The Innocent Blood
Act 4 Scene 1
(At the king’s palace)
(Actors- Kábíyèsí, Akódà, Afobaje, Kúyerí, D.P.O, smugglers, smugglers’ leader, Sergeant Kòló, Alátótó, Corporal Jayce, Customs)
Smugglers: (Singing) Àwa ò fe, áwa ò fé o, áwa ò fe. We don’t agree, we don’t agree.
Smugglers’ Leader: Kábíyèsí o! Adé á pé lórí, bàtà á pé lésè. Live long, your highness! I am here as a leader of the smugglers in your kingdom. The Customs are killing our people every day. Whenever we try to retaliate, that is when government oppose us. As the head of this kingdom, we want your advice.
Kábíyèsí: (In annoyance) What do you want me to do now? I know you people have taken law into your own hands. Your people are also killing the Customs Officers. What do you want me to do now?
Smugglers’ Leader: Kábíyèsí o! Àgbà kìíwà lójà kórí omo tuntun ó wó. The elderly one will not lie indolent and allow things to go bad. We know that as the head of this kingdom, you must know what to do. If you find us culpable of killing the Customs, you should also find them culpable when they shed innocent blood.
Kábíyèsí: (Interrupting) Stop! I know before you people (pointing at the smugglers’ leader and his members) take any action, your leader should have seen me know the way forward. Now, when the foundation is faulty what will the righteous do? You all need to complete yourselves because nobody can fight the government and succeed. If you continue like this, more blood will be spilt.
Smugglers’ Leader: My people, òrò ti dorí ológbón kodò. The wise ones are to meditate (Instructing his members to leave) My people, let us go.
Smugglers: (Singing) Áwa ò fe áwa ò fé o, áwa ò fe.
Akódà: Kábíyèsí o!
Kábíyèsí: Run after the smugglers’ leader and tell him that he should see me tomorrow.
Akódà: (Running after the smugglers) Smugglers! Smugglers! Smugglers!
Smugglers’ Leader: (Turns back) Who is that?
Akódà: I am the one. Kábíyèsí sent me to you. He said you should see him tomorrow.
Smugglers’ Leader: (He summons his boys) Oh! Is that the reason why you are shouting smugglers? Àwa ni fàyàwó, àbí? Ìwo náà maa fesè wó lolé lónì. So we are smugglers. You too will crawl home today. Torture him!
Akódà: (Shouting) Yépà! I am dead. Please! Please! Please!
Smugglers’ Leader: By the time you crawl home, tell your Kábíyèsí that I didn’t have time to see him if he has nothing to do to curb the killing of our people; he should go on exile. Leave him now.
Akódà: (Leaping and falling) Ah! Why have these people maimed me like this? I am just a king’s messenger. Oh! My legs are broken! Yèpà! I am dead.
Afobaje: (Walking towards him) Who is this?
Akódà: I am the one o, Afobaje! The smugglers had tortured me when I delivered Kábíyèsí’s message to them.
Afobaje: Stand up and let’s go.
Akódà: Bàbá! I can’t walk again. My legs are broken.
Afobaje: What is happening in this kingdom? When did our youth turn violent? Kábíyèsí must do something before it is too late. Let me call one of my children to pick us (Dipping hands into his pocket to bring out his phone) Hello, Kábíyèsí! Please, quickly come. I am at Kakagbá road.
Kúyerí: What’s happening, bàbá?
Afobaje: Nothing is happening. Just come to pick me. I am going to the palace.
Kúyerí: Ok. I have heard you. Mo ti gbó.
Afobaje: (Looking towards the road where kúyerí will pass through) Oh! Omo mi. My son. It’s those smugglers that beat Kábíyèsí’s Akódà o. They have broken his legs. He can’t walk. That is the reason why I called you to carry us to the palace.
Afobaje: Kábíyèsí o! Your highness.
On my way to the palace, along Kakagbá road, I saw Akódà groaning where he was lying on the ground. And when I asked what was wrong with him, he told me that it was those smugglers that broke his legs.
Kábíyèsí: What? So they have the temerity to maim my Akódà. I will speak the language they understand.
Afobaje: What are we going to do now, Kábíyèsí?
Kábíyèsí: Afobaje! What I will do, the people of this land will suffer for it.
Afobaje: What will that be, kábíyèsí?
Kábíyèsí: I am going to invite the military to take over the land. Anybody that challenges them will smell his ass.
Act 4 Scene 2
(At the market square)
Alátótó: (Beating the gong) Kéére o! Attention! Kábíyèsí sent me to the people of this land that he will be holding a meeting with you, the Police and the Army Forces tomorrow at 10 a.m (Beating the gong again).
