HA'KAMARA - Episode 7

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                                                 Poster Source: moofyme.com Samba wasted no ti...

                                                 Poster Source: moofyme.com

Samba wasted no time to rally his men to the task at hand, but the challenge was that they were too few. To take on the slave merchants and their heavily armed soldiers they needed numbers. So he decided to talk to other men who he knew loathed the sight of Africans being hounded down and carried off to far flung lands as goods. There were many men in Bada who felt it was high time they gave the white man a run out of their lands. With Samba in the lead they swore to fight to the death. There were also not a few women who when they heard of the revolt pledged their hands to fight. Most of them were young women who were snatched away from their families and lovers only to be turned into sex toys by their European masters. One of such women was Zaya (her name means beauty); she was captured by a stream just two days after her wedding and sold to a slave merchant who was so fixated on her nubile body that he refused to sell her off to buyers in the West Indies and instead turned her to what he and his friends played with whenever they wanted. Zaya’s tortuous life was such that most days she would serve her master and his friends drinks from dawn to dusk with no clothes on her back except a piece of cloth which she was allowed to tie around her waist. As she served them, she would be pushed from one man to another and made to do things which in her land were abominations punishable by death.

One day while Zaya served her master and his friends, they decided to take her in turns as they often did, but she resisted them, leapt on one of them and ripped his neck open with her teeth. As punishment for what she did, her master chopped off three fingers on her left hand and tied her naked to a pole for three days without food. When this woman Zaya heard of the revolt she promised Samba that she would not only die fighting, but that she would rally other women whom she knew could fight. While Samba and his men made ready to descend on the slave masters in Bada, a man from the river people who hated everything Samba stood for on account of how he sold him and his people into slavery, sneaked into John Grey’s apartment and told him all about Samba’s plan to lead a revolt against him and the Europeans in Bada.

John Grey immediately sent for all the European soldiers in Bada and quickly sent word to other Eropeans to move to their quarters and barricade themselves behind block walls. Some Black soldiers who had access to firearms were disarmed and locked up in cages. The European soldiers spread through Bada in search of Samba and found him in the slave quarters where he was motivating men to fight for their freedom. They took no time to bring Samba down and carried him off to John Grey and Robert Staple who were very happy to see him in chains. By planning a revolt against British and European citizens Samba had sealed his fate. His crime weighed heavily and would fetch him a death penalty or if he was shown mercy would be sold off as a slave to merchants in Brazil, America or the West Indies. To John Grey and Robert Staple, Samba had played into their hands at the right time. Now that he was out of the way, they would easily lay their hands on Ha’kamara.

In that very moment, Robert Staple sent for Sunu to discuss with her the amount which  she would sell Ha’Kamara to them or be accused of having planned the revolt with her brother Samba and be sold as a slave or even hanged before the matter would reach the British officers in Selay. When Sunu arrived and heard the terms upon which she must sell Ha’Kamara to them; she was shocked by the inhumanity of the slave merchants. Much to their surprise, Sunu dug her feet in and refused to sell Ha’Kamara under any threat. Meanwhile Adam Cox, the brother to Ann Cox and officer in charge of the British Calvary in Selay had heard the report about a certain Samba who laid his hands on a high profile British citizen, John Grey, and quickly sent a detachment of soldiers to bring him bound to Selay. The soldiers were not very far away while the intrigues in Bada played out.

In keeping to his threat, Robert Staple ordered some soldiers to drag Sunu out and hang her immediately. Right before all those who had gathered when they heard of the intended revolt, soldiers strung a rope around Sunu’s neck and took her to a tree to hang her. While this happened a women ran off to Zaya and told her about all that was happening. With most Europeans having barricaded themselves in their block quarters, Zaya found some clothe and put it on. That was the first time she would wear any clothe since she was brought as a slave to Bada; and for that reason many people could not recognize her. She took a kitchen knife and hid it under her clothe. The woman who brought her word also found a weapon and hid it under her clothe. Together the two of them ran to go rescue Sunu.

