A bloody resistance against colonial invasion that tears Seme's indigenous leadership apart marks the entry of a strange culture into the clan. Osayo, the priest, seeks to protect the clan's religious system from erosion by the Blue-eyed (colonists). He, however, has to face off with a few loose canons, including his own son who escapes to a mission center far from home and ends up falling in love with a convert. In the meantime, a terrible plague breaks out in the clan, killing animals and people and leaving the land barren. Coupled by a misunderstanding of concepts in the new faith propagated by the Blue-eyed, a longstanding rift and blame game emerge between the converts and the conservatives, and spuns into a cutural marriage. Soon afterward, Osayo dies and his son, Okayo, realizes he has a greater role to play. The supernormal powers of the clan's aboriginal religious tree are stolen by a witch in line with a prophetic myth. And in a painful and tumultous mission to reunite the two conflicting religions of Seme Clan and limit the Blue-eyed's influence, Okayo puts his front foot forward in combating witchcraft so as to have the tree's powers in safe custody, and protect good from being superseded by evil.View More
When Okayo woke up that morning, he felt his bones cracking and his head aching terribly. For the first time since he got married, he had slept with Otolo and his younger siblings in his deceased grandparent’s hut. The kids had woken up at the crack of dawn and left him still sleeping. He was not sure whether he had done the right thing, though he knew that going away from Nyarari had barred him from doing the most obnoxious – beating her up.He sat up and strained his eyes around the hut. The bedding, now a large thin sheet made of crimped sisals and barkcloth, and the dry cow-dung falling from the walls filled him with nostalgia. He thought about his deceased grandmother and the beautiful tales she would narrate to them before going to bed. He thought: if only she was alive, then he would explain to her the challenges he was facing in life and, perhaps, find a consolation to his flaming soul. But she was long gone and the only
Nyarari’s eyes opened up late in the night. The hut was totally dark and snores abounded the hut. She could feel someone lying right beside her. She sat up and was about to move her palm across the body to feel the person’s breath when some forces held her back. What if the person was a man, and in fact her husband? She cowed. She laid herself back in the bark-cloth bedding and thought about the previous day’s undertakings. She wanted to stop blaming herself for the sin she had committed, but however much she tried, the feeling of guilt kep
Dusk was fast dawning when the four arrived back at Kobita in Seme. They went straight to the herbalist's home. There was a strove of people standing by the hut. Okayo's heart jumped all of a sudden when he saw the gathering. He turned swiftly and looked at Okech. The boy was going out of gasps, his hands placed upon his chest. He then returned to the strove and pushed through into the hut. The ambience inside the rectangular abode was fell. Women and children were seated on the floor while the men were standing around them. The old woman was bending down towards Ogola who lay stiff on the ground trying out her work gimmicks on him. The crowd waited in deep silence, with bated breath, expecting a favourable outcome. "What's going on here?" Okayo frained at once. "Shhh!" cautioned the woman, standing. "The witch's around." "The witch's here? How?" Okayo as
The new awakening in the society was profound. Christianity was now far-reaching than ever and the number of converts was nearly outweighing that of the conservatives. Just about two decades ago, people had been overwhelmed with the demands of the old religion, remaining faithful to them without cringing necks. But since the intrusion of the Blue-eyed, things had changed pretty much. First of all, people died - numerous people - in the great rebellion, then the clan's leadership fell into the hands of strangers and the new education system found its way in, and now, more than anything, the new faith was fastening its grip. But the differences between the two religions were subtle and confounding. While the new faith upheld the ideology of an invisible tree and its branches, at the center of the clan's aboriginal religious system too was a tree called the long-lasting tree that had now however been cut down. These two trees were claim
Otieno and Okayo walked into Ogola's hut. They had received word that the old man wanted to see them. They found him telling stories with Odalo and would have excused themselves to return later, but Ogola stopped them, "Have your seats, boys. We have grave matters to moot." They shook hands with the old men and sat. "I have heard that the witch has been found," began Odalo. "But that she disappeared again. Why is it taking you too long to find her?" "Allow me to ask, jaduong', how have you known that she is a witch." "The manner in which she disappeared is allegoric to the one in the prophetic myth," explained Odalo. "I'm told she flew from one end of the roof to other like a bewildered botfly before she headed for the exit and disappeared." All the others broke into laughter "Whoever told you that is the greatest exagge
Okayo stole glances at the wooden sofa sets, large stools, and floral decorations inside Omolo's house. He wondered where it all came from. They were a rare thing in the countryside. He could now almost conclude that there was an immeasurable amount of wealth in the church. It was not his first time witnessing such a glamorous setting in the house of a clergy; he had seen it in Pastor Ken's house back in Kisumu Town. He thought about it for a moment. Was the church an effectual money-minting organisation camouflaging as a free solace workshop? Why were the clergy leading lavish lifestyles while their followers begged and toiled hard for bread like mendicants? "I liked the sermon," Nyarari interrupted his thoughts. "Did you?" He did not reply immediately. "Did you like it, Johnny?" reiterated Nyarari. "I don't know. I was just thinking about something else when you interrupted."
Okech squatted down to the flowing water to fill his barrel. He was now seventeen seasons old, tall and mascular, already initiated into adulthood, and possessed with decade-old momories of his family. He missed the company of his siblings and parents. For a moment, his eyes shifted onto the scar on his left leg, the only relic of his childhood life. His mind toured the past. He remembered the dreadful scene at the river - how the Blue-eyed pointed at and shot him with a strange item, an item that sparked fire. The wound had taken time to heal and the huge scar left marked a page in his life that had not yet been closed. He kept asking himself: were his brothers and friends back in Seme safe? And his insane father? What about his mother who had left only months after their father turned mad? Would he ever meet them again? As he though about these, he forgot himself and the barrel he wa
It was an all-merry ground at the Osayos. At one side of the homestead, young women dressed in owelo (traditonal dancing skirts made of sisal) and tops made of banana leaves harmoniously sang dudu (a native folksong sung by women) in the accompaniment of nyatiti, orutu and other traditional instruments. At the other side, young men cavorted about performing Ohangla and other native music. When the much-awaited guests arrived, all the people made welkin rings and ululations as they rushed to meet and welcome them home. The women carried their bride and the men their bridegroom and moved about bestowing laudits on them. Some older men too gambolled about making utterances of praise in the native spoken word format called sigiya. After the shoutings had died down, young men performed the traditional Sikwomba and Ohangla dances. Afterward, women lined up themselves in front of Agola'
It was approaching dusk yet the sky remained as clear as crystal. The land lay stiff and barren - no edible plants and animals, no grains, and many were the lives she had swallowed. She looked like a ravenous giantess craving for any living prey. She wanted to devour as many living creatures as she could. On her belly rested the ailing countryside, as quiet as if nobody lived in it. The four and other three men were now moving towards River Awach. The family had alighted from the wagons at Wang'-arot and luckily found three men loafing about who offered to help with carrying the heavy sacks of food. The Blue-eyed had constructed a murram road from Kisumu to Usenge, but the paths leading to the river off the main road, through the forests, were narrow and could not be used by wagon-riders. Even so, the family objected using the Gem route fearing they might be attacked by a gang, and so the riders had to leave them at the Wang'arot junction.
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