Fiction

The Subversive Immanence of the African Underwear 2020: Fiction by Jorim Alosa

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash (edited)

Why else have brutality and depravity been the core of many celebrated African stories? It appears that publishers have allotted Africa the slot for supplying the West with savage entertainment (stories about ethnic cleansing, child soldiers, human trafficking, dictatorships, rights abuses and so on). The same stereotypes Africans often claim to abhor tend to form the foundations for our literary successes.” ‘African Books for Western Eyes’ – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

 

I. IN THE NAME OF LOVE

The year was 2030, and the whole country of Africa had been plunged into uncertainty ever since its president had been mauled by roaming lions while basking in the morning sun, outside the presidential hut, a couple of days earlier. A state of emergency had been declared, and a curfew imposed. We were all required to be inside our caves by 6PM every day. Word was that president Akirisiosi was recuperating in one of the country’s top shrines, under the care of the Government of Africa’s chief medicine man, and a group of brilliant herbalists. While it was said that his condition had stabilized, earlier unconfirmed reports implied that the chief medicine man had sought the help of foreign doctors from Britain and Germany. This was worrying, especially since foreign doctors had been known to be complicit in the deaths of several previous ailing African leaders in the past. News wasn’t readily available anymore since the state of emergency had been declared. The village square where we gathered each day at 7PM to listen to the news blaring from the Chief’s radio, amplified by speakers, was now cordoned off and under guard by soldiers from the Army of the Republic of Africa, armed with bows, arrows and a rifle.

The whole country at large, and our village in particular, was in a messy situation, feeling the biting effects of the unfolding events. We were at threat of a food crisis, and the transport system risked being paralyzed; the Mawingo Express – a bus that made monthly trips to our village – had not come that month. People were on the verge of walking naked, having run out of skins to wear. The village seamstress was running on low supplies, and couldn’t repair old skins or make new skins anymore.

Akirisiosi Kagame, president of the Republic of Africa, had led quite a dramatic life, although all this seemed unknown to Wikipedia. Wikipedia, in turn, seemed unknown to us. Some said it was a kind of net, known as the internet. Others said it was actually an engine, a such-engine, or something of the sort, used by people overseas. Whatever Wikipedia was, it certainly didn’t tell the full story of Akirisiosi Kagame. Akirisiosi, born in the province of Korinth, was once told by the government’s head oracle, old man Apollo, that his own grandson would kill him one day. He had no grandson. Not even a grandchild. However, he had a daughter; the young beautiful Yocasta Viktwa Ingabire. Fearful of the oracle’s prophecy, president Akirisiosi Kagame put Yocasta Viktwa Ingabire , his daughter, under house arrest, in a luxurious cave, and allowed no one in or out. All this, so that his daughter would not bear a child. Now, what happened from there was subject to speculation. Some said that to date, Yocasta is still held captive by her father, and is still as young and beautiful. However, the version most widely held was that King Layas, from the Kingdom of Thibia, having once seen Yocasta, was bewitched by her beauty. The story went that when King Layas heard of her predicament, he arranged with his henchmen to smuggle Yocasta out of Korinth, and into Thibia. It was said that he successfully did so, married her, even got a son, and that this was the cause of the great enemity between the province of Korinth and the Kingdom of Thibia. More than once, president Akirisiosi Kagame had sought to invade Thibia, but the council of elders cautioned him against using his position as head of state to settle personal grudges.

The situation unfolding in the entire country was dire enough as it was, but what now lay before me was an even more daunting prospect to say the least. I had agreed to something that could only be described as suicidal. My mother, Merope, was beside herself with grief, and my father, Polibas, though trying to maintain a facade of strength, was broken inside. I, Idipas Pasiasi, had always been the underdog. I was born with swollen disfigured feet, though with time and age, they began to form well. Growing up, I was never good at sports, and now, at my old age of 24, was in danger of dying a bachelor. All my age mates were thinking of at least a third wife, or grandchildren. But now, opportunity had presented itself. Two things had happened; old man Patrobas Mugabe who had earlier betrothed his lovely daughter, Harare, to a white man, had had a falling out with the man and cancelled the arrangement.