Kábíyèsí: (Sitting under Odan tree where the Police and Army leaders are sitting at the right-hand side) Good morning everyone. I have sent my message through Alátótó yesterday that there would be a meeting with you people today. I believe you all know what is happening between our people and the Customs. I cannot close my eyes and see my people die every day. I, therefore, command the Army to take over this land. Any indigene that challenges them will have himself/herself to blame. That is what I have for you people.
Smugglers’ Leader: Kábíyèsí! You have said it well, but remember that when you give instructions, there must be provision for it. You have not addressed the major challenges facing the youth of this land.
Kábíyèsí: Can you tell me the challenge(s)?
Smugglers’ Leader: Yes of course. Kábíyèsí, all the youth in this land are jobless. Some of them are graduates but have no job to do. If you stop them from smuggling, it will be like adding to their problems.
Kábíyèsí: They should go back to farming. Farming is our forefathers’ job.
Smugglers’ Leader: Kábíyèsí, you have nothing to do to curb these challenges. You should leave the youth to fight for themselves.
Kábíyèsí: No problem. (Addressing the Police and Army Officers) The ball is in your court. The invited officers, the ball is also in your court. Take the necessary action. Have a nice day. (He sits on his horse and leaves the Market Square).
Smugglers: (Singing as they are leaving the Market Square) Àwa ò fé áwa ò fé ò …
Act 4 Scene 3
(At the express leading to border area)
Àselà: (Running with a car full of bags of rice) Leave the road! Leave the road! Leave the road! I will kill you if you stay on the road.
Customs: (Running after him by shooting sporadically) Shoot him! Shoot him! Shoot him! He must not escape.
Àselà: (He stops along the road) Stop there. I am no more afraid of you people (Pointing at them) See my car’s tyres. You have destroyed them. Today is today. Wón ní mo paró, mo ní mi ò paró, bí mo bá paró, taló ma tún ríró pa? Enìkan kìí paró láyé. E ò le rími pa.
Customs: Handcuff him.
Àselà: Me? I don’t think you know what you are saying.
Customs: (One of them fires teargas on Àselà’s face) Arrest him.
Àselà: (Trying to open his eyes, but he could not) My eyes! My eyes! My eyes! Why are you putting pepper in my eyes?
Customs: (One of them brings out the handcuffs and puts it in Àselà’s hands) You are under arrest!
Customs: We need to hand him over to the police. (One of them brings out his phone and calls the D.P.O)
Act4 Scene 4
(At the Police Station)
D.P.O: (Calling Kábíyèsí on phone) Kábíyèsí o! One of the notorious smugglers, Àselà, had been arrested today, and he is now in our custody.
Kábíyèsí: (Still on a phone call) Please, take him to the Police Headquarter where there is tight security. His members may want to come for his release. If he spends some months there he will understand the government’s language, and he will serve as a scapegoat to others.
D.P.O: Okay Sir. (Calling Sergeant Kòló) Sergeant Kòló!
Sergeant Kòló: Yes Sir!
D.P.O: Take this criminal to the Police Headquarter in conjunction with your team.
Sergeant Kòló: Yes Sir! Corpora Jayce, bring the Black Maria.
Corporal Jayce: Yes Sir!
Sergeant Kòló: (Addressing the D.P.O) Sir, we are ready to take off.
D.P.O: Ok. Make sure there’s tight security on your way. I have called some soldiers to accompany you.
Sergeant Kòló: Yes Sir!
Àselà: (Soliloqusing inside the Black Maria) Ah! My father told me but I refused. He told me not to engage in smuggling. Ah! My charms failed me. How do I start now? Some of my mates are now graduates but the government could not provide them jobs; they only choose to farm to sustain themselves. Ah! My father is dead. It was these uniform men that killed him. It dawns on me.
The curtain falls.
Always at a Glance!
Thoughtless people are thoughtless,
More thoughtless than the delirium ̶
Often colleaged with hallucination,
And most thoughtless than the fools.
Scrupulous inquiry of issues
Naked judgement of people’s behaviours
Fine-grained results of searches
Negligent they are;
They are shallow in their expressions;
They are fallacious in their description
Of people’s behaviours,
They have not, up-to-date findings
As they are engrossed
With the surface structure of a thing,
And not the deep structure of the thing
In their inquiries.
They are after the eyes of a person,
Instead of the heart;
Thus, they are, every time,
Be in wrong directions
In their judgement!
Kalina wanted make Tadeusz athletic, lived up a little. He resisted, he preferred sport in TV or in pub with mates. Finally she convinced him to yoga. They went. She didn’t tell him that the group will be advance. He surrendered after the first exercise. She and her friends began to stretch him. At a push.
Crack! Tendons in the groins cracked. Wham! The spine broken.
– It is for the good of yours, you will be very flexible – Kalina appeased him.
At the end of the class he was such broken and stretched that she could easily roll up him.
