Troubador Chronicles of a Soldier

Released: 04/01/2010

ISBN: 9781848762213

Format: Paperback

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Chronicles of a Soldier


A perfect marriage is torn apart by War, will Mombit and Bombit be able to rebuild their lives?

David Ssembajjo has written four books namely The Stolen Gift and A Journey to Maleba. The Stolen Gift follows Kagaga, a political revolutionary who intends to transform the lives of his people but fails due to lack of interest, apathy and self-interest. Mulili, a local politician, fails to meet his constituents' hopes and the pledges that he had made. He revels in his new position as an MP, a populist demagogue who is only interested in his own well-being and seeking office for his own betterment.

A Journey to Maleba follows Mobish leaving his homeland in search of paradise. He carries with him his worldly possessions to help him find paradise. He overcomes many problems on his way, and he remains optimistically positive that he will find paradise. He is placed on trial, accused of deluding the nation as people desert the state in search of paradise which is called Maleba. Mobish finds that there is no paradise on earth, but man must search for his own paradise on earth. It is only God who knows paradise, and He is the only one who can direct people to this elusive place.

Chronicles of a Soldier follows Bombit and his wife Mombit who separate when they take different escape routes after a raid by rebels on their home.They begin a struggle to search for each other at the same time they cannot relocate each other. Their love is tested. Mombit and Bombit are taken captive by vying troops where Mombit is subjected to torture. She is raped giving birth to a rebel child. She is besieged by guilt for betraying her husband.
The war can shatter their marriage but cannot destroy their undying love. Bombit has many false leads where he tries to relocate his wife even though it could cause him personal harm. He is willing to sacrifice to find his wife. Bombit takes personal risks while trying to find Mombit. Bombit places himself in harms way. The war displaces Bombit and Mombit and so many other people are displaced.
The war makes Bombit and Mombit homeless, penniless and powerless. Bombit takes extraordinary steps of becoming a pacifist with his desire to end the war in order to be reunited to his wife. The warring parties are unwilling to disarm. Bombit finds that he cannot single-handedly end the war because all warmongers are intransigent and are determined to fight to the bitter end.

Case Study
The Stolen Gift
The book analyses the significance of democracy as a representative system of governance. It questions whether power can reside in the hands of the majority. Whereby all the electorate can decide laws rather than the minority who are elected to form laws on their behalf. Mulili stresses that it is in the interest of the majority for him to be their representative and that according to him laws are formed by a minority on behalf of the majority. Mulili declares that laws are made in parliament where politicians reach a consensus.
Kagaga outlines that Mulili cannot place himself in the position of the electorate, to appear to place himself in their lives, in their anxieties and problems and in due course to eradicate all his constituents problems. Mulili can only speculate on his constituents lives. Politicians dictate laws without fully consulting all their constituents. Kagaga mentions that voting rights deprives people from having power and power is snatched from the electorate into the hands of the politican and it is a legal transfer of power. Thereby people loosing the ability to express their beliefs and ideas in parliament. Voting means that politicans are handed power to speculate over the lives of their own constituents.
The book analyses the role of the media and the clout it has over the general public. The media captivates the hearts and minds with sensational news.It is the aim of the media to transform society. The media is morally bankrupt and corrupt. The media fail to report about the wider public and are narrow-minded in their reportage. The media are only interested in advancing the cause of the politicans neglecting the low status of its readers.
Kagaga believes that each person should have the power to express themselves in parliament regardless of background. People can decide their own laws, statutes and regulations in parliament. Kagaga believes that it is a God given right for all individuals to express themselves in parliament.
At the same time Kagaga criticises people for blaming Mulili for all that has gone wrong, expressing that politicians who are in the minority should be assisted by society who are in a majority. Society must help politicians to understand and equip politicians with knowledge as regards societies status-quo.

Chronicles of a Soldier

Chronicles of a Soldier is a fundamental study in the nature of love. Love has diffrent facets and has different perspectives as regards how love exists in a tormented mind. We find the torment Bombit endures for his wife Mombit. He is unsettled and disturbed verging on insanity. Love is pain and joy. The love that
exists in this couples lives never dies. They succumb to many trials and their love is tested just as iron is tested. They never give up searching for each other however impossible it seems they will never reunite. Love conquers pain and loss. Love can win over enemies. Bombit's love to Mombit survives all evils and they are consoled despite their separation but their love is precious. Mombit's love struggles throughout the war and never abandones her quest to find Bombit.They lose everything in the world but never lose their love for each other. Love is the only redemption that they can salvage from their enforced separation. Death does not destroy their undying love but progresses and never ends. In death lies their love whereby the living continue to
love and death conceals the love Mombit has for Bombit. Even where there is war it cannot destroy their love. Love heals both Bombit and Mombit's separation and memories bring back good times. Their love is everlasting and endures all nature of destruction which surrounds them and they can't give up hope from reuniting and loving each other.

