Malawi: Lilongwe, Nkhotakota, Salima, Dzaleka, Liwonde

After getting stranded for one day at Dar es-Salaam airport due to technical problems of our Air Malawi carrier, I arrive in Lilongwe and am being picked up by my old friend Chimwemwe. She’ll be my guide and companion for some trips through this charming country, the so-called “Warm heart of Africa”.

My decisive song for Malawi is Lawi’s “Life is beautiful” (another hotel-room recording):

I encountered it for the first time three years ago, when I first attended the Lake of Stars Festival, and it hass always intrigued me with its emphasis on the beauty and joy of life in Africa. This is important. Joy, in chiChewa chimwemwe, like the name of my friend. I have seen few places during my travels, or even less so back home, with so much joy as here in Malawi. Against all odds, one should say. Continue reading

Geoffrey Oryema: The Land of Anaka

You easily remember Oryema once you have seen a recent picture of him: blond dreads, and a hint of a blond tach. Now that’s something you don’t get to see often. I admit I am not a fan, unlike when it comes to his music. A true revelation for me, immediately reminiscent of Ayub Ogada, and thus it didn’t come as a surprise to me when I learnt that the two collaborated on some pieces.

UPDATE: Today, 23 June 2018, I learnt about his passing, aged 65, after a long fight with cancer.

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Gulu #1: Kony, night commuters, and hotel-room recordings

It started with Collins at the Red Chilli Camp in Murchison Falls Park. Collins told me about his desire to make a movie about an underdog guy who after a lot of fighting leaves the forest, a victor. He has it all in his mind, perhaps unsurprisingly. For he immediately went on to present a lively, if at times horrifying account of his brother, who had joined the UPDF to fight Joseph Kony‘s Lord’s Resistance Army.

Gulu, seen from my hotel, Free Zone

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