This book is set a 100 years from today in an African country called Zamania. Zamania has futuristic tech and a cyberpunk culture. Utawaleza is the technology free province of Zamania. The borders of Utawaleza are made of a technologically advanced fence but everything in Utawaleza is tech-free. Basically Utawaleza is set up the way precolonial Africa was. The residents of Utawaleza have chosen this life devoid of tech. This province consists of many villages containing various sub-Saharan African tribes. It is governed by a council of Elders which consists of a representative from each of the tribes in Utawaleza. Each tribe has a monarch and rules over their people but the council is the final authority.
kama-Bed made from weaved straw and wood.
kuhlehla- is extended piercing of the elobe this is distinct feature of the ngoni tribe
hadza is is a tribe
bemba- is a tribe
maganja is a tribe
Either Father was captured or he made it across the border. I peered through the leaves and branches of the tree I was hiding in. I could see the neon blue lights that made the border to my right and to my left I saw the Council' guards approaching. It was now or never. I lowered myself from the tree by stepping on branches I had used to climb. I swung my eyes to the right to check if the guards had seen me. They had not. Beyond the flickering blue lines was freedom. I dashed towards the border's gate. Father said his man would open the gate a soon as he saw me. I stood before the square of flickering green lights. I knew if I attempted to go through it, I would feel pain like fire combusting inside me. The gate was not opening. I waved my hands in the air to attract the man who controlled it. It remained sealed. I turned around, the guards were closing the space between us. They had seen me. I ran to the left, returning to the tree I had just been in. The guards walked slowly towards me. They had completely encircled me. I threw my foot at the guard closest to me. I managed to make him fall. Something hard hit me from behind. I saw black spots as I fell onto the ground.
I awoke in a dark room, with a kama and a latrine. They classified me as dangerous. Otherwise they would have put me in general population. The laceration I had got from one of the guard's arrows, which I had tied up with a piece of my clothing, had been cleaned and bandaged. The wall and door were both made of marble. There was no way I was breaking out of this prison. What are your options here girl? The council would assume I helped my father start the Ebola outbreak. I did not but I helped him destroy the plant cure; mwaluve. I was 19, they could execute me. I was a woman, maybe they would pity me and assume I helped my father under duress. Maybe I could lie that my father forced me to help him indeed. But the council was known for its perception. I pulled myself, sitting against the grey wall. Maybe there reason I was alone was because they thought I had Ebola? I could use that. But if they believed me they would kill me and burn my body. Father had immunised both of us against Ebola before he engineered the outbreak. A guard pushed a bowl of white porridge through an opening at the bottom of the door. Once the guard left I tried to push it open but it could not open from inside. The next time the guard came through I would stick one of my blades through the crevices of the opening so I could use it to escape. I scanned my lower body, it was covered in a grey robe. No blades. I didn't have the strap that usually held my blades. I was naked.
After they served me another meal, the guard threw ropes in through the little door. "Tie your hands to your back." A female voice boomed through the wall.
I did so, but loosely. She opened the door and told me to get out. I entered a corridor which was partitioned into cells like my own. There was no other guard. I got out of my straps. I was about to grab her neck when a cold blade pressed against my throat. I took a step back, my eyes straining to see the tiny thing threatening my life.
"Cute." The guard smirked, deriding my attempt. She told me to turn around this time doing the binds herself. She led me through a set of stairs. No wonder my room was dark, it was underground. I took note of the five floors she led me through, the exits and the number of guards. We left the building, then exited the fence made of tree logs. The fence was thrice my height but climbing over it would be no problem.
I was led to a much shorter building. We walked through a corridor into a large room. At the far end of it were fifty five seats. All of them filled. The elders. I bowed, as did the guard behind me. The seats were elevated and in front of them was a large table. There were over a hundred seats directly opposite the elders' chairs. I was led to the front and I sat there. A woman, with dreadlocks, dressed in a beautiful purple robe stood in front of the elders.
She introduced me as Khataza's daughter. She read my charges which were terrorism. She explained passionately that I had helped Khataza start the Ebola outbreak in Songani by destroying of mwaluve. She asked me what I pled to these charges. The guard asked me to stand. I did and I said.
"I know where the cure is. I was tasked by my father to destroy field of the cures. I told him I did. But I destroyed nine out of the ten I was required to destroy."
The woman's eyes widened and she turned to the elders. One of the elders with Bemba markings on his face leaned on the table and said. "And you will show them to us?"
"Yes your reverence," I replied, my eyes downcast. "I will show them to your agents in exchange for immunity for my crimes."
The elder's face lit up in a smile. Other elders laughed.
