People with admirable traits stand out. Basing your illustrations on Vrenika Pather’s Ninema, write an essay to validate this assertion.

Exemplary attributes arouse respect and approval. Ninema is a young beautiful woman whose praiseworthy character makes her the embodiment of magnificence. She stands out from the pack at the market place. 

First, Ninema is industrious. She rises early at 4:00 AM to reap her herbs from her garden. She has green fingers and her crops are healthy. She is also an enterprising businesswoman. To earn a living, she sells fresh produce at the Indian market. She learned the trade from her parents. Her business makes good profit. At the end of a long working day, her hanky bulges with notes and coins. Her diligence makes her remarkably superior to others. 

 Secondly, Ninema is resilient. She is as tough as old boots. She is contented and accepts her situation but does not resign to it. She faces many challenges and wins. She is thus respected. 

Ninema is also focused. She does not pay heed to the trifles when people admire her for her physical beauty. She is indeed a beautiful woman with long black hair. Her beauty turns heads. As she walks balancing her baskets on her head, her hips sway from side to side. Her sari drapes around her perfect body kept in place by her high, firm breasts. Her long, toned arms and cinched waist cause men to stop and stare. She faces them with piercing black eyes. Women admire her high cheekbones. She does not pay heed to the attention. She has laser-like focus on earning a living. She doesn’t waste time chatting with other women at the market because she has no time to waste. Indeed Ninema is focused.

Ninema is good-natured and she treats her customers well. She is wise enough to provide genial customer service. She takes extra care of her first and last customer. She says they bring luck. She learned her trade from her parents and thus she believes in the grace and power of generational knowledge. She is also good at accounting. She can count faster than you can utter the word “herb”. She treats all her loyal customers with respect and appreciation. She masterfully handles the stubborn  Mrs. Singh and respectfully calls her auntie.

Furthermore, Ninema is  affable and the clients like her. Mr. Chimran is always the first to support her. The other women joke that he is in love with Ninema. He is a rich lawyer from the high Brahmin caste. Nonetheless, he is infatuated with Ninema a poor girl from the  low caste. She makes his days. He buys too much from her until the mother complains. He cannot fathom the idea of an arranged marriage which will deny him the chance of visiting Ninema’s stall. Mrs. Singh is rich but she also enjoys buying her herbs  from Ninema. She haggles for lower prizes simply to spend more time with Ninema, away from the boredom of her big lonely house. She lingers bargaining in order to interact with Ninema more. Ninema also takes personal interest in the lives of her customers. She knows whose son is studying medicine in India, whose daughter just got married, and who moved into a new house and where they bought it.

Ninema is self assured and  confident. She runs her business with an iron fist. She is her own person – acts independently with confidence. She does not give in to what other people expect of her. This thrills as much as it irks many people. It makes the ladies in the other stands fond of her. They often compromised themselves at work and at home. This makes them angry with themselves. They look up to Ninema. They admire her since she is different though she’s one of them. They want to learn her secret. Mrs. Singh relentlessly bargains for lower prices but Ninema does not budge.

Ninema is organized and that is why her business flourishes. She has a steady flow of customers. She arranges her herbs appetizingly. The customers are attracted by the look and smell of  her stall. There is high demand for  Ninema’s herbs. She is always busy at lunchtime when the rich professionals patronize her during their lunch break.

Ninema is also tough. When an amorous man blocks her way and tries to harass her, she stares directly at him. She defends herself by fighting him so ferociously that the shameless man is left astounded. This attracts cheers and jeers and hearty laughs of approval from the other women at the market.

Lastly, Ninema is prudent. She is a poor girl living a modest lifestyle but she has big plans. She saves part of her money with a view of buying a big house of her own. Currently her house has neither hot running water nor a kitchen inside. She has to wash her face and feet using cold water in the outside tap. However, with the money she’s saving she plans to buy a house with the running hot water and a kitchen inside. It will have a big garden where she can plant  fruits.

In conclusion, Ninema is the pinnacle of magnificence. Because of her praiseworthy traits, she seems remarkably superior to her peers. Indeed, exemplary attributes attract respect and make us stand out.


