Mzee Angolais [History in The Making]: A Displaced Colonized Intellectual in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

Me: IF YOU KNOW YOU KNOW!

Alberto Abdal: Respect.

Me: The Wretched of the Earth.

Alain Bitijula: Nice catch!

Me: that’s for sure. My role model

Emmanuel Nyirimana: Who is he?

Me: Mzee Angolais, This guy has a great history. One of those well-educated refugees in refugee camps refused to pet the colonial masters by taking up petty jobs. Instead, Angolais, would be found at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp community library reading. The stupid took him for a fool. Today, I am looking back and reflecting on all fallen soldiers, and I am like… Angolais belongs to that group of non-conformists in society. A very conscious man. Awake he was. Respected everyone (the old and young) but choose never to take shit from anybody. Mzee Angola was a man.

Emmanuel Nyirimana: Precisely—that is what I was asking. We need more incredible people in our societies. Keep on, brother.

Emmanuel Nyirimana: Please help me understand the history of Rukara Rwabingwe. Is there literature on this Rukara? Any written record?

Me: How dare you! Rukara RWA Bishingwe! Hahaha. This guy is my name’s sake. I mean, I was named Rukara at birth. Some still call me this. How funny. I never liked it when I was young.

Emmanuel Nyirimana: I need to understand this man’s entire history or share with me a link. Where can I begin with my research?

Me: A quick search on the internet isn’t a bad start.

Me: I believe with sound research, yes, that’s possible. One could write a fiction story of Rukara Rwa Bishingwe

Emmanuel Nyirimana: You are good with researching and writing history (in my opinion, you are a Historian). I hope you think of yourself that way—one of Africa’s custodians of Africa’s history. And I am interested in the History of Africa and African people. Ever thought of critically engaging a study on Rukara RWA Bishingwe?

Me: haha!!! I don’t have that many skills. Let alone resources. But there are many ways to carry out the study you are proposing. One way is to do this through Academic Institutions (Universities or Colleges)—given how resourcefulness institutions of higher learning. Rukara Rwa Bishingwe’s story is very intriguing and, actually, quite inspiring. You would be surprised. As a matter of fact, Rukara Rwa Bishingwe’s story is well suited for a postcolonial critique of Antonio Francesco Gramsci’s idea of “hegemony” — Imperialism. And, of course, I am sending the link now.

Emmanuel Nyirimana: Thank you, my friend.

Divin Sindayigaya: Who is he Angolae?

Me: Please, see the conversation above.

James Niyomugabo: I remember seeing him in the library all the time.

Me: James Niyomugabo. Right. This exact reason led to his fate—remember how he was perceived among the refugee community? He was the “gentile” among “Jews.” He was the “pagan” among “Christians Displaced. Feeling “out of place,” a feeling he shared with Edward Said. What else could one expect. Be the man—step in his shoe. Get to understand his feelings and frustration about life in refugee camps. The library is the only place he found comfort. How lonely must he have been? Poor fellow. Who finds comfort among the dead and gone. Strange. He is Meursault in Albert Camus’ novel: L’Étranger. The underground man in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel: Notes from Underground. But then what comfort could one, (anyone old enough to feel pain and desperation in refugee camps), find in Dzaleka refugee camps? Any refugee camps: I challenge you. Please one. Name anyone you like. Somebody prove me wrong. Was he the crazy one? What about the misinformed high expectations from society? Conformity. In short, Mzee Angolais rejected the status in the open sunlight. He couldn’t subscribe to toxic masculinity expectations from an ignorant refugee society. Thus he was denied by many. “That (Congolese) crazy man, he was labeled by society. and parents warned their kids to work hard in school so they could never end up like him. Do you know what I mean?

James Niyomugabo: yes I do

Me: VERY SAD.

Mattieu Hector Kasongo: Angolais, studied Philosophy of Science and Technology

Me: Kasongo, you must have known him, more in-person, better than us.

Mattieu Hector Kasongo: Yes. He was once my Science teacher.

Me: Do you know where he lives now? Was he resettled? Or still in the refugee camp?

Abuba Kiba: Mattieu Hector Kasongo,I do

Me: Abuba Kiba. Realy? Please share any information. We could probably try to trace him for interviews or input on his camp life experiences. We could try to document his life in a book or short stories. Data is critical. History is important. VERY VERY IMPORTANT…

Mzee Angolais (PART 2)

YannEck B Diesa: Angolais

Alain Bitijula: I can only imagine

Me: Indeed. But, why? Aren’t you in Dzaleka Refugee Camp as we speak?

