Tell The Nations (7)

Tell The Nations 7: My autobiography I worked on for over 15 years, came off the press last July. Here, I write of my background and my world view.

Tell The Nations

Tell The Nations (7)

 

CHAPTER 4

SAKILA SONGS

In African proverb says “Wimbo huja ngomani.” Direct translation “A song comes while dancers are dancing.” This means that: Move on, and face whatever, you will find out what to do on the scene.A This African slogan comes out of experience. From African point of view, singing shouldn’t come out of proper preparations, song books… brochures…But should be born out of dancing activities.

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Singing spontaneously is the way of life, in terms of African creed and culture.

* * *
Sakila singers danced and sang spontaneously when I was growing up. They didn’t practice their dances or their songs ahead of time. They were not actors or actresses. Whatever they did, they performed from the bottom of their hearts. They sang songs born out of feelings and experiences of what happened, and of what was going to take place. All the songs were story-telling songs. Songs were unwritten songs, and, singers were to sing with no instruments or song books.There were songs telling that warriors were back with the cattle: The cattle that were stolen by Maasai warriors, and be brought back by Meru warriors. Other songs would be about, weddings, warnings, wars, ethics.

* * *
Apart from these, there were songs, which were not after serious issues. These were the songs to be sung basically for fun. One which was famous in those days goes;”… Kyikombe kya shai – Nsero…!” ”Kyikombe kya shai – Sambura…! (A cup of tea…guy! A cup of tea…girl! ).
Most of their songs were rhythmic syncopated songs. There was no need of pens or papers. Men and women danced and sang spontaneously.

* * *
Contrary to western entertainers, singers didn’t sing for money. They sang for pleasure: Not for business.

* * *
Sakila Hill is the trade mark of the village: The village name: Sakila is from the warrior who was speared and died on the slopes the hill: Sakila. Our ancestors tell the story of how he arrived from some where east with his army and confronted the army of the enemy on the foot of the hill. Here they fought and when he died, the rest of his army ran to settle on the slopes of mount. Meru.

* * *
I was a cattle herder of my father until at the age of eight years when I started my bush school then standard one in the same year.
After four years of my Primary school education I was selected as one of five who passed their examination to start: Middle School at Makumira Middle School. While at Makumira I dreamed of being somebody and of doing things, but not at my place of birth: Sakila. Little did I know that God had plans for me to start: From Sakila to the nations – The nations of the Universe. Whatever I do around the World today the genesis is from my place of birth: Sakila. Paradoxically: Here is where I began to preach – teach – instruct – lead and acquire heart of preaching, counselling, travelling….

* * *
Sakila is one of over 85 registered villages of Meru-land in the northern part of Tanzania. There are villagers who still call the village – Ulukusare. The name came from Maasai warrior, Lekusare, who declared the war against Meru people – Wameru, better known as `Varwa.` who speaks `Kirwa.` He walked from Leguruki to Momella area and slaughtered an oxen before the fight. But Wameru warriors emerged in the bush and fought his army before they were ready. Lekusare was injured one of his feet after he was speared by the warrior known as: Kishong`u. He walked miserably back to where he came.
Here is where I was born and raised – Here is where I started the school – Here is where I took care of my father`s cattle. Yes. Here is where I was called to start my mission: Sakila was as my universe. Yes! My World view before I knew the World.

Cover photo of Tell The Nations by Nixon Issangya

Tell The Nations (6)

Tell The Nations 6 : My autobiography I worked on for over 15 years, came off the press last July. Here, I write of my background and my world view.

Tell The Nations

Tell The Nations (6)

 

My mother passed away and I remained with my grandmother. My grandmother, my mother’s mother was a very old lady, but young in her spirit. She was not aware of her age, and she didn’t bother herself about that. She was on the same category, as that of my father and my mother. None of them had been in school. …
My child’s memory concerning my grandmother was that, she had a strong will. Besides that, she was a peace-maker. Numerous times I witnessed her being pushed, while standing between two people who were quarreling. As a small boy I was worried about her, assuming that she might be knocked on the ground. That never happened. No. Perhaps they feared to push her all the way because of ethics of ethnical culture that, that would cause curse on them. My grandmother was my educator. She taught me numerous, Meru parables and tales. Most of the nights we gathered surrounding her ready to hear bed stories. She was our story – teller. Her oral education laid foundation for my books education.