A journey to Maleba

Is a novel trying to discover whether paradise exists on earth and if so how can man reach the heights of paradise. The quest to find paradise is a search and struggle for all on earth. It is like a delusion trying to find paradise. God alone knows the true existence of paradise. Paradise is hidden from our eyes but it is and we expect that out of many trials to find paradise on earth it opens up possibilities. Everyone must try and find his or her paradise on earth. Mobish the protagonist discovers that paradise is in the mind and it is not practical. Mobish follows his whims to try and find paradise. In paradise no one knows what awaits them but people are more delighted that paradise can be found. Their hope is not in this present life but a life in paradise. They have great expectations and they would rather suffer for paradise. Mobish believes that each person must search for his paradise. In the end paradise can't be found or located and everyone is lost.

Servants of the Underground

Bamutu rules with tyranny and subjects his people to his evil rule. He accepts no opposition and cracks down on any opposition to his rule. Kalamchi opens a cafe as a stage to oppose Bamutu. In the cafe dissidents gather to collectively work out a revolution to topple Bamutu and his decrees and orders. Love blossoms in the cafe and there is a love tussle between Kalamchi and Bamutu. Kalamchi struggles to evade Bamutu's troops to try and find Malita his love. Kalamchi stands for freedom and liberty. The cafe resists Bamutu's terror and dictatorship. Bamutu is not visible and people have various images of him.

Cafe Royale exists and symbolises freedom of expression and freedom of speech. It unites various minds and contributes to free the nation from chaos and anarchy. People realise that
Bamutu was their leader from old. They mythologise about his leadership. Bamutu is evil that even the birds of the air are not free from his rule and evil authority. Bamutu is a butcher of butchers and causes bloodshed ruining the country. The nation is his personal possession. The nation suffers from his rule and people have no way of fighting back but rely on the services of Cafe Royale.

Eventually people realise that Bamutu does not exist and has never existed. They realise that they are deluded and become disllussioned with their efforts to topple Bamutu. The only power who can judge Bamutu is God. Bamutu's rule is mysterious and a great myth which must be unravelled by all citizens. People have many questions to find out if Bamutu really existed and people can't find out who conjured up ideas with all the decrees and orders carried out by Bamutu's troops who enforced the decrees.

New African August/September 2011

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David  Ssembajjo

David Ssembajjo was born in Uganda on 14-12-1965. He graduated from college. He was born in Uganda where he worked as a salesman. He participated in school plays, where he experienced theatre, which he greatly appreciated. He has self-published four books. The first was The Stolen Gift, and later he published A Journey to Maleba, Chronicles of a Soldier and Servants of the Underground.

He settled in the United Kingdom in 1991 where he worked doing odd jobs, and at the same time he was writing. Before leaving college, David learned and appreciated most great English writers like Shakespeare and Dickens. He was encouraged and inspired by these great writers, to mention but a few. David enrolled at Kingston University, where he embarked on studying Geographical Information Systems, but writing remained his love. He has written plays, novels and a few poems, and is inspired by other great European writers.

David is an advocate for peace and a voice for the marginalised, the powerless and the poor. He speaks in different voices, reflecting his society. His books are a reflection of today's society and they transcend all strata of society. They say writing is a gift and that everybody has a book. Ssembajjo's hopes are to bring understanding and knowledge to make this world a better place. Ssembajjo realized that there are few writers of African descent living in Britain and he feels that he is fighting a lonely battle to produce and record African stories for the wider public. Ssembajjo's stories are an archive and diagnosis of life and they are universal. We live in this enclosed place called earth. We live in streets, towns and villages across the world and there is a lot of activity and life involved and this is an area of interest for Ssembajjo to analyse. The life of a good writer is to draw a clear picture about the lives of all people.

