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Issue Six

Crossing Borders Magazine

Issue Six



Cover Issue SixWriting for children and the act of storytelling play an important role in influencing the formative years of childhood and their effects are often carried on, forming a foundation for later life. These themes are explored in Issue Six.





Feature article

The Bogus Hero

'Man of God' et al

'African Song' et al

The Cripple

My Tyrannical Aunt

Freedom Butterfly

Emergency Exit



 * Introduction *  *
 *  *  Introduction  *
Becky Ayebia Clarke from UK
Becky Ayebia Clarke

Writing for children and the act of storytelling play an important role in influencing the formative years of childhood and their effects are often carried on, forming a foundation for later life. Access to culturally specific and high quality literature is every child's right and a long-term investment for the future.....




 * Feature article *  *
 *  *  Feature article  *
Ellen Aaku

Ellen Aaku is Zambian and has lived in Ghana for the last five years. In 2004 her story Wandi's Little Voice won the New Children's Writer Award as part of the Macmillan's Writers Prize for Africa. The book was published by Macmillan in 2004. In 2005 Ellen sat on the judging panel for the 2006 Macmillan's Writers Prize for Africa. Her short story Yours Faithfully, Yogi featured in Issue Five of Crossing Borders Magazine.


 * The Bogus Hero *  *
 *  *  The Bogus Hero  *
Samuel Asanga Mokom


'English as I speak and write it today is a language I encountered for the first time in 1992 when I was 11. My only language of expression then was French. But being a Native of North West Cameroon, (one of the English speaking regions of Cameroon), my father felt it was important I learn English. Reading English story books became my favourite pastime. At 15 in form four, as coordinator of the English Club in my School, I started entertaining students by narrating to them the numerous stories I had read. Soon, I developed an interest in writing and I started writing and narrating my own stories. The breakthrough came in 1999, when as a high school student, I received the award (Class A) from the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Commonwealth Essay Competition - Write Around the World. In 2004 as a postgraduate student, I was privileged to be one of the first 12 participants of the Crossing Borders Programme in Cameroon. I was fortunate to be retained the following year for a second participation. My second participation in the program was focused on the writing for young readers. By the end of the programme, I had gained insight to contemporary creative writing for children. I am presently working for the publication of my first book, a collection of fables for young readers which will be entitled My Book of Africa Fables.’


Reaction of publication in CB Magazine

'Every writer’s desire is to be widely read. Being published in the Crossing Borders Magazine propels me to the limelight and makes my fable available to a world wide audience. Access to my story is now just a click away. I can’t contain my joy; I am over the moon. The Bogus Hero has truly crossed borders. The Bogus Hero is the fable I submitted for my fifth assignment. It is a piece my mentor Beth Webb, described as "a story worth submitting to the Crossing Borders magazine".'


 * 'Man of God' et al *  *
 *  *  'Man of God' et al  *
Steve Ogah
'I write across genres. I am Voicesnet's poet of the month, February 2002. Performance poetry appeals to me and I have performed at various gatherings including Vmobile's pinnacle shakedown, 'calabar', and SEF foundation's scholarship ceremony, 'Akwa Ibom' 2004. I have also read my poems on CRBC TV. I am published in the poetry anthology Blood On Our Ivory Tower.
Outside creative writing, I do find time for as a staff writer. I also write for Splendour and I am the Editor of the student/youth magazine, Xtremes. My short fiction is published at I manage a musical group known as XCREW and do find time to coach kids on grassroots football at Young Strikers. I have responsibilities as Voicesnet as international poetry ambassador. I am a SEF foundation scholarship recipient and in 2005, I was nominated for the Sir Michael Caine Prize by'
Reaction to news of publication in CB magazine:
'I thank God for the his infinite and divine mercies. I also thank the British Council for the giving me this avenue for publication in a reputable online magazine. I must now thank my mentor, Steven Waling, for mentoring me with intellectual honesty and patience.
I saw the email notifying me of my selection while I was helping a dearest friend, Femi, on the internet with a research work, and I think she may be able to describe how excited I was for she knew I had been frustrated by the inability to make much head way in our resarch. I felt like kissing everyone and everything around the internet cafe. I felt like screaming with joy forever, but she calmed me with an embrace just to say, "I'm happy for you".' 


 * 'African Song' et al *  *
 *  *  'African Song' et al  *
Dr Kabura Zakama


Kabura Zakama was born on 11 May 1964 at Garkida in North Central Nigeria. He had been a voracious reader right from his childhood days. His mother still loves to tell stories of how he would go to the farms with books, hide in the sorghum fields or climb trees and read instead of working! Kabura started writing poetry in his early teens. He is a sensitive person and finds expression by releasing his feelings and emotions on paper. Some make it as poems, others are just, well, er… junk! He trained as a veterinary surgeon and is now working in the development field, but he considers himself to be a poet because he finds his deepest self-fulfilment in writing. In 1999, he won the ANA Poetry Prize for his collection of poems, The Man Lived, which was finally published in 2004. Kabura has contributed to national and international poetry anthologies.


Kabura is a two-time participant on the Crossing Borders programme from 2004 – 2006. In the first year, he concentrated on writing techniques and performance poetry. In the second year, he sought to work on bilingual publishing so that he could write and publish in Bura, his first language. He has been immensely supported by his mentor, Menna Elfin, a Welsh poet laureate and a bilingual writer.


Reaction on the news of publication in CB Magazine:

'It has been a great privilege for me to be mentored in the Crossing Borders programme and I have gained skills in writing and critiquing poetry. My poems now have added vibrancy and getting the chance to be published in the CB magazine gives me the first opportunity to share my new writing with a wider audience.


