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msafiri fiction 142 Kenya Airways is not involved in the judging of The Caine Prize and the views expressed in these stories are not those of Kenya Airways or the Publisher of msafiri. The stories are published in the interests of promoting African literature. Mallam Sile, by Mohammed Naseehu Ali, first appeared in The Prophet of Zongo, published by Amistad, an imprint of Harper Collins. It is one of the five entries shortlisted in the 2008- 9 Caine Prize, for which 90 entries were submitted. THE CAINE PRIZE The Caine Prize for African Writing is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years. It has become the showcase for African creative writing. The winner is announced at a dinner in Oxford, England, in July each year. In addition to a £ 10,000 prize, the winner of the competition is also awarded a month as writer-in- residence at Georgetown University, Washington DC. The Prize has been able to expand, thanks to generous sponsorship, and has set up writers' workshops in Africa. Kenya Airways is a corporate sponsor of The Caine Prize. Q www. caineprize. com evil," and that it is only with time and acquired wisdom that people like Samadu would change their bad ways and become good people. The tea- seller's belief was further solidified when he ran into Samadu a fortnight later. He was greeted politely by the tough guy, something he had never done before. When Mallam Sile told his wife about the unusual encounter with Samadu, she fought hard to restrain herself from telling him what had actually caused the change in Samadu's attitude. Abeeba also knew that Sile would be quite displeased if he found out the method she had used to retrieve the money. Just a week ago, he had spoken to her about " the uselessness of using fire to put out fire," of how it " worsens rather than put out the original flame." Abeeba only prayed that one of these days someone didn't tell her husband about her duel with Samadu — as the entire city seemed to know about it by now. Tough guys from other neighborhoods even came to the teashop just to steal a glance at the woman who conquered the tough guy of Zongo Street. Then one night during the fasting month of Ramadan, some two months after the fight, a voice in Mallam Sile's head asked: " Why is everyone calling my wife the ' man- checker'? How come people I give credit suddenly pay me on time? Why am I being treated with such respect, even by the worst and most stubborn rascals on the Street?" Mallam Sile was lying in bed with his wife at the time these questions popped in his head. In his usual fashion, he didn't think any further of the questions or even try to answer them. He drew in a deep breath, and began to pray in his heart. He smiled and thanked Allahu- Raheemu, the Merciful One, for curing the Streetfolks of the prejudice they had nursed against him for so long. Mallam Sile also thanked Allah for giving his neighbours the will and the courage to finally accept him just as he was created. He flashed a grin in the darkness and moved closer to his slumbering wife. He buried his small body in her massive, protective frame and soon fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.