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The Gift of Heroes By Reuben Chonzie (Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources)

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The Gift of Heroes

by

Reuben Chonzie

Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources

In the 16th century there was Chimtombela kingdom in Ishanaland where people used to live in harmony. Peace was flowing in the hearts of the inhabitants like blood, life was not a stressed stake and the people were so eventful in dancing, eating, drinking and singing different songs during traditional ceremonies. There was vast land with a few people to be given. Whenever the heavens were open, children were dancing and playing different games as the elders were harnessing the ground. The rivers were a source of joy during summer times as the birds were singing new songs each and every day. It was a time when people could understand the phonic of nature. The ground was a very good friend of man since it was always ready to receive and produce whatever people throw.

The great Chimtombela used to organize a traditional dance whenever people were supposed to have beauty contest for the daughters of the land as it was a custom on first day of every New Year. It used to be a very momentous and memorable day in our history as families were made and welcomed in our society. It was indeed a day when the great Chimtombela introduced new adults into the kingdom. It was our seventh ceremony since we moved away from living in curves and started living in thatched houses, an ideal that was introduced by the great Chimtombela the third from the time he took the throne from his father the great Chimtombela the second. It was a wonderful day that had never been before, coloured by good dances from the contending men and the beautiful ladies of Chimtombela. Some of whom were already married ended up accusing themselves for such haste for marriage because the daughters who were present in the land were too gorgeous in the eyes. I was also such a man who accused myself for my quick marriage because my eyes could not avoid gazing at those stars.

Suddenly, we heard a loud noise from outside the city. It was the noise of soldiers who had captured strangers who were about to gatecrash our party. The great Chimtombela commanded them to dance as a punishment, but to our surprise they danced more than we expected. The cloud started cheering at them more than it did with our dancers. They were showcasing a unique style of dancing that moved the hearts of spectators. The laws governing our land were very clear and straight forward, that everyone who gatecrashes our traditional ceremony must face a painful death by throwing him in a dam full of crocodiles. At the end of the ceremony everyone was waiting with keen interest to hear the fate of the gatecrashers.  Chimtombela the third was very popular for giving people the right judgement they deserved basing on the laws of the land. Immediately he rose on his usual place as he wanted to give a verdict. Then he said “the people of Chimtombela greeting to you this night, this was what we came for and this marks the end of our ceremony. Today, I present to you, new families. Please accept them as our tradition demands, but before we go home here is the verdict of the gatecrashers, you strangers you have disrespected us, you have violated the laws of this land, it is clear that everyone who gatecrashes our traditional ceremony must be thrown in the crocodile’s dam. In the land of human beings, to every principle there must be exception, because you have come in peace and you have given us a very good dance you are now part of us, you can choose ladies of your choice”. The words of the great Chimtombela was received with joy, everyone wanted them to be part of us because we knew they are going to teach us their unique style of dancing.

A week after the ceremony we were back to our usual work. It was a time for planting crops and everyone was busy with his farm. Whenever birds cry in unison we knew that a black cloud has covered Chimtombela kingdom. Soon it was rumoured that the great Chimtombela the third has died. We were all chocked upon discovering that the rumour was true. The elders of the land and the chief priest tried their best to find the roots of the death of such great man in our kingdom but their effort couldn’t hold water. The great man was no longer in the throne; he found another palace to live in silence. After the burial of the great Chimtombela, things tumbled down. It was the greatest transition we never expected. As we were waiting for Chimtombela the fourth to be appointed, the elders of the land appointed one of the strangers who were granted citizenship through dancing as a care taker king as a way of avoiding disputes. The care taker king started with a promising future, giving us hope of good things to come, but as the appointment of Chimtombela the fourth was delayed, the strangers grew wings to a point that we failed to remove them from the throne. The system of leadership changed and new laws for governing our land were introduced. We were not taught about the new laws but we only understood them when we were behind bars, it was really a time of suffering because they were taking whatever they wanted from us.

After ten years of darkness, heroes were born in our land, they had the curiosity and the zeal to take back the throne and to end our captivity. They were a pool of intelligent, clever and brave young men who were determined to bring freedom to the people of Chimtombela. They were sons and daughters of those who went into exile in the time of political transition, most of them were coming from Ishana Island a place well known with sophisticated technology. There was a big gap between us and them in terms of knowledge of freedom and a unique type of government ruled by people they were advocating. They were more civilized and their behaviours were different from ours but we were just following without asking for more clarification because our only goal was to take back the throne. One Sunday morning we gathered at a community ground, they told us what we are going to do to take back our throne. They said “ the only thing that can help us to get back the throne is to request for freedom and a government system ruled by the people, we should tell them that we are tired of being oppressed we want our throne. There is a need to fight together because it will not be easy. Brothers, some of us are going to lose their life but we should know that we are fighting for the life of our children, it will be a shame for our children to live in this kind of captivity, so let’s fight together”.

