Friday, September 21, 2007


“Imagine me Hon. Potash, M.P, LTE- Legal Tax Evader. I want to be the first kid to bring a tax-free salary, or any salary for that matter- to the ‘hood.”

It is midnight here. Half past midnight to be precise. I have just been working on this piece for some (Insert journal of choice, if this is not for them then you can be sure I will be writing for them next) and it feels done. I revised, for God's sake I revised. Now I got a bunch of sentences in there that feel so neat I cannot recognise that I wrote them.
I kinda like one of the sentences:

“They die deaths so painful and laboured for they have mastered the world- caught a view of the living from across multiple planes of existence- seen, heard, walked with the whispers of the Great Winds creasing their ears as their toes crunched the sand on the receding shoreline of mortality.”

Can you spot the punctuation? I do not know man, but in the last one year I have learnt a thing or two about the craft of writing. In one year I have moved from a self styled street philosopher and pseudo-intellectual into a Writer. Yes, I have become a bore.
I open a document with my entire blog that a so called groupie sent to me. I read two pieces from the street days and tears come to my eyes. It suddenly occurs to me that I haven't blogged in ages and I become aware of the fact that it isn't that I have been too busy to blog, it is just that I cannot do this blog justice.

For many years I went on and on about how much I wanted to be a writer, but now that in the circles of writers my name is mentioned, I do not write no more. It is true that the best path in life is the one of learning, improving, even perfecting your trade- in a word, growing- but growing for me means I have lost the best part of me. I am at that point where art meets commerce and being the kind of person that is not averse to prostitute what their mother gave them, I have shunted the art to the back burner to pander to the philistine pursuit of life, lucre and a ranch in Laikipia.

Growing means that I I write and rewrite/ revise- okay let us be frank, I just do some significant plumbing of the prose and chuck out the messy adverbs. It means that the honesty is gone, the angst and heat of the moment is yanked out of sentences like:

“But mama needs her insulin and Pfizer didn’t get big doing Pro bono, see? It’s the money or she dead- deader than The Rainbow Alliance.”

It is when I read that sentence that I decide to call a future writing partner- the one I intend to collaborate on my A Laikipia Ranch for Potash project- to share the earlier sentence, the one from my new story.

“wee mzungu”
“I just wrote a sentence that I kinda like...”
(I read out the sentence.)
“You know, more and more I am beginning to sound like one of those MFA types...”
“Cool stuff...”
“No, that actually is the problem..”
(There is a thump on her end)
“You funny chick... what are you doing?”
“I was crushing a bug that fell out of nowhere.”
“Eish, you see why we need to work on that writing project: it is so that I can get me a ranch in Laikipia...”
“That ranch will be part mine funny boy...”
“That's fine- you can be the memsahib of the house and instead of worrying about bugs you can trouble yourself with more meaningful things like how to get decent help.”
“My own masais you mean?”
“I don't know ma'am. They don't make masais like they used to!”
“So you... what about the sentence, anyway, Mr. Sketchy Boy?”
“Dammit, quit calling me boy. If you call me that in Laikipia the neighbours will think I am the Kitchen Toto in my own house.”
Sawa. Tell me about the sentence, Bwana!”
“Ahh.. let me just get back to my writing. Shit's gonna get me paid like fucking soon!”

Friday, September 07, 2007


For a struggling writer, this blogger is too lazy. Picture this: The editor of a insanely exciting South African journal asks, 'Potash can you send us a couple of random words?'
'Yea, easy like,' says P, The.
Two months post-deadline, Potash, The, in one of those ubiquitous moments of deliriums tremens, pens some inchoate junk but passes out at a point sub- 700 words.
Here it is...

In a small village, near Voi, as you approach the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, there lives a young man. A man of great learning. A man well versed in both Bantu folk lore and Judaic-Christian-Hellenistic thought. His name: Mengo Samana- the philosopher; the mad man.

Samana's ancestors were great medicine men, even kings and queens. They were great travellers and conquistadors, ruling the Land of the Motapas and the territories of Moshoeshoe. Great Sangomas is what they were, holding dominion over all manner of being on the great veld long before Shaka the Zulu. They staged epic battles against the merchants from Arabia and hoarded Africa's bounty long before oom Paul Kruger's Afrikaner crud and the Rooineks.

In that tiny village near Voi, a nameless village on the Nyika Plateau, lives Mengo Samana. Mengo Samana whose belief in the ways of ancient Africa has been defiled by that thing that the Butterfly People call education. Samana now lives by a new religion that is an abomination to the kayas of his ancestors; a streak of murk against the chaste cloth that is the ways of the tribe.

That Mengo Samana is the Proselyte of Ophir and this here is but a page from his tome: Vanga va Zilizea- Ages of the Gods.


From whose face shall we pluck an eye, that we may be rid of the miscegenation of our times? From the face of our noble Moses or from that of his filthy Ethiopian?
“Oh our dear sister, Miriam,” quoth Aaron, “how shamed before our people doth this sin of our brother make us!”
“Ye, Aaron, that is our brother...” Miriam wept, “intercede for us. Before the altar of Yahweh our people dare not stand for we are shamed.”

Upon whose back shall we lay the sjambok, that the house of Japheth- whose purity now lies desecrate- may escape the wrath of the great Jehovah? Upon the back of the dirty Kaffir or upon that of her Baas?
“It is my right to lay this pink whip on the kaffir,” yells the Baas. He holds up the scriptures- God's covenant with the men of his choice- with one hand and the sjambok in the other. (A later day Onan on the high street). “Spare the rod and spoil the Kaffir!”Baas tells it to the mountains, the hills and everywhere.
“Whatever,” says Oom Paul in the shoulder shrug dialect, “she just a Kaffir anyhow and he a man... may that man that has not sinned against his dog cast the first stone against the Baas.”

And it comes to pass, once again, that out in the fields where only men and livestock go, the Kaffir gets the sjambok. Just for being a kaffir you may say but also it might be seen that the master likes to put sjambok to Kaffir?

Back home the womenfolk wait- wait, with ovens heated and ready, for the men to bring in the oats. Late into the night, when the hearth has gone cold and the women taken to bed their hot water bottles, douche and suppositories, again, the men bring in chaff. Chaff while every Sunday morning they stand solemn before the altar of the lord and sing: Bringing in the sheaves... bringing in the sheaves.. we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves.

But who is to blame? The Kaffir will lie with anything, or so the tales of our old wives go, and the Kaffir is full of diseases and desires for our kind. Who will teach our children to be wary of the wiles of the Kaffir- the harlotry of Kaffirdom? Wasn't the wisest of our people, that great King Solomon, not violated by that Shulamite with her sexual entreaties of 'I am black and comely?'

May the thigh of the Kaffir that tempts our sons to lie with her rot and may her belly swell. That is the curse as given to us by the lord through Moses.