Secondly, old man Patrobas Mugabe had fallen seriously ill. He was suffering from inflammation. Inflammation of the whole body. Some said it was a curse from the gods for reneging on the promise he had made to his in-law-to-be, even after receiving part of the bride price. Whatever the case was, Patrobas had promised his daughter’s hand in marriage to whoever could brave the journey across the mountains, rivers and valleys of Africa, to the hills of Thibia and into the eternal garden known as Nhaidja-Dheltah. At the middle of the garden stood a sacred tree, the Medusa, whose fruit could cure any disease. Its oily black fruit was gold that every man dreamed of. Legends told of its amazing healing abilities. It could also be a curse in the hands of an undeserving soul. It had been said to have brought fortune and misery to many in equal measure. Those who claimed to have seen the tree spoke of how many an unworthy hero had tried to climb it but remained bound to its bark, having turned to stone. That one could climb up the tree on the backs of these effigies. There were also stories of figures, frozen to stone, while on the backs of other effigies. While it definitely was a scary exploit, it seemed worth it to me. Harare, the only daughter of old man Patrobas’ tenth wife, was the most splendid maiden in the whole of Korinth. Although at 12 years she was clearly too old for a bride, her fairness easily made one overlook this. Of course, her elegance sparked resentment and jealousy among her fellow womenfolk, some claiming that she was no longer a virgin. All this didn’t matter to me. I decided to take up the challenge. Two other young men had also offered to take the treacherous journey, but had both dropped out at the last minute. The first one did so after his mother threatened to disown him if he dared bring home a bride as old as Harare was. The boy was 17. The second one dropped out after talk of how Patrobas was a wily old man who wouldn’t honour his promise got to him. Neither of those concerns worried me. It would have been quite rich of my parents to complain of Harare’s age, yet I wasn’t exactly young myself. And if old man Patrobas dared to go back on his promise, then the fruit from the Medusa would kill him.

Of course, I had to hear the promise from Patrobas himself, whereby he would take an oath, and we would seal it by smearing goat blood in our armpits. I went to his compound, and after a sumptuous meal of human kidneys of some children Korinth had captured, slaughtered and cooked, from the province of Kongo during our last raid, we got down to business. Old man Patrobas gave me his word, and I went back home satisfied, ready to embark on my long journey the following day. The dangers that lurked ahead weren’t lost on me. Even if I managed to get to the dominion of Thibia, a dominion with which we had bad blood, a place where no Korinthian had gone and come back alive, I still had to go through several hostile regions. To begin with, I had to go through Kongo. We had just recently raided them, killing hundreds of their youths, raping their women and eating their children. Neeedless to say, they wouldn’t welcome a passing Korinthian with open arms, and if they did, it would be a different kind of open arms. If I survived that, I still had to pass through the village of Cameroon. These are people who believed that the testicles of a man from Korinth gave one immortality. Traversing such a territory was going to be a hard ball to juggle.

Without thinking of the impossible terrain and other dangers, even if I finally managed to get to the garden of Nhaidja-Dheltah, it was said that the Medusa was guarded by three terrible widows known as the Gorgons. One was called Ebough, the other, Jausa, and the third, Oduduwa. They were the wives of a dead legendary chief, and never allowed anyone near the Medusa. The curfew also didn’t make things any easier. Ordinarily, it would have been most convenient to travel at night, since, in the wee hours of the morning, the main road towards the gates of Korinth was full of hyenas and other scavengers coming from the wilderness. At midday, the rivers couldn’t be crossed as crocodiles were basking, and in the afternoon, lions and cheetahs would be taking their afternoon stroll at the city centre. I decided I would violate the curfew. Interestingly, my biggest obstacle didn’t arise from fear, but rather disgust. It filled me with nausea to imagine, I, Idipas Pasiasi, would set foot on the god-forsaken soil of the land of Chad. I despised and hated the province in equal measure for the reason that they practiced inbreeding. Mother would sleep with son, father with daughter, and brother with sister. The mere thought of their lifestyle filled my soul with repulsive loathing. The following day, at nightfall, my father sat me down to bid me what he considered, might very well have been, my final farewell. He made a couple of revelations, and gave me important pieces of advice that came in handy later on. He told me how much he loved me, and also told me the same thing he told my younger brother when he was ferried to the capital city years ago to be treated for malaria by a top specialist; that I was actually his favorite. He told me how to get past the Gorgons,

