Scene 5 M’bobo (A snake)
Chindongwa -sweet malt mild beer.
Maviti- Derogatory term for ngoni. The word means war-like
Mchimi- is medicine man
There is a procession of women carrying clay pots on their heads with hot chindongwa inside it. The women are singing songs. They dance and sing while walking. They pass directly in front of Yalenga and Wamaka. Their singing fades as they do so.
Wamaka: There is a m’bobo near. Grab a stone. (Quickly grabs a stone and places it on her head)
Wam: (Extremely irritated) Do you know nothing? A m’bobo is a flying snake. The hot porridge in their pots is to kill it. It must be in this vicinity. In the time I’m wasting explaining, the m’bobo would have flown in to hit your head and you would have died instantly. Grab a stone!
(Yalenga grabs a stone and places it on her head.)
Yal: You are from Kaulimi? What are you doing so far from there?
Wam: One of our mothers died, so I went to give the death announcement to her family. Her family resides in Chinteche near the river Luweya. A few moons ago, the Maviti tried to invade the people there. The river Luweya has long grass that covers the river so it looks just like a field of grass but underneath there is water. The villagers know that but the Maviti did not. When the Maviti were invading the Maviti went to the other side of the river. The Maviti mistook the river covered with the grass for a field of grass and they drowned.
Yalenga: How did you kill the leopard that you are wearing?
Wam: I shot an arrow through its heart.
Yalenga: Was it attacking you?
Wamaka: It attacked one of the mothers at Kaulimi.
Yalenga: So you were in the distance and shot your arrow?
Wamaka: Yes I was in the distance. I saw the leopard attacking her.
Yalenga: So just one arrow killed it?
Wamaka: (In caustic tone) For one who doesn’t know how to hunt, you have many questions.
Yalenga: I want to learn how to use the arrow or spear or anything to defend myself. When the Ngoni attacked, I felt defenceless as I watched them snatch my family from me. I don’t want to ever feel like that again.
Wamaka: You won’t. (places her hand on Yalenga’s shoulder) Everyone at Kaulimi has to know how to protect themselves. There are many animals. And threats of war from spurned husbands whose wives have left them.
The women’s singing gets louder and louder. A snake jumps into one of the pots from a tree. The woman whose pot it went into lowers the pot to confirm its dead. The women turn back to their village. They dance and sing till they are off the stage.
Scene 6 Chikhan’gombe (A river spirit)
Surrounding a fire, both Yalenga and Wamaka are lying down. They are both eating honeycombs. There is a river in the background.
Wam: These parts are dry. They don’t have that much game.
Yal: I could eat these all day. I don’t particularly like meat. (Nibbles at the honeycomb)
Wamaka: Is that why you refused to eat the Impala yesterday?
Yalenga: Yes. I used to love meat. Of course back home we ate it sparingly for we believe animals’ lives are sacred too. (Wamaka scoffs) But now the sight of it reminds me of the Ngoni. They live for meat; aimlessly killing the game in our woods. They have no compassion for any form of life, animal or human. Eating it makes me feel like one of those murderers.
There is silence. They fall asleep. There is drumming in the background but its gets louder and louder. Yalenga rises, sleepwalking towards the river, the drums get louder and more dramatic. She is about to step into the river when Wamaka grabs her. She wakes up surprised at where she is.
Yalenga: (Confused) What am I doing here?
Wamaka: Chikhang’ombe the spirit that lives in the river calls on those born in sets. You are a twin?
Yalenga: (Still in a daze) I was going to drown?
Wamaka: Yes. I wouldn’t have made us sleep here if I had known you were a twin. I’m sorry.
Yalenga: Thank you for saving me.
Wamaka walks away from the river to where they were sleeping.
Wamaka: We should find another place to sleep.
They walk forward.
Yalenga: I dreamt about him tonight. I was dreaming my twin was calling me. We used to love playing in water.
Wamaka: What was he like?
Yalenga: He was a joker. Wherever he was there was mirth and mischief.
Wamaka: We can sleep here for tonight. It’s far enough from the river. (sits and so does Yalenga) What was his name?
Wamaka: How many siblings did you have?
Yalenga: I had five brothers. Mtheto came first. He was quiet and contemplative. He knew much about herbs. We all knew he would become the next Mchimi . Then there was Mwenecho; he was Mlumba like you. After him came, Vitumbiko; he loved drums and dancing. He would dance like one with Vimbuza. Then came me and Chimwemwe. I miss them so much (starts to cry, Wamaka embraces her)