Of Coffee With Lydia and Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes

Coffee With Lydia and Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes

If you were having coffee with me, I would be happy to introduce you to writer, poet and blogger Lydia Chiseche and her book of poetry For Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes.

For girls with the sky in the eyes

B: Hello Lydia, a pleasure to have you here, first question Tea or Coffee?

L: Most definitely, Tea

B: What would your ideal coffee date be like?

L: At my favourite teahouse, on a warm and sunny August day

B: Describe for us your perfect writing environment

L: I can write anywhere; but possible the perfect environment for me is in the moment where it would be most inappropriate for me to write. There is just something about doing what you aren’t supposed to be doing which inspires me

B: How long have you had a blog, are you a blogger?

L: I do…or, I did. I started blogging consistently in 2016; it was poetry for the most part, and then branched off to think pieces on different issues. It was only recently when I decided to be real with myself and said I’m not a writer of current events, but a dreamer of things made up in my head. My blog pages are still open, they just have not seen some love in a while.

B: For Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes; what does  the title mean; where did that come from?

L: This must be the most difficult question I’ve received on the book so far.

I always knew that this was a collection directed towards girls….but men and boys are also encouraged to read it! For me, the sky is a representation of so many things; hope, limitlessness, the world, heaven

So…it’s a representation of those who have a steady eye on hope despite whatever is going on around them.

B: Why did you release it as an e-book?

L: Truth be told, I was afraid; I was afraid of the reception, of the questions I would get…I was afraid no one would read it.
I was finished with the final proof by November 2017, and I put the release off to January. January came, and I put it off to March, and so on. By the time April came around, I knew that if I waited any longer, I would never release it.
So, the e-release happened; and I chose the e-platform because there is no really turning back from it, and at least a bunch of unread books won’t be looking back at me *laughs*
A paperback version will be out in October this year.

B: I read it, finished it then read it again, its beautiful, its touching, its haunting. Whose story is it, is it simply made up poetry? Who did you write it for?

L: Wow.. thank you so much. I honestly did not know I was writing a story until nearly halfway through the body when the ending was so clear…and then that’s when i scrapped the first draft and began to write it differently.

It started as a story of one girl; the Girl who saw Sky. But then it ended up being a story of the girls and women around her; so, by the end of it all we had the Bride, the Women, the Other Sister, Mother- once, Mother- a second time, etc.

I’ve always been drawn to stories which had female characters in the leading roles…and not just female characters, but female characters that are flawed, complicated, nuanced, real.

So, it’s every woman’s and girl’s story. I based each scene on something that has happened before; either to me….or to girls and women I know, or heard about. It is our story.

B: I know this an unfair question but ……Which one is your favourite poem and line from the book?

L: This is quite the unfair question indeed
Push to shove…I’d perhaps say my favourite poem is the last one (I did not title that on purpose)- this is because I am a fan of callbacks…and I feel like that poem sort of wrapped the entire collection together.

B: For me the most intriguing was the Dear God series of letters. Its relatable, I have even asked similar questions…… Do you think there’s a plan for all THIS? *gestures hands grandly to encompass everything*

L: Sometimes, I think everything is by design…like some elaborate domino effect. Then other times I think everything is a mistake. At the end of it all, I get back to truly believing the design theory of things. I think there is a plan…whatever God’s plan is, and however mildly sadistic it may be *nervous laughter*, I’m pretty sure it will all have meaning.

B: Allow me to quote  you:

God is strange. He takes on so many faces. To

some, he’s vengeful, returning sacrifice with

blood and fire. To others, he’s loving, patient, and

kind. To some, he’s on the sidelines, watching

until he gets bored. He forgives even those that

won’t forgive themselves, like the Women.

To me, God is the gust of wind in the middle of

an August storm, God is the tiny crack in the

building they said was indestructible. God is

nowhere, and everywhere. To me, She is

beautiful

B: How has your book of poetry been received?

L: Oh my gosh! The reception has been overwhelming…it is more than I could have expected. I have people asking me questions, quoting my work….it is such a wonderful, humbling feeling. The reception has been so far mainly local….and hopefully the work will be able to reach a wider audience with time.

