The Republic - Part I

The nation was eagerly anticipating the election of the new president and hearing his plans for the country in the upcoming five years. Change was imminent and uncertain, leaving everyone in anticipation of the outcome.

During the recent national elections, political parties spared no expense, pouring record amounts of money into ensuring that their campaigns resonated with and persuaded as many potential voters as they could. Mantoa Chiana and a number of other independent candidates had to hustle for financial support and appeal for donations to fund their election campaigns. Smaller political parties also struggled to keep up with the financial backing of larger political parties.

Despite Mantoa's unwavering dedication and hard work, she understood the tough reality of facing seasoned political rivals and the slim chances of winning the national elections. Nevertheless, she fearlessly continued to advocate for the realisation of the "Freedom Charter" during her campaigns, echoing the dreams of those who fought and died for economic freedom for the marginalised.

The country's recent elections wrapped up without any political party winning a decisive majority to lead the country for the next five years. The enduring dissatisfaction of the public with the existing government was evident in the voting, signalling a major change in the political scene. Now, it's a whole new ball game.

In light of Liberation Party's inability to secure a clear majority, their only alternative to maintaining governance was to enter into a coalition with other political parties or independent candidates in order to reach the minimum requirement of 51 percent of the seats in parliament necessary to govern the republic. Having governed the country for the past two decades, this was uncharted territory and a humbling experience for a political party that has governed the country since the dawn of democracy.

It turned out to be a mammoth and an impossible task for Liberation Party to find a coalition partner, given their bad reputation for corruption and financial mismanagement. It would have been morally wrong for progressive parties to get into a coalition with the ruling party, as many believed that it was a cesspool of corruption, and it drew away from its original mandate to reverse the injustices of the past. An official from one of the progressive parties likened forming an alliance with the former government to embracing a saguaro cactus and trusting not to get pricked.

Extensive bargaining took place among progressive political parties as they aimed to wrap up coalition negotiations, swear in lawmakers, and elect the president within a maximum of 14 days after the election outcome was announced.

As if guided by the spirit of the forefathers of the struggle, progressive political parties endeavoured to unite and establish a coalition. With sufficient numbers to constitute a coalition government, they managed to reach a consensus after a week of negotiations. The negotiations were largely harmonious, as the progressive parties' policies shared more-or-less similar objectives: rectifying past injustices and ensuring equal opportunities for all citizens.

Mantoa, also known as "fighter," emerged with a parliamentary seat, surpassing her own hopes and expectations as a newcomer, independent, female candidate in a society fixated on patriarchy and wary of change. She was part of the coalition discussion and subsequent agreements that led to the establishment of the progressive coalition government. She was determined and ready to serve in the new coalition government and to improve the lives of the peasants and common people who voted for her.

The rejoicing of progressive parties for finally reaching consensus on how they were going to join hands and govern the country as a coalition was brief when the moment came to address the crucial issue, the following item on the agenda: "Who will be the coalition's nominee for president of the country?". Three parties in the newly established coalition had a higher but equal number of seats, making it challenging for any party to claim rightfulness for the presidential position. All coalition member parties were aware that having their party leader elected and serving as the commander in chief for the next five years would be beneficial for them in the constituency during the subsequent elections in five years. They had to finalise their decision on the presidential nominee before the first parliament session, the day after tomorrow. An adjournment was proposed considering the time, as it was already late in the evening. It was agreed that the meeting would resume the next day, the eve of the first sitting of parliament.

The adjournment afforded each participating party the time to deliberate on how they were going to tackle the next and final item on the agenda when the meeting resumes.

It was the next day when the national broadcaster announced that they had been invited by the progressive coalition to broadcast live the day's proceedings. This move was to afford the nation transparency at the crucial meeting where a supremely important decision has to be made on the national presidential incumbency. This was a way for the progressive parties to show the nation how transparent the coalition government is intending to be: as the old saying goes, "Nothing changes if nothing changes."

Today holds significance in the Republic, not only for those who participated in the recent national elections but for all citizens of the republic. People were glued to their TVs and radios as if the national soccer team were participating in a Soccer World Cup final. But this day held far greater importance. It marks a crucial juncture in the struggle for the economic emancipation of the previously disadvantaged.

While the past few days have been sombre, today is particularly significant. It's as if the country is on the verge of a monumental shift, poised to embrace a new beginning. Some call it the calm before the storm.

"Now that I knew fear, I also knew it was not permanent. As powerful as it was, its grip on me would loosen. It would pass."

