Book Review: Isembe Talitwa – Icitwa Mutima

Author: Kunda L Londa
Title: Isembe Talitwa – Icitwa Mutima
Word Length: 22,000
Genre: Thriller Fiction Aimed At Ages 12 And Above
Language: Cibemba

KALELANJA (Lechwe Keeper) is a bitter-sweet and adventure pact fiction story of an impoverished orphan from Chafye, a tiny Island in central Bangweulu swamps of Zambia who defies all odds to become a successful Wildlife Conservationist and chief mindset change agent for his people. He becomes the nineteen- ninety’s role model who coins a popular self-help developmental campaign slogan: NGA TE INE, TAKULI UMBI (No one but me) aimed at persuading individuals to take responsibility over community development, wildlife protection and ending child marriage.

At the passing of his parents, he’s taken care of by various families such as his father’s best friend, the MWEELEs.  Kalelanja survives a fierce storm and a python attack immediately after the death of his parents, events traditionalists link to taboo.

He goes to Mansa Secondary School where he meets DARIUSI MUTOTANSHE who becomes his best friend. Dariusi’s family helps him meet some of his school expenses before a catholic priest, FR. KAMBONE, arranges his bursary at St. Clement Secondary School. It’s while here that he suffers from cardiac syncope that forces him to write his Grade twelve examinations from his hospital bed.

Upon completion of his degree in Project Management at Zambia Institute of Technology, Kalelanja is employed by Nature Conservation Fund Office (NCF), an NGO headquartered in Amsterdam.

His dream of boarding an aero plane comes to pass when he first travels to Amsterdam. He meets CLARA PHIRI, an Air Hostess, and they are embroiled in a short-lived steamy love affair.

Kalelanja realises he’s deeply in love with Dariusi’s sister, JOYCE, whose family corruptly enrolls into a teachers’ college to impress him with a college education.  Joyce’s performance is, however, very poor.  As a result, Joyce falls pregnant from the college principal POMBE in exchange for good grades. She is forced to abort and remains in hospital for months.  Kalelanja declines to marry Joyce despite evacuating her for better medical attention at UTH in Lusaka.

On a visit back home in Chafye, he meets a committed school teacher from within Lunga, SELINA CHIMBALESA, who also happened to have rushed Joyce to Lubwe Hospital on her fateful day. The local sub-chief PONGA encourages Kalelanja to consider marrying Selina as both of them committed to serving their tribesmen. Their colourful wedding within Chafye becomes a model for future generations.

The book brings the reader into contact with Lunga’s Unga tribe’s way of life, tradition, myths, beliefs and cultural values in an entertaining way. It also motivates young readers to aim high in their real-life aspirations regardless of their background.

The 137-page book is selling at K85.00 from Checkmate in Chingola and will be available in other Bookshops soon. It is also being distributed directly to readers through Zampost’s Express Mail Delivery service at a service charge of K40.00



The Independent Observer

John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism

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