Of rhythms


We are having one by one somewhere around Chilobwe Centre in Blantyre. This place is not a drinking joint, but courtesy of our dean of mphulupulu, ‘Atsogoleri’ Rob M, we have some ciders and whiskies, and the owner of the place has allowed us to enjoy the comfort of his wood stools and tables, by the veranda.

The place is Hot Pot Take Away, opposite Chilobwe Police. We have engaged the services of Uncle Richie…I understand his real name is Richard or Ricardo Chalira, owner of the place, as our impromptu bartender.

Little did we know that we would do him a disservice by way of making his ribs crack with laughter continuously, going by today’s talk.


And the talk is ignited by some lady that our own Joe, being Joe, has brought along. She calls herself Shida, and she claims she stays in one of those Malawi Housing Corporation’s semi-detached houses in one of the townships around town.

She starts: “Sorry guys, maybe because I am in the company of men, I may have a share of wisdom on how I can overcome a big problem that I am encountering.”

‘Atsogoleri’ asks Uncle Richie to prepare a plate of snacks before our ‘sister’ Shida continues her talk.


“Tell me something,” continues Shida, “When the next wall separating your main bedroom from the bedroom of your neighbour penetrated raw sounds and noises, what do you do?”

Members of the Crew look at each other; surprised what this lady from somewhere, wants to tell us.

Abale, ndiyankheni, nditani [please answer me, whatshould Ido]?”

Joe asks here to come to the gist of the story, stressing members of the Crew are not good at speculating and only gives their opinion when an issue is narrated in its full version.

“It is rather confusing guys, if not treasonable by application of bedroom statutes …Why am I saying that? Are you interested to listen to this seemingly useless story guys, tell me?” she asks us.

We resolve to let her narrate the story without any interference, and she does just that.

“I live in a semi-detached house in Nkolokosa, I am a spinster, of course not those type of spinsters who bring in men in their bedroom on a daily basis, no. I am a professional woman whose work schedule is rather busy each day, I operate my own business, so you can imagine.”

She sips her drink fast, panning her eyes in all directions.

“”When I get home each day and would want to sleep, I get disturbed most of the nights. Without a bae or husband myself, how do you imagine when you hear those rhythms associated with romance from penetrating the wall from the bedroom of my married neighbour?”

All of us get to the attention of the narrator.

“It is not about a fight, no, but raw romance and what comes after that. sure if it were in the yesteryears of our fathers and mothers, the sound would have been garnished by creeking of spring beds, thanks this time around we are in the wood-bed time, at least I am denied of the sound of spring beds. But still, the human sound is more tormenting,” she goes on.

“This neighbour couple of mine squeak, shouts, whistle, exclaim and does all sorts of things – both in male and female sounds; leaving poor me wanting and envious. Each night, I am subjected to continuous for 30 minutes as their marathon romantic athletics continue… after that, there is sanity for two hours or so, then it starts again.

When I think everything has now been defeated by peace, in the early hours of each day the sounds start again. The morning rhythms are more intense, more seductive and equally disturbing. Oh God, my God, why don’t I have someone beside me to reciprocate their tormenting sounds? Am I guilty of the worst love crime that I cannot get someone to comfort me when I am being tormented by those sounds from the other side of the wall? Or should I just move to another house that is not semi-detached? Guys, thandizeni, nditani?” she asks.

But we do not interrupt her as we assured her we would let her finish with her story.

“Am I guilty of the worst love crimes? Tell me, I have not done wrong to any man, I have never aborted in my life..then why should I be tormented like this? Should I go out to seek men as you men do when you go to Kamba, Chigwiri and other red districts to find a quickie?” Is it the curse of my boyfriend who deserted me for some lady in Mbayani? And why should these semi-detached houses’ walls not be soundproofed? That thin wall is harassing me really!” she says.

She continues: “Guys, this is abuse of the highest order, my conjugal rights are threatened by my neighbour. Each night I nearly shout at them to stop whatever they do that leads to those sounds… Nditani magayezi, nditani!

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