Brotherhood means to stand and work in the same spirit.
When you are a child, then brotherhood means to be born of the same parent or parents.
But the older one gets, and the more mature one grows; the more one enters into the living gout of one’s destiny, and the more one senses and fulfill one’s destiny, then the less brotherhood remains a being born of the same parents and becomes a standing and working in the same spirit. Spiritual homogeneity is true brotherhood.
The same thing with sisterhood.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije


He lived with us very briefly
When I was still a child
My father’s elder brother

When we prayed before our meals
And made the sign of the cross
He teased us, Protestants, about having gone Catholic

When he shaved in the morning
He explained to us the mysterious science
Of shaving stick, cream and blade

Other than that he didn’t talk much
A quiet quiet quiet man
Hurt no-one, thoughtfully kept to himself

Very different from the others
Never preached, never argued, never moralised
Never scolded, just silently observed

Three decades have passed
Rarely our paths ever crossed again
A short Hello each time, nothing more

I’m still trying to understand
The pain I’ve felt all morning today
Since I heard of Uncle Joe’s death

It doesn’t make sense
Someone I hardly knew
Just a few childhood memories

Just a few memories
That remind me of a time
Rich in memories and childlike insight

And a few memories
Of a quiet adult who never found a voice
In a culture of big egos, loud voices and aggression

His silence was louder, calmer, more lasting
So deep that only his death
Would open the deep wound of memory in my heart

His middle name was Ahamefula
Meaning “May my name not get lost” –
No, dear Uncle, it will not.

In loving memory of
Joseph Ahamefula Chukwumerije
1935 – 2013

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.


Upon the fields and meadows
Saw I two black sheep
Alone, together
Feeding, side by side

And then evening was near
The shepherd
Slowly shaved the wool
Off one of them
And led it away

And now when I look into the fields
And meadows
Of my youth
All I see is one black sheep
Grazing alone…

I still miss you –
Except that the fields and meadows
Have become bare
And the second black sheep is gone too…

And the wind is cool
Upon the mountain-top…

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.


I remember you
Almost everyday.
Do thoughts forget
Their creators? Heart
And common sense agree
In me that they never could.
I remember you daily.

Our childhood and youth
Made my heart what
It is today. And though
You’re gone who knows
Where in the Beyond,
Still my memories of you,
Brother, know no boundaries.

How many times did
We watch Joe Panther?
Little did we know that
We were watching our future.
For, like Tiger died and left Joe,
One of us would go
And the other would lonely stay.

And I remember how quietly
We sat, together, trying
To hold back and conceal
Our tears that first time
We watched La Bamba –
As if already then we knew
How it would one day feel.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.


I have a lonely brother, born of a single mother and father, lonely and alone, trudging patiently home through the land of snow-mountains and smoke-forests and sandy deserts, not to forget the bottomless sea. He has few friends, for few comprehend him, even though he treasures the goal also all so alone. I want to help him, but I do not know how to, nor does he always accept help. I know only that, in the end, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. Are you lonely, brother? Nobody is ever alone. An angel, a beast or a solitary star – one of these is always there with you and me. If I am not my brother’s keeper, who is? And whose keeper then am I? I guess I keep again our second goal.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.


Your brother in the ghetto
Is still your brother –

He might not have attended
The same type of schools as you did

He might not have acquired
The same kind of polish as you did

He might not even know
That you’re not as different from him

As he thinks
He might think

What you think: you’ve become strangers
No. He is still your brother

And when a bullet comes in the dark
It can’t tell the difference between you and you.



Che and Kwame

I saw a departed soul
On the other side of the river
Yet there is no bridge
Across the river
So how did he get there?
How did he cross to the other
Side of the river

River, river, flowing home

Bathed in the mild glows of
The fields across
The river
Stood a soul
And he said, Brother

River, river, flowing, going home.



… continued from Part Seven.

Those who long shall grow.

The night was young. Young again. The moon, half-full, was banking all alone in the west of heaven, and there was, though no clouds were anywhere to be seen, a distant smell of rain. Sweet night rain, to bear our dreams softly down from heaven and wash our fears away; wash the old year away too and water the seeds of a new one. But the night, for now, was young and eager, eager to look into the homes and hearts of human beings, to know again their story.

Tony sighed – a deep sigh – and turned in for the night, wondering at the destiny that had returned Ngozi into his life.

He said goodnight to Ada and retired to his bedroom.

Quietly Ada watched her brother’s back as he retreated into the bowels of the house in which they lived.

Softly the night crept into the house and touched, as it was touched by, the hearts, the hopes and the everyday history of the human race.

And deep into the night, between midnight and dawn, singing, singing, the rain fell softly down.

… continued in Part Nine.


If you want to skip the excerpts and read the full story of this delicate, subtle love story, the novella is availaable on (e-book / paperback) (e-book / paperback) (e-book / paperback) (ebook / paperback) (ebook / paperback) (ebook / paperback)
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Available from December 2013.