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The Ballad Of Nyakato I - Poem by KYOMUHENDO ATEENYI

Kinsmen, Kinsmen, Kinsmen
Is it not only the man with no relatives who stays back when the Great Kangabaijje drum is sounded?
Wherever you are assemble here for I have a story to tell..

Those in the millet fields,
Those in the hunting grounds,
Those in war practice, seek permission for leave from the heads of your respective regiments,
Women, hold fast to your dangling breasts and run
For I want you here.
Those from the Well, don't break those delicate clay pots on your heads, but hurry...
Those tending cattle as is your anointed job, drive the herds to the kraals, be fast here..
And all of you lazy men who are in bed glued to the aprons of your wives at this hour of the day
Mounting them hard in the bliss of frenzy,
Come hither, come hither, come hither
all ye my kinsmen


I am Nyakato the fair twin
Yes In the rich traditions of Kitara,
Nyakato is the name given to the girl who comes after the first twin.
At least Omugurusi Mikaili Kabuubi told me that when I raced there to deliver news that the wife to the King's royal drummer,
Kangere Bikundi, had given the King's humble servant
The joy of a bouncing baby boy.

So the one whose ways am bringing to sunlight calls herself Sheena.
To date we have never known what it means, not even her herself!
We hear it is a name that came with these white skinned.


When you look at her
What strikes you most is that thing she calls a wig;
A master- weave of hair scrapped from the decomposing skulls of
white women's rotting corpses.
Sheena paints her eyebrows with charcoal powder
But prefers to call it eyebrow pencil.

She used to apply lime all around her face
Yes, kinsmen,
White lime all around her terribly black face
and rumour has it that she calls it powder!

She wears a very short skirt long enough to expose her oft- tormented womanhood
She does this with immeasurable joy
That those are the ways of the civilized
But when you steal a glance at her in this outfit,
She threatens to burst like an overstuffed sack of potatoes..
Hmmmm...I wonder how her oft- tormented womanhood breathes..
Poor little thing......


Let me first seek clemency from the ancestors
Before I break this Omukago of the coffee bean
That I took with her just the other day beneath the Omutumba tree
When I promised that I would tell no one her little secret
About what she did long way back to lighten her terribly black skin…

I promised thrice as is our custom that I would tell no one about it..
And I seek the clemency and the mercy of the ever- forgiving Gods on this.
Kinsmen help me beseech the immortals to pardon me for braking Omukago, the sacred oath
For the thread that is to run throughout this narrative would break
And the reason I have invited you here lose meaning
If I never reneged on my the Oath.
Remember me in your supplications to the Immortal Gods that reign supreme in this our land of countless hills,
Recall me and plead for me when handing them sacrifice
So that you may know that she immersed herself in a drumful of acid to change the colour of her skin
And look like a white woman...
Pardon me Sheena
But my kinsmen have to know...

She also confided in me that she burnt her firm, hard and black African hair
So that she could assume the neat and raven hair on the heads of the white women
And attract all men
Men of letters, the civilized men with cool Benzes
Especially Prince Bulemu of the astounding Dietsun Apollo 11
And make them wish they could shed under the shadow left behind by her hair...
I know the Gods are all merciful..
But also pardon me Sheena
But my kinsmen have to know...


If you hear her speak,
She imitates the accent of the white people's Old Woman
Who has the tendency of speaking as though her nose is blocked
And in this attempt,
Irabahake my elder says she reminds him of a constipated boy crying foul!


Though I am always weakened just by the mere mention of the name Rujumba Abwooli,
That belongs to handsome son of Mzee Rwetuma of the Abasambu clan
Whose gap in the teeth is the joy of those he smiles to
Whose athletically built body I was chanced to see as he unsuspectingly bathed by the Biizi stream that made me have an orgasm is the delight of the lucky one he strips naked for
Whose princely gaze in his eyes hardens my nipples
I am still Innocent..
I still have the sheath that covers the mortars of the innocent
For no man's pestle has ever pounded my mortar....
Not even Rujumba's!

