Karen Mukwasi

Karen Mukwasi

Karen Mukwasi is the projects coordinator for Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe and is currently studying with the University of South Africa. She is a fellow of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Young Leaders program. Karen believes in the power of written work and is committed to writing for social justice.

Detail. Illustration by Mugabi Gabriel

The Burden of Silence

Mike’s phone starts to ring. He picks the call.

Hello? Yeah, he says. The way he lowers his voice, you no longer have any doubt as to who it is at the other end. Mike quickly apologizes for not calling as promised. He blames his tight schedule and says he is in a meeting now —an important meeting with some contractors, so he has to hurry.

—Tell the kids daddy loves them, he says between pauses. Yes I love you too. Bye. He ends the call and heaves a deep sigh. Neither of you exchange a word in the false silence which prevails. You are feeling unnerved, but you don’t have the energy to do anything.

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Happy New Year

2015 was exceptional as we saw new growth in our team structure. We also had several unique publications from new contributors. Still, we’re on the look out for exciting new ventures into art writing, pop culture, comics, animation and photography. As a reflection on our civilization, scholarly articles and critical essays shall be given special focus in the new year.

Kabaka Mwanga,  Gayaza High School Hand Coloured Lantern Slide. Courtesy of HIPUganda

The Bishop is Coming

Mainstream narratives omit to tell us that Bishop Hannington had been warned by his fellow missionaries who were already settled in Uganda. Minister Alexander MacKay, a Scottish Presbyterian missionary, sent canoes on Lake Nalubaale to Kavirondo to meet him, and to warn him that his life would be in danger, should he insist on taking the eastern route from Busoga. But Hannington proceeded through Busoga anyway, disregarding the warning.

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Silent Voices: The Return of Serious Theatre

By Sophie Alal

“It is one of those very good plays that have taken a very long time to be shown in the National Theatre,” said Prof Dan Kisense. “We had balance in acting, stage setting, sound and lighting effects, and above all, the story.”

“It was touching on the psychology and reality of our times regarding Northern Uganda. The play goes through many dimensions. There are pleasant things that we don’t talk about, and that is a silent voice. There are bad things we don’t want to hear about, and that is a silent voice.”

Participants of the Caine Prize Workshop, 2012.

My Volmoed Journey

By Tendai Mwanaka

I really wanted to get into the waterfall or at the very least get close enough to touch it. When I got near it, I felt like I was a part of it. Below was a deep green pool. I was not sure how deep, but anything that appeared too deep has always scared me. So I could not begin to imagine what might lie inside. I imagined water animals that I’m not fond of: snakes, mermaids, and crocodiles. But, I was mostly scared of the Njuzu that day, so we enjoyed it from the outside. It’s not a joke, I am afraid of these aquatic half human creatures. In my culture and country, these creatures are associated with supernatural forces, for instance it is believed the most potent traditional healers is of the Njuzu calling. It is said that they were often people who had been abducted by a Njuzu and secreted deep inside caves, in the river’s pools, where they would be taught the trade. So growing up, we were always afraid of river pools that were said to have Njuzu in them. Afraid we might be abducted by these supernatural creatures. It is also believed that should people mourn for you after your abduction, these creatures would kill you. Thus you can understand my fear of these creatures at that instance.

Tendai Mwanaka Featured Image

Tendai Mwanaka

Among other writings, Mr Mwanaka is currently working on a book of creative non fiction titled Zimbabwe: The Urgency of Now. His work has appeared in several journals, anthologies and magazines in over 27 countries. Some of these works have been in translation, notably into French and Spanish.

The God of Death

The God of Death

By Sima Mittal

“Who should I take away from you this time?” The God of Death asked in a small voice, “How about your brother’s son?”

“That Uncle Manju is a beast. He beats up his wife,” Sunitha accused. “He doesn’t deserve to live, take him instead.”