"Khataza's daughter for sure," An elder who had the ngoni's kumhlehla chuckled. I looked at her. Almost saying tribesman pity me. I returned my gaze to the floor not wanting to seem impudent.
"Leave us, we will mull over your suggestion," A Hadza elder said.
It was a whole day before the guard returned and pulled me out of my cell. From the frown on her face, I anticipated good news. There was no need to escape. She led me to the gate and handed me over to a tall man in the council's guard's uniform. Had they moved up my execution? What was going on? I pushed my panicked thoughts aside. I was led into the building again but this time I did not go into the large room. Instead I was led to the top floor into a smaller room. Inside it was an older man, maybe around his fifties and a boy my age. From their facial markings I knew they were manganja. I could probably take them out, if this strong guard left me with them. As soon as we entered the room, the two men got up. They both had markings on their shoulder, tiny moons. This was an elder and his protégé. The guard bowed and so did I. He led me, into the chair across from the men and he sat in the chair next to me. My eyes were on my bound wrists. I stole a glance at the protégé, his carob skin seemed to shine in the sunlight.
"I am Elder Zidana and this is my protégé Ayamba."
I nodded my head.
"The guard beside you is Nyasha."
"The council has decided to give you the deal you seek. You will bring the cure to us, in exchange for immunity for all your crimes." The Elder Zidana said.
My lips stretched into a smile. After I got my immunity, I could slip away and get Ngoza to smuggle me out of the Utawaleza. It would all work...
"If you fail, if you trick us, you will return and be executed." The elder's voice cut through my reverie.
I nodded my head slowly.
"You will go with Ayamba," The elder's hand signalled at the young man beside him. Ayamba was handsome, he must have broken a lot of hearts when he was chosen as an elder. "And Nyasha."
Nyasha got up and cut my binds with a blade.
"As this is urgent. You will leave tomorrow."
I nodded again. Ayamba stood over the table. What I initially thought were objects on the table were miniature mountains and hills. The table was a model of Utawaleza. He beaconed me to come see it.
"Where are the mwaluve?" He asked.
I chortled. "I tell you where the cure plants are, I lose my usefulness to you."
The young man furrowed his brows.
"Give us a general area." The elder said.
"It's in Utawaleza."
Ayamba's expression was still tense, I heard a low chuckle from the Elder and Nyasha.
Another guard entered with a big back slung over his huge shoulders. Ayamba sat down. The guard carefully emptied the weapons in his satchel on an adjacent table.
"I assume you will need these." Nyasha said. I scoured through the many weapons.
"I have found only one blade. I need the satchel that was confiscated from me when I was arrested." I said.
"It will be returned." The Elder said looking at the guard who had just entered. The guard nodded his head understanding the instruction.
I picked up two Ikwas."That is all."
"Okay," The elder said with a smile. "You may return to your chambers. Get enough rest, you will need it for your journey to the mysterious destination."
I had to leave the weapons in the room. Nyasha told me they would be returned to me the next day. He led me out of the room, back to the prison.
"Small, portable and effective," Father said placing an Ikwa in my hand. I turned and flung it into the tree before me. The force of the thrust jolted from my hand through my arm upto my shoulder.
Father chuckled. "Your targets will be softer than the tree." He pulled the short spear from the tree. "You know why it's called Ikwa?"
I shook my head.
Father plunged the spear near my side, then laughed at my fright.
"Because it makes the eeeeh sound when it enters a man and the 'Kwa' sound as it pulls his spirit from him." He placed the spear into my hands. I started doing the forms I had learnt when we rehearsed spear fighting.
I would give them the cure, then get my immunity after that I would find Father's smuggler Ngoza. She would ensure I got through the border and found my father. I could have asked the Council to let me cross the border but they would use me to find Father. I could not risk it.
"Your freedom must not mean a lot to you. Otherwise you would not have overslept." The guard's voice called from behind the door. I woke up. It was almost dawn. I was escorted to the washing area, allowed to bathe, then given breakfast and taken outside the prison. It was a warm morning. Nyasha led me to the front of the building we had met in the previous day. There was a cart with a canopy made of cloth. In front was the guard who brought the weapons.
"The silent man who will ensure we travel comfortably to our nameless destination is Mazaza." Nyasha said.
I greeted Mazaza and he replied.
"Here are your weapons," Nyasha said handing me my satchel. I gave Mazaza directions for that day. I entered the cart. Inside it was Ayamba. I greeted him too and he returned my greeting.
Bed made from weaved straw and wood.
Tribe found in Zambia
Tribe found in Tanzania
Tribe found in Zambia and Malawi