Dear Readers and Friends: August edition out , Aug 17 2018

Happy Reading!

Malaika, Most Quintessential, Most Loved of African Love Songs

John Otim

Angel, I love you Angel, runs the first line of Malaika, the most lyrical most quintessential of African love songs. To set the tone, to set the tempo and the rhythm the line is repeated. Angel I love you Angel.

So far so good but now comes a hint of something gone terribly wrong. And what shall I do, your young friend? cries the lover to the one he loves. Well, marry me, would be the logical response from the loved one to her lover. But such words cannot be spoken from the lips of the bride. She is too shy. Custom and tradition; forbid her to say such things. But her message gets through anyway. More powerful more emphatic more romantic.

But trouble looms. The young man knows he could never attain the wishes of his true heart. The young girl knows that in this world her dreams will never come true. In a world without love the lights dim. Love still rules still makes the world go round. Just as it did when Mark Anthony worshiped at feet of Cleopatra. Just as it did when Paris committed the unthinkable and ran away with his host's wife, the beautiful Helen of Troy,  setting in motion siege and the eventual destruction of Troy. 

Angel I love you Angel
Angel I love you Angel
And what shall I do your young friend
I am defeated by the bride price that I do not have
I would marry you Angel
I am defeated by the bride price that I do not have
I would marry you Angel

So now now we know where the problem is. Young love frustrated, the bride given away to an older man who can afford the bride price, who probably already has a wife. The young girl is heartbroken, the boy is humiliated. In desperation he utters these words: the money that I do not have depresses my soul. It is a cry from the depth of his soul. And the older man, the one who runs away with the prize? Even he cannot be happy and will never be content with his theft. A Romeo and Juliet of sorts, la condition humaine?

It is this best known and most loved of African love songs performed by so many artists from around the world, including the great Miriam Makeba, that songster Omara-Alwala took time off from his academic duties, and in a moment of self revelation, performed specifically for our viewers. As you may imagine we all gave Omara a big yes at Nile Journal. See if you agree with us.