B: Any final words to those who can’t forgive themselves?

L: It’s difficult to get into the head of someone else and see through their eyes the things they feel are unforgivable. So, I honestly don’t know what I can say that would be enough.
I think Time; time may not completely heal someone, but it sure does change their circumstances in one way or another. So, let them give it time.

B: A few words to fellow sisters out there

L: It is so important to remember that you are still capable of love. And this also goes to the brothers. You are allowed to love, and be loved without fear of what happened to you, or what you did in your past.

B: Any shout outs to people out there, do it like you are doing it for TV.

L: This is so exciting! Okay
So, first of all I want to shout out my best friend Miriam; ours is a special friendship
My sisters, my friends Ruth, and Grace who read proof after proof. I want to shout our Itati, the crew at Lusaka Writer’s Room…and the Women; I cannot mention them by name but this book would not be what it is without them.

B: What’s next?

L: I am underway with my second collection…I am yet to title it. Will it be linked to For Girls With SKY In Their Eyes? I’m yet to see

B: last Question, what is the weirdest question anyone has ever asked you about your book?

L: Have I been asked difficult questions? Yes. Many. I am yet to be asked something I could say is a weird question.

B: Thanks Lydia, you have been a star.

L: Thank you so much for having me.

BIO:

img_0497-1.jpg

Lydia Chiseche is poet and writer based in Lusaka, Zambia. She is one of seven children, and is a self-proclaimed daydreamer. When she is not writing, she works as a Banker, and supports a few philanthropic projects.

LINKS:

Twitter: @LydiaNgoma

Instagram: lydiangoma

Blog: EyeWoke

BOOK DOWNLOAD LINK:

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Of Coffee, ConCourt Petitions and Presidential Inaugurations

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that the days are summer and the nights are winter, hot days and cold nights, maybe I’ll offer you a chilled beverage of an intoxicating nature served with ice cream. Cheers

amarula

Whats the occasion you would ask; well today Sunday the 26th of August, the president-elect was inaugurated as the seventh leader of the second republic of Zimbabwe. I will confess though I dont know when Zimbabwe started being referred to as a second republic, its  phrase I heard on TV and if anyone reading this post can shed light on that, I would be extremely grateful.

Zimbabawe inauguration

Finally the president has taken his oath of office, bringing an end to our highly contested electoral process from when we went to the polls on the 30th of July, followed by the election petition to the constitutional court by the runner up candidate Nelson Chamisa challenging the legitimacy of the elections and concluded by the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Friday the 24th of August.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell that the 9 Judges of the Constitution Court sat on Wednesday the 22nd of August to listen to the application by Nelson Chamisa’s lawyers citing several irregularities resulting in the electoral process being stolen. The court proceedings were broadcasted live, an unprecedented move  that saw everyone glued to their TV’s to see the wheels of the judiciary at work.

If you were having coffee with me, I will confess that being an avid fan of court drama TV shows such as Boston Legal, Suits, How To Get Away With Murder, I was expecting some sensational display of legal dexterity but real life court is dreary and lawyers and judges speak a language all of their own.

The first thing I wondered about and I am not alone in too, but why do the judges wear those wigs?????????? I vaguely recall something about it being supposed to symbolize having the grey hair of wisdom, but I think they look plain ridiculous especially in this hot weather, for a nation that wants to never be a colony again why do we still have customs adopted from the colonial era, what is up with those wigs.

Justice wigs

The Justice League of Extra-ordinary Wigs

I am no legal expert but I felt that the lawyers raised very interesting points which should have put the whole electoral process under scrutiny like how the electoral commission revised the figures after they had a declared the winner from winning by 50.8% to 50.6% and all sorts of discrepancies. The respondent’s lawyers also made their reponse and it seemed to me anyway they were less cross-examined by the panel of charges than the applicant’s lawyers but what do I know?