Lack of sound judgment results in regret. Making reference to A Man of Awesome Power, write an essay to justify this claim.

Lack of good sense results in misguided decisions which may torment us eternally. In A Man of Awesome Power Tayyib al-Mahdi misuses and in turn loses his awesome power due to moments of rash imprudence.

Tayyib al-Mahdi uses his awesome power to punish the taxi driver who ignores him when he hails it. Tayyib al-Mahdi tries to flag down the taxi but the driver ignores him disdainfully. Unlike when this happened in the past, now Tayyib al-Mahdi is filled with greater irritation. In this moment of anger, he makes an impulsive decision to punish the man. He considers that he could make the driver suffer an accident. He decides to shatter the taxi’s rear wheels instead. He knows that he should use his powers only for good but his anger results in his recklessness. As he walks by the helpless man, Tayyib al-Mahdi  stares at him, resentful and enraged. He feels like he had taught the man a much needed lesson .

Tayyib al-Mahdi hastily punishes the radio announcer only because he is irritated with his views. The announcer was expounding on promising developments expected in the future this is after Tayyib al-Mahdi’s memorable services were mistaken for an awakening of the state or outright renaissance. Tayyib al-Mahdi fills a gaping pothole, locks a dangerously hanging electrical box,  removes a pile of rubbish and drains  a sewer using his awesome power. Tayyib al-Mahdi is irked by the announcer’s promises who talks about the future instead of talking about what has been accomplished. Tayyib al-Mahdy is overcome with fury and thoughtlessly punishes the man with a bout of incessant sneezing. He sneezes  uncontrollably until he cannot speak and instead plays a recorded song “Walk Around and See”. Al-Mahdi plans to censor mass media by stopping any talk that annoys him. He would make speakers that displease him to sneeze spontaneously, emit shrill cries like women at a wedding, or suffer uncontrollable diarrhoea. Tayyib al-Mahdi is drunk with happiness and joy.

Tayyib al-Mahdi also misuses his awesome power when he uses it to chase the gorgeous woman at the zoo at the expense of the righteous plans he has. Tayyib al-Mahdi visits the tea garden at the zoo purposely to properly plan how to put his new powers to greater use. However, he instead uses it to seduce a gorgeous and enticing woman that catches his eye. Tayyib al-Mahdi is filled with an inexplicable desire – one that  is not ordinary and his inappropriate since he has a tremendous burden of proper planning and awareness of need. This woman does not take notice of Tayyib al-Mahdi until he sends her a hidden message using his awesome powers, instantly setting her head-over-heels. He decides to heal himself instead of repairing the world. This ill-advised move results in the loss of his powers and his vibrant  mood. The miracle disappears like a dream because of his selfish imprudence. He will be haunted eternally by an awesome sadness.

Tayyib al-Mahdi also makes the unwise decision of applying his power before properly planning how to use it. First, he performs random miracles. Some are memorable services like removing a pile of rubbish and draining an open sewer. Others are born out of sheer resentment and unwise personal vendetta for example shattering the taxi wheels. He later realizes that he had to consciously plan how to best utilize the powers. He obtains guides to the department of government, factories and private companies coastal among the things he plans to fix our prisons schools and universities commercial markets, then the press etc. He plans to map out every phase deliberately. He intends to quell any clamor, and deter any digression. He plans to fix his country then later the world. However, he fails to remain focused on the plan and is distracted by the beautiful woman at the zoo. He puts his plans on hold as he instead  chooses to use the powers to pursue the woman. This imprudent resolve results in the loss of his power end he is forlornly tormented by an eternal sadness.

Truly, poor decisions are preceded by lack of good judgment and Tayyib al-Mahdi learns this the hard way.


Write a composition showing how war ruins communities making reference to Boyi by Gloria Mwaniga

When conflict thrives, it destroys family ties and communal bonds. Family members are separated from one another, some are traumatized and others killed as a result of the crisis. In Gloria Mwaniga’s Boyi,the militia meant to protect community land from strangers turns out to be the enemy within, wreaking untold havoc on the same community they had vowed to protect.

