Valentine’s Day, by PIUS NYONDO

Malawi Heat



Valentine’s Day. Strangely, Rumphi was hell degree Celsius hot. Peeping through the window of the chapel at All Saints seminary, Botha saw sketchily dressed lovebirds walking hand in hand in the sweltering heat.

“Lost sheep!” the seminarian sighed. Were these not the signs of the times? The spectacle renewed his priestly calling, for the straying sheep needed a shepherd.

The aspirant priest opened his prayer book, feeling sorry for the poor souls testing his vow never to see any evil. The book was greasy and tattered. Clearly, it had saved generations. Scribbled in it were reputable names, including bishops and priests.

Equally distracting was pounding music from pubs beyond the seminary. The sound transported Botha from the prayer book to Kalimujiso Entertainment Centre, a nightclub famed for its dancing queens and foaming brews. He was tempted to go to the lost paradise.

“Get behind me Satan!” he sighed again. He did not want to bring the church into disrepute. He gripped beads of his rosary with all his might, returning to the holy book. He loved the thoughtful diction and imagery in psalms and poems.

Gazing through the window again, Botha saw two girls with their ballooned behinds wriggling like pistons of a perfectly lubricated engine. He closed his eyes in prayer. When he opened them, he saw breasts. He gripped the rosary again.


Walking between the two girls, he felt the warmth religion hardly provided. Side by side, they stepped into the dazzling twinkle of lights at Kalimujiso, where a neon signpost read: “WELCOME TO THE WARM HEART OF TOWN”.

Majestically, they joined the jive in the club and the girls proceeded to the dance floor. Being a bad dancer, Botha opted to watch his two angels swing their bodies. Up and down. Left and right. They danced seductively as others looked on.


One of the girls touched his hairy chest and he felt the rigidity between his legs grow. In no time, they smuggled him to secret rooms behind the bar.

Nasty noises and wet condoms filled the corridor. Botha hated what he saw. For once, he understood why future priests were prohibited from visiting Kalimujiso. It was hell.

The seminarian knew that the two girls were not angels. He wanted to tell them to repent or perish. Closing his eyes in prayer again, he asked for strength. He cursed the minute he joined their company, but he followed them like sacrificial boy Isaac trailed Abraham to Mount Moriah.


They were tucked in a room with only a mat. Dripping condoms were all over the place. Botha ruefully remembered that he was only in the first year of his priestly training. He clenched the rosary yet again in prayer for perseverance.

Meanwhile, one of the girls, Maria, stared invitingly at Botha. She swung her breasts up and down and the seminarian held steadfast to his beads, begging the mother of Jesus to safeguard his virginity – for even though his soul was not willing, the flesh was getting weaker and weaker.

However, the boy could not withstand Maria’s beckoning body. So they sinned as Misozi, the other girl, waited for her turn. He regretted having joined the seminary. Life was dull. It was full of compulsory prayers, weevilled beans and encouraged pretence. Beyond the seminary, there were no tablets of laws and commandments.


The two girls grabbed his shirt by the collar and slapped him with a tough question: “Did you think we are manna from heaven?”

They were demanding K5, 000 each. Slowly, Kalimujiso patrons started flocking to the epicentre of the noise, most of them staggering with bottles in one hand and women in the other.

The irate girls raked through his pockets and discovered that he had no money – only scratched beads of a rosary.

Botha wished the earth could swallow him. Browsing through the jeering crowd, his eyes bumped into Father Martin Kadyankena, the parish priest, holding a woman and booze with measured gentleness.

“It is finished,” sighed Botha. He may as well have cried: “Father, why have you forsaken me?” He knew his expulsion from the seminary was not negotiable even if the priest would continue terrorising the women guild.



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  1. Great Fast-paced story full of vivid imagery. I can feel Botha's inner struggle, I can see his confused shameful look, I feel the pain of his betrayal. Nothing beats the power of an author to manipulate his readers emotions like this. Pius, you are an amazing writer.

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