* * *
Relationship with my grandmother was fantastic, until when she passed away. This happened when I was in standard three. That day I had walked back from school and found a crowd at our home. I was overwhelmed when they informed me that she had died. I sat down, still in my khaki’s school uniform, and cried terribly. “Let the boy cry!” I still recall what one of the mothers suggested. From that era, I was not sure of what my life would be like. Here I was half orphan without a mother or a grandmother. From there, I remained with my father and my two half-mothers; the second wife and the fourth wife of my father. My half mothers cared for me, and my father played his role as the strong support of the family.

Nyandoi and Nkaremu were my half-mothers who entertained me regularly. According to Meru customs, they were obliged to take care of me as their own son. However, time after time I felt that something was missing. I missed my mother. My father’s characteristic was that of a leader. No wonder they elected him as a clan’s leader at one time. His administration kept the family of four wives together. He occupied hundreds of acres of land. Meanwhile, most of them were bushes. We witnessed wild beasts in those bushes on regular basis. As a peasant my father was a provider. He organized for us to grow our own food. We grew maize, millet, beans, bananas, coffee, etc. Apart from being a provider, he was a tough, serious hero. On one occasion he killed a rhino by using his spear. His comrades talked about the episode endlessly. He was the first person to buy an old tractor at the village. His “Fordson Major” caused many at the village, to claim that our family was rich. If we were rich, how come I put on my first pair of shoes at the age of fourteen?

* * *
Needless to say of how I put on: Urubeka: That piece of clothing for all those years.

To Be Continued

Cover photo of Tell The Nations by Nixon Issangya

Tell The Nations (5)

Tell The Nations 5 : My autobiography I worked on for over 15 years, came off the press last July. Here, I write of my background and my world view.

Tell The Nations

Tell The Nations (5)

CHAPTER 3

WHERE I WAS BORN

I was born, as I was told: Not around doctors or nurses. My mother delivered me in a thatched roof and muddy walls African hut. At my village at that time, all homes were nothing but simply made shelters. I Please! Don’t ever ask me of my date of birth. I have no idea. Nevertheless, I am convinced that I was born one day out of, 395-6 days, of the year: during one of the twelve months, in a certain year. Who cares of the specific dates of births or deaths? Both of my parents didn’t. What bothered them was to raise me with proper parenthood. They imparted to me ethics and integrity of their ethnicity.
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* * *
My parents were pagans, but decent people. The day I decided to join the church, my father offered me his blessings. Both of my parents were humanized humans.
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* * *
Shakaiya or Malive: My father was born and raised in Akeri, Meru. He was young half-brother to Man’na. His father Selembo who happened to be my grandfather was born in Akeri: Son of Munri known as Ujeka or Issangya. Munri was brother to Lengowa, Meeko and Nana. Munri my great-grandfather, was son of Lekeshua known as Sauni or Swai who left his brother Mwesa in Machame and emigrated in Nsorongo: Meru.

Nkasiyoi or Nawasari: My mother, daughter of Kumari Kaaya was born in Akeri, Meru. My memory of my mother is meager. She passed away when I was six years old. But I recall memorable memories about her. She was the third of four wives of my father and she raised five of her children. We were three boys and two girls. Her first daughter passed away as an infant, so we remained four of us. As far as I can remember, my mother was motherly kind of a lady. She loved children, whether hers or not. To pinpoint, I will highlight how she wanted me to treat my fellow kids. One day I walked home together with my fellow child, from our childish trips. At the moment I was extremely hungry. At my arrival my mother welcomed both of us. She served us delicious Meru dish, nswa

She handed to me a wooden bowl filled of meal, expecting me to share my food with my fellow child. I received, but my plan was to consume my mother’s food by myself. I took one time to my mouth and before I repeated my mother suggested to me “Pass to the other child.” “No.” I replied as I shook my small head. “Why?” My mother demanded. “He refused to share with me his food previously.” I stood by an excuse. “He is hungry,” she stated while disagreeing with me. She insisted that I should share my food, but I protested, and finally one of us won. I don’t recall who did.
To Be Continued

Cover photo of Tell The Nations by Nixon Issangya

Tell The Nations (4)

Tell The Nations 4: My autobiography I worked on for over 15 years, came off the press last July. Here, I write of my background and my world view.

