Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mr. Mataka

Mr. Mataka, shown here with his daughter Marjie,  grew up in a small mountain village in Malawi. It was a British colony at the time of  his birth, known as Nyasaland.

Before the British came, Malawi had been colonized -- if you can call it that -- by Arab slave traders who captured innocent souls and brought them north to a life of servitude. These traders also brought the religion of Islam and Mataka grew up in a village with a mosque, not a church.

It was a light-hearted kind of religion as practiced in Chembe village. The mullah was an old man with a white beard and he made the calls to prayer from a small mud-brick mosque, a very plain and humble building, and the call to prayer was natural in the early hour of first light before dawn, a natural call without use of loudspeaker.

And the night had been still and quiet because there were no dogs barking. There were no dogs in Chembe village -- they are unclean animals. Only goats and chickens were pecking in the debris around the huts.

Well, there is a lot more to this story, but it comes in small pieces.

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