FICTION CORNER: Kaposi – the coolest! 

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 05 July 2017   |   By Emmanuel Bane
FICTION CORNER: Kaposi – the coolest! 

Tiger the dog was chasing a pack of guinea fowls and hot on his heels was Kaposi. He knew it was only a matter of time before the birds got tired and landed on a tree. Tiger was well taught. With the guinea fowls thinking they were safely out of reach and flapping their wings provocatively as if they dared him to catch them if he could, Tiger concentrated on their shadows on the ground and kept galloping. Whenever they tried to perch on a tree top to catch a breath, Tiger would bark so fiercely that they will immediately take off and Tiger would keep chasing. This spectacle could go on for hours and Kaposi would patiently follow the contest. Armed with his knobkerrie on one hand, and his catapult proudly hanging on his neck he enjoyed every minute of the chase. He knew sooner rather than later the birds will have to rest and he would take aim with his catapult and one by one he will drop them. Depending on his mood he could even allow Tiger to devour a whole bird, but first the birds must be pushed further and further till they got tired. A large ‘moselesele’ thorn pierced through Kaposi’s barefoot and blood immediately gushed out. Kaposi could not stop; not now, not when the birds were beginning to show fatigue. He will deal with the pain later. He knew he must keep his eyes on the prize. More blood gushed from the wound but still Tiger and Kaposi kept running. Just when the pain seemed to get unbearable, the birds finally perched on a morula tree. Kaposi smiled. He removed his weapon of minimal destruction from his neck, quickly retrieved a fine stone from his bulging pocket and placed it on his catapult and took aim. He stretched the catapult to maximum capacity. Owing to his strong hands, his catapult struck with devastating effect! He was a marksman of note and would aim only at the guinea fowl’s head which will be shattered beyond recognition. Kaposi took aim for the very last time and a boyish smile covered his entire face. One after the other the birds dropped lifelessly to the ground as Kaposi struck with catastrophic precision.

Kaposi had lost track of both distance and time and dusk was already falling when he attempted to go back home. He could not tell which direction he had come or which way to go. As darkness fell, he started running. His dog running closely behind him. He was scared for this area was known for its man eating predators. When morning broke Kaposi found two herd boys driving some cattle and asked for directions. After talking for more than 30 minutes, Kaposi gave them his four guinea fowls and begged them to also take Tiger with them. He had made up his mind that he was going to the mines. The herd boys had mentioned a place he had overheard his uncle talking about once upon his return from the mines. Never before had Kaposi seen so many people, so many buildings, so many cars. He had tried to count the cars but gave up along the way. He had tried to greet people and no one cared. He had seen people of different colours and sizes, people who spoke funny languages and wore funny clothes. Months later he was in a train on his way back home. He could not wait to see his mother. He had bought her some clothes and bought himself a watch. Kaposi’s mother had always encouraged him to work hard at school, find a good paying job and buy a watch. To her it was the ultimate symbol of sophistication and wealth. Kaposi looked at the watch and smiled. His mother will be proud of him, for amongst the things he bought was a complicated music system. The yard was packed to the rafters with revellers. They had travelled from near and far. The men had lined up their bicycles along the yard. What a sight! Some of the bicycles had their own stands and were decorated with mirrors on both sides of the handles. The ladies were wearing their multi-coloured dresses with their hairstyles seemingly competing for attention. Inside the yard blaring music was coming from the sound box which was referred to then as “sunbox!” Placed on a drum that had been turned upside down the blue sound box had many control buttons. Kaposi waited until curious eyes were all over the instrument and then he emerged from the hut. His afro hair fluffy and shiny, he held a white handkerchief on one hand and a comb on the other.

Kaposi adjusted the controls as young women fell over themselves to get a glimpse of both the man and his musical instrument! At the far corner of the yard was yet another instrument! Tied to a pole and facing northwards was a loud speaker. While it appeared to have been blue originally, it was now covered in red paint and the words “KAPS” were scribbled across it in the most disastrous hand writing ever. Kaposi turned the pole so that the loud speaker now faced southwards. Working in the mines was every boy’s dream then. Of all possessions, a miner’s success was measured by his bicycle and his “amprofaya.” Kaposi had both, and it was rumoured all the village girls wanted his hand in marriage. Having arrived from the mines only days ago, he was the talk of the village. News had travelled very fast and now everyone had gathered at this stokvel to marvel at the mysterious “amprofaya.” Word had gone around that Kaposi’s musical instruments was one of a kind and today everyone had gathered to witness the mystery. Impromptu dancing competitions were organised with Kaposi paying the winners with five fat cakes that were pinned on a tiny stick. The dancers were mostly boys in their teens who displayed amazing flexibility with their dancing skills. Just when everybody was getting impatient and threatening to go to another stokvel, Kaposi went into the hut where the rest of his musical instruments were housed. Carefully he removed them from the hut and placed them on a small table just by the door. As the LP was still playing, Kaposi shocked everyone by placing four more LPs on top of the other and then walking away to join a group of men who were enjoying their traditional beer, every one watched in amazement. No one was prepared for what followed. As soon as the last song stopped playing, Kaposi was expected to rush to the instrument so as to change the LPs. No such thing happened, for he continued to enjoy his drink. Suddenly, the next LP dropped into the turntable and without anyone touching anything, music came blaring from the speaker and sound box. The village folks were in total shock. Only Kaposi seemed to be at ease. The next song ended and once again the routine repeated. People started gathering in groups and speaking in hushed tones. Kaposi’s amprofaya was immediately declared the coolest in the village and him the best maskanta ever. Never before had anyone seem such! How could the instrument play by itself? When the stokvel ended, women lined up to see Kaposi. They all wanted him to play at their next stokvel! Kaposi never returned to the mines, for he was now the most sought after “maskanta” in his village and beyond. His musical instruments inspired many boys to work hard, go to the mines and buy an even better machine!

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