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A Story on the Wind

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on July 21, 2018 02:46

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This story comes from the veld and the vast open spaces of Africa. It comes from the drought-stricken bush where the first nations survived, the high plains where Bantu nomads came with their cattle, the lush lowlands from where Shaka sent his warriors marauding.

The wind sang a story of ancient war and terror, of refugees thrown up on the slopes of the Waterberg by waves of war and genocide. It sang of an old woman, crippled and half blind, and her granddaughter, remnants from the first nations of Africa. A nearby Tswana tribe, themselves fugitives, tolerated exchanged toleration for love potions and healing skills, and threw them scraps of meat when they remembered.
 
Nampti grew up singing to the plants and trees, dancing with the birds. The old woman feared for the future, but Nampti sang to the little partridge,"Hide your babies from the village boys." And the partridge told her: "The feared lion lies dead in the thorn thicket. Take his longest whisker, put it under the skin of your arm." And that night Nampti became a lioness, terrible and fearless.
 
She ranged the mountains and plains, turning away scouts of raiding armies and hunting down fat prey. In the morning, utterly girl, she fed her failing grandmother and distributed meat to the villagers. The old woman had begun to negotiate for her marriage as fifth wife to an old man, but Nampti shook her head and laughed. ‘The chief’s son, he is my choice.’
 
And at night, utterly lion, she ran to the top of the mountain range to smell the west wind, to see the distant flashes of thunder, to smell the far-off desert. There, hidden in the vastness, her children would be safe. And she brought down a massive Eland bull.

Hunters pursuing an Eland Bull

In the morning, utterly a girl, she asked the Chief’s son to help her bring home the bull. He looked at her sleekness, remembered the wealth of her gifts to the village, and assented. The skin was a fitting cover for their wedding bed.
 
But the morning after, as she danced and sang, the partridge warned: "My little sister, your man spoke to the elders. He tells them that you become a lioness at night. Take out the whisker, my sister, take it out!"
 
And Nampti laughed. That night she told her husband. "Is it not custom for the husband to rub his wife with pleasant-smelling herbs?" He took the herbs and began to rub, fearing her, and as he rubbed her arms he said: "There is a thorn in my Nampti’s arm. And you are growing hairy. Your nails are growing longer."
 
She laughed and replied: "Is it not the duty of a husband to pull the thorns from the arm of the mother of his children? Because life is starting in me."
 
The trembling husband pulled the whisker from her arm, and called in terror: "Help! I am dead! She becomes a lion!"
 
Old men burst into the wedding hut, brandishing spears and clubs, and Nampti, utterly woman, smiled sweetly. "Should a married woman and her husband be disturbed in their bed? Is he not able to protect me?" And she pulled the blanket closer around them.

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on July 21, 2018 02:46

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Source: Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - France on Wednesday sentenced two former Rwandan mayors to life in prison for genocide and crimes against...

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