That early morning when Sunu heard from Ha’Kamara that Samba was going to lead a revolt against the white men in Bada, and that she was going to fight alongside him; she was afraid and tried to persuade Ha’Kamara to escape from Bada with her. When Ha’Kamara resolutely refused, Sunu blew nchege (a sleeping powder) into her face and locked her under the basement of her apartment in the hope that she would be safe there while the revolt lasted. While the soldiers worked hard to hang Sunu, John Grey sent some other soldiers to go look for Ha’Kamara and bring her to him. Thankfully before Sunu could be hanged Ann Cox and Reverend Jeremy Dudley came to the scene and demanded that the execution be stayed. While John Grey and Robert Staple argued with Ann Cox and Reverend Jeremy Dudley, Zaya and her companion arrived at the execution scene. Zaya worked the knife in her hand like a seasoned killer. In a breathtaking move, she cut the rope around Sunu’s neck and drove the knife through the throat of one of the soldiers while her companion ran through the other soldier and cut his bowel wide open.

The sight of Zaya and her companion’s bravery drove the blacks in Bada insane and they attacked the Europeans with no thought for their lives. The Europeans, most of whom were slave merchants ran to go take cover at their quarters while their soldiers stood to fight. As the European Soldiers shot at the black in Bada, heads were blown off and hearts were blown open; and yet they kept coming at the European soldiers. Some European soldiers had to drop their guns and fled. Even Sunu had to join the fight in her rage. In their lead was Zaya, clutching the knife in her hand as though her life depended on it and cutting and slicing every white flesh she met like she was possessed. Some friends of Ann Cox and Reverend Dudley took them and hid them where they would be safe. As the blacks in Bada pursued the whites to overtake them before they could reach their quarters, the detachment of soldiers sent by Adam Cox arrived and threw themselves to the battle. In a short time, they tilted the battle to the favour of the Europeans and got many of their people to hide behind the block walls of the European quarters.

Slowly the community of blacks in Bada, slaves, slave raiders and others began to fall back from the detachment of soldiers from Selay. While some thought of a means to escape from Bada or to find their loved ones and take off with them, something happened. A young girl ran out of the slave quarters yelling at the top of her voice. As she ran toward the European soldiers a cloud of dust followed her. When she reached them, they slumped to the ground with their faces torn open. When the retreating black men and women – people from the river tribe, Bodgi tribe and many bribes and communities in Bada - saw what happened, they turned and followed on the heels of the young girl who continued her run toward the European quarters.

The block wall could not resist the power which followed the girl. As soon as the reach the block barricade, it exploded and she went in. As if to give the Europeans a view of the person in the dust, the dust settled a bit and many saw Ha’Kamara standing to her feet and her face contoured with anger. John Grey who watched from where he hid himself could not believe his eyes. Ha’Kamara shouted for all to hear, “This is my land and my people! There will no longer be slave trading here! We are humans and not goods!” At the end of her words, the dust she brought with her raged like the sea and filled the whole European quarters. By the time those who followed her arrived most Europeans were on the floor choking to death. When Zaya ran into the quarters and saw white men and women lying on the ground, she ran around like a mad woman looking for her master. When she saw him, she sat on him and stabbed him to the chest about twenty times before someone dragged her off him. While others celebrated the victory, Ha’Kamara knew that a few white soldiers escaped to Selay and that in some days the British officers in Selay would send in a full army to recover Bada and crush all opposition.

Taking full command of Bada town, Zaya ordered that all slaves locked in cages be freed and that all those who wanted to leave should leave. Zaya could not bring herself to go back to her land and her husband. She prayed for death and longed for it. After what she had been through in the hands of her master, she could not see how any man would desire her as a wife again. Many nights while she served her master, she was forced to submit her body for as many as five men to use her in turns in one night. She, just like Ha’Kamara, knew a second wave of battle would come and her desire was to die in it.
LINK TO EPISODE 8: http://www.moofyme.com/2016/01/hakamara-episode-8.html

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                                                               This story was written by:

                                                                       Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: HA'KAMARA - Episode 7
HA'KAMARA - Episode 7
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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