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(Greetings from International School of Lusaka. This poem is dedicated to the memory of the late Professor Kofi Awoonor, whose writings have left an indelible mark in the firmament of academia and literati. May his soul rest in perfect peace)
Merrily, merrily camping out under the stars
The sweet teens have an uphill task
Cheerily, cheerily teambuilding out
In the hot November night,
They resort to braaiing sausages and taking sips of tea
From small corked casks and flasks
Of course, not forgetting quaffs from the
Irresistible, habitual and omnipresent coca cola,
The air is teeming with whines of the ubiquitous
And iniquitous mosquitoes,
Spitfires or no spitfires,
Blundering bumbling Flying
Fortresses whirring, droves of Messerschimdts,
But they care less whether or not they add to their woes,
They should overcome brambles, thistles and mistletoes
These tawny and white teenage hustlers have a mission
It’s a cloudless and star-lit moonless night,
The Southern Cross is in full bloom with its glare
In the lucid sky,
Billions of star formations in the galaxies beam their
Incandescent light from light years away,
But my favourite constellation, the Southern Cross,
Seems this time closer to me than in my native home
In coastal Ghana
I’m delighted and instantly transported into nirvana,
I wonder how high in Havana
You would count a gross of familiar constellations,
But to the busy lasses and lads this particular night,
It’s all dross and a matter to gloss over,
Cos they’ve no geographical, navigational nor
Astronomical inclination tonight
Instead, it’s the International Baccalaureate (IB)
Theory of knowledge (TOK) oral presentation eve,
Venue – the International School of Lusaka,
They are taut and seem to be on edge,
Apprehension visibly and volubly etched on their faces
Yet, they’ve steeled their nerves
To do their best and live up to their pledge
‘Twas like the eve of the circumcision
Initiation ceremony, somewhere in the village in
The lads are led in Indian file
And cooped in a secret makeshift forest camp in a clearing,
They build their esprit de corps through dance,
Song and drama,
They jell in their hide out-tents of palm fronds,
Preparing for their hideous ordeal,
Reminds one of Kondon Diara in The African Child,
The unremitting and unmistakable circumciser,
Who though revered much by the local elderly community.
His dreadful duty sends seizures of excruciating pain
Up the spines of innocent teenage braggarts,
They shudder at the thought of the long
Awaited doleful and baneful day,
Is it a re-enactment of ‘The night of the long knives’ they learnt about in history?
Indeed, history repeats itself in macro and micro waves
(Forget it, there are no microwave ovens
To write home about by these knowledge-seeking campers)
The neophytes trepidate at the thought of the
Long-awaited day of nemesis,
The moment of truth has landed,
The Rubicon had been crossed,
Was it going to be a Pyrrhic victory,
Or they will triumph and be
Slapped with the winners curse?
An allied-style Dunkirk hard landing,
A Dardanelles fiasco of monstrous proportions,
Or an emphatic Horatio Nelson and Wellington’s
Defeat of Napolean Bonarparte at Trafalgar and
It’s bizarre and rare to have a loo in water!
Indeed, some kids are fazed and dazed at the
Dreadful prospect immediately ahead of them,
Of the unmentionable encounter with the Wanzam,
A venerable, old, bearded and bespectacled vampire,
With a glint of glee in his tiny, shiny,
Beaded Shylock-like eyes,
With scores of scabbards, sheaths and sharp knives
Dangling menacingly around his waist,
His blood-stained cloak
Blending congruously with his discoloured
Cola nut-stained ochre teeth,
Throw into the bargain
A frailed leather bag-an apothecary of innumerable
Concoctions, slouched over his left shoulder,
Besides, his red lips reek of a bloodsucker,
One wonders how many assortments and sizes of
Penises the grizzled surgeon must have espied
Or ogled over the aeons of his noble practice,
His victims sport tears of utter terror,
A if the horror of a fatwa was ominously
Dangling upon his victims’ heads,
With a grimace in his face,
Net even the sword of Damocles could have
Been more threatening,
It’s indeed time for the frightened fawns
To say the grace
Before the coup de grace,
To avoid chickening out in disgrace
Or else, they miss the boat that
Transports them into freedom and manhood
Febrile fear encounters gluttonous glee,
Face to face, who will flee?
It’s reminiscent of village fights of cockerels
The victim defending his sophomoric braggadocio,
The assassin living up to his notorious repute as
Face to face, the pursuer stares eyeball to eyeball,
At the charged pursued,
Eventually, equilibrium is restored
As force cancels out force,
The ruffled feathers and manes settle down.
The following morning at the IB presentation,
A similar fate awaits the finalists,
Instead of the fear of the sharp razor knives
Of the Wanzam contusing through flesh
Of shrunken penises,
Or his deft hands applying the dabbing of
Top dressing penicillin or a powdery tree-bark
Substance onto the bruised penises,
It’ll be the power of the pernicious pens,
From the panel of astute tutor judges,
Doing the honours of mentally torturing
And searing the brains of the IB presenters
Wonder whether there will be the case of shrunken brains
Or bruised eyes
The judges inexorably determine their fate
Indeed they’ve a date they hate,
Mate, it’s no joking or bungling matter,
And under bated breath,
The students rehearse their lines in their tents,
Perchance, they will spot some dents
In their oft regurgitated arguments,
Indeed, the atmosphere is potently pregnant and tense.
But as they regroup in their assigned groups
For the last dry (practice) run,
The ubiquitous mosquitoes spot the dents in the tents
And decide to vent their venom on the innocent teens,
Throughout the night,
The poor lads and lasses had no wink of sleep,
They kept vigil,
Half minding the nauseous mosquitoes,
And half turning over in their minds eye
The points for their oral presentations,
Perhaps in fumbling orations and perorations.
Imagine, mosquitoes pay no rent
Yet they feast fat on seemingly bloated farts
From well-heeled homes,
Without as much as pay a cent!
Who will accost them and take them to court for assault?
‘Is it ethical or unethical for mosquitoes
To commit such dastardly atrocities or do they
Have insect rights to a decent living?
They suck innocent blood
From IB tutees and their tutors.
Human rights, animal rights, forest rights and
Now insect or mosquito rights!
The whole gamut of rights boil down to a boil,
That needs lancing!
I guess, this was one of the TOK topics
That must have swept the judges off their feet
The following morning at the presentations!
Live and let’s live is the hallmark and
Bedrock of multiculturalism
Perhaps, not geocentricism or obtuse eccentricity!
Perhaps mosquitoes need protection from
Extinction and total annihilation!
You don’t say,
You’ve made my day,
I feel gay,
Take it easy and think straight
Hey, I feel giddy
I’m not kidding,
It must be I’ve malaria from the mosquito
Feast the previous night!
Check me out, Bwana,
Hey, could do with a Chibuku-
The local Zambian millet brew!
Paa Kwesi Mintah now knows my secret,
LOL! I’m just kidding!
Chill, I wanna spakalaka, dude.
The Zamchics aren’t yet gone to roost
Their guys are slaughtering booze to boost
Their waning egos,
So they can shine, soaked in wine
But if care is not taken,
They will end up swimming in their brine,
Mixed urine, salty to the taste,
Congealed with throw-ups and fecal matter,
That will really be some mind over-matter chatter
But Black Stars prevailed at last
Over Chipololo after alleged mind games.
GIS ought to play ISL
Or AIS should face off
With Lincoln International
In five aside,
Accra meets Lusaka,
Here we come, I cry (Accra)
But please no massacre in Lusaka.
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