Mu Njila

I’ve been on foreign wheels, two times this week at 6:22 and 7:09 in the morning, respectively. Lusaka between these hours has an iridescent stillness. A centring stillness of the sorts.

To avoid the traffic jam, made from the pulp of the corporate- in their Ivory Towers with tinted windows and special plates, we make a detour. 

Weaving our way through the veins and arteries of the west side of the city, we begin to burn rubber on the mix of tar and gravel layered over the Main Street in a compound called Chawama. It’s usually so busy and electric, a crucible of almost every hustle one can imagine. The marketeers, usually mothers and daughters, are selling everything from tomatoes and televisions to illegally brewed alcohol and charcoal. 

People go about their business so seamlessly here, but whilst moving through a familiar franticness. I reckon it should be called Electric Avenue. But maybe something different at this time of day. It’s beautiful.

On Independence Avenue, lives a line of Jacarandas boasting shades of purple, whistling through their sporadic clusters of curved pods. They come alive in September, resurrection in bloom. With my attention turned to the flora, I notice almost nothing. Not the passage of time nor the motion. 

Outside my window for the brief flash of a second I met the gaze of tired eyes. A tall lanky man with a thick blanket of wool for hair and bony fingers clutching onto a stack of red, black and white print. Up at dawn to do as he does every morning, feed the city- and then his family at sunset. 


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