HA'KAMARA - Episode 12

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The young man Zaya sent to Bada ran like an Olympic sprinter, using every short track he knew and also making sure he did not run into ...

The young man Zaya sent to Bada ran like an Olympic sprinter, using every short track he knew and also making sure he did not run into slave raiders who did not know about the battle in Selay and were leading their new human catch there to make money. He did not know how long it would take him to get to Bada, but he was determined to reach the town by the dawn of the next day. At that rate, he would run himself to exhaustion, but he was willing to try. While he meandered like a serpent through bush tracks, Wute and the four men with him continued their journey to Selay running almost every inch of the road. Sometimes Wute would be heard praying loudly to the gods of his land to keep Zaya alive till he could get to Selay to protect her. They did not spare a thought if they would be able to fight by the time they reached Selay; they simply kept running, clutching their machetes firmly as their feet pounded heavily on the red African soil.

Behind them Samba kept pace with his men and tried hard not to let Wute know they followed on his heels. However, by the time they reached the three stones, Samba had heard enough from Wute’s loud prayers to the gods to know he wasn’t lying when he said Zaya was his wife. Far away on the path which led to Azara, the three warriors sent to inform the warriors of Azara that Bada had accepted their proposition, also ran to deliver their message. As they passed through towns and villages, angry mobs, armed to the teeth morphed behind them and followed at their tail. The entire land seemed to have set their fratricidal conflicts aside to fight one common enemy – the white man. When eventually the team of three warriors reached Azara, an enormous crowd had formed behind them. Many thought that the men of Bada had decided to follow their ten warriors to Azara to make trouble or for some other unfriendly reasons. Though Azara was famous as home to arguably the most dangerous people in that region, Bada also had made a name for itself by being the only town which stood up to the tyranny of the white man and beat him in spite of his superior weapons. In the light of that, everyone in Azara had good reason to be wary of Bada; streets, farms and streams were deserted.

By the time the three warriors and the armed crowd which followed them reached the village square of Azara, the warriors of Azara were already in battle position, waiting to pounce on the supposed enemy who had entered their land and chanted ebulliently, mocking the fear of death. When the three warriors Wute sent to Azara chanted briefly with their fellow warriors and raised their hands, the warriors of Azara quieted down and gave them audience. “These men who entered Azara with us are not the war men of Bada! They are men from Elumara, Uzaku, Ekejoko and Uzaa. They want the same thing we want! They want death to the white man!!!” The crowd at the square thundered mightily and their voice went far into the lands around. Nta’ko one of the three warriors addressing the elders and warriors of Azara continued, “You sent us to Bada to inform them that their battle against the white man is also our battle. We are very glad to inform you that Bada will happily have us fight by their side!!”

With that announcement, some warriors broke their positions and began to dance insanely and many others shouted frenziedly. Nta’ko continued, “Bada is ready for war! And not only that, believe me when I say it, Bada has found a way into Selay…” The crowd hushed, and their respect for Bada quadrupled. “They sent their little devil who rides with the dust of the earth and one of our own into Selay; one whom we thought had been carried off to white man’s land, Zaya! The wife of Wute! She lives! She lives!” The crowd echoed once again and could hardly wait for Nta’ko to finish his speech. “Right now Wute and the other warriors are on their way to Selay to die with the little devil and Zaya!!! This is what I say! Let this mighty army run to Selay and bring it down or die trying!” That was the end of the speech; the elders were not given a chance to address their warriors. The warriors of Azara, Elumara, Uzaku, Ekejoko and Uzaa took off in the direction of Selay. In their wake, infirm trees, and shrubs lay flat on the ground and animals crouched in fear.

Deep into the hinterland; Bodgi, the tribe where Ha’kamara hailed from, heard that the entire land of Ubukwu was unifying to attack the white man alongside Bada, and so they rallied their warriors and gave them what they had in abundance more than other lands – voodoo. The warriors of Bodgi made their way to Selay by late evening. When they reached Zarafi they saw an army comprising the warriors of the river people and those of Zarafi. They stood side by side and sang as one in spite of their aged long differences. Bodgi warriors joined them in their song to show solidarity with them. The three towns combined were the most diabolical in all the lands of Ubukwu. Whatever the warriors ahead of them were, they were much more through their voodoo and charms. They all agreed not to rest by day or night until they had reached Selay. On their way they began their killings, slaughtering slave raiders and setting slaves free. They burnt down outposts built by the British and beheaded white men and women they met on their way. 

As the young man sent to Bada continued his run, he ran into Samba and his men and was detained. Without delay they demanded of him why he so ran as he did. He informed them that a woman who fought like a beast in Selay sent him to Bada to tell a man called Samba that Selay had fallen. That was just the news Samba wanted to hear. Pushing the young man aside, Samba ran like a cheetah to Selay not minding if his men kept up with him. One of his men told the young man that the man who just left him was Samba and sent the young man to Bada to inform Inya that if he did not make haste to reach Selay in time, that there will be no white flesh left to honour his machete. The young man continued his run to Bada, this time encouraged by having delivered his message to Samba and the effect his message had on the warriors. He felt happy that he was being useful in a trying time in the history of the people of Ubukwu. As he made his way to Bada he began to ponder whether he should return to selay with Inya and fight than to flee to his town as he had planned earlier. He could not see the honour in hiding while a woman like Zaya faced British canons without fear.

In selay confusion, fear and death reigned supreme. Adam Cox the leader of the British Calvary in Selay surprised Ha’kamara and Zaya by finding a way to counter the effect of the dust which Ha’Kamara raised. Standing in utter shock Ha’Kamara and Zaya watched as Cox and his men made a bonfire with planks taken from wooden houses in Selay. As the fire raged and burnt sky high, it illuminated the thick dust, revealing those who were in it. Though British soldiers could not tell who the enemy was in the midst of the swarm of black men and women who sought a way out of Selay, they decided to fire at all of them. Their canons and bullets tore human flesh to shreds; blood and human meat flew in all directions and the earth turned deep red with human blood. In the burning fire, white men tossed black men and women they could grab. Out on the ships which had loaded slaves and raw materials, black slaves were tossed overboard into the water, while others were sawn asunder.

Ha’Kamara looked around and searched deep for the guardians, but somehow it seemed they had taken a break from the battle. She and Zaya raised a cry for all the slaves in Selay to surge forward and fight, but their cry fell on terrified slaves who were too mortified to stand the sight of pogrom being committed against them. For no explainable reason, Ha’Kamara, Zaya and many of the slaves who were fighting began to flee from the superior firepower of the white man and as they fled, the dust began to give way to full daylight, allowing British soldiers good view to aim better shots at them. On the ships, many of the white people who were throwing slaves into the water stopped and made their way out in pursuit of those black people who were fleeing. On the ships the bound slaves began to break free; some fled from the ships while others helped their brothers and sisters to break loose from their shackles. Slowly the number of dark skinned men and women behind Adam Cox and his soldiers began to increase. A formation was taking place and not even Ha’Kamara could see it. Adam Cox and his men on their part were too intoxicated by the momentary victory they had to have noticed what was happening. Even the very cautions Felix Claxton pulled out his gun and gave the slaves a chase.

While the slaves made their way out of Selay in morbid fear, the first band of warriors led by Wute and Samba arrived. The sight of Samba wielding his machete, shouting and running through the crowd invigorated Ha’Kamara and Zaya, and so they stood their ground. As a group of British soldiers who reached them tried to grab the two of them, Ha’Kamara and Zaya pounced upon them like lions upon their prey.


Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: HA'KAMARA - Episode 12
HA'KAMARA - Episode 12
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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