The Tragic apologue of the poor rainfall in Namibia.

  • Added:
    Sep 04, 2012
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In the time when Mother Earth was but a young infant, Africa was divided into six regions. These regions were ruled by the six siblings born from the son and moon. The offspring were blessed with monumental powers and wisdom, as well as being armed with the fire of the sun and eternal glow of the moon. Our story takes place in the region of Go!aba, meaning ‘Fertile abode’ in Kikuyu, the native language. It is known as Namibia in modern times.

The almighty ruler of Go!aba was Ngai, emperor of rain. Being the emperor of rain he made Go!aba a prosperous and tropical abode, housing many species of endemic fauna and flora .Ngai was an exceptionally strong immortal, with muscles as firm as the unyielding rocks which rough sea waves hurl against and skin the darkest, smoothest ebony. He had a kind, kindred disposition but his fuse was easily blown. He was a man of unparalleled wisdom and taught his people, the Kikuyus, the art of fortune-telling. Ngai was a fierce warrior and armed with his assagai (a deadly spear) and kettie(a slingshot) there were few who could best him. Ngai had everything any mortal or immortal could want, except for a maiden…

One day while Ngai was exploring the remote southern jungles of Go!aba, he came across a waterfall where he beheld the fairest lass he had ever seen, washing her golden locks. He nervously approached her and as he got close enough to smell her sweet floral scent, he heard her sniff and saw tears running down her cheeks. Ngai’s confusion was answered when he turned around and saw a snake-like creature with the head of a horse. The Inkanyaba.

“Sshe issth mine”, it hissed venomously in its mother tongue, Sith. Ngai instinctively grasped his assegai and flung it toward the oncoming serpentine grotesquerie. The spear nestled snugly in the soft flesh of the monster’s head. The abomination moaned but continued its murderous pursuit. Ngai took a double-sided, poisoned wood chip and loaded it into his kettie. He yanked it back and let loose. The projectile sliced right through the Inkanyaba’s eye and carried on slicing through it’s grey matter before finally exfiltrating through the cranium, In true David and Goliath style. (although that battle had not yet taken place) the creature slumped back in the water, dead.

The fair maiden looked even more beautiful and entrancing with a smile on her angelic face and a gleam in those lustrous eyes. She embraced her saviour and Ngai, whose judgement was completely clouded with unrelenting love, asked her to be his spouse. With no demurral whatsoever, she agreed. It immediately started raining and for ten days and ten nights heaven’s sluices were left open.

Ngai and his wife, MajiMaji, were married for a meagre ninety-four happy years, when one fine day Ngai went spear hunting with his Kikuyu warriors.  They came across a foreboding cave and the warriors warned Ngai that local shamans believed an evil spirit dwelled in the depths of that cave.  The almighty ruler of Go!aba saw this as a challenge and entered the gloomy grotto.

The stench of guano was thick in the air but there was also another scent: the bitter, rank stench of ….. Evil. Ngai heard it before he saw it. The heinous hyena-like howl of the infamous urban legend, the Tokoloshe!  The abomination was but four feet tall but made up for its height by its appalling features. Coarse hairs covered its pink blemished skin. With his mangled fingers, deformed face and calcium starved horns, he was the virtual definition of the devil. Ngai recoiled with repugnance and dropped his assegai in the process. With a high shriek the Tokoloshe lurched toward him. Ngai theatrically dove left and retreated deeper into the cave where he saw a luminous red glow appearing from the cave’s hearth. Upon reaching the glow,  he saw that he was standing on the cliff of a magma river. Once again the Tokoloshe chased after him and as it was about to throw itself at the helpless victim, Ngai jumped sideways. The Tokoloshe fell down the cliff, screaming hoarsely until he met his fiery doom.

There was great celebration at the village when Ngai returned with the news of the Tokoloshe’s death. Suddenly a great black cloud appeared and an opaque beam shot out of the cloud’s dark centre. After it had disappeared it revealed an old lady with a black veil shielding her eyes. “Feebleminded Immortal, I am the awe inspiring sorcerer, Abonsam! You have smitten both my offspring in you realm and will pay for your trivial acts! Your beloved will metamorphasise and from fauna she shall become flora. She will grow once a year before she returns to the soil.” Ngai’s vision shot toward his spouse and incredulously, before his eyes, she began to change. In the end she was only seeds which were graciously wisped away by the wind.

Ngai mourned inconsolably for weeks while his powers of rain and fertility were insidiously drying up until, in the end, it was buried beneath the weight of his heavy heart. That is why the Namibia of today is a land of dry savannah and inhospitable desert. Although once a year the Aloe MajiMaji grows and Ngai is reunited with his eternal lover. For the duration of the plant’s life cycle, Namibia will receive rain and become fecund, like Go!aba millennia before.

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