Categories
Uncategorized

THE VILLAGE CHAMPION BY AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA

 

Mamavi climbs the tree on one of the chain of mountains that encircle their small village and sees the Hohoe River. How beautiful it lies with its serene obedient waves playing on its surface.  The Lawoe Mountain sits close to it as the waves gently stroke its roots. There is nothing as beautiful as this scene. She will never get tired of sitting on this tree. She sees monkeys climbing from tree to tree and remembers the story a friend told her, she shivers in fear for a moment and realizes she has all the weapons she needs on the tree to protect herself.

Her friend told her of a woman who was raped by a monkey. The said woman rejected all her suitors claiming none was good enough. On her way to swim in the Hohoe River, a monkey forcefully raped and impregnated her. She later gave birth to triplets of Human-monkeys. She laughs at the irony of the story. She sees one coming closer and throws a stick at it only for it to run like its life depends on it.

Now looking at the village which lies beneath and the mountains which protect it, she says loudly:

  “I want to be like the Hohoe village, with many tall handsome men encircling me, waiting on me to choose my favourite. And even when I choose the Lawoe Mountain as Hohoe has chosen, they will still guard me forever no matter how much I protest.”

She sees another monkey coming closer and throws another little branch to scare it away. She thinks of what someone had told her. The person said that humans came from monkeys. How can monkeys form humans? They really are ugly now that she looks at them carefully. A look at her wrist watch says it is a quarter past three, her grandmother will kill her. She is supposed to have prepared the “ademe and gboma” by now. She climbs down and rushes home. On her way she enjoys the breeze which dawdles from the Hohoe River and enjoys more the stares from the men and boys seated under trees playing draft.

She picks a stick and hands it to her grandmother to flog her for her disobedience. The old woman laughs at her childish pranks and gives her the leaves she is tending to to work on and goes to fetch the maize flour for the preparation of their favourite meal; Akpele and “fetri, gboma and ademe soup with abobi”.

A calling at the main gate forces her out only to come face to face with one of her uncles, the one she dislikes most among the many. Her grandmother, Dada has never understood their enmity for one another. She hides the fact that this crook had tried to rape her when he sent her to buy him something. She was late in realizing he sent her only to lure her into his room. She shocked him by almost chewing one of his ears, holding his balls and twisting them as she wanted and destroyed his weak locks which gave way for her to run. What this monster wants here beats her imagination. She remembers his reason for his half ears and crooked walk; that he was attacked by a fierce animal on his way from farm. That has been her joke of the year.

He files past and goes to see Dada, they talk for a while and he angrily leaves. Mamavi feels like asking what transpired, but she knows better not to be inquisitive about the discussion of elders. Her first attempt started her suppository of ginger and pepper. how her buttocks reacted to the pain, she will never forget in a hurry. Dada tells her about her visit to the “adzeto camp” (witches camp) to visit her aunt. Dada’s daughter was branded a witch and sent to the adzeto camp when she was twenty five. Dada knew all along the chief priest of the village and the chief conspired to send her there because she rejected their advances but there was and still is nothing she can do to help her, lest she is added to the list of witches in Hohoe. The only thing she can do is to be strong for her poor girl. Always seeing her with her bald head, in fetish clothes bothers her so much she comes home with tears on her face. Now they are to release her but her young son is against her coming to live in their family house. The fetishes say she has been exorcised but Bobla maintains she is the cause of his lack of education. He started drinking at the age of 15 and the pastor who received a goat from him for prayers told him his sister placed a drum in his stomach after she had been sent to the witch camp. The pastor prayed for him and said that it has been removed, but he kept on drinking and is still drinking. He never believed she was a witch until then. His fear and loathing for her has never subsided. When he sees his primary school mates riding in big cars during funerals and other occasions, his anger towards this witch increases. His common sense does not prompt him on the fact that he was duped.

Mamavi listens to the bitterness in Dada’s voice and realizes the woman is really suffering. She vows to protect the interest of her grandmother. Being the only child of her mother before her death with no knowledge of her father’s where about, Dada has been her father, her mother and grandmother. She enjoys all her times with her especially her stories by the fireside. Seeing this pain on her face for the first time, her heart breaks into a million pieces, “boys can wait, I must be a human rights activist” she thinks.

“So Ablavi will come home tomorrow, please do your best to make her feel comfortable” Dada is saying.

Of course she will, she trusts Dada completely, so she confiding in her that her aunt was unfairly detained as a witch for almost two decades makes her happy. She must become a human rights activist to free such people from the claws of outmoded societal laws. Come to think of it, if such people are witches, they should be able to free themselves from their camping. If camping them does not cause any uproar, they definitely are no threats to society.

Mamavi’s schooling is never boring because of Kokuvi. He has been her best friend since kindergarten. He taught her everything she knows about self defence. He knows all her secrets and she knows his. He only makes her happy but has never proposed to her. Her female friends have told her severally that Kokuvi is interested in her but she pays no attention to them. Today, she tells Kokuvi about her aunt’s return home. He promises to help her organize a nice welcome party for her. She shares with him her desires to be a human right activist like Oye Lithur to help fight injustice against women. He promises to support her by becoming a police officer to arrest all the perpetrators of injustice against humans in general.