But Sheena is not a virgin
Her field has been severally tilled...
First was our important son
The Honourable Minister with a thick tuft of white hair at the boundary line of his hair and his brow
who laid her under the roof of his magic palace...
She boasted on me that while her age-mates when laid count the number of poles that support the grass –thatched roofs of the huts of their sweethearts,
And wow at the skill with which the builders managed to fasten the thatch and the Kalitunsi poles with mere banana fibres in sweet agony,
For her she admires the strobe lights that light in different colours
in the Honourable Minister's huuuuge bedroom while singing the Honourable's name MBABA...Mbaba....MBABAZIIIIIIIII...ayiiiii...ayyy iiiii
In her sweet Soprano....
That the honourable can pelt...

Next was the town clerk
The other moustached Muganda man with a belly as huge and round as that of a pot...
I wonder how he goes about with his manly energies..
But Sheena says she doesn’t care...
For the hands of her 'sweet Omulangira Sserwadda' are forever giving...

Then this our son who had just returned from Abroad
Abroad she told me was the name of the white man's Country..
He is the son of the prosperous farmer Bikundi
Yes there is only one Bikundi..
Whom this whole village know and admire,
Whom you invite to virtually all your beer ceremonies..
Whom you always call to witness the payment of dowry when
The daughters of the Important amongst you are pledging their hands
To those boys they meet and love by the Stream....

So as you all know his son is just fresh from Abroad
Still smelling the airs of the white man’s Country.
Aha…now as he was driving past us in his Volkswagen
That shines as if smeared by ghee
And hisses like the salutations of the enormous Black Mamba,
On the road of tarmac that is near the Junction
That connects the D.C's office to the Well,

Sheena started shaking her small buttocks vigorously in all known directions
As if possessed
From the East to the West, then from the North and then South
Ending with the sharp turn from Centre to the South.
She intended to capture the eye
Of the son of an important man,
The prosperous farmer Bikundi…
And indeed
Like the lumber who roams the whole village looking for the strongest axe to cut down a mature Mahogany tree
Only to find that the powerful tree that he intended to cut has been blown down by the wind,
Her motives came to pass
And she was also laid
By the Important man's son.....
But she complained that his Pestle was still innocent, small and soft
Not used to such rough dances...
That it needed some more robust exercises of pounding
Before it could smoothen all grains usually found in mortars of that kind…
How can I count the bees that have sucked the nectar of Sheena’s flower?


She eats in what she calls style
Not from the spread mat on the earthen floor,
But while standing and sometimes speaking!
Is it not a sacrilege, kinsmen, an unforgivable sacrilege
A heinous offence against our ancestors
to eat while standing and speaking
Let alone moistening the throat without pouring libation?
This is Sheena...She takes liberty to offend our ever- watching Gods with pleasure!

She uses a knife,
a certain weapon and a small spade
Occasionally seeking some recess
To prick some’ salads’ with a small but craftily sharpened stick
Slightly smaller than the arrows a trapped porcupine
Aims at its its relentless hunter.
Then with a forced precision
She fixes the knife in her left hand
then the mysterious weapon of four fingers her in her right.
You should see the satisfaction that she derives from using this elaborate process!
It is this tiresome procedure that consumed her entire teenage days…
To learn to eat food with sticks, spades and mysterious weapons....


By the way Sheena also prefers Hot Dog
This is one of her most audacious deeds..
She particularly says a hot one is her delicacy, hot puppies and the like..
I always wonder how she goes about with their claws!

When she opened a certain pointed bottle
It sounded like a terrible blast from a gun's barrel
I almost spoilt in my dress
For fear had overwhelmed me, and who can blame me
Especially at the sight of a kinswoman attempting suicide in such a cruel manner
By drinking liquid gun- powder? !
She parted my back and told me it was CHAMPAGNE
That Amarwa* was to the uncivilized like me what Champagne is to the civilized like her! ..........

My kinsmen,
I pray I pause here now
So that am left with what tell tomorrow of this my friend Sheena and her strange ways......

*Amarwa- Olden brew, delicacy of the throats Banyoro Peoples of Western Uganda.

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