HA’KAMARA - Episode 3

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Poster Source: moofyme.com However the head of the mission school, Reverend Jeremy Dudley was...

Poster Source: moofyme.com

However the head of the mission school, Reverend Jeremy Dudley was not privy to the machinations being woven by the slave merchants to acquire his brightest pupil as a slave.  Reverend Dudley was so pleased with Se’mua that he decided to introduce her and the other students to the history of English people. Soon Se’mua began to learn about how England conquered Wales in 13th century, united with Scotland in 1707 to form a new sovereign state called Great Britain. Often Reverend Dudley would be heard narrating fragments of English history to his pupils and shouting at the top of his voice with the bloated pride of an Englishman, “The battle of Stamford Bridge took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire in England on September 25 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada and the English king’s brother Tostig Godwinson. The losses the Norwegians suffered were so horrific that only twenty four ships from their fleet of over three hundred were needed to carry the survivors away”. The children did not understand everything Reverend Dudley taught them nor could they picture them vividly, however Reverend Dudley was happy to teach those African children his proud history.


As the slave merchants sharpened their designs to acquire Se’mua, one of the slave merchants John Grey invited Samba, Se’mua’s uncle to his house and treated him to sumptuous meal and drinks and made him an offer to buy Se’mua from his sister Sunu. John Grey assured Samba, “I will pay good money for Se’mua. Here in Bada, you can trade with our currency. I will not offer you trinkets, mirror or drinks for Se’mua”. Samba was shocked and could not believe his ears, “Se’mua is only a child! Why would you want to buy a child?” “I promise you I will treat her like my own child”. “No Mr. John Se’mua’s mother is my sister. She came her with her child for protection, how then do you want me to rob her of that which Bada promises her? I am sorry Mr. John, I won’t sell Se’mua to you as a slave nor would my sister Sunu”. “Tell me Samba is Sunu really Se’mua’s mother or did she steal her from someone and ran to Bada so you can protect them?” Samba was shocked by John Grey’s insinuations. He could tell that the man must have set his eyes on Se’mua for quite some time. “Mr. John if you want ten slaves for Se’mua, I will get them for you. Se’mua is my sister’s only child and will not be sold into slavery at her tender age”. John grey continued to press Samba about the legality of Sunu’s claim as Se’mua’s mother, “I was told Sunu brought Se’mua to Bada as a tender new born baby. You and I know that Sunu could not have had a child at her age then. So tell me, whose child is Se’mua? Is she a child to one of the slaves you captured in one of your raids?” “You know John grey that I and my men do not touch children in our raids and much less new born babies. If you must know, Se’mua belongs to Sunu’s sister who died of Cholera after child delivery”, Samba lied to get rid of John Grey.

If Samba thought he had gotten rid of John Grey, he was mistaken. John allowed the matter to rest while he sought other means to acquire Se’mua. Samba was afraid for Sunu and Se’mua and told Sunu about John Grey’s sinister desire to buy Se’mua as a slave from them. There plan was for Sunu to take the young child Se’mua and leave Bada. However the problem was there was no place to run to, Samba had earned a bad name for himself and his family by becoming a slave raider. If Sunu was to take Se’mua back to the river people, they would burn her and the child alive. Not even Sunu’s maternal relatives would accept them; Samba was said to have raided the farmlands of his maternal home and carried many as slaves to Bada. Many in their maternal home land would slay Sunu and Se’mua to avenge their sons and daughters who Samba captured and sold into slavery. Though their options were slim, Samba believed he could find Sunu and her child a place where they would be safe from John Grey and other slave raiders who raided the villages and towns near the sea. Eventually Samba decided to go seek the help of one of his friends; a chief amongst the Kuru people. His intention was to persuade him to give protection to Sunu and Se’mua. His journey to Kuru took him a week and four days. By the time he returned to announce to Sunu that the chief would accept them, Sunu and Se’mua had gone missing. Samba was mad and threatened to unleash hell and brimstone against John Grey if he failed to find his sister and her child. Samba went to Anne Cox, a white nurse; she was in charge of the cottage hospital in Bada. Samba had asked her to look after Sunu and Semua when he left for Kuru. Anne Cox was feared and respected because her brother was in charge of a British cavalry in Selay. “Anne! Sunu and Se’mua are missing!” “Yes I know that. They left Bada about six days ago. I have sent some soldiers after them. They should be on their way back by now”. “Do you know why she left?” “I was told by some slaves that John Grey and Robert Staple were pressing Sunu to sell Se’mua to them. I gathered they threatened to force you into slavery if she did not sell Se’mua to them”. “Force me Samba into slavery? Hahaha! They are joking”. “Samba I think you should be very careful with those two. They are crooks and would do just anything to get what they want. I heard you owe them some slaves”.

“I am sorry to tell you this Anne; the white man is extremely corrupt. I give your brothers slaves and they come back to me months after claiming that some of the slaves died on the way. How do I know that is true and even if that was true, how is their death my fault? Robert Staple claimed he lost six slaves in his last shipment to West Indies and I have assured him before his goods leave next time, I will give him six slaves. As for John Grey, I don’t owe him a single slave”. “Well he thinks you do. He claims to have received a message from England that eight of the slaves he sold to a buyer there died three weeks after they were bought”. “How do I know that those slaves were mine? What evidence do I have that his claim is true? I believe that John came up with this lie because he wants to force me into selling the little child Se’mua to him”. “Samba, please make sure they don’t take Se’mua away from here. Believe me you don’t want to know what the slaves you sell to slave merchants go through in the plantations they work in over there”. “Anne Cox, believe me no one will touch Se’mua. I have to go look for them now. Six days is a long time to be away from Bada. I hope they are safe”. Samba took a few of his men and went in search of Sunu and Se’mua. His assumption was that Sunu may have decided to return to the river land. He thought she wouldn’t risk the wrath of their maternal people by going to their maternal home. On his way he hoped to run into the band of soldiers Anne Cox had sent to find his sister and daughter. His search for them took him as far as Zarafi. While Samba was away searching for Sunu and Se’mua, John Grey and Robert Staple decided to cast a lot to know who would win the right to buy Se’mua. Robert Staple won the right and paid John Grey six pounds as settlement fee. He paid that much for a child because Se’mua was considered an exceptional child. Robert staple had added two of his men to the party which left Bada to find Se’mua and her mother and Anne Cox did not know it. Robert Staple and John Grey planned to kill Samba as soon as they got their hands on Se’mua. Having won the right to buy Se’mua and paid off his competitor, Robert Staple’s plan was to send Se’mua to his friends at Selay and have them take care of her until she was old enough to be shipped off to a buyer in America or West Indies.
LINK TO EPISODE 4: http://www.moofyme.com/2015/12/hakamara-episode-4.html


Story continues…

This story was written by:

Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: HA’KAMARA - Episode 3
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