Including poetry by Landeg White, Jack Mapanje and others
First published 1971
This book is now available as a free download (PDF).
Mau: 39 Poems from Malawi was published by the Writers Group at the University of Malawi in July 1971.
Under Dr Banda’s dictatorship with its absurdly stupid system of censorship, the pamphlet was a breakthrough and quickly became a best-seller among readers who had no difficulty de-coding its message.
From Josephine Kaphiwiyo’s Who wouldn’t want to strangle the red rooster (Malawi’s symbol) to Jack Mapanje’s daughters (Dr Banda’s dancing women) writhing to babble-idea-men-masks, to Henry Newa’s portrayal of special branch policemen in his poem The Lion, the frustration and hostility of these student writers was detectable.
Of the poets included, Innocent Banda, Frank Chipasula, David Kerr, Jack Mapanje, Lupenga Mphande, and Landeg White all subsequently published volumes of their own.
In the village
A deep debate:
The chief’s daughter has a translator;
She is dancing to the Beatles
Gaily outside her hut
But the tape-recorder man
On his codification project wants
“Your own music”, he demands,
The chief is bemused
By this pressure from Europe
Not to attend to Europe:
Is he “himself”
With the radio on or off?
from Mau by Landeg White