“It can be done, but make no mistake my son, it is no mean feat. The one thing you have to your advantage is that the Gorgons hate each other. The only way to walk past them is to turn them against each other. The first one you’ll come across is Jausa. She lives in the north of the garden. She is welcoming, but don’t let her hospitality fool you. She’s strict to a fault, and if she senses the slightest sign of deceit on your part, she will slice off your head in an instant. When provoked, she turns wild and barbaric with fury, and knows no compassion. When you address her, pretend you don’t even know who she is. Tell her you are a weary traveler that harbors no ill will but, rather, seeks help. Tell her that you aspire to get to the Medusa but have heard of the Gorgons who never allow any one close. Continue and say that, despite all this, you have a secret arrangement with one of them, Ebough, which the other two know nothing about, and whether she would be so kind as to direct you to Ebough, who lives in the east. Jausa will be alarmed at this and will order you not to move as she rushes to Oduduwa who lives in the west, to alert her of Ebough’s treachery. You will seize this chance, and in her absence, cross over quickly to the East where Ebough lives. She’s the last fort that stands between anyone and Medusa. Her weakness is over-ambition. This is what you will tell her, ‘Oh noble Ebough, do you even know why your late husband forbade you to eat from the sacred tree, and why he made you swear never to let anyone near it? Because if you did, you would be as powerful as he was. More powerful than Jausa and Oduduwa. “With this, and her appetite aroused, she will be willing to take you to the Medusa, but before she can do it, the other two will have already arrived, furiously engaging her in combat. You will take this chance to pluck the Medusa’s fruits and flee, while they are still embroiled in their bout.”

His tone suddenly changed, from endearing to stern, as he gave a final profound warning, “Whatever you do, my son, do not, and I repeat, do not dare spite them as a whole. Divide them. Do not irk them as a single unit together, as the Gorgons, for if you do, they shall surely and suddenly set aside their differences, unite and turn their wrath on you, ensuring your downfall. They shall fall out again later, but only after they are certain of your demise. Yes, sure miserable creatures they are, these Gorgons, that only hate can bring them together, and even then, only for a while.”

My mother was inconsolable. Between bitter sobs she struggled to speak, “Gabon is a friendly kingdom to us. The chief of Tchibanga has a mobile phone. Once there, you can tell him you are from Korinth and ask him to let you use his phone. Please call Ashebi and let us know you are okay. The chief will no doubt help you.” Ashebi was Patrobas’ 5th wife and Harare’s stepmother. Ashebi’s house was the most prosperous one in Patrobas’ household. She had 5 children and 3 daughters. All her children were successful, and all her daughters had married rich. Her son lived in America and had sent her a mobile phone. She was the only one with a handset in the village.

My father then gave me his spear which had belonged to his father before him, with which I was to protect myself. He gave me a gourd full of water, a small sack full of foodstuffs, and a young adolescent boy, barely in his teens to go with. He was one of those we had captured from Kongo, and I was supposed to eat him along the way once I ran out of food. He carried along a small sack of his own which, among other things, contained a rope and a sharp knife. Tradition demanded they carry the things that would be used to slaughter them.

My mum finally spoke, “Do not be greedy. Learn to make do with the meager rations you have, and eat him only after you get to Gabon, otherwise you’ll starve along the way.”

As I and my little Kongo-man provision of a friend, walked out of my parents compound and into the dark wilderness, bracing myself for whatever lay ahead, I couldn’t shrug off an awkward feeling arising from a curious incident that had taken place right before I left. My father had seemed determined to tell me something, and from the look of it, something important. “My son, there is something you have to know before you go. Where you are going, Thibia… actually… the truth is that Layas and Yocasta are…”

He never got to say it. My mother had burst out crying at this point, and that was the end of it.

 

II. HEBREWS 13:2

Under the moonlit clear sky, looking at the silhouette of the Kongo-boy walking before me coupled up with the idea of the fate awaiting him, he cast a ghastly figure of a walking dead in my mind. I wondered whether the gods thought the same of me as they saw me walk. Just then, an aero plane flew by. Ordinarily, whenever I saw a plane, I would think of the fact that there were foreigners in the air, and how this made it literal that they were out of touch with events on the ground in Africa; they spoke ignorantly about us, thinking we were so primitive and had never even seen a mobile phone, or a vehicle, yet Ashebi had a phone, and each month, the Mawingo Express showed up. Presently, however, my mind had neither the time nor the energy to think of such things. Shortly we would be crossing the Suo. I hoped crocodiles wouldn’t be around.

