Steve Sharra, Ph.D. writes for Global Voices and his blog Afrika Aphukira

Steve Sharra wrote about me last week. He was also mentored by Dr. Hartford Mchazime, Ph.D. I spoke to him last week on the phone for the first time. He lives in Lansing Michigan in the United States. I hope to meet him in person one day.

From his Global Voices profile:
I am a Malawian who studies and writes about Pan-Afrikanism, Afrikan epistemology (uMunthu), the Afrikan Renaissance, and peace and social justice. I am also a student of autobiography, critical pedagogy, and critical literacy research. I am a former school teacher, freelance journalist, and educational editor. I write poetry, fiction, radio plays, and features. My blog, Afrika Aphukira (http://www.mlauzi.blogspot.com), is an optimistic expression of the theme of the African rebirth. I also follow Malawian blogs at Mlauzi’ s Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/blog/mlauzi).

From a 2003 Compton Foundation Fellowship (He has subsequently completed his Ph.D.:

Department of Teacher Education (Malawi)
Michigan State University

I am a Malawian national currently studying for a PhD in Teacher Education at Michigan State University. I have been a primary school teacher, an editor of educational materials, a freelance newspaper and radio journalist, and a creative writer, in Malawi. Before becoming a teacher, I spent five years in two Catholic minor seminaries, where I had hoped to become a priest. I was asked to leave the seminary in 1988, aged 17.

In 1995 I won first prize in a writing contest with a children’s novel, based on adaptations of stories I was told by refugees who had fled a 16 year-old civil war in Mozambique, Malawi’s largest neighbor. The novel, Fleeing the War, was published by Macmillan and distributed to all government-run primary and secondary schools in Malawi. Prior to this, my colleagues and I formed a writers’ workshop during our four years in a teacher training program, and some of our poetry and fiction made its way into school textbooks, read by students across the country. I have published several poems, short stories and literary features in Malawian national newspapers. I have also had a play broadcast on national radio in Malawi, and a children’s story read on the British Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1995 I was elected treasurer of the Malawi Writers Union (MAWU), and a year later was elected its president. As president of MAWU, I chaired Malawi’s 1997 literary festival and book fair.

The publication of Fleeing the War and the award it won, a British
Government-Malawi partnership scheme award, caught the eyes of the
American embassy staff in Malawi. They nominated me to represent Malawi
at the 1997 International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. I
arrived in the US at the end of August in1997, and spent the fall
semester giving talks about Malawi and about my writing to students,
faculty and the general public in and around Iowa City. There were
thirty international writers participating, drawn from all six
continents. I was invited to return to the University of Iowa for the
1998 spring semester, where, together with Alexei Varlamov, Russian
winner of the anti-Booker prize, I became a writer-in-residence in the
University’s International Programs, under the sponsorship of the
National Endowments for the Arts and the Stanley Foundation. In August
1998 I entered the MA program in English Education in the College of
Education at Iowa, and graduated in 2000. In August 2000 I entered the
PhD program in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy at Michigan
State University, where I currently am. I expect to finish in the
summer of 2005.

During both my masters’ and doctoral programs I have written and
presented conference papers in different national and international
organizations such as the African Literature Association (ALA), the
National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), Comparative and
International Education Society (CIES), the African Studies
Association, the Canada Association of African Studies (CAAS), the
International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR), and the
Midwest African Studies graduate student conference. I have also
published a review essay in an academic journal for children’s
literature, and other writings on academic listservs and websites.