Tragedies on the plantation

! ! !  Many years after that evening, while on the boat crossing the lake, the vision came back to me. It was intense and sad; I could now picture it clearly.

 It reminds me of what the old lady said to me back in Africa, few years ago.

“The girl will come back to you! ”

Those were her words, and “when she does, you will remember both yourself and her, because she once was the woman you married;

A marriage that you both could not live, you were not permitted to live that romance.

She committed suicide and you were burned alive.”

Plain and simple,

That was how she said it.

This is how I remember it.

 It all started in this rich family to whom she was born.

She was a very attractive woman, born to her mother’s master. She carried in within herself, both the blood of a slave and a slave’s owner.

Though she was a daughter of a slave, her father loved her and accepted her in the family, on one condition:

She was not to marry a colored man.

For her father, Black people are and will remain slaves. They are not to be trusted and therefore he will not tolerate his daughter been married to a slave.

She was to marry in within the white race in order to eventually wash out the blackness in the family. That was what the powerful man said.

 He said he cannot and will not tolerate the blackness in the family for too long.

If he could, he would have washed it off himself, but he knew he couldn't and that reality makes him very angry.

According to him, the only reason God still keeps Black people on the planet is to serve the white race.

If it were only for him, he will have eradicated the black race from the surface of the planet a long time ago. But, been a religious man, he knows very well that God has his own way of doing things.

This powerful and very religious man believed that God has made mistake keeping black people on earth. He goes to church every Sunday praying and hoping that God will eventually realized his mistake and wipe the black people off the planet.

 He made it clear to both his daughter and his daughter’s mother that under no circumstances, he will tolerate a black blood in his family.  After all he wasn't married to her and made it a point to remind her constantly that she is just a black woman, a slave and both her and her daughter remain his properties.

 As it turned out, many years later, the only man with whom his daughter fell in love was a black man. A slave from the west coast of Africa.

I was one of his father’s properties, one of the slaves on the plantation.

 It took a long time for the powerful man to find out but when he did, his actions were immediate.

For him, it was a shame on the family. He will not tolerate that relationship, he could not tolerate it. Even if he wants to, he can’t, it is just against his principles.

Because, a slave. . . is what you were. Plain and simple.

 His daughter won’t marry you; the powerful slave holder will not allow it, she couldn't marry you, not now, not in the future, not in this life. Not in his lifetime. And he was prepared to use any means necessary in order to put an end to that romance.

As the story unfolded in the house in front of his eyes, he started looking for ways to put an end to it. And deep down he knew from the very beginning that the punishment has to be extreme. It will be an ultimate punishment and he was emotionally prepared for it. He was prepared to lose his daughter over his beliefs.

This big religious man will not sacrifice his principles, not even for the sake of his daughter’s life.

He started paying close attention to the actions happening in the house and on the plantation. He needed to make sure that what was unfolding in front of his eyes is true, that it was not a dream.

 She was a very beautiful and attractive woman with a nice chocolate type complexion, a very nice natural hair that she proudly wears on his head, in order to remember her African ancestry. She was intelligent, articulate and very thoughtful, and just like his father, a powerful Christian slave holder,she was very stubborn and deeply believes in principles of justice and equality.

She will not sacrifice her beliefs to please his father, a powerful slave holder. She was mentally prepared to face the consequences, whatever they may be.

She was my woman. And I loved her dearly.

 As for me, I was a slave on the plantation, a slave taken from the west coast of Africa, brought into this new world. But because of my strength and abilities, I was taken from the plantation into the house. At first, she was scare of me, she couldn't talk to me, and she couldn't look at me in the eyes. Even, when she has to have me do some work in the house, she wasn't able to look at me, because for her, it wasn't real, it couldn't be real:

At first, she thought I was the personification of some African Voodoo spirit

She would get up in the middle of the night and pretend to walk to the kitchen.

Her walk usually takes her through your room.

The old African lady continue talking, as I sat there listening

Her dad discovered her affection for you. It wasn't acceptable.

You were burnt alive!

 A slave will not mate with his daughter.

He has to set an example of you, and it has to be cruel for the message to be clear.

It would not be tolerated, not in this house, not on this plantation, not in my lifetime.

All the girls in the house have to witness it, and it has to be told for it has to be an example, for generations to come.

 None of my girls or my grandchildren will marry a black man, let alone a slave.

It will not happen during my life time.

 I continued listening to the older African lady as she spoke.

Your end was indeed cruel.

But before you died, she made a promise to you, that she won’t live any longer, she will follow you where ever death takes you. And you both will meet again in another life. And in that life, you will both be free to love.

