I had a conversation with my friend, an insider of the South Sudan National Security Service (NSS) on April 1. It was about my work of literature and the way the books (The Eased Africa I Want, AssAssiNation! and ‘Add!sagreements’) have been received in Juba and by South Sudanese. Outside of the Government and Opposition circles, the books are in a very high demand, both offline and online while the stock is being processed. But this is the main concern.
I did not blog about it there and then because my readers and leaders may think it’s an April Fools’ Day prank. Now, this is a prank so frank that I cannot keep it to my chest. My confidante has asked me not to share his name but the conversation. It is in the interest of our public outlook on writing as a business in a South Sudan that has now slipped into dictatorship by default, a loss of our gains of a very costly half a century liberation struggle.
CAPT. ANON. (Let’s now call him Captain Anonymous)
Hi John. Maburukat! I got the copies of the two books. Please, add me the other one (The Eased Africa I Want).
- Thanks Beny-Saabi. Btw, I didn’t know you ‘Jubans’ would appreciate my work.
CAPT. ANON. Why not? Aren’t we interlectuals? This dirty duty is really removing our character, John. I did literature in my O level, by the way.
ME: Sorry bro for generalization. I know you are human by the end of the day. So how is it being discussed at your circles?
CAPT. ANON. Which circles?
ME: I mean by members of the ‘Azure House’ (Blue House)…!
CAPT. ANON. Haha, am not from that department. But I heard from a colleague that they are considering setting up a ‘Literature Department’ now that you guys have rushed into the use of very difficult parables that Jesus style. Maybe they will recruit you.
ME: Me? As I declared it in my other poem, “Over my dead buddy” (the one they killed)!
Anyway, thanks and nice to know that. You know the ‘NSS of Governor Pilate’ had been trailing Jesus to trap him on his careless utterances. But the ‘Holy Crook’ (Jesus) detected them and changed the tact. When they demanded why he used figurative language, he meandered about it. Me, too!
CAPT. ANON. There is internet analysis group, Church attendants’ observers, and so on. So your peoms books are creating employment out here. Like your Facebook. LOL!
ME: Great! I had thought I was creating jobs only to my ‘Johnnie Hawkers, who keep hawking’ with me. I hope you guys will not scare the hell out of them, boys, will you?
CAPT. ANON. Haha, man. We enjoy your work, though!
CAPT. ANON. Yes, though!
….Conversation truncated as it veered off into another topics.
Similarly, when I sent my junior ‘Johnnie Hawker’ to keep hawking it in our churches of Kampala, a pastor in church swore never to allow such a book into her flock as it carries some virus.
“Hmm, good book of John Penn, but why is Beny’s picture very ugly and the writer’s very clean? Is there no malice here? That’s why I will not allow it announced in my church as well as in Kabowa or any other church under my leadership. Well, OK. Leave two copies here as I set up a committee to look into it.,” she said. And the books boy walked away from the church.
Yet, somebody still wants to wonder during this Easter period why the high priests and other clergy of the Jesus’s day were involved in crucifying Him after their deliberate ‘misunderstandment’ of His message?
This is different from the reception the book, ADD!SAGREEMENTS’, has received in town, especially from my Greater Bor Community during their leadership inauguration ceremony on Easter Monday. Books were not enough until even booked! My community is my community!
Get more on this story on a separate blog shortly…