Alain Bitijula: yes, I was with him since 2005 in Mwanza.

Me: I see. Have you seen him since then? If I remember very well, Angolais was still in the camp when I left.

Alain Bitijula: Yeah. The only thing I know is that his conditions had gotten worse. Then there was this guy who was more like Angolais.

Me: I can’t remember his name.

Alain Bitijula: Not I heard that he’s in Lusaka, Zambia. But really, nobody knows, exactly, where he lives.

Me: Ooh, I see. I hope Angolais is well in Zambia.

Alain Bitijula: Yeah

Me: He was very old and would walk with novels, cigarettes, encyclopedias, and shit

Alain Bitijula: Who is that one?

Me: Maybe his name was George; I really can’t remember.

Alain Bitijula: His name is Robert his here in the camp.

Me: Yes, Robert.

Alain Bitijula: Robert!

Me: Is there a photo of him anywhere on the internet? Also, any way I can get connected to Robert? Please help.

Leonard Saidi: Legends in our Dzaleka history

Me: Leonard Saidi, Read the Book of Isiah (38): Tree of Life Vision.

Put Your House In Order.” “38 In those days, Hezekiah became mortally ill. So Isaiah, the prophet son of Amoz, came to him and said to him, “Thus says Adonai: Put your house in order. For you are dying and will not live.”

Outardeau Décisif: They know everything, man.

Me: Please explain

Outardeau Décisif: I know him as a person who says he knows everything: mathematics, physics, languages, and he started inventing an airplane in a cartoon. He said he Knows the fruit that Eve and Adam eat and many other things…

Me: Wow! hahaha!!! The fruit of Eve and Adam. I should have asked him to tell me what his favorite—equally, the least-liked fruit is. Hmm! Outardeau Décisif, that part alone…! Imagine yourself. Very interesting. Someone said Angolais studied Philosophy of Science and Technology. While I don’t believe he knew everything, the claim he is a scientist by training, I have no doubts. This guy was extraordinary. He lived in a different world—the reason why I am so much interested in his authentic portrait as a displaced colonized intellectual.

Outardeau Décisif: I hope many know him, but only a few knew his real name

Me: Me either! That’s for sure. I only knew everybody called him Angolais. Doesn’t this make him even more mysterious?

Outardeau Décisif: Kkkkkk! Some call him Angole because he claimed: he was from Angola, so this became his known name.

Me: Outardeau Décisif, see! Now THIS!

Lovanne Lovannete: Kkkkkk!

Mzee Angolais (PART 3): How many remember this great person in Malawi?

Gift Ytb Founder: Angole

Outardeau Décisif: Kkkkkk! What’s his real name?

Justin Waka Openzi: Mzee Angole!

Gael Wa Monga: Kkkkkk papa oyoooo akenda wapiii [INSERT TRANSLATION HERE] 

Fabregas Kapend:  Vieux Angolais [INSERT TRANSLATION HERE]

Faraja Francine: Angole.

Bienaime Mukendi Nive: Where is that man?

Bienaime Mukendi Nive: He may be somewhere in congo or Zambia.

Outardeau Décisif: Bienaime Mukendi Nive what is his real name

Mumah Mussa: Angole.

Outardeau Décisif: Mumah Mussa what is his real name?

Mumah Mussa: Outardeau Décisif l really dont know.

Outardeau Décisif: Mumah Mussa yeah, I don’t know his real name too.

Rene Kabila: Asali nini Angole? [INSERT TRANSLATION HERE]

Baba David Dorcas Mushayuma: Angolais ule [That’s Angolais]. Iko wapi ivi? [Where is he now]

Me: Outardeau Décisif, please add to this story if you can https://gabrieln.life/…/mzee-angolais-part-2-a…/

Jaguar Dom: True great Angolais

Harerimana Simbokoka: Kaulo looko michaelMaarufu Angolais. [INSERT TRANSLATION HERE]. Namkumbuka tangu Luwani [I remember him since Luwani refugee camp, Malawi]. Kwasasa ivi yuko wapi [Where is he now]?

David Pascal Thema: V angole.

Dieudonne Mololo: Wow! The wise man.

Miri Mariam: Prophet Angolais.