Kokuvi brings enough fishes from the yield of his father, akple and okro soup is prepared for Daavi Ablavi. She calmly eats without looking into any one’s face. She baths and enters the room with the excuse that she is tired. Mamavi realizes she has been broken, body, spirit and soul and she will never be the same again.

Their uncle in Accra politely turns down the request of Dada to have Ablavi stay with him until she finds her feet, citing problems with his wife. Day in, day out, Mamavi tries in vain to make Daavi laugh to no avail. Barely a month after her homecoming, she is seen hanging in her room, dead. She used her sponge.

Mamavi will never forget the scene; it stays on her mind like a movie, repeating the same scene. She starts having nightmares, the village priest starts visiting asking Dada to bring this and that, and finally suggests they bring her to his shrine to be cleansed. Dada quickly calls Prosper, her third son in Accra to come for the girl. He rushes to Hohoe and leaves with both of them.

School here is different from Hohoe, the children are way smarter and their fluency in English beats her. They make fun of her anytime she speaks because of her tone. She misses Kokuvi but she perseveres.

She passes through the secondary school, excels through the university and masters in Gender, Human Rights and International Relations. She loses Dada just when she is about to complete it all. Her tears merged with her yearning for justice giving birth to determination yet unborn. After her graduation, she decides to go back to Hohoe against her uncle’s plea to work in the country’s best law firm which has extended its hands. Her uncle yields and follows her to the village, fearing her being there alone will bring her to harm.

She sets her office with the help of friends in Accra and some of the government agencies. Then she starts causing the arrest of husbands who beat women, freeing children who are being forced into marriages, educating the village on the need to respect the woman and educating women on the need for family planning. She speaks against child labour and teams up with Kokuvi who is now head of the police force in Hohoe to cause positive change.

Prosper goes back to Accra seeing Kokuvi is more than capable of protecting her. Months later, reports starts pouring in about the danger she poses. Husbands team up with wives she defended to verbally assault her, families of girls she frees from forced marriages threaten to deal with her. Some pastors start preaching that she is a monster sent to destroy the village because the Bible says we should give birth to fill the earth, asking them to give birth to few children is abominable. Children whose parents are forced to relieve them of labour for fear of prison curse her.

Her night with Kokuvi is memorable. She sits under the mango tree with him as they plan their marriage. She wants a simple ceremony and he wants an extravagant one. He has been saving for it from childhood. They argue and laugh over petty things. His phone rings and he rushes off telling her there in chaos in Komasa, a neighboring village. Mamavi goes into her room to sleep. About an hour later, she hears a mob in front of her house, she opens the door only to be rushed upon by angry people.  She sees Bobla hitting her with a stick. Some are saying “ You were a village champion, what makes you think you can destroy the village now? They hit her with sticks, they hit her with machetes, they hit her with chairs, they hit her with wood until she loses consciousness.

Kokuvi does not find it funny; the prank which causes her to travel from far for nothing. Someone calls and tells him what has happened. Mamavi has been killed and burnt by the people of Hohoe. He takes it as a joke, calls her line, a girl picks up and delivers the same message. He speeds his truck up to see for himself, all the while thinking of what to tell her uncle, thinking of what to do with his life, thinking of how he will live his life, by some twist of fate he only sees the huge tree coming straight at him, all he hears is a crash and his world is quiet.

 

EPILOGUE:

The chaos and brutality that took place in Hohoe becomes the topic of discussion nationwide. The fact that humans cannot appreciate good change was put on tables of the media who butchered and dissected it to no avail. The world spoke against the brutality for few days and it ended. Prosper regretfully thinks; yes, they will forget, when food burns the mouth, the mouth still feeds, feeling the pain for only some days, then vigorous chewing continues as if it was never burnt. She was a morsel of food to the world, but she was his daughter, his family, if only she had known that he was her real father, and that he had her when he was barely fourteen years old, and that his mother died while giving birth to her so her parents brought her to Dada. It coincided with Amadi’s corpse being sent home for burial so Dada told a lie that that is Amadi’s daughter. The whole village believed. The only people who knew were himself and dada. Now he cannot tell her who he really is. The society she fought for, forced her death and all the world can say are few words of condolence. Nature’s unfairness exceeds cruelty.

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014

 

 

By amoafowaa

Just a simple Ghanaian trying to find the best in our society. I may be fun, I may be interesting, I may be funny, I may even be foolish or intelligent, but it is all based on the mood in which you find yourself. I believe our minds make us who we are. Know that, pain, no matter its 'unbearability', is transient. Unburden or delight yourself for a while in my writings please. And all corrections, advice and opinions are welcome. Know that you are the king, queen or royal on this blog. :)

5 replies on “THE VILLAGE CHAMPION BY AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA”

If you don’t win the best blogger for 2014 then I think I would personally stop blogging this art you’ve initiated me into……

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s