Those were her words.

These were her hopes.

This is how she said it. This was how I remember it

Shortly after your death, she took her own life.

No one believed it on the plantation, for it happened so fast after your death. Just few days after you were burnt, she committed suicide, just as she said it.

This was when,  the powerful man, the master, her father was believed to started drinking.  

 This is how it happened, and this is how I remember it.

I was with Mr. Kongo when the African lady started talking to me. She pulled me aside and started saying something about plantations, and plantations owner.

 At first I did not want to listen to her, for I did not take her seriously.

But the more she talked the more I felt the need to listen.

She started by describing the circumstances that led to our meeting.

 It will never have happened if it wasn't for her father. . .   ( For more, please check back ) 


The Other  side 

I woke up this morning not knowing exactly what to do. The night was difficult and intense, the vision was awkward; unlike nothing I have experienced in the past, but I thought it can not be that negative, but I was scared.

Still, I decided not to put lot of stock in it. I have been having these weird dreams for sometime now

Looking outside, I can realize that the sun is already up in the sky, and folks have already started shaking hands, I can already feel the harmony in the air!

 I tried to remember the dreams, but I couldn't, so I stepped outside.

I thought about this all night, specially considering the length and the intensity of the discussion we had last night. I went to bed hoping and praying that the action of this guy wouldn't destroy the harmony in the city. My friends think that I get scared too much and too fast, they said, each time we have a serious conversation in Mokoto, I end up thinking that the harmony would be destroyed. They say that I do not sleep well after a long and intense discussion and I always end up having weird dreams which I do not remember in the morning.

My friends know me that well.

 According to Mokoto’s beliefs, those are signs of someone getting scared; they think I underestimate the capacity of  people to shake hands.

 In Mokoto, we believe that any negative energy can be discarded with a simple gesture of shaking hands. That one, I have known for a long time.  And it has been part of our culture for as far as I can remember. Ever since our grandparents understood that in Mokoto, we all have lived in peace and harmony and that is not going to change anytime soon.

I tried to convince myself that this is not happening, but I am sure my body language is showing everything. I can not hide it, this is happening for real  

So I made it outside, joined the crowd and started shaking hands, just like everyone else.

While doing that, I was visualizing the incident in my head, I set time on it, if it is going to happen; it has to happen around noon.

My God!

How will life be after this incident? After it passed, or if it passes at all . . . 

I started asking myself how would someone with all his senses dare to do something like this to us in Mokoto? That alone can be considered a declaration of war.

 I feel the fear in everyone’s eyes, but they are pretending not to be afraid.

 But this guy, after all, is not a stranger in Mokoto, he is one of us. I have known him all my life, why would he do something like that? Just by thinking about it, I get terrified.

The entire population of Mokoto is only talking about this incident; every one of them is trying to hide the fear in their eyes. Something has changed in the air today, it feels heavy; Even Siprus has refused to come out all day. The crowd keeps getting bigger, more and more people started showing up, and shaking hands. As for me, I was in my corner praying, hoping that this tragedy will pass over our head.

 It’s been over twenty years since we had a tragedy of this magnitude here in Mokoto, this is probably too big for us, I keep telling myself,  I must have been twelve or thirteen years of age,  back then, but I remember it clearly,  like if it were yesterday.

The images are still very clear in my brain today; I see them like if it happened yesterday. Except that Mr Kongo was in town back then; but not this time.  

 Siprus was more courageous back then, not this time; He showed us the way, back then, but this time it looks like even Siprus is scared;

 Everyone is afraid, everything is different. Even the elders in Mokoto are trying very hard to hide their fear, they are only shaking hands.

 Suddenly, the noise started, we all knew it’s happening, and it is just a matter of time before it gets to us, but we chose to be in denial, we chose to pretend it isn’t happening.

Even though no one wanted to talk about it, it was certain that it’s happening now.

 How could this be possible, right here in Mokoto? And no one can help us.

 Siprus was now standing on his two back feet; he looks very tall to me. I have not seen Siprus in this position in a long time. But still he refused to come out. May be he does not have the solution, may be he is just scared like everyone else. May be we have put too much hope in him, but whatever the reason is, Siprus isn’t coming out.

The noise was getting louder; the clouds were getting closer to us.

I saw what seems to me like the end of Mokoto, it was the same image that I saw in the dream, and it was the same image that my dad described to me during one of our never ending history telling session. The images were very similar and I can clearly put them together and compared them to the exact same images that I saw some twenty years ago, and they all look similar.

