Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Making change happen By phebby muwowo



Once again Chibuyu was on the familiar path that connected his village to Shimunenga’s . He shouted as loudly as his voice and strength could allow him; making a full circle of the repertoire of songs, known and sang in these parts. Chibuyu’s drunken alto and uncoordinated thuds on the ground as he zigzagged along sent mice, little squirrels and harmless snakes into hiding, leaving the path clear of any traffic jams. But today, on a dark, wet February night; something was about to happen that would change his way of life ?

Chibuyu’s songs during his night staggery walk home included an array of themes; from acts of heroism and bravery to tragedy and death; from horror and despair to joy and laughter. Sometimes it was romance, comedy or ridicule.

Three particular songs were Chibuyu’s favourites: one was where he bragged about having eaten the lion’s children and how the lion had done nothing about it. The other was about those with height advantage threatening to swallow up all the dwarfs and the latter would do nothing about it. The tragic one was about an ill-fated man mauled to death by a lion. Some of the songs were metaphorical. Others however were based on true stories.

Small huts scattered at intervals along Chibuyu’s path. One would swear the people who lived there set their clocks by Chibuyu’s night routine. They would listen and probably think how any of these songs affected them or anyone they knew.

From as early as when the cows left their kraal for the pastureland, to the time of their return, Chibuyu would spend much longer imbibing the local brew called bwalwa (beer) .

Now bwalwa is a special brew made from millet or maize which has been left to soak in water and ferment over seven days. Sometimes the locals refer to it simply as “seven days”. After the seven days of being in water the maize or millet is spread out on reed mats to dry under the African sun. When it gets dry the women pound it into powder which in turn is used to brew the beer. Drinking it changes perceptions and gives transient delight.

Murmurings about Chibuyu’s behaviour had gone beyond the board


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