Outardeau Décisif: Gabriel Ndayishimiye, Kaulo Looko Michael is his potential real name so far. 

Me: Outardeau Décisif, Thanks! Thank you so much for driving this conversation further.

Mzee Angolais [Part 4]: Sarcasm

Donnacien Kazadi Jr:  Challenge him, and you will be in trouble. He was equal to himself. Everything he said was Amen! Even though you thought contrary thoughts

Me: Hhmm, what a man he was

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: I remember one day I almost get beaten. Silly me disagreed with him on a particular religious point. He made me agreed by force in my life.

Me: Haha! One day he had a cut on his hand and was bleeding so bad. Somebody said: Angolais, why don’t you to the hospital? He mumbled to himself and walked away. This guy was full of shit. See how he still lives in our head—and almost taken over our consciousness these past days?

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: hhhhh Loko. The only thing I did like about him is the way he intellectually challenges his opponents. Then if they get it wrong, that was the beginning of an endless lecture. 

Me: Exactly. And people pushed him away for that very reason.

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: He is a legend, and people were fond of him. one time, he found me struggling with Algebra (my most hated topic in Mathematics). He gave me helpful tips. Brilliant guy! And that’s when I asked him why he couldn’t find a teaching job—with all his knowledge and expertise. “over qualified and will make every teacher shit in their pants,” he said.

Me: Hahaha! Funny guy! I wouldn’t be surprised.

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: I, really, miss Dzaleka for sure. Good long-lasting memories to cherish for life.

Me: That’s back home! Back in the days—life was simple. Back in the days—we all knew where each other lived (students and teachers). Walk the dusty streets of Dzaleka this morning; you will be shocked. I like this conversation that I caught myself picking my comments. How selfish?

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: Kkkkk!!! Climax! I was there two years ago. It was unrecognizable, things have changed, and it’s highly populated. I tried locating my former house, but no luck.

Me: Exactly, that’s right. Given the lack of space, I wonder whether people still have toilets at the back of their houses anymore? You—my friend, are good. You and I have things in common. We need to schedule a meeting to talk.

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: Definitely. Make it happen. Hahaha!!!

[A few minutes later]

Me: Sorry, I left for a while to take a shower. It’s 6:33 AM in London, Ontario. I am trying to prepare before my interviews with people from Oxford University. Beautiful showers. Top-notch warm water I ever had. That gave me time to think and reflect upon this whole conversation, how it started, and where it’s going. It also got me thinking of contributions from various people who once, like us, live in the Dzaleka refugee camp. Then a bizarre pattern emerged. Like where are all our classmates and schoolmates from Dzaleka Secondary School? Go back to the whole conversation (from beginning to date) and take a careful look at people’s names. Then you will start to understand. 

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: Wow, that’s exciting news. All the best with you’re interview. It’s 8:40 PM here in Downundower (Oz). 

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: That’s the law attractions, hahaha! Physics.

Me: Time difference. Crazy how the workings of this world operate. 

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: We all, x- Dzaleka refugee camp, need a big reunion. 

Me: A BIG ONE. I move that. Someone should second this motion.

[Donnacien and Gabriel paused 10 minutes to wait for a response]

Me: Anyone, please! Donnacien, if not, we can just as well do it ourselves. You can never really tell what people got themselves into with life in the West. Hahaha!

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: hahaha!!!

Me: Hahaha!!! Hey, it would help if you listened to J Cole’s song ATM. Could we be the Angolais of today?

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: Yes, we are the Angolais of today, but we don’t show it. It’s just undercover.

Me: (hahaha, this guy!) You are, actually, funny than Angolais himself. 

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: hahaha!

Me: Alright, my friend, it was great catching up. I will text you my contact so we can schedule a meeting.

Donnacien Kazadi Jr: Looking forward to catching up with you, and all the best with your interview. 

Me: Thank you.

To Be Continued…

Published by Gabriel Ndayishimiye

Gabriel Ndayishimiye lives in London, Ontario. He is a writer with a passion to contribute to Black history and literature; and the author of “Run Elvin” (forthcoming), a memoir written for youth from marginalized backgrounds. This book tells Gabriel’s academic/life experiences from refugee camps in East and Southern Africa and now from the metropolis of the western world. The story aims to inspire and motivate such demographic of youth to take up given opportunities to be creative, achieve success, and develop resilience to fight the challenges of life.

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