My son left this home walking on his two legs. He said that the village was no place for him, he had that tinge inside him and a curious light that glittered in his eyes when he spoke of the future before him. If it were up to me, my son would stay home. I would get him the village teacher with that tiny waist and that big behind to his wife, they would live in this compound, bear kids and inherit all this land I fought the white man to obtain.
I will say this and repeat it again until it gets into their thick heads, time for war was when we were chasing the white man away from our land. When we ate wild berries and slept in the forest, when the white man wore tiny faded grey shorts and carried big guns that made us urinate on our pants because they were ruthless as Satan. That was time for war. That was worth my brothers’ lives. That was a time when every tear had a varied reason to trickle down the fat cheeks of mothers. Children who went fatherless then knew it was for the course of liberation. But now, my son was brought to me in a box from is adventures, they told me that he had been a victim of noble course. That he had suddenly stop breathing in his line of duty to protect his country. I do not get it.
What do they know about war? Are they fighting for this land like we did? Have they been forced to work for the white man wives in his white kitchens? What do they know about loss that they claim they their course is noble? This heart in this box should still be beating. I am not sure if there is a heart here, they told me not to open the box because this is war and in war what we have lost is not exactly appealing to the eyes. Now I will never know if it really is my son inside this box. But I hope it is his no longer beating heart in this box so that I can lay it to rest, pick my walking stick and walk myself to my grave too.
I have seen enough anguish that no man should bear. I lost everything that ever mattered when this heart in this box stopped beating. This land should be made a graveyard instead, all those days in the forest eating wild berries being hunted down like dogs finally got their match in misery. War war war! What do they know about war? Do they really expect to win? I will not be here for the results but mark my words, there is no winning in this war just short-term victories and then pain and anguish in double fold. They will not listen to me though, I am just an old man with no son and who keeps a pesticide by the bedside to sip when the torture proves unbearable.
Words: Dennis Peters
Photography: Mukiri Gitiri
[Mukrivity- Ingenious photography and text made comparative]