This is very encouraging for me and I intend to put together a collection of all the poems developed during my 'menteeship' for publication.' 


 * The Cripple *  *
 *  *  The Cripple  *
Joice Shereni



Born in Zimbabwe, 1976. Lives and works in Triangle, Lowveld with her ten-month-old daughter Tanaka.


'I am a voracious reader with an appetite that is yet to be satisfied. I have had two publications to date-12 poems in Imaginings and Sensations 1993 (An Anthology by and for young people). One of the poems from this anthology was later on published in a poetry Anthology entitled Many People, Many Voices an O Level poetry anthology for use in Zimbabwean schools. Another poem has been selected for publication by the Christian Poetry Association of South Africa. I have mainly dabbled in poetry but when I was accepted into the Crossing Borders programme, my mentor encouraged me to pay more attention to prose as well and he was absolutely correct – the results are fantastic! (Thank you Brian). The period I spent participating in the CB project was the best gift I could have ever received with regards to my writing –I learnt so much from my mentor, fellow participants and the guys in the local British Council office who believed in me more that I thought possible right from the beginning.'


Reaction to the news of publication in CB magazine:

'The first person I told was my younger sister Virginia as she was the only family member close at hand but my office mate must have thought I had finally flipped as I just started laughing when I opened my e-mail and could not stop. I then thought of my brother who, incidentally was responsible for my getting into the CB programme as he had picked up the advert in the paper and faxed to me . I proceed of course to tell as many people as possible before I knocked off that day. I am so happy. My writing has always been special but an uphill struggle so I’m over the moon that its flowering. At last I still can't stop smiling!'



 * My Tyrannical Aunt *  *
 *  *  My Tyrannical Aunt  *
Andrew Ochan


Andrew Ochan was born in the war-torn Kitgum District of northern Uganda in 1975. He received training in geosciences from Makerere University, Kampala between 1997 and 2004 and now works as a geologist with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. Ochan's interest in writing is spurred by reading well-crafted works of fiction which started way back in his secondary school days with writers on Heinemann’s African Writers Series.  He started writing in 2004.  He felt he needed training in creative writing and resorted to the internet for tips on writing, but real help came in form of his mentor, Beth Webb, when he joined the Crossing Borders Programme in June, 2005.


My Tyrannical Aunt is his first published story. Ochan believes Crossing Borders has given him the preparation required for a much bigger project such as writing a novel.  This, he hopes to embark on when writing ceases for him to be just another favourite pastime activity.


Reaction to news of publication in CB magazine:

'I was attending a Crossing Borders Workshop conducted by Caroline Gilfillan on 28 March 2006 when our coordinator, Sandra Hook, asked me whether I had, submitted a story to the magazine. 'Oh yes I did,' I answered. Apparently she had tried in vain to call me to say she’d got feedback from the magazine publisher. I gave her my new number and she promised to call back and confirm the news. I didn’t wait for Sandra’s call. That evening, I went to the nearest internet café to check mail, which I hadn’t done in more than a week. There it was! The e-mail from Pippa had been lying in my inbox since 23 March.  It said the editor had selected my story for publication in either Issue Five or Six of the magazine.  'Congratulations!' It added.  I felt afloat from excitement. '


'I wish to thank the organisers of the Crossing Borders programme for giving me this learning opportunity as well as my mentor, Beth, for her invaluable guidance and believing in me. Lastly, and by no means least, I thank the British Council library in Kampala for making available the books that I had always craved to read.'


 * Freedom Butterfly *  *
 *  *  Freedom Butterfly  *
Chief K. Masimba Biriwasha


Chief K. Masimba Biriwasha was born in 1975, in a clinic called Makara, in an area he terms 'the backwoods' of Zimbabwe. He has been writing since the age of nine. 'I am inspired by butterflies and flame-lilies', his inspiration is derived from all things beautiful. His vision is to become an acclaimed children's writer and publisher. He says his greatest dream is to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. 'I love writing, I am very sure about that.' He also loves God whom no doubt guides him along the road he has chosen to take.

Reaction to news of publication in CB magazine:

'At first, something flew out of me – a lack of belief that I am a writer. That sense of lack simply dissolved off my shoulders. I couldn’t resist the bubble of joy, peace and completeness which rose inside me like a tiny butterfly. The bubble grew wings, filling the atmosphere round me with a radiance that was visible only to my spirit in that jam-packed internet café. I looked to the left, then to the right allowing a divine energy to envelop my being. I was overjoyed. I couldn’t believe it. It definitely goes down as a moment to treasure in my memory book. I mean, although I have always wanted to be a writer since I was 11, this was the first time that I felt a voice inside me telling me to go professional with my writing. Having my piece accepted freed me to think professionally about that one thing that I have always loved in my life – writing'.  


 * Emergency Exit *  *
 *  *  Emergency Exit  *
Chaltone Tshabangu


'I was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 1971. I started reading (and enjoying it) when I was too young to understand what the stories were about. I took part in poetry competitions run by the then Bulawayo Eisteddford Society and derived great pleasure in drama and theatre. But it was the Crossing Borders project which helped me focus on my writing and now, I feel that I have begun 'walking'. At the moment I am still writing short stories and learning from the remarks of my readers.
I think my writing also owes a lot more to reading. As my mentor Valerie Bloom suggested, reading is not only inspirational, but it opens up so many 'windows' and makes it easier and necessary, for one to identify one's style and voice'.
Reaction to news of publication in Crossing Borders Magazine:
'Besides the pleasure of knowing that my story had been selected, there was that other feeling, which is beyond words, a feeling is associated with the knowledge that someone, somewhere, has been entertained. I can't dance, but I can sing (off key). I did both'.



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