My dream started making sense;

I understand now clearly why Siprus would not come out of the room, he could not come out, he wasn’t supposed to come out, and that was part of the plan I saw in the dream.

 It is big and it has to happen, we might not be here when it finished, Mokoto might even get destroyed but it has to happen. It is set in motion; it has to happen and nothing is going to stop it. That was the plan.

The whole thing is now clear to me. The images look exactly like what they were supposed to look like, without a doubt I can now confirm what it is.

The other side

It is coming our way, it is happening in our life time. It is happening now, and it is big,

I have always thought the other side is a book story, a legend.

A story, folks in Mokoto like to tell kids to put them to sleep. I have always chosen not to believe in it.

I can remember the first time I heard of The other side. I must have been around 5 or 6 years of age. It was scary and so big that even as a kid I couldn't believe it. It wasn't believable, but today it is happening exactly like it is told in the story for generations.

The clouds were getting closer. The noise is getting stronger.

Turning to my left, I saw the man, the exact same guy that was in the dream, except that in my dream, he was all powerful, setting things in motion, controlling the reality of things.

Needless to say, this guy is from here, I have known him all my life and he was like a family to me.

Looking back, I wish Mr Kongo never left; I wish I have listened to him more, and better. I wish I have experienced his plans, I wish I had learned from his experiences and more importantly I wish I had shaken hands like he thought me,  But the reality is that I was too busy. I was all powerful back then, I thought I was in control. I didn’t have time to listen to Mr. Kongo’s story. I thought it was my way or no way.

Now I am prepared to give everything in order to save my people in Mokoto. I am prepared to make Mr.Kongo the prince again; I said it, at least a couple of times last night, only to realize that it was a dream. I even wrote it on a card, and gave it to him, but that also was part of my dream.

I feel very sad today that it is happening, the process is set in motion, and it’s going to run its course. It’s going to take the time necessary but we, in Mokoto will survive.

I chose to believe that Mokoto will survive, the kids will survive, and they elders will still be there to show us the way.

I have never believed in this shaking hands business. I always thought it is dumb, silly and stupid; believing that all our problems will somehow disappear just by shaking hands.

I turned back again and look at him. He still sits at the same location, nicely dressed, pretending to care, and looking at the elders shaking hands.

Thinking that he is responsible for all of this make me sick. I feel like walking straight to him and break his neck. But instead, I run to him and shook his hand. Because in Mokoto, that is what we know, that is the way our elders do it.

In Mokoto, we learn at a very early age that violence does not bring anything positive. Our elders work very hard to show us the positive side.

It took me all my courage and I asked him how it happened but he couldn't talk to me. He must have remembered me from the dream. He was there, wearing the exact same cloths.

Looking at my left, I saw Siprus at the window, still standing on his two back feet. He looks absolutely gorgeous; He has put on the exact same face he has the first time he talked to me. I still remember that night as if it were yesterday. It must have been over five years now, that day when he decided to open up to me, after Mr. Kongo took off.

Now he is at the window pointing his fingers to the guy. I made eye contact with him and nodded. But deep down, I knew there is nothing I can do. This guy is one of us, he is part of us. It is unfortunate that he has chosen to bring this tragedy onto us.

I can read Siprus mind clearly, but I am not going to engage in any violence what so ever, because all I know is shaking hands, so I continue doing that, just like everyone else around me.

 Siprus still pointing his fingers towards the man, but I refused to nod this time.

The clouds was still getting closer, we can all see it now and hear the noise too.

This one looks bigger than everything he has done in the past.

He couldn’t control it anymore. He looks powerless, but the truth is this guy is one of our own, he is one of us. No one could have suspected him, but I was certain it was him. I can described exactly how it happened, what he was wearing, And the exact words that he pronounced, etc. 

I kept looking at him; he does not remember me, so he started shaking hands like everyone else. 

And we both stood there, looking at the elders shaking hands, I shook my head. This action made me realized that nothing is going to stop this. It is coming down hard on us, for sure.

I wish I could have a conversation with Mr Kongo right now, may be he would be able to show me the way; But Mr. Kongo is in Juba.

I am sure he knows what is happening but there is nothing he can do from the African continent.

Mr. Kongo, the professor,

Mr. Kongo, the President,

Everyone started shouting Mr. Kongo’s name, like if, with some sort of magic power, he can changed things from where ever he is.

I turned around and looked at the clock; it shows 1.47 in the P.M, I made eye contact with Siprus who was still at the window. It looks like our thoughts were converging at that exact same moment.

 It looks like we were having the exact same thought, at the exact same instant.


For more, please check back:

Reasons for hope: TO FOLLOW