The judges final unanimous ruling was that the burden to provide sourced evidence was solely on the applicant and

the applicant has failed to place before it clear, sufficient, direct and credible evidence that the irregularities that he alleges marred the election process materially existed. The applicant did not prove the alleged irregularities as a matter of fact.

In the result, the following order is made –

(1)     The application is dismissed with costs.

(2)     Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa was duly elected President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

(4)     In terms of section 93(4)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe EMMERSON DAMBUDZO MNANGAGWA is duly declared the winner of the Presidential election held on the 30th of July 2018.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you I would have been very surprised if the court had ruled in any other way seeing as all nine judges ruled unanimously, the courts are supposed to be an impartial part of the system but in reality impartiality is an ideal.

I’ll just leave this here:

ED

The chief justice and the president

If you were having coffee with me and you asked me “What happens next?” Well, I would tell you that the election madness is hopefully over and life can begin again, we have been mostly on pause, waiting, hoping against hope, and now here we are, the highest court of the land has given its judgement the can be no further appeal, we are survivors, we have been through a lot and looks like we got more to go still, what we need to do is to look past our differences and find a way to work together.

Whats going on in your part of the world?

Have an awesome week

~B

Of The Chicken Diaries

The Chicken Diaries

I am ready to go now.” you announce. Your bag is packed, to be honest there wasn’t much to pack anyway, you simply gathered your change of clothes and toiletries then stuffed them into your backpack satchel. You pride yourself in being an extremely light traveller.

Back Pack

Already? Dinner is almost ready you cant leave without eating, we even killed a chicken” Aunt insists that you stay and eat. Chickens are a prized currency and one needs a good excuse to have one for dinner especially the limited edition batch of chickens with the bald heads, those are only killed when you have special visitors; feeling guilty at the honour bestowed and not wanting to be the one who deny them their reason to dine on fine poultry cuisine, you acquiesce.

Don’t worry dinner will be served soon” aunty  reassures you after she notices you sneak a glance towards your watch. “Let me just go and check on the progress in the kitchen. Please sit. I’ll ask your cousin to bring you a soft drink while you wait.”

You can hear her speaking in hushed tones, telling her children to stop being lazy, that the cooking fire has not yet been lit, can someone gather sticks of firewood kindling.

 A wild chase

Meanwhile the chicken is busy trying to escape its fate, apparently they can sense these things, it does not wish for the honour of being an invited guest to the dinner table, being the main meal……

Eventually dinner is served. A scrumptious meal that more than makes up for the lateness of the time and also grateful for the darkness, in the candle light no one looks at the obscenely huge piece of chicken that was dished for you. You tried to get something smaller but you were out-voted besides you are the guest. They insist they eat chicken all the time, they might as well have feathers growing out. You know it’s a lie, no matter how many chickens you eat you wont grow chicken feathers and of course they don’t eat chicken as frequently as they claim but you are a considerate guest you let them convince you.

By the time dinner pleasantries are done its quite late and dark outside, any chances of travelling have set with the sun. You tried to argue that you really had to go, and they in turn brought out the big guns, telling you the horror stories that have befallen night travellers, from the mysterious ghostly flames that erupt for no reason without explanation, to the recent spat of muggings and robberies capped with the headless corpse that was discovered just a few weeks back…….

Better safe than sorry.” Aunty declares putting an end to any of the feeble resistance you were offering of why you must leave tonight “Its not like anyone is chasing you away, you can go tomorrow, I’ll wake you up at the crack of dawn, and you can catch the first bus back to the city.” And that settles everything.

KUKURIGORIGO that’s what it sounds like when a rooster does its morning crow.

kukurigorigo

kukurigorigo

The crack of dawn begins at 3.15 in the morning. That’s when the rooster first crows, every morning at 3.15 then at 4.15 and finally at 5.15 it’s like clockwork you don’t even need to set an alarm.

