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Gipiir and Labongo #6

By Mugabe Victor 

Only the wind spoke as the sun scorched the savannah; torturing the ground to a deep, cracked brown. The outstretched straw like grass swayed as it announced the arrival of an overpowering despair. The rains would not come any time soon. Labongo watched it all from higher ground. His men’s eyes spoke volumes in that instant as they watched his every move. He was their last string of hope. 

“Many of you whisper prophecies. Many of you also claim to have witnessed evidence of these omens,” Labongo’s voice echoed over the crowd of hunters, “Your worry is justifiable in all regards; but it would all be worth something if it weren’t for me. Most of you have taken thousands of cattle for yourselves through exploits led by me, I have never lost a fight to any of you here, we have conquered, pillaged and looted like gods under my leadership. You have become so full and content under me; however, all I have asked in return is your respect and a mere spear. No man here bears more scars than I do in the name of your happiness. I have paid your debts, attended your weddings and no one amongst you has died in any form of retreat. So, if you want to go, go! I will not stop you, but I ask for you all to ask one more question; who am I? Who do you think I am? Am I not Labongo? Am I not the breaker of beasts? I do not yield when faced with the cruelties of this world. Instead, I scream out, I rage! And I expect any one that calls himself my brother to do the same.”

The crowd of hunters exploded into an intense roar. Fists in the air and spears stabbing the sky over and over again

Labongo watched them with a stoic stillness. It had been three days since the words of the oracle had spread amongst the men. He could not help but doubt every breath that escaped his lungs. A wild hunt in the middle of a famine? He should have known that the animals would have migrated by then. His hunters were tired, hungry and thirsty. A predicament one would not wish upon a freshly crowned ruler.

A vague illusion flashed before Labongo’s eyes for a moment; his wife, Achola, waiting at the horizon for his arrival. “I wonder what she is doing?” Labongo questioned himself before turning in for a long march. 

“ACHUU!” Achola sneezed causing her hoe to slip out of her grasp. Her friend, Adeke broke into hysterical laughter causing curious turns from the rest of the women. “What was that?” Adeke choked

“With all the gossip going about, I wouldn’t be surprised if I suffered with a cold all through the year,” 

“Maybe we could send Gipiir out to hunt down whoever is talking about you, that way he will be more useful,” she scornfully groaned.

“Oh, do not be like that. He is trying his best,”

“Well, his best is creepy,” Adeke replied, glancing in his direction, “He has been standing there for hours,” “When will your husband come back again, or did the oracle scare him into hiding”

“Do not say such things Adeke, the others might hear,”

“I heard,” a distant neighbor retorted as she drew closer.

“Me too,” another whispered.

The distant buzz from the ladies reached Gipiir’s ears as he tried to keep alert. A fair enough distraction that was bound to rapture his focus. His eyes stayed sharp, and his ears pointed for sudden movements. Nothing was to escape his sight.



What do you think?

Written by The Muchwezi

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