First, as a result of the war some family members are disunited from the rest of the family. The militia demands 40,000 land protection tax – 10,000 land protection tax and 30,000 betrayal tax which Baba cannot raise. Baba had lent a panga and makonge ropes to the government surveyors. Matwa Kei and his thugs deemed this betrayal. In his desperation, Baba hands over everything he owns – his savings, precious radio and hunting gun. He promises to sell his bull Mtambakaki to raise the cash the militia leader was demanding. His pleas fall on deaf ears. He is forced to buy the safety of his family by handing over his 15 year old son to the militia. This pushes his mother to the precipice of lunacy. Tearing off her kitenge headscarf she shouts at her husband – a child is not a match or a dress that one can give away rather casually. Baba’s action caused a rift between him and Mama. He justifies his actions and says that the aggressors would have tortured or even killed them had he not given Boyi away. He is, however, saddened that the boys who had vowed to protect their land had turned on them like a hungry chameleon that eats its intestines. Indeed, conflict ruins communities.

Conflict causes devastation that pushes some people to the brink of insanity. Boyi’s sister finds her mother seated alone on a kitimoto in the kitchen. She neither looks up nor responds to greetings. She screams at the girl to leave some tea for her brother who will return from the caves hungry. The screaming goes on for weeks. “irrational girl, you want to finish tea and your brother will come from the caves hungry,” she bawls. She would sit stunned gazing at the wall, declaring she envisions her son returning home after escaping from the snare of the militia. After her monologues, she would sit sadly and silently. When her madness takes a walk, they would brew tea together with a girl and she would nostalgically reminisce stories about Boyi; about how he saved her marriage, his shiny ebony skin and eloquence in English. This is a clear testament of a mother’s agony, anguish and disconnection from reality. War really causes devastation to families.

The war drives Baba, a Christian, to partake in a strange cultural practice to escort Boyi’s spirit away. Together with his cousin Kimutai, he digs a shallow grave and buries a banana stem wrapped in a green cotton sheet. He asks death to take that body and never bother his family again. Boyi’s sister is taken aback that her pious father had turned his back on religion. Her mother refuses to play a part in the mock burial. Mama’s voice bears raving vibrancy when she declares that she would not participate in escorting her son’s spirit away. She has lost touch with reality and lives in denial. This is as a result of the pointless conflict.

In her anguish, Mama is too despondent to eat. She sits muttering to herself without touching her food. The food would be thrown away to the chicken coop. She sits and talks to herself for hours on end lamenting about her suffering. She asks God to tie a rope around her stomach – to help her bear the anguish of losing her son to the ruthless militia. She asks Boyi’s sister if she remembers his perfect teeth. War really causes suffering of family members.

Also, war disrupts work in the village. That December the farmers do not clear their shambas for the second planting of maize. The militia steals young crops from the fields and goats from the pens. Instead of working, individuals sit and exchange dreadful tales of the horrendous cruelty of the militia. The militia cut up people and throw their bodies in rivers, pit latrines and wells. They recruit boys as young as ten who are forced to kill their own relatives. Instead of protecting the land, the militia goes on an indiscriminate killing spree, and their kin are victims of the aggression instead of beneficiaries. Boyi’s sister has a terrible dream that her brother attacks her and chops her into “small-small” pieces. The thought is traumatizing.

Moreover, the war causes displacement of people who leave their homes en masse.  The family of the narrator’s friend, Chemtai, moves away to Chwele. The villages of Kopsiro, Saromet, Chepyuk and Chelebei are engulfed in a thick yellow fog of fear. They did not understand the militia’s motive anymore. The thugs take away girls to cook for them. They decapitate people and throw their heads in Cheptap-burbur river. They also rape their own relatives. The abused women and girls end up giving birth to transparent “plastic bag” babies. The narrator imagines the horror of seeing Boyi’s “plastic bag” baby playing childhood games. Since school is disrupted by the war, such thoughts haunt the young girl as she spends her idle days under a flame tree at home.