Louise Erdrich, The Round House

Quick Reads

More story 1

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut suscipit libero metus, ac suscipit est iaculis sit amet.Suspendisse potenti. Ut ut auctor nisi, ut varius ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin quis imperdiet velit. Etiam tincidunt ut tortor ut pellentesque. Cras laoreet convallis arcu, vel mollis sem pharetra ut. Nam leo lorem, vestibulum id velit ac, pulvinar pretium libero. Praesent facilisis lectus at nunc ultricies dictum. Fusce iaculis nibh ut massa facilisis, sed rutrum metus elementum. Nulla eget tellus at leo consectetur ultricies non eget purus. Integer ut finibus neque. Vestibulum pretium tortor in leo porta finibus. Pellentesque rutrum nisl at risus egestas finibus.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut suscipit libero metus, ac suscipit est iaculis sit amet.Suspendisse potenti. Ut ut auctor nisi, ut varius ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin quis imperdiet velit. Etiam tincidunt ut tortor ut pellentesque. Cras laoreet convallis arcu, vel mollis sem pharetra ut. Nam leo lorem, vestibulum id velit ac, pulvinar pretium libero. Praesent facilisis lectus at nunc ultricies dictum. Fusce iaculis nibh ut massa facilisis, sed rutrum metus elementum. Nulla eget tellus at leo consectetur ultricies non eget purus. Integer ut finibus neque. Vestibulum pretium tortor in leo porta finibus. Pellentesque rutrum nisl at risus egestas finibus.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut suscipit libero metus, ac suscipit est iaculis sit amet.Suspendisse potenti. Ut ut auctor nisi, ut varius ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin quis imperdiet velit. Etiam tincidunt ut tortor ut pellentesque. Cras laoreet convallis arcu, vel mollis sem pharetra ut. Nam leo lorem, vestibulum id velit ac, pulvinar pretium libero. Praesent facilisis lectus at nunc ultricies dictum. Fusce iaculis nibh ut massa facilisis, sed rutrum metus elementum. Nulla eget tellus at leo consectetur ultricies non eget purus. Integer ut finibus neque. Vestibulum pretium tortor in leo porta finibus. Pellentesque rutrum nisl at risus egestas finibus.

More story 1

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut suscipit libero metus, ac suscipit est iaculis sit amet.Suspendisse potenti. Ut ut auctor nisi, ut varius ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin quis imperdiet velit. Etiam tincidunt ut tortor ut pellentesque. Cras laoreet convallis arcu, vel mollis sem pharetra ut. Nam leo lorem, vestibulum id velit ac, pulvinar pretium libero. Praesent facilisis lectus at nunc ultricies dictum. Fusce iaculis nibh ut massa facilisis, sed rutrum metus elementum. Nulla eget tellus at leo consectetur ultricies non eget purus. Integer ut finibus neque. Vestibulum pretium tortor in leo porta finibus. Pellentesque rutrum nisl at risus egestas finibus.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut suscipit libero metus, ac suscipit est iaculis sit amet.Suspendisse potenti. Ut ut auctor nisi, ut varius ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin quis imperdiet velit. Etiam tincidunt ut tortor ut pellentesque. Cras laoreet convallis arcu, vel mollis sem pharetra ut. Nam leo lorem, vestibulum id velit ac, pulvinar pretium libero. Praesent facilisis lectus at nunc ultricies dictum. Fusce iaculis nibh ut massa facilisis, sed rutrum metus elementum. Nulla eget tellus at leo consectetur ultricies non eget purus. Integer ut finibus neque. Vestibulum pretium tortor in leo porta finibus. Pellentesque rutrum nisl at risus egestas finibus.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut suscipit libero metus, ac suscipit est iaculis sit amet.Suspendisse potenti. Ut ut auctor nisi, ut varius ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin quis imperdiet velit. Etiam tincidunt ut tortor ut pellentesque. Cras laoreet convallis arcu, vel mollis sem pharetra ut. Nam leo lorem, vestibulum id velit ac, pulvinar pretium libero. Praesent facilisis lectus at nunc ultricies dictum. Fusce iaculis nibh ut massa facilisis, sed rutrum metus elementum. Nulla eget tellus at leo consectetur ultricies non eget purus. Integer ut finibus neque. Vestibulum pretium tortor in leo porta finibus. Pellentesque rutrum nisl at risus egestas finibus.

What Should I Read Next?

A masterpiece from a giant of African literature. Things Fall Apart recreates African tribal life before Christianity and shows how the coming of the white man led to the breaking up of the old ways.

Chinua Achebe

Within a larger scope, the author explores South Africa's history starting from the mid-17th century, examining themes such as slavery, colonial rule, the mineral revolution, industrial capitalism, and apartheid.

Ebrahim Harvey

Young Naledi desires to trade her Bantu knots for Nonhle Thema's hair on the Dark and Lovely box. She hopes to resemble her light-skinned mother. Ledi lives in Pimville with her strict grandmother, Mama Norah, while her mother, Dineo, pursues a lavish lifestyle.

Lebo Mazibuko

Awesome adventures of African children with colorful drawings

Ulli finds a friend at the Saturday market, where he sells oranges.
Amina learns from her aunt how to make tie-dyed material.
Ojo the dream monster
Dondo saves his village from a terrible sandstorm.
Nandi meets her grandma in a dream.
Chinere receives seven magic stones on her wedding day.
Ali helps build a new schoolhouse in the middle of the jungle.
Saku stumbles on a magic medicine man who can read his thoughts.
Punji falls from his canoe into the lagoon and almost drowns.
Miriam dances for Grandma at the big family party.

