- Culture Trip
Zambian born writer and thinker, Malama Katulwende, first won international recognition as a young, promising African writer in 2005 following his first major publication, Bitterness, which depicts generational strife in a rapidly modernizing Africa. We explore the life and career of this exciting young talent.
Partly set in Samfya and Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, Bitterness is a novel about the clash between the old Zambian traditions and encroaching modernity. The narrative focuses on a 19 year old protagonist, Besa Musunga who enters the University of Zambia, on the one hand, and his father, Musunga Fyonse, who symbolizes the old traditions which resist change. Musunga, who represents the gods and beliefs of an entire clan, expects Besa to grow up in the ways and thinking of the tribe. He also expects, like everyone else, that upon completion, the young man will graduate and take care of the material needs of his clan. Contrary to their expectations, however, Besa only manages to land a job for which he is not paid; and his love for a girl he meets at university alienates him from his relatives. In the end, Besa becomes an ineffectual god incapable of occasioning change in his universe. For this reason, therefore, his father curses him: ‘now I know my son, that you have betrayed the land, this Ng’umbo country, for which I am cursing you, you traitor of my own blood.’
The Fire at the Core
The Fire at the Core is a collection of critical essays. The themes touch upon African aesthetics, music, eroticism, jurisprudence, ethno-politics, philosophy, human rights, freedom, history and good governance. Sometimes satirical but often philosophical and very critical of the Zambian political elites, the discourses raise fundamental questions about the dilemmas of Africans in the contemporary world.