Because of the war, innocent children turn into savages. Apart from the boys who were forced to murder or rape their own kinsmen, Boyi has also gone from a God-fearing young man to a wanted criminal. Chesaina tells his parents that he is now a marked man. He says: “This war has taken with it the mind of your son.” The distressing news crashes Boyi’s parents and reduces both of them to tears. They cannot wrap their heads around the fact that their good son who recited his psalms devotedly is now a Matwa Kei right hand man and an enemy of the state. War really ruins families.

Lastly, Boyi’s family is devastated by the news of his killing. The Nation newspaper headline screams coldly, “Ragtag Militia Leaders Killed by Army Forces.” Baba crumples like an old coat due to shock. Mama is too stunned to cry. She simply laughs. Boyi’s sister is too gutted to weep. War has robbed them of their kin in the prime of his youth. Boyi is murdered brutally after being flung out of a helicopter which was mid-air. There was no body to bury or for Mama to slap for that matter. She does not roll on the ground as is the custom. She is neither bitter nor sad. She only has the eyes of lunacy and a voice of death. She is truly devastated. She sits on Boyi’s bed together with her daughter who weeps uncontrollably, her tears soaking her clothes. War indeed destroys families.

In summary, it is evident that conflict or crisis has no positive outcome. They instead destroy families and communities.


People living on the streets apply wisdom in order to survive the difficult conditions. Write an essay to qualify this statement citing illustrations from Rem’y Ngamije’s The Neighbourhood Watch.

Living conditions on the streets are difficult. To survive, one needs not only determination and effort but also experience, knowledge and good judgment. Members of the Neighbourhood Watch apply wisdom to survive the arduous  conditions on the streets.A SILENT SONG AND OTHER STORIES ESSAY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

First, the crew is judicious enough to secure territory-a safe haven for sleeping or just to lay low when they weren’t out on a foraging mission. The bridge’s underside is precious real estate to the Neighbourhood Watch. It is an important shelter when it rains and during cold winter nights. The letters NW sprayed on the columns have the same effect as musty pee at the edge of a leopard’s territory.


Other crews know better than to encroach it lest they face bloody retaliation. It is also a safe place to hide their stash so that they don’t have to lug their scant possessions everywhere they go. More luggage would slow them down as they rummage their neighbourhoods for food and other essentials. Elias calls their territory headquarters. In the morning, he wakes up the rest of the crew and they share a can of water for washing their faces. To a street family a safe territory is indispensable.

Secondly, they are wise enough to rise early to go searching for food. Elias, Lazarus and Omagano set out before the light of day is full born. They leave early so that they can score the real prizes-that is the overflowing bins behind restaurants. In the early morning one can get edible semi-fresh morsels. In the late morning, the food starts rotting. The neighborhood watch knows: “the early bird does not catch the worms”. In order to get there in good time Elias, Lazarus and Omagano lengthen they are strides. They know that time is of the essence on the streets.A SILENT SONG AND OTHER STORIES ESSAY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The crew knows that they have to maintain a good bond with other people in order to survive. Elias has a good rapport with most of the kitchen staff in the city. They refer to him by the monikers ‘Soldier’ or ‘Captain’. Sometimes, they leave out almost decaying produce for him and his group. Because of the good relationship, Elias would sometimes be lucky to get potatoes with broken skins, rotting mangoes, and wrinkled carrots. The staff would be generous enough to give them smushed leftovers from the previous night for instance half eaten burgers, chips drowning in sauce or salads. Most of the kitchen staff are poor and many a time they would need to take the leftovers to their own families. It is amazing that Elias manages to get some food from them.

The Neighbourhood Watch crew is so astute that they have organized themselves into specialised units. Elias, Lazarus and Omagano are always on full duty whereas Silas and Martin are tasked with searching for other essentials. Before, Elias was in on his own so when he met Lazarus he suggested that they form an alliance because it was taxing to rummage for food and other paraphernalia necessary for survival in the streets. At first, Lazarus was resistant. Cold winter nights forced him to comply. It worked for them since two people could cover more ground. One searches for food and the other for other essentials and thus they could do more in a day. Now, they know that children and women are valuable recruits.


