Mwenembe (name of a huge snake deity and the mountain he resides on) Scene 7
It's raining heavily. There is lightning and thunder. There is a setting of trees. The branches of the trees are facing the same direction.
Wam: Mwenembe is here.
Yal: How can you tell?
Wam: The trees (pointing at the trees) they are facing the mountain. He has just returned. And this storm…someone must have angered him. We should find a cave. This storm will probably last till morning. I was hoping to avoid Mwenembe’s return, this means that we can’t hunt game anywhere near the mountain. If we hadn’t stopped at Gogo Nyauzembe’s hut we would have been here before he returned.
Yal: Surely stopping at Nyauzembe’s hut did not delay us significantly.
Wam: (Infuriated) It did, between staying in her hut after doing her chores and the slow pace I had to use because of the snake bite: we wasted two suns!
Yal: Well I’m glad we stopped I was exhausted from all that walking. You will have to do without your precious meat Ulumba.
Wamaka, annoyed, ignores Yalenga’s last remark. A procession of men carrying spears is running in the rain. They are running in Wamaka and Yalenga’s direction. Wamaka grabs Yalenga’s hand and drags her away from the path they are on into the bush. They enter a cave. The men do not see them. They continue running and miming the action of stabbing.
Yalenga: He is wounded!
Lights switch off and on. Yalenga and Wamaka are rubbing his wounds with herbs.
Wam: What happened to you?
Yal: Wamaka! He is too weak to speak.
Nengezwayo: I can speak. Thank you for your kindness. Someone killed an animal on the mountain and then this storm started. Apparently, when Mwenembe returns you are not allowed to kill animals from the mountain. The angry villagers traced the culprit, a foreign warrior, who had no knowledge of the ferocious Mwenembe. In their anger, they found me and beat me up. They were going to sacrifice me too. I escaped and have been in this cave since.
Yalenga: That’s so cruel. If they found the culprit why did they want to kill innocent people as well?
Wam: Mwenembe has his father’s sadism; sometimes he wants more than one sacrifice to appease his anger. The villagers must have taken you because you are a foreigner. Yalenga can you help me get more herbs?
They go outside the cave.
Wamaka: Let’s leave him.
Yal: He is wounded.
Wam: We have washed his wounds. He should be better in a few suns’ time.
Yalenga: What about food and water? Who will fetch those for him? Let’s leave next sunrise at least then he will be better.
Wam: I don’t know about you but I don’t intend to spend this whole moon travelling to Kaulimi! It’s half day we can cover substantial distance before nightfall.
Yal: If you want to go, go, I will trace my own way to Kaulimi at sunrise.
Yalenga disappears into the cave. Wamaka stands outside the cave looking confused. Then disappears into the cave as well.
Scene 8 Muwawane (A herb)
Muhlehla- An extended hollow created on the ear done by the ngoni.
The curtain opens. Sounds of a new day are heard; birds chirping. Nengezwayo walks outside the cave to where Yalenga and Wamaka are.
Nengezwayo: Thank you for your help.
Yal: Where are you going? The herbs we rubbed in your wounds are powerful but they haven’t healed you completely.
Nengezwayo: At sundown those savages will sacrifice my brother to Mwenembe.
Wam: It was your brother who killed the animal?
Nenge:(nods his head) I have to rescue him. He didn’t know.
Wam: But if you do, Mwenembe will not be appeased. He will grow angrier and the village will have to sacrifice a lot of innocent people to appease him. Your brother is guilty. He must pay for his misdeed.
Nenge: He did not know.
Wam: That’s his problem don’t make it the village’s problem.
Yal: You are weak. Allow me to get you Muwawane. It’s a herb that gives whoever eats it the strength of ten men.
Wam: You are helping him?
Yal: His brother is innocent. He didn’t know about Mwenembe.
Wam: So you would rather have innocent people pay for his mistake.
Yal: I don’t have time to argue with you.
Yalenga walks into the cave and returns with the herb. She gives it to Nengezwayo who chews it.
Nenge: You are kind.
He walks out of the cave.
Wam: (infuriated) How could you do this? Now the storm won’t stop. The villagers will have to sacrifice many innocent victims to sate Mwenembe. And even then the storm might not stop, because the guilty has escaped!
Yal: (In a calm voice) Come with me.
She leads Wamaka outside the cave where Nengezwayo is falling to the ground in the distance.
Yal: Muwawane gives whoever takes it temporary paralysis. He should be able to walk by sun down. Let’s go get him and drag him to the cave. I knew he was Ngoni when I saw his ear when we were rubbing his wounds with herbs. He has muhlehla The Ngoni are stubborn and selfish. They have no respect for life. I knew he would go to rescue his brother even at the cost of many lives.
Wam: When did you get the herb?
Yal: Last night when we were fetching herbs for him. I thought maybe we could use it on the Kuwuna.
Wam: That was clever. I’m impressed.
Yal: (smiling) You underestimate me.
Wam: Do you blame me? You don’t seem to know a lot.
Yalenga: Knowledge is contextual; in some contexts I may know nothing but in some contexts I know a lot.
Yalenga and Wamaka drag the man to the cave.
Yal: (to Nengezwayo who is still partly conscious) I’m sorry I tricked you. I hope your brother dies a painless death.
They go outside the cave. They push a big stone towards the cave.
Wam: If you knew he was Ngoni why did you help him?
Yal: Because he is human too.
They close the cave’s entrance with a stone. They then walk till they are off stage.
What did you think of this episode? Please comment or vote.
Also next week’s post will contain a little more backstory on Wamaka.