Once more, you are up again and ready to go right now, all you need is the green light. Bags already packed or rather you never unpacked,  perks of being a light traveller. Everyone else eventually wakes surprised to see that you are all set to leave. First thing first though you cant leave on an empty stomach, so you have to endure breakfast. Fortunately they don’t have to cook the chicken, simply reheating pieces left over from last night coupled with a portion of scrambled eggs and a flame boiled cup of tea with its unmissable smoky flavor.

hot kettle

Finally you say your goodbyes and stand up to leave.

“Wait” aunt stops you “We have present for you, since you loved the chicken so much we decided to give you a live one to take with you to the big city

You try to politely decline, she adamantly insists and her will is stronger; soon everyone is outside chasing the chicken that has the dubious honour of being my travel companion.

How will I even carry it seeing as it wont fit in my tiny backpack” You ask beginning to regret your light travelling policy which has just flown the coup.

Fortunately an old box is found and the chicken is placed in there, holes are poked along the sides so it can breathe, and the box is secured with tree bark thread and you handed a few grains of wheat and seed to feed the chicken, so it shan’t starve.

how to transport chicken

Quickly the bus is almost here” you are warned, as you are marched brisklyto the bus stop. You can hear the engine growling from just around the bend and barely manage to make it to the roadside bus stop just as the bus coasts by comes to stop, in a plume of diesel smoke and dust from the road shoulder gravel.

Eight people escorted you to the bus and only one person gets in, you. The bus conductor eyes you somewhat disappointedly, probably he was expecting way more passengers.  A few steps into the bus aisle the conductor yells at you that you are forgetting something and hands you the box with squawking chicken, you had hoped you could somehow leave it behind, now you are the guy with chicken on the bus, that’s why they call them chicken buses because sometimes fellow travelers are chickens.

Chicken bus

Chicken Bus

Fortunately the bus is on the empty side and you find a seat to yourself somewhere near the back, you are the person you would not want to sit next to, the one with squawking chicken in the box. Someone at the front cranes their neck to face your way and tell you tell your chicken to shut up.

Would if I could, but I don’t speak chicken” you reply calmly but deep down you wish you could strangle the chicken and put it out of its misery. It quietens down somewhat after you toss a few seeds of grain for it to snack on and the rest of the journey is mostly such a non-event, you even manage to fall asleep.

When you finally get home, the box is unusually quiet, maybe the chicken is dead. As soon as you open the box, out pops the chicken and the chasing games begin. Do chickens get mad chicken disease you wonder cause this one seems to act rather unchickenly chasing you instead of the way around, could it bite you and begin the zombie chicken apocalypse?

You almost want to give it a name, but naming it makes it your responsibility, you have to care for it feed it, and clean it; naming it, makes it a pet, and you can’t eat a pet; and this one for all its drama will be joining me for supper as the main course of these fine days………….

~B

Of Coffee And The Simple Life

Of coffee with the simple life…..

Coffee outside

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you I had to initially draft this post, the hard way, by candlelight, on a piece of paper I saved from being kindling for a fire, fortunately I had a pen and I did not have to use my blood as ink.

Do you hear that? There’s nothing but silence, well not entirely silence.  just the natural silence of the simple life, broken only by livestock, the chirping of birds and the whispering of the pine trees as breeze blows past sounding almost as if it’s a thousand voices whispering your name……..

pine trees

If you were having coffee with, I would tell you that you don’t realise what a good thing you have going, not until you are back in the city, with its big city lights and the first thing that greets you is an assault on your nostrils, by the noxious fumes of commerce and vehicles speeding dizzily past, no time to say hello or goodbye, not even a friendly wave, only a honk of the horn beep beep move get out of the way……

This is the longest period in my adult life that I have spent in the countryside, at my maternal grandparents’ homestead, I pulled weeds from their graves and felt a connection to roots that hold up the tree that is my existence.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that, the pace of life here is different, slower even and the list of priorities might as well as be worlds apart from what happens in the urban parts of the country. Life is simple, a little too simple, I wish I had my laptop, and somewhere to charge it and definitely some Wi-Fi. I have been off the internet grid for a week and some change, and a part of m feels like the world is spinning without me.

