We missed meeting this remarkable story teller earlier this year who weaves magical tales of life in Africa, his homeland.
When I read this on Facebook I just had to ask Ralph for permission to share this interesting perspective of life in Africa as a bull elephant.
MAGWAZA the Bull Elephant
I was prevailed upon by both family and foe, to set the record straight by giving my own account about the reasons which led to my being ostracized by my family and clan, and the consequent vilification of my good name across the bushveld.
My intention is not so much to vindicate myself as to narrate the true facts of the story of my life; in the hope that it may help elucidate the pall of malicious gossip and the penumbra of misunderstanding hanging around my good character, whose opaque and inscrutable nuances may still baffle if not elude the scrutiny of my devoted detractors.
I want it to be known, first and foremost, that I was born an elephant, on a dark night graced by a crescent moon, on the banks of the mighty Sabi river. I received my very first ablutions in the same river under the deep and magical shadows of the sycamore fig and jackalberry trees.
My very first postnatal utterances were heard by the hyena, the night owl, and the jackal, and thus carried to the farthest outskirts of the bushveld dominions. I then truly became a child of the wild, and the Spirit of Africa surged free within my veins as I grew older under the wise tutelage of my grandmother, Khabonina, the grand Matriarch of our family and clan at Lower Sabi.
I then witnessed firsthand the contentious struggle between night and day, and saw their epic struggle end with daylight prevailing over darkness, thereby asserting the supremacy of the morning and the ascendancy of its enlightenment over ignorance and benighted shame. These events and their attendant lessons were deeply etched in my mind and soul, and were soon to exert an unprecedented influence upon my life and the way I choose to live it.
Little did my clan know then that the crescent moon, the Stabber, would loom large in my personal life, and with almost pre-emptive premonition crowd out those congenial, and complacent qualities that hitherto fore seemed to have characterized the general temperament of members of my tribe.
I was determined therefore to reverse all this, and carve for myself a place in the annals of the history of my species, and affirm my place as an intrepid warrior and an indefatigable contender for strength, might, prestige and power, and therefore banish forever the indignity of cowardice and surrender in my life.
From an early age, not only did I revel in my own strength, but was determined to demonstrate its efficacy and usefulness in asserting our ancient claim to pre-eminence and privilege in all civil matters in the bushveld commons. I therefore devoted myself almost exclusively to pugilistic excellence, and brooked no one assail my reputation by action or inaction without visiting them with retribution at compound interest.
Needless to say, I punished all those who dared to accost my peace or whose impudence challenged the grounds on which the motives of my conduct were based. My notoriety therefore preceded my reputation, and I soon learnt that for many of my folks, the adage that discretion is the better part of valour, was more than true; as I was given a wide berth of awe and respect by my kinsmen, whose reverential attitude belied their hidden envy of my courage and valour.
I then became known as Magwaza, the Stabber, so called after the manner in which I dispatched those who resisted my authority, by a well-aimed blow at the heart, or a fatal piercing into the skull or a stab in the jugular vein of my opponent, which more often than not led to their imminent defeat and inevitable death.
I would then urinate on my fallen adversary, and keep watch over their inert body until every vital sign ceased to assert itself and they remained motionless and lifeless. This is the ancient code of our warriors, whose forgotten rituals I have chosen not only to revive, but to emulate with grateful devotion and due diligence.
I am not blowing my own trumpet, pardon the pun, nor am I gloating with pride about this. I am a warrior, and what needs to be said must be said without fear or favour, in plain English.
This conduct on my part has earned me the wrath of my family, the hatred of my enemies and the opprobrium of all mankind.
I need not emphasize that I am not a rogue elephant, inasmuch as my actions are not baseless nor irrational. I desire to be judged by my martial peers, who may appraise me according to the universal laws of survival and the ancient warrior’s code of combat of my forebears, which I have opted to revive and uphold.
The bone of contention here is not just about violence, conquest, victory, capitulation and defeat; but is about the interactive balance of primal forces in the triangular relationship of coexistence of power, authority and justice. Can authority be asserted without the threat of punishment? Or justice be executed without the tempering mediation of mercy? Can power be asserted outside the pillars of legitimacy and consensus? These are matters of importance for all thinking beings at all times. I chose to be the executive hand of justice, the scourge of miscreants, and the epitome of retributive justice.
I never aspired to be anything in my life but a bull elephant, and a good and true scion of my ancestors. I regard all those who would attempt to deprecate and alloy the purity of my intentions with unfeigned disdain and repugnance. I scoff at their self-righteous hypocrisy and uninformed mediocrity. I am a warrior and a fighter, and would like to meet my end in the thick of the battle where the heady surge of martial passions dominate my zeal.
It is I that upbraid the unruly trees, and uproot them with the sheer force of my strength, creating open and livable spaces in the forest thickets. I alone prune the mighty leadwood and teach her the virtues of upright temperance and restraint. I lay the foundations of the paths that lead to the rivers of life in Kruger Park, and I prepare the highways of the migratory herds across the savanna hinterland. I am a bull elephant.
Can the seed see the light of day without passing through the cauldron heat of my digestive gut? It is I who awaken their germinating spirit and disperse them beyond the limits of their wildest dreams. I plan and shape the contours of the African landscape according to the wishes of my heart’s desire. I tread the waterhole in my anger, and pound its mud to a smooth consistency. Can any survive the pestilent onslaught of parasites without my help? Or ochre their bony bodies with the ornament of beautiful mud?
I am the Lord of the Savanna plains, and I move as stealthily as the delicate breath of the morning breeze along the Sabi river, and I stalk the riverine valleys in search of truth and peace. And I have received the answers to my questions.
Thus said, I submit myself to the competent judgement of my peers.
By Ralph Sibande shared with permission
Originally posted by him on Facebook
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