Someni Mkasa wa Ludovick S. Mwijage, utashangaa majina yaliotajwa huko!
|L-R Sam Nujoma (Nambia), Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia), Samora Machel (Mozambique) Mwalimu Nyerere (Tanzania), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) & ?|
TO READ MR. MWIJAGE's FULL STORY CLICK HERE: http://zanzinet.org/files/darkside.txt
BELOW IS AN EXCERPT:
Having no baggage to claim, I proceeded through customs at Matsapha
airport, Swaziland, without delays, thanks largely to holding a
Commonwealth passport. I did not require a visa and had no cause to
explain my situation to Swazi officials. I proceeded to Mbabane, the
capital, taking a ride with an Eritrean UN official who had collected
a relation from the same flight.
By the time I arrived in Mbabane it was late afternoon, and I noted that
the following day was a public holiday. Finding accommodation was my main
concern as I wandered aimlessly along Allister Miller Street, Mbabane's
main road. As I passed Jabula Inn, a main road hotel, a lean man who
looked to be in his late fifties or early sixties emerged. Apparently
he had detached himself from a group of people he was conferring with
in the hotel foyer. He wore a fez hat and was far too dark to be Swazi
(most Swazis are light in complexion).
His right hand held a set of joined beads which he counted quickly and
repeatedly, as if he was meditating or praying although he continued
to talk with people as he did this. He gesticulated and looked at me
as if he recognised me. I returned the look, thinking I recognised him
from somewhere. We exchanged glances and it occurred to me that I knew
the man, but I couldn't recall from where.
He made the first move, greeting me in Swahili. I returned his greeting,
surging forward to shake his hand. There was no doubt the man I had
just greeted was the renowned Nairobi-based Tanzanian astrologer, Sheikh
Yahya Hussein. Now I remembered seeing his pictures in newspapers almost
every day, advertising his trade, although I could never work out how
he recognised someone like me he had never seen before.
Hussein invited me to his room, cutting through a long queue of people who
had come to consult him. He was, as he frequently told the Swazi press,
a prophet, faith-healer, palm-reader and fortune-teller, not merely an
astrologer who could determine the influence of the planets on human
affairs. He even told the local media that King Hussein of Jordan was
one of his clients, and he provided them with a photograph of him shaking
hands with the monarch. This, of course, generated more business for him.
Hussein led me into his room with quick, short strides, nodding at
people in the queue. He was booked in Room 1 at Jabula Inn and had a
room-within-a-room inside his quarters. This provided him with the space
he needed: one room for consultancy, the other for his private sleeping
He invited me into his private room; it seemed there was someone else
in the consultation room. A beautiful woman, about half Hussein's age,
sat on the unkept bed, seemingly vegetating. She held a can of Castle
Beer which seemed empty. Hussein talked briefly to the man in the other
room, then joined us.
Africans generally respect elders as sages of infinite wisdom. Hussein's
professional standing and the trust others confided in him encouraged
me to tell all. Moreover, he had the title of sheikh, which, with its
spiritual overtones, projected a sense of moral purity and authority. To
my surprise, he knew quite a bit about my situation.
Before I had finished my story Hussein telephoned the receptionist
and asked her to come to his room. A tall, well-built woman with big
eyes arrived and Hussein instructed her to give me a room for several
nights at his expense. She agreed, but said the vacant room had to
be tidied up. As we waited Hussein asked me to place my paper bag,
which I still nursed on my lap, under his bed. He wanted me to go and
buy some articles for him. On my return I picked up my paper bag and,
being very tired, proceeded to the room Hussein had hired for me. It
was there that I realised that some items were missing: the telex from
Germany; the letter I had received from a friend, Amos Ole Chiwele,
a refugee recognised by the UN; and the cover of my air ticket.
I hastily returned to Hussein's room hoping to retrieve these items,
which I nevertheless doubted could have fallen out of the packet. A
thorough check under Hussein's bed revealed no trace of the missing
items. Hussein supervised as I searched the bed, all the time claiming
that nobody had touched my bag during my absence. I did not at any time
imply this might have occurred. The items had unfortunately disappeared,
Swaziland granted me political asylum within weeks. But due to other
factors which I had overlooked in Kenya - Tanzanian troops were stationed
next door in Mozambique - the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), in Mbabane, was working hard to find a country in
which I could be permanently settled. Indeed, on the day Cartridge and
I lunched together I had only one and a half months in which to leave
for resettlement in Canada.
My diet consisted of boiled rice and fried fish; sometimes there was
simply no lunch or dinner because, as I was told later, there was a
food shortage in Mozambique. In the mornings I would get black tea with
a doughnut, sometimes nothing at all. Every morning for ten minutes I
was allowed out of my cell to pass water and wash my face; but washing
my face proved difficult with handcuffs. Lights blazed day and night,
their controllers oblivious to the lack of electricity elsewhere in
Mozambique. I felt as if I was in a grave, buried alive.
This was the second time I had been in detention, the first going back
to August 1971 when I was a student teacher at Morogoro.
I was detained at Morogoro merely for expressing a political opinion. I
had been appointed editor-in-chief of Mhonda college's newsletter,
which, as it turned out, never got off the ground anyway. Basically, the
newsletter intended to reflect the thinking of the college community,
using articles from students and staff. But an English lecturer had
insisted that all articles be censored before publication. I strongly
disagreed, setting him and myself on a collision course.