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TIME TRAVEL BY A UGANDAN WRITER: KUNDA.

It is 2043; James Cole has to travel back in 2015 to prevent a deadly plague. In order to fulfill this plan, he has to destroy The Arm of the 12 monkeys. However, towards their journey under the “Project Splinter” they get to witness more mysteries with a mystery of someone who has seen the end of time – The Life Witness. The Life Witness in this drama is able to witness the end of time but aims at creating a future of time not ending, the end and the beginning. He makes time his game. He is able to move in the future and the further future with ease – so he does the same in the past. I get to watch this series during the times of the pandemic. A beautiful series filled with lots of poetry and science fiction. Whilst reading the book called Kunda I am reminded of this series – 12 Monkeys.

This very book was a gift by a friend on my birthday this year, so I hold it with much reverence above all books I have bought this year. It is quite special for someone to buy me a book. I consider that a love language. This book is a unique book I have read so far this year. We are witnessing a Ugandan writer writing about time travel.

In science fiction, there is so much time travel of late. Different studios (in Hollywood) are navigating this fascinating beauty of writing about this mystery. However, science – especially Physics – is quite clear that it is impossible to time travel – many call it an impossible dream. However, Galileo often said that nature is complex mathematics. This I mean if you are unable to crack the message (or mathematics) that does not mean it is impossible. Perhaps, super extraterrestrials from different milk ways have managed to understand the maze. This is because whilst Albert Einstein was discovering his theory of relativity, many scholars wanted him to be very wrong. They wrote a passionate paper – 100 of them with a pinch of determination to show how wrong he was, however, the brilliant brain rebutted by saying if I was so wrong, they did not need 100 of them to prove me wrong. Only one was enough. Thus my argument: is it possible that one day we shall have time travel? Though Stephen Hawking posits that it is impossible for a scientist to go back into the past, the future is possible for every second spent or counted is a future possibility but concluded that time travel is impossible. For individuals of stable minds will agree with me that Hawking’s opinion about many things of science is revered in the academic world. He is a mind.

It was 4th October, Jessica, a nurse and a good friend sent her warm regards, but then told me I have a surprise for you – a book. I love being in control. I was excited though, for the first time in my life I was surprised. Be informed that a couple of days back I had shared a few books I wanted for October for anyone that wanted to offer a gift on my birthday – please, don’t ask my age. The book amongst the many I wanted to read, Kunda by Rachael A.Z. Mutabingwa was amongst the many. Coming back to the story, she (Jessica) sent me a message telling me that a rider from Mahiri books was looking for me and he had my gift. Unfortunately, I was unable to move because I was recovering from COVID-19. So, I immediately told her to receive the book on my behalf, then later I will send my boda-boda person to receive the book. The following day (5th October), we plan on the delivery. I was quite a little sickly but my young sister was graduating from nursing school, so I had to be steady for the full day and be there for her on her day. However, the book finally arrived. On opening, it was Kunda. I was caught off guard to be honest. I did not expect her to choose the book. Perhaps, what was on my mind was a little political like Kololo Hill, Crime and Punishment et al. However, I see something completely different. She outwitted me on this one.

I open the book and see her message  engraved on the book;

“Happy birthday Zziwa

Keep Writing

And Get well soon

From Jesca. K”

Jesca alias Jessica has a beautiful handwriting and a scientist – nurse to be clear. However, Jesca enjoys reading. It is quite hard to see a full time scientist enjoying the journey of books. Quite exceptional individuals. My kind of people.

I was excited for the first time in my life. I wanted to see what kind of taste she had in books. I was curious to savor and walk through the corridor of the book with great strength and encouragement to carry on. I was happy!

“It is 1975, and it is 1850” this was the first paragraph of the blurb. I am already in awe that I am reading something like Jennifer’s Kintu. That was what I was thinking – I was wrong. “The Twijuk family is trapped on the front lines of a civil war, and a terminal illness” this was the second paragraph of the blurb. I roll it again in my mind. Oh okay this is pegged in politics. Something I truly enjoy – I was right. “And” was the third paragraph that truly informed me that I am still reading on. “Kunda, the pregnant daughter of a life-witness, is torn between her love for a former pirate, and her duty as a half spirit.” This was the fourth paragraph. I again rolled the dice to predict, yes, this is a book about culture, love and betrayal. I was right. Therefore, you must know that I enjoyed the brevity of the blurb. It drew a picture of curiosity. That is how much I love a brief message. Further still, I later inquired what “Kunda” means in Runyakitara but I was both disappointed and overjoyed that the word does not exist. This is because as we praise different writers from the west for coining words, here we have a Uganda talent coining her words and names to fit her narrative. Kunda in my thinking means Love for I know that “Okukunda” is to love. This already shows how unique this book is. I thought I had read all things Ugandan until Kebirungi bought this book.

The cover itself is aesthetically appealing. There is a blend of colors – yellow is very significant. I was checking fascinating facts about why school buses in the USA are yellow and got informed that they are yellow because human beings recognize yellow easily and quickly. Definitely, this is already unique to recognize for any avid reader. Impeccable! There is a girl on the cover adorned in white, facing flowers – perhaps sunflowers, orchids, tulips and roses. Afar from the flowers, there seems like a water body – maybe a lake, looks a little wild. A sign that the book is stormy as you read on.

On opening the book, I see two different maps of a place called “Adavera”. There is a juxtaposition between these maps drawn. The most striking one to see by the reader is the presence of many trees in 1850, and a reduction of trees in 1975. This shows that we are dealing with two different civilizations. I will base my argument on the factor of population increase not deforestation. The more the number of people, the further pressure on natural resources. Malthus would argue that in his Malthusian theory of population. He would suggest both positive and negative checks. War was amongst the positive checks Malthus suggested and the author of the book executed to the fullest. War is across throughout the 1975 and 1850. There is death of people.

Throughout this book, I get to witness many themes and but the most intriguing part whilst reading this book was the role of a guiding spirit – Ttonda for the Baganda but for the people of Adavera, Muuna. Muuna the god of Adavera guides Kunda and her descendants. Muuna is the driver of all activities in this book. Swinging Kunda from one civilization to another, displaying his power. Throughout the novel, Muuna’s message is about hope that he will be available for his people and he will fight for them all, as long as they never forget to pray. Similarly, this very book plays a vital role to uplift matriarchy and how Kunda the half spirit manages to coordinate life (in 1975 a d 1850) and set her bloodline to the right course of history.

Briefly, I find this very book a unique one. Rachael is gifted and has a unique mind of her own – a rare gem. She needs to give us another book. We want to know what happens at the end of the world, as Kunda’s son treks with his great grandson at the end of the book. There was a suspenseful conclusion. I thus, also give you patches of a review to you reading this. To show you how Racheal writes, a suspenseful author.

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Written by Zziwa Zinabala (0)

Zziwa Zinabala is a poet and playwright. He has written a poetic play called The Muchwezi, The Flower and The Suitor that is being sold at a global level.

He is an M&E Specialist and a Population Scientist.

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