From now on they will always attend together yoga. Tadeusz will be a great exercise mat.
Guilt of Acceptance
Kruti Desai, Gujarat, India
“Happiness can exist only in acceptance”
– George Orwell
The said line is a complete essence for those who find their happiness and pleasure in acceptancy of expected destination but it’s not for all the people who find themselves in different situations with different pleasure and dissatisfaction. Acceptance is a type of consent which give a peculiar contentment but at the same time when the decision is of something which converts the celebration moments into unavoidable and critical change. The definition of acceptance is hard to comprehend & to digest.
Thus I feel that acceptance is not always remain a pleasing fact with excitement but it can be a chain of changes in lie situations and can arise guilt for the same. It’s not easy to grasp the moral of somebody’s perceived notion while accepting anything (person/decision).
Life changes, life is so dynamic. No body can be satisfied with own acceptances of many things like jobs , needs, expectations, relations & relationships and what not. Since people keep securing their own world of luxury and abundance of richness which leads to the dearth of main streams. Thus the word Acceptance is really a typical, harder and much challenging to know it , to understand it and to learn things.
Interview with Exeter Publishing
Ndaba Sibanda, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
1) Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in the city of Bulawayo, which is affectionately known as Kontuthuziyithunqa or the City of Kings and Queens. The city has its history, heritage and heartbeat. I still have fondest childhood memories of growing up in Bulawayo`s Gwabalanda suburb, memories a vibrant, orderly and clean Bulawayo, of playing the homemade plastic ball in the neighborhood, memories of watching TV in my auntie`s residence, of using Emergency Commuters taxis, of spending shared quality time as a family etc. I also have memories of struggles and victories, love, happiness and disappointments.
I attended Mafakela and Fusi Primary schools. Bulawayo is not only the second largest city after Harare, but also it has been historically known and acknowledged as the chief industrial beacon and heart of Zimbabwe. For further information about Bulawayo as the country`s industrial hub, perhaps you may wish to take a look at the following link which leads to my article titled Roaring Into Bulawayo`s Royal Treat. https://pagespineficshowcase.com/end-notes-2019/roaring-into-bulawayos-royal-treat-ndaba-sibanda
2) Did your hometown influence your writing as you matured?
Absolutely, home is where the heart is. My hometown influenced my writing. For example, the Battle of Bulawayo easily triggered what was my serious attempt at writing– my very first script– and what would have been, perhaps my very first published book. I was young, but curious and anxious about what was happening in and to the newly independent state for which my eldest brother had fought gallantly as a Zimbabwe People`s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) guerrilla. My debut script did not see the light of the day because my father advised me in no uncertain terms to abandon that project. Wow, I was expecting a pat on the back! That made me more curious. Perhaps, that terrifying episode disillusioned me about issues of mistrust, bigotry, hegemony, betrayal and human rights and the mindset and objectives of the authors of the Gukurahundi campaign. At the centre of the post-independence drama I begun to see more and more the ugly face of blatant and toxic prejudice, propaganda, disharmony, dishonesty and decay instead of the much-hyped beauty of harmony, justice, unity and freedom.
3) What aspect of your hometown did you focus on the most while writing your piece? I focus on the cultural aspect of my hometown. It is diverse and rich. I feel that the city is now a pale shadow of its former self. Bulawayo used to be a cultural hub. I tend to look at culture as a social phenomenon that symbolizes and showcases the totality of a society`s distinctive philosophies, beliefs, behaviors and core values. Communication is a crucial element of culture, so is identity. I focus on cultural politics, on issues of cultural identity, displacement, cultural distortion, assimilation and destruction. Cultural identity is the identity of belonging to a group, and includes socially constructed categories of being and expectations for social behavior. I pay attention to the beauty of music, the food and how proverbs play a crucial role in delivering a people’s wisdom, history and heritage.
4) Was there a specific moment you were thinking of when penning your poems? Indeed, at times I wrote of moments of madness that saw the unprecedented persecution and massacring of the unarmed and innocent, the decay and destruction of infrastructure, company relocations and closures, the shrinking of the economy, of the scourges of greed and corruption, of people who chose to digress instead of progressing, and the tragic prioritization and implementation of prejudice and hegemony.
5) What is the best writing advice you have received?
Writing is not always easy. Writing, like other everyday activities is a process that gets easier with practice. A cook needs a recipe, ingredients, passion and proper tools to cook a delightful meal. An author needs a strategy or a plan, sufficient time, skill, resources and passion to come up with a good piece.
6) Why do you write?
I write for a number of reasons, among those whys and wherefores are these: to express my feelings and thoughts about certain observations, ideas, aspirations, concerns, dreams and happenings. I think I have a special duty to inform, enlighten, please and persuade the reader. Writing does not only help me understand myself and the world in a certain way, but also helps me reflect on my experiences and learn from them. I write because it is my passion, and it is also my part and path of life.
