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The African Son Chapter 3

The African Son Chapter 3

The African morning was so quiet with the birds chapping all around making melodious symphonies. The comrades were passionately shinning their riffles. Then the commander slid into the cave in a sudden rush.

“Comrades it’s time, the trucks are coming!” he shouted. Immediately, all other fighters took to their feet and grabbed this and that.

They all ran in a single composed file and dispersed into three groups when they were outside the cave. When they were outside one group leader signaled on the radio that his group was one man short.

There was not even any chance to figure out who exactly was missing. Before long there was a huge drone from a distance. All birds flew away from the trees and huge birds appeared in the sky at very high speeds. The birds had no wings and penetrated the silence that prevailed.

The leading helicopter dropped something by the mouth of the cave and a huge blast followed. Immediately the commander shouted, “We are under attack, take cover comrades.”

The dark helicopters lowered closer to the ground. White soldiers were seen jumping out one after the other. The freedom fighters took cover behind the bushes and ant hills. They shot at the white soldiers who kept on advancing.

The enemy maneuvered through the bushes and came closer to the comrades whom they now sandwiched. The big birds hovered in the sky like lost spirits.

Mr. Tembo just flashed from behind the hill and started firing with great rage. The more shots he made the louder he screamed. The commander tried to draw him back behind the hill, but Mr Tembo was determined to stand his ground.

He signaled the commander and other guerillas to move and escape while he created a diversion. He kept firing and one shot out of nowhere struck his hip. He screamed louder that the commander heard him from a distance and stopped.

He came back running and saw Mr Tembo rising back to his feet. Mr. Tembo started leaping, firing emotional shots with his AK hanging beside his right rib. As the commander shouted to Mr Tembo another bullet went through his heart and the other through his right shoulder.

A grenade was dropped in front him and exploded. The commander saw him suspended in the air for a moment and the force of gravity claimed him back to the earth. As the commander ran to retrieve the hero’s body a volley of shots also struck at him unexpectedly.

This was all in the eyes of the other freedom fighters. They held their hands covering their mouths. Others were already weeping.

*****

Masimba wept passionately in deep sleep. Mrs. Tembo was surprised the moment he screamed shouting, “Tembo dzokai”  (meaning Tembo please come back). She leapt from the kitchen to check on her son who was now the head of house by appointment of his father.

He narrated the occurrences in the terrible dream. In the dream his father and the commander had been shot dead by the white soldiers. Mrs Tembo burst into tears. The old memories of her husband struck her hard. It had been two months and they had not received any news from the battlefield on how things were going.

Sometime later that day news arrived from the battlefield. Men who seemed so  exhausted came by their house accompanied by the village head. It was evident by their looks that they were fighters and they had come a long way. Their faces, although very humble, were not those that bring good news.

Mrs. Tembo served them Sadza with dried meat that Masimba had brought from his hunting expeditions. They feasted on the delicacies.
Thereafter they relieved their hearts of the grief that troubled their souls. They had come to tell Masimba and his household that what they last saw of Mr. Tembo was the last of it all.

Mr Tembo was never to return home again. He had joined Nehanda and Kaguvi who also died for the African soil like he did. Amongst the guerilla’s there had been a rotten apple that sold the rest of the crew when they were to attack the enemy’s convoy one morning.
The narration matched that of Masimba’s dream. Therefore, the missing man in his dream was the sell-out who led to his father’s death.

From that day on wards, things were really different now. Hope for his father’s return had been confirmed invalid. Masimba was now the absolute head of the house and had to pull his socks further up.

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