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African Son (Chapter 4) by Jurgen Namupira Troy

Read the previous chapter here.

 

After independence, as a part of compensating his father’s death, Masimba received a portion of land. Wherever his spirit was, Mr Tembo rejoiced for he died for a good cause. His family now had a greater portion to farm and would produce more.

 

Masimba was a hard working man. Those times when other men were busy drinking chibuku by the beer hall he would be doing the rounds inspecting his field. He did not wait for the heavens to open up on the earth so that he would start tilling the land. He worked the land year in year out. The plot that he got had been equipped with an irrigation system and he also inherited a tractor together with some light equipment. At first he did not know how to operate the complicated machinery but as time moved on he learnt how to move the white men’s invention.

 

One dear morning Masimba woke up and marched around his field appreciating his dense green field. He was growing wonderful maize crops which promised a bumper harvest. Instantly he remembered that he has to buy some additional bags of fertilizer to supplement those he had gotten from the farmers input program where outstanding farmers got aid every farming season.

 

For five years now Masimba had been the best producer in the Mhondoro district. Every harvest season the local grain marketing board had to reserve him a special silo which he would feed his produce alone. On top of the payment for his produce he received grants also. With this inflow of funds Masimba was able to send Chipo and Chenai, his young sisters, to school.

 

*****

 

As he strode past the tavern one of the old chaps called out to him.

 

“Hey young Tembo, come over here.” shouted the old madala with an almost empty front line except two bronze like teeth, one at the top and the other on the bottom.

 

“See him walk with great confidence, the spitting image of his father. The son of a man who died for a reasonable cause. The father died for the soil and today the son works the soil tirelessly. Look at him, a man of virtue. He has achieved what his father did not achieve. Boasting because he has earned the esteem but humble he remains. This is the true African son who never loses Ubuntu because of the achievements he has made.” The old man went on with his appraisal and the others whistled lightly as he approached them.

 

Humble as always, Masimba put his tough hands together and knelt on one knee before the old chaps who were enjoying their chibuku. He ran off with his own chants,

 

“Respectable elders of the village, our fountains of knowledge, your words of wisdom are a pillar that holds our humility. You decide to withhold your knowledge from us and we perish out of ignorance. Who can we run to when our knowledge hits a dead end? None there is to show us the right path to pursue. Your presence is appreciated and your absence is greatly felt for there will be a vacuum that can never be replaced. I greet you all.”

He began to clap his hands in respect making a hollow sound and the old men smiled with their heads nodding in sync.

 

Their approval of his appraisal was followed by his call to the bar lady. “Vatete add one more crate of chibuku and let the great men enjoy their day.” He said as he rose to his feet and reached for his pocket. He brought out his wallet and flashed a few notes to the bar lady and bid the old chaps farewell as he continued with his initial journey. He marched in his gumboots towards the Cheziya agriculture supply store.

 

A few days later he learnt that someone had been planning to take over his farm. A good friend of his from the district administrators passed by his home and gave him an insight of the intended act by the DA and his friend from the city.

 

“I happened to eavesdrop when they were discussing the dispossession issue in his office,” said Tapera.

 

“So Tapera you mean to say the DA wants to dispose my land, the one I have passionately developed over the years, to some stranger who has no idea of where I am coming from with it? They do not even understand that my father joined Nehanda and Kaguvi for this land’s sake.” Masimba’s voice was growing emotional and tense but as a man he had to contain his pain inside.

 

Tapera bid him good luck as he left Masimba’s compound and he said his last words;

 

“I envy your hard work Masimba so I could not afford to keep this inside my heart. I had to warn you before they gather more force so you have a heads up.”

 

“I appreciate your word old friend. Please go well, I will be in touch.”

 

To be continued…

 

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