The song of the lake
A quiet Tuesday morning.
A noisy mind.
A lake running across a whole country.
I skipped work for this scenery. For the wind crashing against the sky. For the sky crashing against the waves. For the waves crashing against my mind.
I told my boss I needed a week off.
“For what?” he asked.
“To refresh—surrender if possible,” I said.
He looked at me as if I was mad. He said I could have a day.
I could have done anything I wanted. Slept in my bed. Watched some TV. Even caught up on some overdue reports. Instead I drove a hundred kilometres from home at six in the morning and found myself at the familiar shoreline in Salima.
People forget that before coming into the world, water was our first home. We were suspended in it for nine months. On days such as this, when I feel so unanchored, I find myself beneath these waves tethered back to a familiar time and place.
Auralgraph: The Song Of The Lake, Salima, Malawi, 2021. © Tamanda Kanjaye.
A city drive to nowhere
A strange pastime of mine: I love driving through the city. Or, rather, I love being driven through it. On this hot day Lilongwe is close to silent. An odd state of affairs for a city forever bustling with life.
My mother turns up the radio. She mumbles something but I am too lost in the sound of the engine and the spinning of the tyres.
My phone vibrates but I ignore it.
I drift off to sleep under the hum of the other cars.
Auralgraph: A City Drive To Nowhere, Lilongwe, Malawi, 2021. © Tamanda Kanjaye.
I am surviving in Blantyre, the commercial capital. Surviving because I am outside the comforts of my mother’s home, which means I have to buy my own groceries.
Getting a bus is the most eventful and frustrating part of this ordeal. I have to endure catcalls from conductors, the inconsistent weather, terribly loud radios, and even louder conversations.
Today, however, I am in a good mood. I find myself at the front of the bus—a win because I won’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of other people getting on and off the bus. The conductors don’t care that my skirt is short and tight because they are too busy trying to get as many customers as possible during the lunchtime rush. The drive is long and slow but I don’t mind the songs on the radio. The woman next to me laughs into her phone, “I hope you’re paying my bus fare.”
Auralgraph: Errand Run, Blantyre, Malawi, 2021. © Tamanda Kanjaye.
Tamanda Kanjaye is a Malawian writer and poet. Her work has been published in the anthology Water Birds On The Lake Shore, A Collection of Poetry and Prose: The Elements, The Kalahari Review. Her story “For Someone I Used To Know” came third runner-up in the inaugural Penavenue Malawi Competition. Her poems “Meals For Men” and “Paint Scars” came second and third runner-up in the Makewana’s Daughters’ Poetry Competition 2020 and 2019 respectively.