including the parents of the dead student.
They don’t have names. Their names are comrades. So comrades normally come with the hearse. The university gives them a bus. They come in the evening. They are dressed like the late Papa Wemba. Most of them.
So comrades reach your village. They jump off the bus and catch friendship with some village youth who speaks some little ‘Sheng’
The male comrades disappear inside the sugarcane with the youth.The youth shows them chang’aa dens. They drink few tots here and there. In an empty stomach.
They resurface again in the funeral when it’s almost dark, smelling like pub latrines.
They are carrying Jerry cans of Chang’aa They appear from ‘tok pacho’ crying, wailing,
mourning, chanting, making noise.
They run towards the casket carrying placards, huge banana leaf placards.
They are bare chested. Their shirts tied on their heads.
They cry. Cries of alcohol mixed with bhangi and cigarettes. They smell like cattle dip.
Their girlfriends are in the tent, taking photos and posting on social media, “Matanga tings”
Next day, eulogy is read…. Comrades are impatient.They are still wailing, shouting and kissing their girlfriends.They cant listen to anyone.
Everybody in that village is a fool except them.Comrades.
When they are given chance to speak. They first call the girlfriend of the dead guy.
She comes forth, swaying her ass and walking briskly like a sick kangaroo.She grabs the microphone with her pink polished nails. Her two friends flanking her. They are standing by her side. With huge dark goggles on their faces, they look like Mugabe.She speaks with her nose, “Jose alikuwa chali ya mine. Design alininice nayo mi ndo najua. Mi sina mob la kusema. Sir God ndo anajua. Thanx”
Villagers are silent. They don’t understand what the lady is saying but they are composed. They
believe she must be saying something good about the dead comrade. You are always
expected to speak good of the dead.
The widow and her two friends walk back to the tent where other comrades are
Before the program ends, they feel that their time is being wasted.
One comrade shouts, “COMRADES POWER?” “POWER! ”
“COMRADES, OLUND LIECH?! ” “OLUND LIECH!! ”
Villagers feel ashamed, they look down, they stare at their own feet.Comrades are now charged
They go and pick the coffin…. Direct to the grave. No prayer. No nothing.
They burry a comrade, then drink the remaining chang’aa and wail as they head back to their
The widow is more drunk than the rest. One of the comrades has already booked her. She is in
love with the new man.
They stagger towards the bus. Kissing and nursing each other.
Villagers stare at them as they speed off Its raining. The parents of the dead comrade are still sitting near the grave.
Life goes on.