Summoning the Ancestors of Zimbabwe

The drummer pounded on the taut sheet of cowhide, a troglodyte drumming a continuous rhythm that beckons the forefathers of the land. A solitudinarian whose only company is the echoes from the hollow cylinder as the reverberations harmonized with the swishing sounds of tree branches. On a hilltop, the drummer stood before a raging fire, V- chested and stark naked he waited for the ancestors to appear in a premonition.

The deity spirits appeared encircling the licking flames of the bonfire. 11 of them representing each tribe of the kingdom.” You summoned us, son of the soil, you seek answers but the writings are on the wall.” They spoke in unison. The drummer wept before them, “The people are dying, their stomachs growl with hunger, are you deaf to our wails of agony?” He dropped on his knees in a clear act of resignation. “On your feet child,” the Kalanga goddess spoke with an authoritative voice. “Evil prevails in the land without redress, a curse is coursing through the veins of this country. You sought us for answers and we will cosset because only you remembered the role of the ancestors in predetermining the course of events. Throw the bones in your hand on the ground” She commanded. The drummer hesitated in stupor, realizing that his left hand clasped a bunch of clean white bones. He threw the bones, and blood started to seep out of the soil around the bones. In unison, they spoke, ” Evil has been reborn and made flesh, it walks on the soil of the kingdom in the form of neo-imperialism. The lashes of a whip at the hand of a foreigner are tolerable than the merciless despotic arrogance of your own brother. It is an orchestrated fate, for a brother of the skin, can not rule with hands stained by the blood of his own people.” They stepped into the inferno and the flames of the bonfire rose higher forming a shape of a man.

“The tribe of Mzilikazi enclaves vengeful souls, the wrath of their vindication has only touched the hem of the kingdom. The country is nothing but a ghost of its former grandeur. Until the author of the Nguni blood bath bows down before his repercussions the land will burn just as I burn in this inferno.” The fire spoke with fury that sent shivers down the drummer’s spine. “How do we appease thee?” He asked with desperation and he continued, ” Men, women, and children were wiped out by Cholera, swallowed by a violent rotating windstorm, murdered in broad daylight, raped by hell hounds of the law, crawling in poverty, surely we are already burning in the fire you speak of.” The drummer lamented. A man walked out of the fire, his eyes reflected torment and pain that was almost tangible. He walked to the drummer and held him by the shoulders, ” I Chaminuka cries with the people, I feel their pain a hundredfold. The blood on the hands can not be washed away, a soul for a soul is the balance of this realm. Appeasement comes from giving the chair to its rightful owner and compensate for the death of the innocent. Even that is not enough but its a start. The ancestors have turned their backs on you but, I Chaminuka, I am weak because I am filled with compassion. The land needs to return to its glory. Until we meet again.”

The drummer startled from his trance, alone, cold and suddenly aware of his own nudity. He quickly took his clothes that were hanging on a tree bunch and hastily put them on. He picked his drum and began to descend from the hill riding on a glimmer of hope. One ancestor had compassion. That was enough, enough to revive some sort of optimism. Just maybe… maybe Zimbabwe can be restored to its former glory.

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