Okello Oculi replies to Akwasi, in the spirit of the holidays:

Dear Akwasi,

Many thanks for your most instructive "re-membering".
I was in Maputo for the 11th General Assembly of
CODESRIA (5-10th December, 2005). On stepping off the
plane, I grabbed all the breeze I could eat with the
dizzy delight of rememembing asking EDUARDO MONDLANE a
naive little question.

"But why don't you come and talk to our secondary
school and university students about FRELIMO's needs
for pencils, exercise books, old clothers, shoes,
perhaps even parts of our bursary funds?".

He looked at with a calm intensity and then smiled
delicately, with a lightly suspended exasperation.

"It is not always easy, my son. Some African
governments must be jandled with care"; he said.

I was then a student politician attending a meeting of
student leaders from the old East African Community,
holding in Dar es Salaam.

I met Ken Saro-Wiwa at a 1986 NIGERIA-UNESCO jamboree
for African writers for celebrating Wole Soyinka's
Nobel Prize. I was surprises at his short and soft
size. He smoked his pipe almost continuously,
defiantly, as if it were a hilltop he was standing on
to assert himself. I asked him what his view was on
the language question. He had just come out of
colonial domination and was not going to be colonized
again by being made to adopt the languages of
Nigeria's majority nationalities, he asserted

"What languages do you write in?", I asked.

"English, of course. I should have gotten a First
Class at Ibadan", he anwwered, with a hinted sneer at
his Ibadan teachers.

"But do you realise",I said, "that Hausa-Fulani
intellectuals communicate with their people in Hausa
and Fulfulde, and you make it easy for them to
translate your writings for their people to know your
thoughts, while the majority of your own people do not
read English and therefore miss out?", I pursued him.

He was flustered, pulled on his pipe and blew out a
rich white cloud of smoke. He was playing for time.
When he looked up at me I had a feeling we had made an
important contact -"soul to soul".

Perhaps you may consider doing the mundane exercise of
soliciting and editing a collection of

Thanks for so wonderful and loud a Christmas gift.

Warmest regards.