In fact the rest of the world is spinning along however imperfectly without a care what happens in such simple corners of the country. The elections came and gone just like they do and here political aspirants come and they make grand speeches and fancy promises then depart in a cloud of dust and smoke, leaving nothing but tyre tracks from the their shiny new off-road four wheel trucks, never to be seen again until the next elections. And this time, this might be sooner than expected, if a rerun is declared, because well a petition was filed challenging the election results and now we wait the constitution court’s ruling.

Watching a beautiful sunset as the night falls, it’s a moonless night, and it would be a dark night were it not for the sky full of stars, nights like this we used to gather round a fire and tell  stories.

sunset

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you we gathered around a fire, the same fire I saved this sheet of paper from and we told stories, but they weren’t like stories of old, these were real. Stories like about the homestead next to ours the only home without a fire lit, because only death lives there now, and ghostly flames can be seen by late night travellers; everyone there died from some mysterious malady, everyone that is except the first born son who is said to live lavishly abroad but could not come for any of the funerals because they left country claiming political asylum and so now cant return.

It’s a familiar story, those who remain bear a certain resentment for those who manage to escape the shackles of the simple life, chasing paper and never returning except only to be bury or be buried. The last time I was here was for a funeral and before that another funeral, and this land slowly becoming simply graveyards and half abandoned homesteads populated only during funeral services.

Another story that’s not spoken in polite company, the one about the lady who lives by herself, whose husband left, or died or maybe as some suggest she killed him. She is said to be very gracious with her favours as payment in kind for groceries. If you take a loaf a bread to her house, she will accept it with a coy smile and invite you inside, for tea maybe……

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you my plan was to only spend a night, but the simple life has no room for rushing, every time I say I am ready to leave something comes up, an aunt I must absolutely visit, and of course they will insist you cannot leave before dinner, and by the time dinner is done, its too dark to leave, tomorrow first thing in the morning, but of course that means first thing after breakfast of course breakfast is at lunch………

But finally here we are, I had to insist I would return soon and not wait for another funeral.

Have an awesome week

~B

 

Of The Mistress Chronicles

Sometimes people scroll past my Twitter timeline and get *mused* by the barely formed story plot ideas I have just floating around on the twitterverse, most times they hardly tell me about it, a rare few do though and an even rarer number still, not only do but also allow me to feature the resultant product on my blog.

Melody read this tweet and was inspired to start writing a guest feature series:

 The Mistress Chronicles by Melody Chingwaru

Prologue

As the bible says man that is born of  a woman is of few days, beloved let us remember that our days are numbered and we should cherish the memories we had with our loved one” the pastor’s voice echoed in my ears. Was he gone for real?

Tears glisten in my eyes as I watch his casket lay on the lowering rails and I feel my heart sink. I will never see his smile, the warmth of his arms and how his voice creaked whenever he called me. My baby, my love, my…. ! I hope Mazvita will allow me to throw some flowers into his grave when the casket is lowered.

The pastor’s voice interrupts my thoughts_

It is now time to say your final goodbyes, may all family members collect some soil from the shovels and as soon as the casket is lowered into the ground please feel free to come over” he says

I watch as his casket is lowered into the ground and his daughters form a line to bid their dad farewell. I glance around in search of Mazvita; I need to know where she is first before I can attempt to do the unthinkable. I dart my eyes to the chairs and our eyes meet, her eyes convey that  pity look. I hold my gaze as a way to seek her approval to advance towards the grave.  Her eyes convey nothing as response but that does not deter me as I soon find my way to the grave to throw my roses.

I hurriedly move through the crowd to the grave and I throw my roses. I mutter a few words silently, “Till we meet again, rest in peace Mhofu”. I did it, I know it sounds so little of a gesture but you will soon understand why! You see life does not prepare you for days like this and in as much as I have read many self help books, I was not ready for this.

 

 

…………………….

This is a series so do stay tuned.