Ssembajjo was introduced to other great European writers and he was brought up reading African writers though with a strong emphasis of studying the European style of writing. Most of all he enjoyed reading Russian writers and the great mysteries of Gogol. He found that the craft of writing is not exclusively a right for the Western world but tells his stories to the world audience. Writing can be a portrait of earthly life. Ssembajjo has learned that writing captivates and that it brings understanding to all backgrounds. He has lived in many places in London. He continues to write and read where his inspiration as led him to so many places. He writes for all cultures and his books cross all boundaries. His writing is empathetic and a mirror of his society. His writing is enriched with lurid descriptions of poverty, hunger and starvation. He is armed with the pen to shock. All books are there to teach us what is new and old where we become amazed by the words on paper. Ssembajjo is like a soldier rescuing the injured and offering them second life. He likes to revive his society which seems to be terminally ill and to offer his country a lifeline. Ssembajjo travelled Europe and saw the influence of European writers in those societies and he would like to celebrate his writing and influence his society. He believes that all writing has a message and he brings us his message of a struggle to free the oppressed, violated and to fight against the suppression of liberties. He is a fearless writer who is determined to confront those in power that fail to deliver for his countrymen.

Ssembajjo is a freelance writer and has contributed articles to several newsletters. He is interested in politics and other social issues. He combines his writing alongside his journalistic work. He has been a witness to civil wars in his country Uganda. He remembers growing up surrounded by war. Because of his experiences he wrote his upcoming book Chronicles of a soldier drawing on the facts of war. It was very distabilising but he coped well.

Early Life

Ssembajjo was raised by his mother while his father was studying Architecture in Britain. His mother applied for Ssembajjo to attend junior school. When his father returned from Britain he transfered him to a missionary Catholic school where he learnt a great deal about christainity. He participated in all school activity . He performed well. Sometimes he lived with his father. While finishing primary school war broke out to topple Idi Amin and this episode interferred with his studies. Because it was difficult to travel to a day school. He took shelter from the war in his father's house until the conclusion of war. When Idi Amin was toppled school resumed but it had a profound effect on Ssembajjo who witnessed witch-hunts against Idi Amin's tribesmen and also reprisals and counter-attacks which plunged the country into uncontrollable chaos. Ssembajjo emerged from the war unscathed. He enrolled to high school passing well. He was introduced to African and European writers. He joined a drama group performing mimis for school entertainment. He began drafting novels but lost count of the scripts he had written. Having granduated from high school he took a gap year working as a part-time salesman.

He decided to settle in Britain arriving in 1991.

Ssembajjo has written articles for a newsletter covering basic social and economic aspects of life. He is a freelance writer and his ambitions are to chronicle the life of any immigrant. The life of an immigrant is overshadowed by his homeland and background. He believes as an immigrant you remain a stranger and very few people are willing to welcome you and appreciate the life you have left behind yet both stranger and host share the same kind of space.This vacuum of few African writers is too hard to fill. Ssembajjo challenges our thoughts in his books.

Ssembajjo is a freelance reporter and has written for the US Review of books and contributed to other publications.

The Stolen Gift has a very critical outlook of how democracy has failed and destroyed the world-it questions the assumption that few individuals can manage, form and implement laws on behalf of the majority and that is an injustice. Democracy suppresses freedom for the whole of society it justifies that under democracy there is a unified culture of consent but the electorate can't express themselves in parliament and power is vested in a few hands and purports that individuals have free speech and yet the electorate can't form laws. Democracy has stifled debate with impunity and the electorate has no power to formulate laws in parliament and laws are formed by few parliamentarians.

Adult Life

In Britain he began looking for work in various places. He was searching for unskilled work. He was successful and most of the work was unskilled. He worked for job agencies and juggled between work and writing and his employment involved travelling from one end of town to the next. Ssembajjo joined Kingston University and the Open University.

Literary Achievements

He has written four books The Stolen Gift and a Journey to Maleba, Chronicles of a Soldier and lastly Servants of the Underground. All books address different issues or topics. The Stolen Gift follows Kagaga a lone political revolutionary who tries to transform the lives of his people but finds that they are not interested in his ideas and ideals because of apathy, self-interest and selfishness. Kagaga finds a fractious society aimed at self-destruction and anarchy. Can democracy exist where there is anarchy, starvation and famine? Can it solve all societal problems? Mulili a local politicain representing his consituency is self-indulgent and fails to assist his consituents and he is only interested in his well being and welfare. Mulili is only interested in the free parliamentary perks than solving societal problems. Kagaga criticises Mulili for failing his people and he states that Mulili can't solve all people's problems because he can't place himself in their lives but society should be empowered to represent themselves.