The Kongo-boy would soon prove to be more trouble than he was worth. The clumsy boy, as if blind like a bat, stumbled and hit his toe on a stone hard. A closer look at his foot, and the fool was bleeding profusely. It was obvious we wouldn’t be crossing for a while. Swimming with blood trickling from your body is a sure way of attracting crocodiles. I wasn’t about to let crocodiles eat me, or even eat what I was supposed to eat later. As we waited for his blood to clot, I realized he was crying. This was amusing. I wondered how he would react when the time came for me to hit him hard on the head with a rock before slicing him up. We finally crossed over, and luckily, there were no crocodiles.

Though we had barely just embarked on the long journey, crossing the Suo was tantamount to getting the endeavor half-way done with. On the other side of the Suo, we could travel day and night. For 10 tortuous days and nights, we struggled against the unforgiving rugged geography of the course, and the cruel sweltering African sun. This period was largely uneventful, except for the time when we had to cross through Kongo. Surprisingly, in the short time he had spent locked up in the granaries of Korinth, the boy -who I later learned was called Ikemefuna- could struggle to speak a little Korin. He told me to carry his sack, and I let him carry the food. For a moment, the tables were turned, and the prey had become the predator, with me now carrying what could very well have turned out to be the instruments of my demise. However, as I would later realize, he did that to cover up for me, and make it appear like he was the captor, and I the captive. I could tell he said much to the same effect from the few lingala words I could pick whenever he spoke to any of his kinsmen that we met on the way. I said to myself; doomed to damnation is he, if he thinks that this little desperate show of amity will make me spare him. I was no fool. The only reason the little orphan did what he did was because his whole family had died in the raid, and he had no home to go back to. Killing him would be doing him a favor, so I took comfort in the fact that I would be returning the favor when killing him. All in all, my time in Kongo turned out better than I had expected, or rather, feared. We even took a breather of sorts when some of Ikemefuna’s relations hosted us for two days. So cordial and gracious hosts they were, that even the strain of having to pretend to be mute – an exercise I had to perform so as not to blurt out my Korinth heritage – was lost on me.

After 10 days of travelling, we arrived in the Kingdom of Gabon at dawn. Throughout the country of Africa, Gabon was our closest ally, and had been so for quite a while. We traded with each other, held festivals with each other, and even married each other. Back in Korinth, we said that Gabon women were the best, unlike our own insolent women. It was quite pleasant to finally be in a land where I could feel at peace. I urged Ikemefuna to hasten so that we could reach the Chief’s place before midday, and he suggested that we save our strength, for we still had a long way ahead of us. For the first time, I felt pity for him, seeing as he obviously thought he was going to leave Gabon alive.

I, with time, I had taken a liking to Ikemefuna, but I had always been awake to such a danger, and for this reason, I was sufficiently armed with enough will to protect me from any weakness arising from sympathy, that would distract me from doing whatever was necessary in accomplishing my mission. If Ikemefuna had anything to blame for his death, it would be his dullness. My rations were running out simply because I had been kind enough to share them with him. Had he any sense, he should have declined my offer so that I didn’t run out of something to eat and eventually have to eat him.

In no time, word had already gone round that there was a Korinth in the kingdom, and soon, everyone was scrambling to get the privilege of hosting us in his home. Though initially we were determined not to be distracted from our journey, we finally succumbed to the charms of a Gabonese man called Diallo. He was very hospitable, and offered us rest at his home. He had a huge household too; 15 wives, 20 children and 14 daughters. All his wives were Gabonese, and he regretted not having married a Korinthian.

“Korinthian women are the best, unlike our own insolent women.”

I told him all about my mission, and the task I had at hand. He was impressed, as he was amused, by my escapades through Kongoland. He promised to arrange with some of the area’s young men, and give me protective escort on my way back. However, when I told him about Medusa, he wasn’t supportive at all. On the contrary, he was quite heartbroken and sad for me. This is a quality I would later notice in many Gabonese. While imagining themselves to be empathetic, they would advise you against doing something for your own sake, unlike Korinthians who are to motivating to a fault; they can unknowingly lead you to danger when pushing you on and urging you to believe in yourself. When Diallo finally saw that there was no convincing me, he told me pretty much what my father had, concerning the Gorgons.