Melody can be found on twitter melching91

Melody Chingwaru Book review Gold Diggers

 

 

 

 

 

Of Coffee, Democracy, Voting and Elections

Of Coffee, Democracy, Voting and Election Results.

voting

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you it’s been a nail-biting roller-coaster of a week, waiting for the results of the harmonized election results held on Monday the 30th of July to be announced.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you not be alarmed, I am safe and sound, and have had to answer the “Are you safe question?” to several people via phone calls, messages, emails, and DMs but to be honest the past couple of days have been hair-raising. You might have seen Zimbabwe, headlining the news, when the army clamped down on opposition party protesters in the city capital, demanding immediate release of unadultered election results by the electoral commission claiming the commission was delaying so it could “massage” the figures.

MDC Protest

The protest turned violent as protesters destroyed property; looting shops, setting fire to vehicles belonging to the ruling party and the military resorted with deadly force. Firing live ammunition into crowds leaving scores of people injured and several fatalities.

Military

If you were having coffee with me, this is the part you would ask me if you heard me correct that military personnel in a nation not at war opened fired on its civilian population. It’s hard to reconcile this image with how the military, just seven months earlier, in November had been on the side of the masses, in a historic seemingly bloodless coup resulting in Robert Mugabe resigning without a single bullet being fired in public.

Zim Coup

when The Army sided with the people

The official statement is that the protesters “overwhelmed the police who were spread thin due to them being stationed throughout the country to safeguard the polls and so the army was deployed.” This might be true but not entirely because on the fateful Wednesday I also happened to be in Harare CBD, and no I was not protesting, I was not even aware of the protests, maybe I should have checked my social media first, it might be full of misleading information but it’s one of the most reliable ways to find out if its safe to venture outside your neighbourhood and into the city.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you, to imagine you were me, in the city’s central business district, not protesting minding your own business when suddenly: chaos and confusion as people run past you screaming and you don’t need anyone to tell you twice, you also run. Assimilating as you go along; the noxious tear gas fumes assaulting your nostrils, the distinctive sound of gun fire, even though you have never heard a gunshot in your life and you sometimes mistake the sounds of a car backfiring to gunshots when you hear an assault rifle being fired you can’t mistake for anything else…….

A lot of finger pointing is underway, from the opposition party leaders for inciting violence to the party supporters heading mindless calls to action; from the army over-reacting to the protestors being ungovernable and the truth, well the truth is an offspring of mistruth, half-truths meeting whispered conspiracies breeding in a silence where no good thing can flourish.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the final presidential election results were announced after midnight on the 3rd of August with President elect Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling party ZANU PF winning 50.8% of the vote and Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance opposition taking 44% of the polls and the remaining 5.2% split amongst the other 20 presidential candidates.

Walking in the streets of the capital city it’s hard to imagine something as monumental as presidential elections happened, no one is rejoicing, and everyone seems to be grieving, not only for the unfortunate souls, not only from the funerals of those who died on the Wednesday, not just faceless civilians, but people who had loved ones,

and also for the death of hope that had been birthed, still born, that this time around, maybe this time, things would be different……..

If you were having coffee with me I would mention these interesting quotes that I heard:

“its not the voting that counts, but the counting of votes…”

The force of will surpasses the force of will

Well if the polls are to be believed, then we live in a divided nation, where 49.2% of the population did not vote for the president elect, where there are more rural than urban voters in a tale of two voter pools, living with what seem to be completely different concerns and ideals and a diasporian population without a right to vote from their adoptive countries; and where a lot of work needs to be done to unite the population allow room to tolerate divergent views

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you if you think democracy is a façade or that democracy is unAfrican? I heard some analysts on TV say that it’s a system that is counter to Africa’s Principle of Ubuntu I am because We Are, serving no one but interests of our colonial overlords in their quest to maintain control of Africa’s resources and controlling its finances.

diversity

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I wish I could go to be bed and wake up later, much later, like in maybe five years, because in five years I will be old enough to also be a presidential candidate, if I was president I am sure the world be a better place…… well for me anyway it would be better.

~B

I have just answered a phone call from my mother for the umpteenth who calls every few hours to check if I am still alive and still ok, I should visit her soon and put her fears to rest, she worries so much I start worrying about her too………