The desire was great, the expectations were high with great hope of things to come once we get the throne back, though we were not told how we were going to use freedom and the so called rule of the people as a type of government to bring back the good life we had before the strangers took control of our land. In the days of oppression and exploitation we held hands together fighting with common accord, giving all we had, and working hard the whole day in search for freedom. In our mind we had a belief that our children will have access to whatever they wanted and be able to enjoy the sophisticated science that the people of Ishana Island were boasting. They will have access to all information around the global and be able to compete at global market. We were told that freedom had a charm to bring unity and harmony among the next generation. We thought that freedom was the only thing that was needed to make the great Chimtombela kingdom a better place to be. With all the drama that is happening today, is this what we wanted? Only God knows.

The road to freedom was not a joke, it cost more that the things that you value today. It was a fight in which people fought for their children, they sacrificed the most expensive and valued resource the earth has ever produced, giving all what they had to grant freedom for the next generation. A road full of bloodshed and mourning, unity and hardworking was the pillar for our success. What you are fighting today is not freedom because by being members of the current generation you have acquired freedom by birth. For people to gain what you call freedom today they have to go through the education system, have degrees, and acquire money and high ranking positions. Finally, to start oppressing the poor and powerless people then they say they have all the freedom. Sometimes the weak require loud speakers to fight for their freedom where at the end the speakers speak louder than expected until it starts fighting for its own freedom. The poor continues to be poor and the rich man continues to be rich. All these kind of effort could not have yield anything at the Chipilazon Mountain where heroes lost their life for the freedom of Chimtombela kingdom.

The day of judgement was announced, the strangers invited their well-trained soldiers from their motherland. They were very strong soldiers with deadly weapons. The heroes told us not to be afraid and as usual they came up with a master plan, they said “brothers tomorrow is the day that the fate of Chimtombela kingdom will be decided, yes we don’t have deadly weapons as they do but we are going to smack them down. The ancestors of Chimtombela kingdom are not going to let us end at Chipilazon Mountain, we are going to get out of that mountain victorious. Tonight we are going to use the monkeys that our ancestors used during war time, they will be dressed like soldiers and they will occupy the eastern side of the mountain where we are supposed to be. The strangers will think that we are ready to attack so they will start fighting with the monkeys, then we will surround the bottom of the mountain and set it into fire. They will have nowhere to go and after a few time we will start attacking them”. The plan was welcomed with songs of joy, we were satisfied with how we were going to face the strangers at Chipilazon Mountain and our fears were gone. The strangers were the first ones to arrive at Chipilazon Mountain as expected, it did not take much time before the war started without knowing that they were fighting monkeys. We surrounded the whole mountain and set fire at the bottom, as the fire was going towards the top of the mountain the strangers were left in disarray without knowing what was hitting them. We knew it was the right time to put the last fist, so we joined the battle. We attacked them unceasingly at a close range until they failed to use their deadly weapons. At that point we thought we were going to finish them easily but to our surprise they carried on without giving up to the very end of the war. It was bloodshed war on the mountain, men of strong heart only shook their heads in agony upon seeing their fellow soldiers falling down like leaves of trees during summer times. A day that was supposed to be a day of triumph was a day of mourning because at the very end of the war we lost our heroes. It was a great loss to the people of Chimtombela kingdom. The heroes had gone without telling us how we were going to use freedom and the unique type of government they were advocating.

The Leaders of the land called for a gathering. They told us that we are going to use a type of government that the heroes were advocating using the books that they had left to us. We wondered if that will be possible since at that time only few people who have ever lived in Ishana Island were able to read the books with little understanding. Letters were sent to Ishana Island calling those who were of Chimtombela origin to come back home in order to assist in governing the kingdom. The second pool of intelligent young men from Ishana Island were very different from the first ones; they were very clever, wise, lazy, irresponsible, and strange behaviours. After new leaders were elected they started advocating for human rights. They said everyone has the right to do whatever he wants without any restriction. It was sad to see our children being misled because of freedom. People started abandoning our traditional beliefs that has kept us together for a long period of time at the expenses of modern life that came with people from Ishana Island. There was rampant corruption among people holding leadership positions. There was a widening gap between the poor and the rich and immoral behaviours formed the base of people’s mind where everything they thought was evil. The young generation lost the legacy of Chimtombela kingdom and adopted a new and strange lifestyle contrary to what we fought for at Chipilazon Mountain. We lamented the death of heroes because we knew that if they were with us they could have civilized our society and helped us understand the concept of freedom. Their death was a big blow to the future of Chimtombela kingdom, for they had gone without saying goodbye. Our failure to cope with the death of heroes and to properly use their gift led to the retarded growth of Chimtombela kingdom. At Chipilazon Mountain we wanted to bring back the better life we had before strangers took over the throne which is contrary to the drama that is happening today. Our days are gone, we don’t have the zeal and the power to correct our mistakes anymore but your life has just started, only if you can go back to the history of Chimtombela kingdom and see where things went wrong it’s when you can properly use the gift of heroes that was given to you at Chipilazon Mountain.

 

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