CONFLICT OF TRADITIONS: AFRICAN AND CHRISTIAN.
The two junior elders plodded to the mango tree to join a few of the averse elders whose faith was like the rest adversely weakened by the attitude of father Turbo. The priest unconcernedly talked to the aspirants as if all was well. If he saw any indifference, he attributed it to the numbness of the African mind that lacked enough intelligence to grasp such highly academic and abstract ideas.
For their part most of the aspirants were destructively bored. Some dozed as the day was pip hot. A good number paid more attention to the music of the birds on the mango tree. To them all the instructions of Father Turbo were prosaic and naive.
Back in the village at the end of the day, the younger elders railed against the bigotry of Father Turbo. The senior elders were scaringly alarmed by the outcome of these conflicting religious ideas.
"We have to meet soon for deliberation on the teaching likely to put us asunder" said Kirago earnestly staring at the senior elder. Kirago was the speaking religious consultant of the Mugwe, the high priest. The elders were bound to take the matter seriously.
"Theodore has already informed me....."
"About what!" Queried Kirago interruptedly.
"The two priests will meet with the elder in two days time", Kathendu said submissively.
Though in a snail like pace, the two days passed and the sages ruefully sat under the 'Mugumo tree' at the senior elder's homestead. As usual, the senior elder explained the matter at hand.
"As I told you earlier on. these men in white robes would bring nothing but discord ....."Turbo is sowing nothing but seeds of discord among our people!" shouted Anampio who now flashed back to the time of the advent of these missionaries.
"What power do we have then to send this Turbo away from the community we so aptly initiated him into?" Queried Muketha who perhaps due to gravity of the matter at hand showed no annoyance for Anampio's rude interruption on his trend of thought.
"Now that you talk of power, we seem to have none," annoyedly asserted Anampio. "These people are brothers and sisters of the colonialists. The latter will support the former!" Asserted Anampio despairingly.
"That is it brother mine! What verdict do you now suggest before they come? Asked Nkamani triumphantly as he observed Anampio's uneasiness.
"These foreigners will have to respect and honour our customs and traditions uncomprisingly!” Shouted Anampio while giving no verdict.
"What if the bigoted Turbo doesn’t?” Sneeringly insisted Nkamani as he spat in front of his feet.
"We shall then forcefully withdraw our children from attending catechism and attending services on sundays," Anampio gave the verdict at last.
"Be it so! emotionally said the senior elder. "That is the right action left to us if the worst comes to the worst," he added as he proudly stared at Anampio.
The elders unanimously agreed with the verdict. In one motion the walking sticks beat the earth making a dull thumbing sound. The verdict was endorsed.
The sound of the mission landrover could be heard less than a quarter of the kilometre away. It was soon on them.
They all stood up in respect as Theodore walked ahead of the two priests. In a single file they came with Father Turbo behind Theodore and then came Eusebio. The old Giusseppe came last plodding with a walking stick.
Eusebio clasped tightly a brief case in his right hand while Turbo had a camera hanging on his left shoulder.
" Welcome my sons, " Muketha said as he stretched his hand to greet the visitors in a relaxed and friendly manner. The rest of the elders took turns and last came Kirago who the senior elder revelently introduced to be the consultant of the 'Mugwe'
All the protocol and ceremonies done, Father Giusseppe without preamble went directly to the agenda.
"Aba- father, I have come as a true son of the Imenti," humbly said Father Giusseppe. "I'm a true son who has been found worthy to inherit land from this community. I come but with one motive - to learn about the African concept of death and the moral teaching enjoined therein."
The elders all scornfully stared at Father Turbo, a man that had incensed the junior elders to such a fury. Yes to such mutinous fury that had ignited a religious conflict that was rendering apart at otherwise peaceful coexistence of the whites and the natives.
"We bless those who listen to the sages' pearls of wisdom and we imprecate those who show contempt for our traditions," Muketha said in a way of introduction.
"Before I can touch on the concept of death, you will have to hear the legendary origin of death to fully appreciate our ethos." Muketha now looked like a man in a trance.
"The Sun sent the Mole on an herald to deliver the following message to the people: 'Let people sleep and awaken. The Mole met with the Hyena and passed the day with the latter. The Hyena asked the mole: 'My friend you seem to be on an important mission. Where are you up to’?""I have been sent by the Sun to deliver a very important message to the people”, said the mole.
"Hmm! My friend what an important message?"
"To tell people to sleep and awaken!"
'Oh brother mine, people to sleep and awaken! Then what shall I eat?"The Hyena dictated to the Mole his own altered version of the message. Imperatively he said to the Mole, “Go tell the people to sleep and sleep completely!"The Hyena threatened to eat the Mole should the latter decline to deliver the altered version of the message.
"I will deliver the message precisely as you have dictated!" submissively said the cowardly Mole.
"The Hyena is one of the many scavengers of the wilderness," said Muketha with a sigh and continued to say," The Hyena dictated the altered message to satisfy his greed by preying on dead human bodies! Having delivered the altered message, the Mole now feared to face the Sun. He condemned and damned himself to eternal withdrawal never ever again to come into direct contact with the sun. He dug underground tunnels for his eternal abode. To date there he lives in colonies for fear of instant death from the countless legs and arms of the Sun that strike all over the earth's surface from above. The Mole can only emerge from the underground when the Sun goes to rest and darkness falls," so concluded Muketha the legend that explains the origin of death in the African traditional religion.