by Patsy Mugabi
Math is a demanding subject.
This is a universally accepted truth. It appears in every facet of life as we keep subtracting things that do not add up.
It demands to be featured in our daily deeds and like a meal, it waits to be served. And for some, tickles our mental faculties. Paul Ugbede describes this better with a fresh sense of humour when he is asked to find y and instead takes “uwai” to school and tells us all about it in his story My Maths Teacher hates me.
Friday nights and maths? You would think this a strange idea until you read Chumusa Ndakisa’s story about these nights. She describes a freelance character, Zizi, who is constantly played by the game of how Africans are labelled as foreigners and Europeans are termed as expats on this her home continent.
Other nights are simply exclusive. Like on a hot summer’s night where the warmth demands for lovers to experience a finale of fireworks from the sun just like Catherine Shepherd writes.
Weather also has a say in this collection. The man in a raincoat is a short story about a man who is ridiculed by the very village that raised him. This leaves him lowered into a grave with guilt in leaps and bounds as Nduta Waweru writes.
Michelle Preen also features in this anthology as she writes with a cool, calm and collected spirit. She describes the gift of time wrapped as a curse. The man that claims a father’s life is the recipient of this gift. In another story, Early, Preen describes the denial of loss of a child in the rawest manner. You know the saying time heals all wounds, well the wound in this womb has not yet been healed.
Lydia Kasese charms us, the readers with the wit of her pen as she talks on Skeletons and tea.
Another popular saying is how the first cut is the deepest. Let us take a moment of reflective silence and ask ourselves; Is it really? When all is left is scars of unreciprocated love like the one Catherine Jarvis shares candidly.
Amy Elizabeth follows suit by inviting us to take money shots with her as she describes the pictures of hope she takes. Her lens is fixated on a young female employee viewed as prey in an investor-sponsored company’.
On the other side of the lens, is breath-taking view of the life and times of a wanderer in a clear black and white picture where the world refuses to clean up its own mess and nobody tells it like Mary Ajayi.
Nightmares present themselves in various ways. The most unusual way is a wife returning to her marital home only to hear her husband utter strange words such as introducing a new wife who will not too busy making ends meet. Jane Kalu writes this nightmare in an accurate manner and leaves no details out.
Love is still the theme that is highlighted in the Jalada collection. When it comes to love, should one think with their head or heart? Melissa Kiguwa answers this question with the sincerest form of experience as she writes the wound of shrinking.
Madam is a short story by Tiffany K. Mugo where she shares how one female who mixes pleasure with business as she submerges her clients into her ocean of complete control without secondary hesitation.
On a lighter note is a story by Caleb Adebayo; Beadwork where he describes a crazy woman’s opportune moment to be the boss as she grows the craft of making beaded jewellery, the kind that shimmers with dignity.
Jadwong meets Jesus and changes into a better man but it’s not long before the beast resurfaces and sprays thrill of doom to his children as Sydney Mugerwa writes.
Jude Mutuma describes the account of a street urchin whose balance sheet reads less on the debit end and more credit with policemen until a stoke of good luck saves his day.
The final story is Day after tomorrow where Paul Ugbede writes yet again on another touchy subject with raw emotion. He describes a camp that robs 20-year-old girls of their unbridled innocence as they hope to receive healing and death leaves some of them hanging on loose threads of hope until the lead character decides to run for her life, for healing’s sake.
Editor’s Note: The 2015 Writivism Jalada anthology is available for download here.