Abim is a cold lonesome small village that sits on a plain. From a far, hills set placentally on its side as if ancient dogs guarding a king’s treasure. But two hills significantly stood out because of their size and position. It was said of them by the Ethur people that dwelled there: In a prophecy by their fore fathers, they are two worlds that would seek to co-exist. In that time the whites had just arrived to Africa. They claimed to be messengers of a God who sat in the skies. They seemed intelligent and were philanthropic.
Lokwang was a middle aged good looking, and well behaved man. A father to sixteen children and a husband to seven wives. He was known all over the village and those far away because of his bravery. Stories were told of how he killed bears and lions, fought with the legendary spirits that wanted to take his first born in infancy. To the women in the village, he was offensively handsome, and for this he was honored by the king and made chief over the village.
One late night, as he strolled through the village, under the dim moonlight, in a distance, he saw a dark curvy human figure. Peering keenly, he said “This must be a woman” Gracefully she walked advancing towards him with lithe accenting every movement of her body.
“Acheng!” He called out. She moved unsteadily backwards, somewhat uncomfortable. “What would a graceful woman like you be doing here all alone. Its quite dangerous out here.”
“Oh dear God, you sacred me! My Lord” She respectfully replied.
“Don’t be afraid my queen. Your safe with me.” Then a moment of awkward silence hovers between the moment, as Acheng shyly looks at Lokwang, and Lokwang dominantly pushes himself to her.
“Acheng.” He said, “I am powerful, brave, strong, no man in this village and those nearby can stand to defeat me. The king rewards me for my stamina. Non of my wives complains of me being inefficient. I am the chief of this village by wit and might. I have always told you, asked you to be my wife. My youngest wife. You will live among the royals, drink milk everyday and be served by the palace servants. Every woman would want such a handsome life . Your shapely figure, imp-thin body, glossy skin, slender eyebrows and dainty nose make you stand out from other woman in this village and far beyond. Your beauty has gained you fame even among the “Munu.” They call you a black goddess. Be my wife Acheng and match your beauty with royalty
“All you say my Lord is true but..”
“But what?” Lokwang interrupts her as she speaks. “Is it that born fool again? Oh, he detests me. Is he promising you heaven on earth?
“Who?” Acheng asked. “Johnson? You ask?”
“Yes! He is foreign. An alien to our culture and tradition. He is from far beyond the seas. Where they fly iron birds, move in boxed containers that make noise all the time. He doesn’t even know the rituals we perform for our marriages. Acheng this is the world our fathers told us about.”
“Yes my Lord.” She said respectfully. All you say is true. But i can’t marry you without bride price. Its the value of our tradition. A woman is valued and respected in marriage when bride price is considered. It also shows how manly and powerful a man is. The beauty of our marriages, the rituals, the festivals. celebrations all make it original. My Lord, be willing to pay my bride price, attach honor and respect to my womanhood and pay the bride price. Am all yours…..
” Am i missing something here?” interrupted a voice from behind. It was Johnson. Who had probably been eavesdropping the conversation for while.
“Bride price bride price bride price! In our world that doesn’t really matter. The colorful parties and classical music, champaign and the nice food. A holiday at the white sand beach together on our honey moon. In an expensive hotel. Your tradition makes woman slaves. It puts women in an inferior position.” He posses for a while and then clears his throat.
“Acheng, marry me and i will take you out of this harsh culture, you will sleep with me on the same bed, you will have your own belongings, you will have a voice as a woman and be respected to have opinion. Your not just a child birth giving machine…”
Lokwang losing his patience, pounces on him like an angry lion. They struggle for a while as Acheng looks confused not knowing what to do. Heavy groaning, intense motion, the two men struggle vigorously. Suddenly Lokwang sits on Johnson’s chest and he strangles him. Gasping for breath, Acheng begins to scream but he is not willing to let go his neck. He redundantly stops holding onto Lokwang’s hands.
“He is dead! You killed him! Acheng Shouted.
He quickly gets up and drags Acheng by her hand.
“They will all be here soon, in this village. Lets find somewhere to go. This village is no longer safe. I am not leaving you behind.
To be continued…
Thank you for reading this, something brief about the story:
I am not trying to go against any culture because we all have different cultures. I wrote this from a perspective of a traditional youthful man in the pre independence Period of Uganda, where traditionalism was very vital and followed strictly. I used my village “Abim” to portray these concepts. Abim hosts the “Ethur” people who are originated from the karamojongs of Kotido and the Acholi. The whole story is about the conflicts of the new culture which is the western culture and the traditional African culture. These two have to find common ground and Co-exist. Its now a global village and they Co-exist.
I am taking you back to how they began to set common ground and Co-exist.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
Have a great weekend friends. 😊