.

The framework of the novel keeps the story fresh and compelling all the way through. Purple Hibiscus for me in some ways is better than Adichie’s other novel Half of a Yellow Sun in terms of personal enjoyment and the narrative style. However, some of the themes may be too strong or heavy for young children, about twelve years old and under, depending on their social maturity and reading experience. The novel is therefore recommended for adults and young adults.

I realized that in some parts of the story, Adichie’s personal ideology influenced her writing. She made some political statements in the lines ‘these are all the people (westerners in general) who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time.’ The political statements might be lost on the reader, only because Kambili’s own personal tragedy seems much more serious, urgent and dangerous.

One problem I found with the story is that even though it is about Kambili’s account on her family’s experiences, Adichie to me made it seem like the central character was Achike, Kambili’s father; whose presence loomed menacingly over almost every page even when he wasn’t featured in the scene.

Another problem I found with the novel is the absence of a glossary. Adichie failed to include a glossary for the Igbo expressions in the story. She did a good job of placing most Igbo expressions in a comprehensive context, but the reader would be frustrated when he or she wants to find the meaning of a term; the meaning of which at best is ambiguous in the context of the expression. Take for instance, the line ‘this girl is a ripe agbogho!’ on page ninety-one of the novel.

In the unfolding of her story, she introduced the reader to the customs, foods and many aspects of Nigerian life without deviating from the subject matter. This is a unique skill in creative writing which many writers fail to achieve. Adichie creates a perfect balance of being sufficiently descriptive while never allowing the descriptions to become tedious. She describes the downfall of the family both in Enugu and in Nsukka, drawing the reader gradually towards an extraordinary tragic ending.

Purple Hibiscus is a constructively judged account of the private and intimate stirrings of a young girl faced with the challenges of tyrannical power, and Adichie voices out the subject matter creatively.