Carin Holmqvist

Chameleon Aura combines personal anecdotes with insightful advice in a collection of poems centered around the common emotions of love and grief.

Billy Chapata

Changing the world starts with making your bed. This book is meant to motivate your children and grandchildren to be all that they can be. It's superb, astute, and succinct.

Admiral William H. McRaven

Every tale astonishes with its melodies, warmth, and linguistic mastery.

Gothatone Moeng

This powerful novel is based on the actual history of 'Farini's Friendly Zulus', men who were brought to Britain and then to America as entertainment. The story starts in 1885 with the main character, Em-Pee, in cold New York, disliking the exaggerated 'savage' performance of 'The Wild Zulu', which is very different from his own true history, not well understood in this foreign land: 'His Zulu colleagues call him Mpi, which has become Em-Pee to the English-speakers.' His real name is not the only thing lost in this distant foreign country, and he is viewed as nothing more than a sideshow act, although at least he is not kept in a cage like the beautiful Dinka Princess, owned by Monsieur Duval, the owner of Duval Ethnological Expositions. And so begins one of Zakes Mda's most powerful stories, a short novel but one that delivers a strong message and will evoke intense emotions in its portrayal of real injustices and indignities while also celebrating the strength and creativity of the human spirit and the transformative power of love.

Zakes Mda

Grief is a cruel kind of education. You learn how ungentle mourning can be and how full of anger it is. You learn how glib condolences can feel. You learn how much grief there is about language, the failure of language, and grasping for language.
The best-selling author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun shares with us a personal and powerful essay on loss from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

After a government edict cut his father's job, Eniola's family has been struggling to survive. His secondary school teachers beat him because of his unpaid fees, and his parents are behind on the rent and cannot pay for his apprenticeship at a tailoring shop. Nevertheless, he strives to make himself useful, folding wrappers and trying to forget about how he's taunted by schoolmates.
Wuraola, the daughter of the tailoring shop's most valued customer, is an exhausted young doctor who can barely catch any sleep as she works long hours in a public hospital. After her boyfriend proposes, their relationship accelerates towards marriage even as his darker side is exposed, risking her family's spell of good things.
Meanwhile, Eniola becomes caught in a tangle of decisions that will bring him into collision with the political forces in the city and harm his family and Wuraola's in the process. Following the lives of Eniola, Wuraola, and their relatives, the novel traces the entwined fates of two families in a Nigerian city, one with all the fortune in the world and one that cannot catch a break.

Ayobami Adebayo

Comments


Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, The more places you will go.

Have you read these books?

Amagama Enkululeko! Words for Freedom

Amagama Enkululeko! Words for Freedom: Brings together short fiction, poetry, narrative journalism, and extracts from novels and memoirs to showcase local literature as a means to understand South Africa's history. Featuring a foreword by Zakes Mda and a mix of well-known and overlooked struggle writers, this anthology of poetry and prose provides a glimpse into how everyday life was influenced by historical circumstances.

Equal Education

Tears of Disinheritance: Revisiting the Maasai Historical and Contemporary Land Injustices in Kenya

Tears of Disinheritance offers a comprehensive analysis of the land-related issues faced by the Maasai people. Dr. Koissaba explores the history of the Maasai community, highlighting their cultural heritage, spiritual practices, and movements across the Rift Valley in Kenya and Tanzania.

Ben R. Ole Koissaba

Sunset at Dawn: A Novel of the Biafran War

Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike, one of Nigeria's best writers, is concerned about the state of his country. In this book, he tells about the tragedy of the Biafran War. Fatima is escaping the hostile planes with her young child, and through her unfurling show, the peruser sees what the conflict was truly similar to through Biafran eyes.

Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike

Rulers and Warrioresses: Protectors of Dahomey

Two centuries later, the city-state that was the Kingdom of Dahomey in the early 1600s rose to prominence in West Africa. The expansionist plans and dualism where every male role has a female counterpart of its rulers were well-known. This led to the growth of women as royal guards, elephant hunters, and, ultimately, warrioresses, who had a significant impact on society. Up to the end of the nineteenth century, Dahomey's kings relied on the agoji, a group of fierce and fearless warrioresses, to protect their country. French invasion in the area was resisted by King Bhanzin and his elite agoji soldiers, but they were eventually defeated by the superior weaponry of the adversary. Despite Dahomey's conversion to a French colony, the women defenders' legacy lives on in the country's history.

Letitia Degraft Okyere

Kintu

First published in Kenya in 2014: Kintu is a modern classic, a multilayered story that reimagines the history of Uganda through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan. Split across six chapters, the book starts in 1750 when Kintu Kidda leaves for the capital to swear loyalty to the newly appointed Buganda Kingdom ruler. He falls victim to a curse along the road that will follow his family for many years.
Makumbi interweaves the stories of Kintu's descendants as they attempt to overcome the weight of their common history and make peace with the legacy of tradition and the contemporary world that will shape their future in an ambitious story of a clan and a nation.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.

Mary Lou Retton
Top