According to Oxford dictionary, musings means “a period of reflection or a period of deep thought.” By implication it means the poem Mlauli Musings embodies a period of profound thought that Mlauli had in his life period. Written by a celebrated Malawian writer, Stave Chimombo. The poem gives a picture of intellectual prophecies that were made by a mythical figure Mlauli.
According to Chimombo (1996) Mlauli is a figure in Malawian literature who appeared in a play “The Rain maker”. In the play Mlauli is explained as a great prophet who taught Mbona how to make rain. Any discussion of the Mbona story must take into account the fact that it is a “heroically historical myth”.
The narrative is primarily concerned with the life and exploits of a culture-hero with preternatural abilities which at a particular point in Chewa and Mang’anja history, enabled him to found a cult and contribute in a distinctive way to the survival of his society (Nazomba, 1978). The thoughts presented in the poem reflect the thinking of Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s school of thought on who a writer is. According to Ngugi wa Thiong’o (1938) a writer “responds, with his total personality, to a social environment which changes all the time. Being a kind of sensitive needle, he registers, with varying degrees of accuracy and success, the conflicts and tensions in his changing society” (Homecoming, 47). With reference to Ngugi’s views about the writer in the quotation above, the paper critically discusses how Steve Chimombo responds to his changing social environment in the poem “Mlauli’s Musings”.
To begin with, the persona starts with a declaration that shows the source of the musings presented by citing the one who made the prophecies.
Mlauli said he had foreseen
all these happenings before;
and indeed his predictions
came to be, in our life time”.
This explains that the views expressed were made by the ‘great prophet” and materialised during the life of the persona. The persona might be a follower of Mlauli.
In the first and second stanza, the persona talks of the environmental degradation and its implications on the people. The persona envisioned fields that will not have locusts because they are radioactive. However, the fields will be destroyed by army worms and this will result in a drop in farm produce and people will wonder why they have produced yet they planted. Mlauli also envisioned the depletion of fish in rivers because of overfishing and that jungles would no longer have wild animals because of poaching. The musings above are directly proportional to Ngugi’s thinking of a writer because the persona presented, with accuracy, the environmental changes and their implications.
Tell us: Have you ever encountered a writer that could make predictions about the future?