7) Do you write primarily for yourself, or is there a certain audience you are hoping to reach?
Chiefly, there is a certain audience I seek to reach out to. Generally, it
is my wish to create and maintain relationships with people all over
the world, for humanity is one irrespective of the complexity of life.
8) What is your writing process? Do you have any quirks?
My writing process does not follow hard-and- fast rules. I don’t have a strict writing schedule but once there is a writing project, I try as much as possible to be focused and devoted to the plying of my trade. In a nutshell, I follow these five steps in the writing process: prewriting (conveying abstract views or thoughts into concrete ideas), arranging ideas, writing a rough draft, revising and editing. However, at times I find myself engaged in an exercise in which I write whatever thoughts are in no particular order. Freewriting gives me the freedom to be spontaneous and to silence the inner detractor that blocks the flow of ideas and creativity. Yes, what is a writing process without a twist of fate!
9) Who is your favorite author and why?
Okot p’Bitek, Chinua Achebe, Jack Mapanje, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Maya Angelou and Ken Saro-Wiwa are some of my favorite authors. To answer the ‘why’ part of the question, let me make reference to four interesting quotes. Susan Sontag once said, “A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world.” Margaret Atwood wrote, “You need a certain amount of nerve to be a writer”. Stephen King had this to say about writing, “Quiet people have the loudest minds”. Books are an embodiment of immortalized voices and ideas. That`s why Jorge Luis Borges beautifully summed it up like this, “When writers die, they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation”. I like these authors because they are attentive, inventive, brave and effective. There is something irresistible, relatable and indelible about their voices.
10) What are you currently reading?
I am reading Barack Obama`s A Promised Land.
11) When you were growing up, did you have dreams of being an author
or was there something else you wanted to do?
Growing up, I had dreams of becoming a pilot, aircraft designer, teacher, and entrepreneur. In high school, I had dreams of becoming a journalist, a businessman or, yes, an author. Writing chose me. It was within me. All I needed to do was to recognise and nurture it so that it could manifest itself in a certain way.
12) When did you start writing?
I started writing short stories in my fifth grade.
13) Do you have a favorite indie author?
The literary landscape is an interesting exploration. Since writing is a process there has to be a beginning for each writer. The launch could be humble, heavy or high, but it is worth the effort. The end-result is the game-changer. I believe that there is a group of writers who successfully publish their work without the help of an established press. Professionally editing, producing, distributing, and marketing one`s books is a bold, commendable and challenging career. I think of Beatrix Potter whose first book was rejected everywhere, and hence she had to self-publish it. Boom! Now over three million of her books are sold every year. That`s no mean achievement by any standard.
14) What advice would you give to emerging authors?
Write about what you know. It could be a small village but remember it has a history, it has a community. You cannot talk about a community without touching its nerve centre– its varied stories and trajectories. For it has a life, it has a rhythm, it has a heartbeat. Listen to its heartbeat, feel its temperature and share its weather report with the world. It is a stage with its lively, quirky and earthly characters, capture the drama and deliver a stimulating simulation. Write, write and write habitually. For it is right to write. My five Ps of writing are passion, practice, perseverance, positivity and process. Be focused and beholden to your writing career like someone who has to fulfill or uphold their conjugal duties.
15) What is the best thing you’ve been told about your writing?
In fact, I would refer to the wise words from the following three people. “Books and all forms of writing are terror to those who wish to suppress the truth”, or so said Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka. On the other hand, Norman Mailer nailed it like this “Writing is the closest men ever come to childbearing”. Charles Baudelaire told me this:”Always be a poet, even in prose”. These words are music to my ears.
16) Would you rather write: poetry, a novel, or a short story?
I would rather write poetry. Remember I`m a poet even in prose!
17) Revising: love or hate?
I love revising because it can convert and coalesce the script into something cohesive and purposeful. I hate this particular writing process because it is not easy. It makes editing look like a stroll in the park.
18) Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it and why is this your favorite?
In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, I came up with my own quote: Let laughter, love, and sympathy and hope glow and grow in the garden of humanity even if, at times, the rain is scant. I look at the virus as a storm that will come to an end. It is time to show and share a sense of positivity, love and compassion.
19) Do you believe poetry holds a certain power in today’s world?
I do believe that poetry, be it in written form, or slam poetry is and will remain a crucial tool for inspiration and change in today`s world. Poetry is transformative and truthful. Plato once said,” Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history”. Today’s pained and polarized world needs poetic therapy. Today`s directionless world needs poetry for guidance and entertainment. Today`s lying world needs poetry for truth-verification. That is why poetry continues to pervade and invade public events and spaces. I therefore propose that every leader worth their salt should consider poetry as a tool for guidance, encouragement and treatment.
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