UGANDA: X-Files from the village – season II
X-FILES FROM THE VILLAGE – SEASON II
By WABUYI DENIS
As we prepare gardens for the planting season, it is common to burn the bush to clear it up. The burning does not only help us to clear the gardens but the ash from the burning is believed to be a good pesticide that turns away army worms (tsihungu) and other pests that could attack our crops.
It is common for these fires to spiral and end up burning other people’s gardens but if arrested early destruction is not always fatal.
Yes, we get disagreements and sometimes people get annoyed but our disputes are normally settled in jokes when a person brews busela and invites the aggrieved family to the beer party, and then slaughter a goat. We all drink, celebrate and everyone goes back contented with the other.
This was not the case with Wauswa, Wotsomu’s elder son. After we had settled the case of him killing the child from Busoba, Wauswa returned and lived peacefully until one day when he led his father’s cattle and joined the boys in Manafwa.
Along the river is our grazing ground, especially when the wells around have dried up. When we go cattle grazing, there is a lot that we learn and we do; all the youthful craze takes place from that side.
We cut lutaari, we chase after girls, we fight and make off with people’s sugarcanes, jackfruits, bananas and cassava. When caught, you’re thrashed thoroughly and let go. Some of these cases don’t even reach the elders (what happens in Manafwa remains in Manafwa).
The best sport in Manafwa are the fights which normally begin with the cows and end up with the boys wrestling each other. This is a good test to one’s manliness and resilience and ability to defend himself and others around him
Wauswa boisterously came to the plains and ordered us to take care of the cows as he went to get (in real sense steal) cassava from Watika’s garden. After he had stolen and roasted the cassava, Wauswa allegedly did not put out the fire but on that day I left early because I had been asked to return home and take maize to the grinding mill which I did.
So, when we saw them come with machetes, tsilungu and big sticks, we knew that they have not come to make peace but avenge; avenge what, we did not know. They passed through our compound and without greeting, headed for Wotsomu’s home. The elderly Wotsomu surprised, rose to his feet not knowing what could be causing this particular insurrection.
As the group approached the compound, Luka the son of Shangi demanded for Wauswa. “We want him dead or alive”.
“Friends”, Wotsomu started but before he could finish was cut short by Luka who was only ready for vengeance. Wauswa had set Shangi’s farm of sugarcanes on fire and razed a good section of it to the ground.
After committing the felony, he had hurriedly returned the cows home and without taking them to the kraal, he had taken off to an unknown place. Unfortunately, he did not tell his father of what he had done.
Wotsomu asked Shangi what he can do to redeem his son and Luka demanded that they should be compensated with cows.
With his steady gaze, Wotsomu looked at Shangi to see whether a fellow elder approved of what his sons demanded but Shangi looked down.
Wotsomu summoned them to the kraal and showed them his herd which had over 40 heads of cattle. He sorted out the ones that had been gifted to his children during imbalu ceremony and then, “If this cattle will bring back what you have lost and save the life of my son who is also your son, enter the kraal and pick whichever cattle you want but leave my son alone”. As he said this, he briskly walked away leaving the Shangi and his sons with the bystanders who had come to witness the face off.
Luka who was leading the assault, directly reached for the kraal. But as he stepped forward to enter, wherever nalunyasi came from, we don’t know but it struck Luka and dashed away into the bush.
That is how powerful Wotsomu was. After all, he was the only one who had a black stone that could heal Luka. They tied the leg tightly then slithered the affected area and placed the black stone to suck out the poison.
Wotsomu had used this same tactic on Leo when he wanted to steal Leo land. Wotsomu asked Leo to take as much land as Leo wanted but Leo chickened out fearing the consequences.
When Wotsomu’s brother came home for holidays, for he was teacher, he was briefed about what had transpired. Wotsomu picked his hunting gun and thought that he would pass by the area of Wauswa’s misdeed and assess the damage. However, before Wotsomu could reach the area, word passed around that Wokomoli was coming for Shangi with a gun. By the time Wotsomu reached the burnt plantation, all villagers in Kolani had ran off and could just watch Wotsomu from the other side of the river bank.
Wauswa also ran off and never returned but Shangi was later compensated and friendship was restored!
Till then, we shall keep you posted!
THE AUTHOR, WABUYI DENIS, IS AN ACCOUNTANT BY PROFESSION. Denis writes the X-Files from the village once a week. You can find some of his past work of many years via a Google search (Denis Wabuyi, X-Files from the village).
—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: May 24, 2019 at 06:12PM