Itâ€™s startling how we sit quiet and die. Few get up and start doing something about their problems though Bob Marleyâ€™s Redemption Song teaches us that none but ourselves can free our mind.
It was with this song of freedom that Chimimba and I were out and about Kasungu, exploring things men and women often do but rarely discuss in public.
My son Ulunji could have stopped at seeing building, trees, roads and other daylight features of the tobacco-growing town.
But being drunken Zikathankalima and skirt-chasing Chimimba, we had to sample bottles and faces as well.
Donâ€™t ask where we stopped over, because there is only one club where God-fearing people and chitenje wearers fear to tread. Without judging anybody, I had a fulfilling fellowship with my potbellied friend who will never sleep alone.
Wherever we were! The biggie had hardly ordered his fizzy drinks and my bitter ones when he landed one of the cute ones on the dance floor.
Â â€œA kingdom is nothing without a queen,â€ said Chimimba as the slim sweetheart sat by his side.
Â â€œIt looks like another tale of the beauty and the beast,â€ I mocked him, sipping my poison.
Â â€œYou can say anything you want, for a lonely person is a rabid dog,â€ he retaliated.
â€œHow does that matter?â€ she interrupted.
We exchanged suppressed smiles and suspecting Chimimba silenced us with a round of booze, including her glass of sparkling wine.
â€œSo, what brings you here?â€ she asked us.
â€œWe are selling some farm produce,â€ I lied, for some short-time partners tend to overprice themselves.
Â â€œIs that not selling ice to Eskimos?â€ she asked. â€œWhat people need are condoms, not food. Most of them are restless with money after selling their surplus.â€
We laughed again. I signalled the bartender for some more, but hell broke loose in the club.
Girls were running in all directions, with some jumping through the windows and others into the DJâ€™s cabin.
Chimimbaâ€™s queen hid under the table. Armed police officers were in the house. My friend forced a grin as if he had nothing to hide.
â€œGood evening, officers,â€ he greeted them.
â€œEvening is long gone. We are well past midnight,â€ clarified one cop.
Unfazed, Chimimba told them: â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter on which side of midnight we are because time is a prime problem among Malawians.â€
The hardworking cops left happier than they came. But the inner Zikathankalima wanted to know what was going on. After all, the men in uniform looked so motivated when their colleagues were leaving criminals scot-free in memory of their beloved shoot-to-kill orders.
Fortunately, the cute one emerged from her uneasy hiding place.
â€œInalakwa!â€ said the lass, breathing fast and fearfully.
â€œHow do you mean,â€ I enquired.
â€œThat was close. I donâ€™t know what will happen to my friends who have been rounded up,â€ she explained.
â€œOf course, they wonâ€™t be shot dead.â€
It can be worse, said the lady.
â€œThese law enforcers usually arrest us for rogue and vagabond. But when their van disappears into darkness, they tell each one of us â€˜dziombole wekha [save yourselves]â€™. If we have no money, they will demand sex,â€ she explained.
â€œIs there room for protected sex?â€ Chimimba interrupted.
â€œNot really,â€ she replied: â€œThese sex-starved souls in uniforms often move without condoms. Unfortunately, they catch us unawares. Most of us throw away the rubbers since they can be used against us in a court.â€
It is no secret that the moonlight queens face a lot of disgrace because the religion, morality and culture are the law in our society. But when did condoms become exhibits in our courts? Is sex work illegal in the country? Why is it that laws of the night only target our female colleagues and leave males untouched? What happened to the notion nobody is above the law? Is it not a gender crime if one sex is immune to legislation that applies to the other?
I had many questions, but my attention returned to dziombole wekha syndrome.
This catchphrase of modern policing reminds me about the thug who asked crucified Jesus to save himself if he was the son of God.Â
Amid stories of sex-for-freedom in times of HIV and Aids, I had one question: Is it not time the police and the policed started reading the law and as much as the holy word to save their lives and stable sexual partners?