We are calmly and solemnly keeping vigil in the countryside after the demise of a beloved. The comforting church hymns are punctuated by a few speeches as the bereaved are made to believe that the deceased had no flaws.
We’re accustomed to that. Yet, not wanting to seem overshadowed, the village drunkards grab any slightest opportunity to make their presence felt. We are rather honorable and polished city folks, presuming that we know what these drunkos want; another keg of Waragi, a local potent gin.
But lo! They have other ideas. As if by default, the generator providing the power for the public address system grounds to a halt and there’s total darkness. The darkness in these villages reminds one of Chinua Achebe’s legendary Umuofia where on such dark nights, a snake was called a string, lest you invoke the wrath of the gods.
A solitary candle flickers on our table and a drunken fellow (Is he really drunk?) points his index finger accusingly to us city folks, “You people have left us with nothing. You first deceived us with loans. Then you grabbed our land. Now you’ve come back to take our wives! Have mercy on us.” A few murmurs of dissent (or is acknowledgement?) spring from the crowd.
Come to think about it soberly. These fellows cannot attack a wannabe; they’re very calculative in their trade. And they are always informed. They are rarely arrested if at all there happens to be a police swoop on the village, and if it happens, they’re usually the first to be granted bail. For whom do they work?
They are always in the local bufundas but they have families and their children go to school. Are these folks really idiots, or somebody somewhere wants to make us believe so? Then make a mistake of criticizing a political figure in their presence and you’re finished.
Beware of village idiots; don’t be fooled by their drunken brawls. Buy them booze but steer clear of them.
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