Fiction: Bantusland

April 8, 2016 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

By

Nixon Mateulah

It is not always a good-hearted man and woman that give birth to good-hearted children, and vice-versa. A long time ago, in the southern tip of Africa, a very good-hearted couple gave birth to a very good-hearted and God fearing son that changed his people’s life forever and became the darling of the world.

Apheid and his wife, Dompussy were much hated people in the land of Bantusland. When Apheid became the king of this land hardly did he know that a son of the soil would overthrow him one day from his devilish rule. Apheid loved very much his children born from his white wife, so much so that he erected a boundary in 1950 between the children born from his white wife and African children so that the latter would not contaminate his white children with Bantus’ brain.

Apheid was a very wicked king worse than King Nebuchadnezzar, Hitler, Saddam Hussein or our own Idi Amin. He hated African people with a passion and his wife was very strict and monitored the movement of African people around the clock. He overworked them and paid them wine so they would fight amongst themselves and have no sense of direction in their own land. He denied them education and life skills. He tried at all costs to kill their mind and thinking. But some good white people sneaked out from their comfort zone with books and taught some blacks who were very quick to learn.

Moses Motsamayi, tall, benign and once a pugilist emerged a very gifted scholar and quickly imbibed all white man’s books given to him and, when he finished, begged for more.

Within a short space of time, his head sprouted with wisdom and valour; he stood up and attacked the king’s ungodly rule. He vowed to die for truth and justice. He orchestrated for swift action to oust Apheid from power. His voice quaked the length and breadth of the whole world. That same night, a secret police came to his house and arrested him and his colleagues, and threw them into an inescapable dungeon and threw the keys to their cells into the sea.

Twenty and some years later, after Apheid could not withstand the outcry of the world for the release of Mahatma Moses Motsamayi, Apheid willy-nilly and reluctantly released him. The Bantusland shook with an earthquake of celebrations that spilled over to the neighbouring kingdoms. And on this day many people wanted to drive away the white people to where they came from.

But Mahatma Moses Motsamayi appealed for calm and reconciliation. Many people were unhappy. One could evidently see on their drooped and alienated faces that bespoke of revenge. An eye for an eye!

‘We cannot right the wrong by another wrong!’ cried Motsamayi, waving a feast of triumph in the air, ‘love is the only weapon that an assailant fears when a would be victim produces it with a smiling face as his only weapon.’

People were silent. Some shook their heads in annoyance.

‘This is not heaven! Heaven laws do not apply in this world! We cannot forgive them, never! They must go!’ cried another man in a falsified guttural intonation. Then he started coughing like a whooping cough invalid, tears soaking his cheeks, his eyes puffy. He kept on shoving his club like a stick in the air.

‘They killed our comrades, brothers and sisters that we cannot name them all: young Bester Peterson, Solomon Mashego, Christopher Honey and Stephen Bick, et cetera! They took away our livelihood, land and put us away from towns’ amenities, and now you say we must love them! Have you forgotten Halfvalley massacre? 1976 Uprising? Aikhona man!’ cried a voice above the people’s hissing, hustling and jeering.

Osalora!’ cried a foreign national from Nyasaland.

And then a silence followed for a moment before Mahatma Motsamayi wiped sweat from his face with a proffered hanky by his assistant and harangued:

‘This is your time; show them that we are not like them. We are humane people, real people! People of God!’ cried Motsamayi. There was pushing and shoving amongst the people trying to reach the podium and take a hand of Motsamayi.

‘So, what are you going to do for us?’ chanted the people.

‘This is your country now and we are a rainbow nation, united in diversity. You are free, but we must hurry; we are far back from the rest of the world, to change this country to suit us. Our government shall build you decent houses. No school or university shall be for white people only or priviledged people. We are all one now! White, black, coloured, Indian, Chinese and all our brothers and sisters from other countries who went through thick and thin with us shall all have ID books!’ said Motsamayi, his face drenched in sweat, an attendant giving him a handkerchief to wipe off the beads of sweat on his forehead.

‘But, you can’t give ID books to foreigners. Do you want to sell this country? We suffered a lot! If anything, it is their time to leave now and leave us enjoy our hard fought freedom!’ hollered a woman who was breastfeeding a baby, but drew out both of her breasts and a child ravenously sucked from one breast to another at random like a maniac.

‘Ewe! Ewe! Ewe!’  chanted the people. It became like a song and soon thundered through the concourse and shook Motsamayi, who was now drinking water to loosen his throat.

‘Listen people! We did not fight this battle alone! Where was our party’s headquarters?’ asked Motsamayi.

‘Northern Rhodesia!’ They chorused.

‘Our brothers came from Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Portuguese East Africa to work in the mines. These people helped to build this country! Can’t we do them a small thank you?’

‘But no IDs! These people have their own countries wherein their people need them. We don’t need them! They have brought drugs and all iniquities in this land!’ cried one madala in black overcoat his whole body shaking as if the words that came from his mouth were weighty and belittling him.

‘Ewe! Ewe! Ewe!’ they chanted.

‘Silence please!’ cried Motsamayi.

Silence reigned for a moment.

‘Lastly, remember I shall never always be with you. I have done my part. You must do your good part. God could call me anytime. Other leaders will come after me: good and bad. But you should be very quick to notice the bad one and remove him quickly. But one leader with vision and wisdom shall come; he shall come to untie all the African people with vision to develop Africa. Many of you shall not like him because of his selflessness and love not only for his country but the whole African continent. His African renaissance philosophy shall anger the West. He shall fight the scourge of corruption that is killing Africa. He shall be in and out of this country to conferences to mobilize and drum up support for realization of this Africa prosperity dream. All these foreign brothers and sisters shall go back to their now peaceful and prosperous countries and you shall be left alone as you have always wanted, but in the long run you shall miss them greatly. If you would not like this leader and choose your own amongst yourself remember always: do not let other people do things for you things that you can do yourself!’

Motsamayi stepped down from the podium by assistance of his ever beautiful, smiling new wife, Grace Machelo from neighbouring kingdom, Portuguese East Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nixon Mateulah

Nixon Mateulah was born in Lilongwe, Malawi. He moved to South Africa in 1996. His short stories have appeared in Storymoja, Jungle Jim Magazine and many of his poems have appeared in Munyori, Aerodrome, Kalahari Review, Stanzas Magazine under the pen name, Chichichapatile Mangochi. His debut novel, A Test of Time will be out sometime this year. His play, The Beggars Forum was longlisted for 2013 SCrIBE Scriptwriting Competition and is currently working on his second novel, The Death of the Sun, hopefully to be completed by end of this year.

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