We ended up spending much longer than I had planned at our stop over. Diallo let me know that making a call at the Chief’s wasn’t as easy as I had thought. For one, the Chief only allowed 10 people to make a call per day, after which the phone had to be transported to Brazzaville town, which had electricity, for charging. This meant the earliest I could make my call was the day after the next. All this was compounded by the fact that the deadline to register as one of the 10 callers was 10 O’clock. It was 10:30. Diallo, however, informed me that this deadline issue was a problem that could be solved easily; I, being a Korinthian, could be allowed to register as an eleventh caller, and even then, get to be the first caller when the day came. I would later find out that I would have able to call even on the very same day that we arrived in Gabon, just as long as I had let the Chief know that I was from Korinth, but Diallo kept it from me just so that he could host me a day longer. All the same, I don’t hold it aganist him, especially since the time i spent there was the highlight of my stay in Gabon. He, and his sons, had the most exciting of stories. His reverence for Korinth, and Korinthians, couldn’t be overstated. From the very first moment he had seen us, Diallo had deduced what Ikemefuna was all about, and more than that, I caught him staring at the young lad with eyes full of admiration. Admiration that he, Ikemefuna, would have the honor of serving a Korinthian in his quest. Ikemefuna should have done well to hold Diallo in equal awe, because before we left, he replenished our food supplies, thus lengthening his lifespan. I now didn’t have to eat him for at least a couple more days.

The Chief was overjoyed to see us, and just like Diallo had predicted, allowed us to make our call before the rest. He feigned annoyance over the fact that we had waited for so long before going to him, and that was when I learned that we would have been able to make the call even earlier. Like all Gabonese I had met, the Chief also believed that we Korinthians all knew each other, and asked me whether I had recently seen Kalusha Bwalya, Kenneth Kaunda or Slap dee. I simply told him I had and that they were  all fine. He asked about Julia Rose, and I told him she wasn’t Korinthian.

“But Samantha Mumba is, right?”

The joke was now on me but we both laughed. I later on made my call. I told Ashebi to tell my family I was okay, and that I would soon be bringing the fruit that would save her husband. She was polite as always and wished me success and good luck.

Fully revitalized and in high spirit, we set out for the leg of our journey that would get us to the village of Cameroon; the land where I would walk while my testicles dangled in danger of being chopped off. I loved the fact that Cameroonians held us in high regard, but to such an extent that our scrotums held the fountain of eternal life, was quite worrisome a prospect for me.

About 50 kilometers on our way to Cameroon, and that was when it happened. I had just downed a few gulps of water from my gourd when, wiping some of the drops of liquid dripping from my mouth off my chin, I held out the gourd to Ikemefuna, and said it.

“Ike, care for some water?”

I immediately realized what i had done, stopped myself and began reproaching my being. Did I just call him Ike! Ike as if he’s my friend who we go out hunting together? Never mind that I was offering him water in the first place. Why should I even offer him water? Am I beginning to get mushy? I can’t afford to entertain any childish thoughts in this endeavor.

Then another thought came to me; maybe I should just slaughter him right here and now-get it over with.

With that, I grabbed the sack he was carrying from his hands, pulled out the knife inside, picked up a huge rock and roughly dragged him to a nearby bush. Now, let it be known that after I pushed him down to the ground, I wasn’t stopped by any silly feelings of sympathy, and my resolve didn’t fail me. Neither was I enfeebled by his pale eyes, drained of any hue whatsoever, nor his appalled ghoulish mask of a face; a deathly expression. No. The only reason I threw away the rock, pulled him up and put the knife back in his sack, was because killing him would have been a waste of food. Either his meat would have rotten along the way, or the food given to us by Diallo would have gone bad. I figured, we should first finish our supplies before I start with him.

Once more, the gods seemed to be with me, as what was supposed to be hostile territory, again did me no harm. As it turned out, it was the month of the holy moon in Cameroon, and they weren’t allowed to neither talk to strangers, nor even leave their houses, save for only one hour at midday. For this reason, we walked the empty pathways of Cameroon without facing a single peril.

Now, only a single stretch of land, though a large one, lay between us and Thibia, and we would have been closer had we decided to take the shorter way en route Chad. I, however, resolved not to walk through that land of incest, whose ground was soaked in dishonor, lest its disgrace seeped through my pores and corrupted the nobility of my soul. Even if the price of averting the mere proximity to the closest reaches of its defiled borders be walking a longer distance then I shall, I swore.

