It must be good to be Mashallo Samilo, for, while poets and musicians have been fighting for opportunities, he seems to get everything his way.
I mean, in days that are not forgotten, publishers used to say, on top of their voice, that they preferred textbook materials to non-textbook ones, for the sole reason that the former has a ready market.
You know what happens in schools; the scramble for resources such as chairs, books and other items.
Those who lay their hands on such items go back home smiling, happy that they would chalk positive results in the end. Those who read more books have an advantage over those who do not.
However, it is not just those who do not have resources such as books that are at a disadvantage. Poets who specialise in non-publishing textbook materials have been dealt a heavy blow too.
I mean, while those who focus on textbook materials have been going to the bank smiling, those who do not have been going home hands akimbo. It is like, in the same country, others are celebrating while others are moaning. Really.
Not with Samilo, who seems to have keys to the hearts of those that matter. As I am speaking, he is finalising work on his poetry album Wokoma Nyasa, which is set for printing in South Africa.
I have seen the final draft, with its corrections and other embellishments. It is a paragon of styles, including Haiku poems from Japan. Haiku is an ancient form of poem-writing. The poems are renowned for their small size as well as the precise punctuation and syllables needed on a Haiku’s three lines.
It is common knowledge that a Haiku poem contains 17 syllables in three lines of five, seven, five, focusing on issues such as nature— of course not forgetting the issue of seasons.
So, through seven closely integrated sections, Mashallo weaves together his main themes to produce poems of moving originality. A writer who immerses himself in issues that affect contemporary life, he writes with deep insight into the whole human experience. The poet showcases unique poetic personality, exuberance and dexterity.
I am talking of Wokoma Nyasa the poetry album. In it are poems such as ‘Welcome to Malawi’, ‘Black Rind’, ‘Words from The Sun’, ‘Bwadzulu’, ‘This is Sound’, ‘Whistling Goat’, ‘Ulalo ndi Malire’, ‘Examination Room’ and ‘My Traditional Woman’.
In fact, the poetry book has poems that were published in five other countries; Roots and Routes from The Netherlands, Urbarn Woorden from Belgium, Youth Speaks from the United States, Brouhaha International from the United Kingdom and Word ‘N’ Sound from South Africa, respectively.
Now, when Samilo came to our Ginnery Corner offices two weeks ago, the manuscript in hand, he faced the task of opening one of the doors. Somehow, he seemed to have forgotten that he was carrying the final draft [in hard copy] of Wokoma Nyasa in his right hand.
I say so because, as he opened the door, the draft copy fell to the floor. My oh mayi! Samilo, who seemingly wanted to grab the copy before it fell to the ground, jumped as it as if he wanted to catch a mouse!
It was as if the copy of the draft were a living thing. Then, he remembered that I was watching him. He said: mudzaziona mukadzapanga publish book!
Is it a glass book, Samilo! Ha!Ha!HaHa!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha! Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!