Tell The Nations

Tell The Nations (4)

 
Sakila savannah was a peculiar place, in terms of nature. Everything grew wildly. There was no need of planting beautiful, green plants, or growing flowers. We only waited until after the heavy rainy season, then we could glance to green colour wild plants, and various colours of beautiful flowers.
Dangerous bees and colourful butterflies scattered all over the flowers. The rainy season also produced the lake, which lasted temporarily. During the dry season, the entire savannah was dry and dusty.
The temporal lake, which rested at the centre of savannah, was the centre of attention. We boys practiced swimming, and both; people and the cattle drank from the same water. People had to battle against frogs while fetching the water.
Above all, the lake covered partially by masasanja swamps, was the home of flamingo and various birds.
 

* * *
Here is where birds sang from twilight, all day long. Here is where frogs screamed from sunset, all night. And snakes sneaked, from bush, day and night.
 

* * *
To the northwest, stood Sakila Hill and behind it one could view the peak of, mount Meru from the distance. To the north rested the dark, dangerous forest, where time after time, the elephant caravans walked in and out: From Arusha National Parks.
The zigzag valley marked the end of savannah, from the south, southeast and southwest.
 

* * *
Leaving one another was not the easy task, since savannah was like our home away from home. As kids, we performed a special game as the way of saying…”Bye-bye.” We scarcely wanted to depart from each other. Nonetheless, we had no way out. Since we were to leave one another while bringing cattle home; we played (ukova) game.
Ukova, was a typical and tantalizing story. It was the endless evening game.
Initially, one boy would touch the other boy and yell “Ukova.” He had to run, but the other boy had to chase him until he touched him and claim “Ukova.” Then the first boy should chase the other boy until he reached him and touch him and shout “Ukova.” Then the first boy had to extend the game, by repeating the same.
We were to be helped by our family counterparts. The one that thought could run than him. Secret behind the scene is that your group shouldn’t be the last one to be touched. That would be like going home with debt.
The winning family group is the one that, after one of them touch the one from the other family group, he and the rest of his group, could be able to run fast and reach their home compound, before the other group touched one of them. Then the other group would be going to sleep with (ukova).
The game was the sweetest one of herding the cattle. Nevertheless, most of the times, adults were to intervene and shout, to stop us from shouting “Ukova…!”
 
To be Continued

 

Cover photo of Tell The Nations by Nixon Issangya

Tell The Nations (3)

Tell The Nations (3) : My autobiography I worked on for over 15 years, came off the press last July. Here, I write of my background and my world view.

Tell The Nations (3)

CHAPTER 2

MY WORLD VIEW

When my father ordered me… ”Take a stick…” I took orders, and emerged into my boyish world. He claimed he sent me to work, but it was fun to me.W From the very day I was capable to pursue my elders, taking care of the cattle, I spent most of my days at, Sakila Savannah. The Savannah combined with; Masasanja swamps, lakes, bushes, and wells. Here was the scenic spot of Sakila.
Both domestic and wild animals scattered all over. It’s the place where my father with his neighbour, speared rhinoceros to death. Myself, unlike my father, I was not a warrior. However, with my fellow boys, we were stoning birds from the bushes.
Most birds were beautiful. We mentioned them by their names; “Mansero” is one of the birds we sang about. “Irwai” “Uruu” “Ulukoviru” were other kinds. “Isombwerere” was the bird with the long tail, so we had the second name for it “Manjia.”
We would also hunt by chasing antelopes, rabbits…: With the assistance of our dogs. One of our fast running dog those days named, Sisa.
Once in a while we were lucky. Sometimes we came home empty handed. Nevertheless, people of, Sakila and Meru, in general didn’t care for rabbits. We ate antelopes and the dogs took care of rabbits.

* * *

Chasing a rabbit was fun, than chasing any kind of a beast. As a boy, I never saw once, a rabbit running straight. A rabbit always ran zigzag. And, it could halt instantly, and leave us keep running ahead, with our dogs, as idiots.
With rabbits, faking was the name of the game. They used their heads more than their feet.
While rabbits ran and faked, we chased them, and threw everything we could, from our hands.
I don’t remember how many times we missed. Some of us were smart not to throw, but waited a rabbit with long sticks. We waited (as we compass around the rabbit) until a rabbit came to our direction then held our sticks up high, ready to hit a rabbit.
A rabbit will come and we would be alert and smart to calculate, when to hit. We normally wait until there was one step in front of a rabbit before it reached there. Many times, a rabbit would stop timely, as soon as we started hitting. Ironically, we ended up hitting the ground, in front of a rabbit.
Then, before we could think of lifting up the stick, to hit again, a rabbit would step over the stick and move on. ”What a creature…!” We wondered.
No wonder, we had a slogan “As clever as a rabbit.”

* * *

To be continued

 Cover photo of Tell The Nations by Nixon Issangya