The stretch that separated us from Thibia was Guinea. It was going to be an enormous trek. The biggest hardship we faced in Guinea didn’t, however, arise from the strain of covering its distance, but rather, an altercation with an awful stranger we met on the way. On getting to Davlia, we came across a man on horseback, together with his henchmen, at a junction where three roads met. So obstinate and rowdy was he that he couldn’t even allow us to pass. Before we could talk more and come to an amicable solution, he all but knocked me down with his horse. In a sudden flare of temper, I struck him and he dropped dead. I pulled out my sword, and in lightning-quick swings, didn’t know what I was doing until I recovered from my euphoric frenzy; I had slain all his men. Ikemefuna, aghast at what had just happened, threw his sack away, fled in horror, and that was the last I ever saw him. I too, unrelentingly, hurried on.

 

III. WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN’T HURT YOU

After several long months of walking, I finally arrived in Thibia, fatigued, weak and starving. Relieved as I was to get there, I knew I still had a long way to get to Nhaidja-Deltah. Before I could even rest, and perhaps ask for water from any friendly Thibian, a terrifying sight stood before me. A hideous gigantic being -hard to tell whether it was male or female- stood in front of me. Its face was disfigured, its skin rough and scaly, and its nails were more of claws. It had long hair that fell on its back, and covered part of its face. I shuddered, my entire frame possessed by terror. It spoke with a hoarse voice, but I could pick out all it said, for it spoke starkly. It asked me a riddle; what walks on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon and three at night?

I couldn’t tell where I had heard that riddle before, yet I had, and knew its answer too. Before I could answer, it made as if to charge at me menacingly, and I shouted quickly,

“It is man. As a child he crawls on all fours, then walks on two feet as an adult, and finally walks with a stick in his old age.”

As if I had performed an exorcism of sorts, the man-beast scampered into the nearby bush, never to be seen again, and, as if a symbolic exchange of places, out of the bush poured tens of men, women and children. They had been hiding there, seeking refuge from the creature. Relieved and grateful, bowing at my feet and huddling before me, they told me everything. They told me how the ogre had rendered the road impassable, and terrorized Thibians for a long time. How it had killed anyone that couldn’t answer the riddle, and eaten them. How even their King, Layas, had gone far and wide, outside the gates of the kingdom in search of a solution months ago but had been murdered before he could find one, and how the widow’s -and thus Queen’s- hand in marriage had been promised to anyone who could solve the riddle and rid the kingdom of the creature. I could hardly believe my ears. I was now praying that the rumors about Yocasta having been smuggled into Thibia, and married by the king were true. Not only would I get to lay my eyes on the legendary Yocasta whose fame and praises I had heard my whole life, I would now marry her. As if all this wasn’t enough, I was to be king.

The rumors were, after all, fact. When i was taken to the palace, the woman I saw left me in utter amazement. Of course I expected Yocasta to be beautiful, and she was, but she was younger than I expected. It was as if she had never aged a single day since leaving Korinth. She spoke with grace, and moved with poise, like only one born a princess, and now a queen, could.

Seeing Yocasta changed everything. I now felt no interest or urge to push on with my pursuit any longer. However, she turned out to be a lady of honor who believed that the noblest thing a man could have is the virtue of keeping his word.

“If you promised them fruits from the Medusa, then, at the very least, push through with it. You don’t have to take the fruits back to Korinth. Once you come back with them, we can send them by DHL. After that we can get married.”

With that, motivated and anxious to get back to Yocasta, I proceeded to the sacred garden.

I played the Gorgons as I had been instructed, got the fruits, and went back to the palace in Thibia. After we arranged for the DHL delivery, Yocasta and I got married in a big ceremony.

I don’t know what befell Harare. Old man Patrobas, I’m told, has improved health wise, but old age seems to be catching up with him, and he might not have long left to live.

President Akirisiosi met a very interesting end. It’s said he was basking outside his hut when, out of nowhere, a spear from the heavens, as if flung by the gods, stabbed him in the chest, killing him instantly. My wife, despite her stormy relationship with her estranged father, was grief-stricken. She attended the state funeral, and laid him to rest.

As for me, life could not be any better. I’ve grown to love Yocasta more each day, and we’ve been blessed with two sons and two daughters. I named one of our daughters Ismene, after Ikemefuna’s home village.

Life with Yocasta has been wonderful, and has revealed to me many things that I didn’t know before, and would have probably never known. For instance, I never knew I was a gifted athlete. In a sports tournament in Seriphos, in my first try at javelin, I flung the spear so far that it got lost in the clouds!

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Don’t even be surprised to see that the next kid on the block’s monograph will bear a title like, “The Immanence of the African Underwear” (2020). Dr Evan Mwangi. Saturday Nation. Teaching African Literature in the US is a Waste of Time. April 2015.

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash (edited)

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