A Journey to Maleba follows Mobish in search of paradise on earth. In the process he encounters many problems. He finds that paradise does not exist on earth. He leaves his homeland to travel to a foreign country searching for paradise but has false leads. Paradise remains in his mind and it is not physical or tangible and cannot be found. Paradise remains elusive and imaginary. God alone remains the only one who knows the existence of paradise. Mobish is made a scapegoat and is accused of fomenting a rebellion and there are protests against the state because all citizens prefer paradise rather than live in a totalitarian state.

Writing career

Ssembajjo began writing when he discovered a competition run by Jonathan Cape. He at the time found other novels which inspired him to write a novel. He was profoundly interested in reading and writing. He was not seeking popularity or fame. He was interested in spreading the written word. He writes about different kinds of human experience. He writes from a point of view of being an onlooker. He is a great witness and chronicler of the tragic deprivation and dispossession of his society. He has written about the pain, anguish, love and several bewildering tragedies that torment his society. Literature is said to be the mirrior of society. His writing focuses attenion on the suffering and struggles of life. How mankind can overcome their shortcomings. He reveals the corruptiveness of modern life and thinking. He uncovers political adventurism and love winning over war. He understands that life can succeed even under duress.In his books he reveals the rivalry between the privileged and downtrodden and how they can't be reconciled.

He has published four novels and his first book was The Stolen Gift published in 1998, republished in 2003 and was praised in Uganda's national newspaper where it received wonderful coverage and it seems it broke the ice. It was refreshening to learn of its image. Following the publication of the The Stolen Gift, a Journey to Maleba was published in 2006 and as one of those travel books it reveals how one tries to find green pastures and becomes an alien in a foreign country and the difficulties one encounters as he settles down to a new life. New realities crop up and one has to deal with them with courage and determination or strength. Never losing your self-confidence. Following his second book was Chronicles of a Soldier published in 2009 and had relative success. Ssembajjo has taken on another mantle to self-promote his books and he has tried to create awareness for his books. His books are impartially set in Africa and he writes about village and urban life as he feels that both locations are interlinked and have to co-exist.

Ssembajjo is a member of a reading group in his local area and works in a library. He participates fully with the requirements of the reading group. Short-stories are read and discussed. Ssembajjo has written novels yet unpublished, plays and poems.

His plays focus on love and romance. They depict the failure of love and marriage which can't be salvaged. They are a window of adultery and lack of trust between a married couple. The pain and joy of love is witnessed in different scenes.

David Ssembajjo's fourth novel Servants of the Underground is a mirror into life spent in the wilderness. It tries to unravel the myth of an evil dictator. Ssembajjo found out that, there are very few African fictional books profiling military dictators. Having grown up under a dictatorship he is armed with a enough material about this subject and at this particular time. The oppression he witnessed gave him the clout to outline the suffering faced by his fellow citizens. He expresses the views of many a life. The lack of trust of family and friends because of fear and paranoia. Life is miserable in a totalitarian state and we are labelled traitors by voicing our opinions, beliefs and ideals and can't be rescued but are left to languish in terror. The gun does the talking rather than the mouth. The pen has the power to subtitute the mouth yet what can't be achieved by a mouth can be achieved by the pen.

Ssembajjo struggles with the apathy that engulfs his society. He has raised the standards and scales of writing. Before coming to the UK he witnessed war at an early age, his first brush with war was when Idi Amin came to power in 1971 and other civil wars tarnished the landscape and with this experience he wrote Chronicles of a Soldier and lastly he wrote Servants of the Underground which dealt with the consequencies of dictatorial rule and it is hard to appreciate living under an evil rule that does not respect human rights. In the novel we see the abuse of power and the wasted lives and the fear that is generated from such evil. Yet no one can challenge such rule.

In the first novel The Stolen Gift, Ssembajjo deals with the democratic malaise whether it is viable to have absolute freedom and peace and whether democracy could deliver on all expectations and all kinds of mental and physical oppression that it entails. Democracy is not a puryevor of absolute freedom and peace, because there is human suffering and injustice. There is no nation on earth that has the peace of heaven, on earth and the concept of that peace is a mental dream but mankind must fight to achieve it.

Ssembajjo has found writing a tool where one can express himself even under difficult situations. There is a great reward in writing and that great reward is to love God and to be comforted by Him. Man is not only self-seeking for wealth but to have wisdom and knowledge, to have a concept about the world we live in and to appreciate that everything has a purpose in life from the smallest to the highiest everything must be celebrated. God created the tallest tree and the short tree and therefore they co-exist and assist each other. Before you can acquire much you must count from the first which is a foundational point for everything that follows. Love tenderly that which is small and you shall love and appreciate that which is in abundance.

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