Some obstinate guards demand for a 10 or 20 dollar bribe to let them scavenge through fenced off bins. Elias usually pays them but when he has no money Omagano goes behind the dumpster with a guard and does what needs to be done. The valuables crew on the other hand provide discarded blankets, mattresses, clothing, reusable shoes, trolleys etc. Trolleys are useful but they can also be traded for better necessities. The two teams work separately and meet in the late afternoon. They share the food that is bread, mashed potatoes, grapes and water. The valuables crew brings newspapers, plastic piping and poorboy caps.

The Neighbourhood Watch also understands the city and its neighbourhoods. Elias asks the crew to sleep since they plan to go foraging in Ausblick tonight. It is too hot to be on the streets now. Night is better and more lucrative for the Neighbourhood Watch. The crew knows that if they hit the bins early, they may score some good things in Ausblick for instance broken toasters, blenders, water bottles, teflon pots or pans, flat screen TV cardboard boxes and even some food. People in Ausblick still know how to throw away things. Elias, Lazarus and Silas will scout ahead rummaging for valuables while Martin and Omagano push the trolley. They know that soon Ausblick will be overcrowded like Olympia and Suiderhof. Pionierspark used to be worthwhile but not anymore. Now, the Neighbourhood Watch are deterred by peeking heads, barking dogs and patrolling vehicles with angry shouting men. They know that the earlier they get to Ausblick the better.A SILENT SONG AND OTHER STORIES ESSAY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The Neighborhood Watch understands that in order to survive on the streets one must focus on the present, not the past or the future. Everyone brings a past to the streets. Lazarus’s tattoos are evidence of his prison stint. Elias is not scared of him since he faced gunfire against the South African Defence Forces. Because of hunger or need for food on the streets, they have no time to think about the past. Elias shares some street smartness with Lazarus. He says the streets has no future, there is only today. “Today you need food. Today you need shelter. Today you need to take care of today”. On Fridays and Saturdays, the crew avoids the streets and retreats safely to Headquarters. They do this to avoid clashing with patrolling police. Silas wants to leave but is forbidden from taking Martin with him. Elias and Lazarus mock the fools who sit on the roadside in Klein Windhoek and Eros waiting to paint a room, fix a window, install a sink or lay some tiles because they are too proud to forage for food. They end up going home hungry. Martin thinks that sometimes those “fools” can get a job and maybe things will be better. Elias insists that “maybe is tomorrow” and there is only today. On the street one needs to focus on the present to survive. “Every day is today.”A SILENT SONG AND OTHER STORIES ESSAY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Elias and Lazarus share what they have learned on the streets with the rest of the crew including how they decided to change tack. The crew learned that you cannot survive by being around people trying to survive. When foraging in the poor neighbourhoods, you only get what they don’t need to survive. The Neighbourhood Watch realise that poor people only throw away garbage which is disgusting and babies which are useless. In the poor neighborhoods you had to be ready to find shit: old food, used condoms, women’s things with blood, and broken things. When looking for newspapers to light a fire once, Elias and Lazarus was shocked when they found a dead baby. They knew it was time to upgrade. They only went there because they needed to survive. To survive you go everywhere and do everything. You cannot be picky. But now they know that they should upgrade and go to places where people have enough to throw away. Neighbourhoods with white people and black people trying to be white people have such people. They finally get smart and decide to move away from poor people who have nothing to throw away by themselves.A SILENT SONG AND OTHER STORIES ESSAY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Lastly the Neighbourhood Watch is wise enough to know that there are some neighbourhoods you have to avoid. They avoid Khomsadal which is overcrowded and people drink too much there. They lost their friend Amos there due to his pride end alcohol. He used to curse people, use ugly swear words and always refused to apologize. He was then stabbed to death. The Neighbourhood Watch knows that on the streets are dead bodies bad. Police would roughly demand explanations from witnesses. They used baton bashes, frustrating paperwork and throwing innocent people in holding cells. When Amos, died everyone including Elias and Lazarus knew they had to run away. They were also wise enough to stick to the initial story that they had nothing to do with the murder when the police caught up with them. They were beaten, bruised, bleeding, with swollen eyes broken ribs and injured limbs but that was better than losing life. They are smart enough to completely avoid Khomsadal.

In conclusion, difficult experiences make people wise enough to cope and survive. Acuity is essential for survival.