THE OUTCAST – EPISODE 1
Written by Amah
My name is Mbazi.. I’m the first born of my Pah.. Pah means father in my tribe, We are three brothers and a sister, Zila. This story is not just about me but mainly about my only sister Zila,
my father had three sons, and a daughter , We are the four children of Mukattabaziela, My father’s name is strange and long.. According to him.. his name means root of a tree, which literally stand for a great man.. He was well known in my tribe as a man of wisdom.. He is one of the clan chief. People find it difficult to pronounce his name.. Some settled with calling him Pah..
This are the names of my father’s children, me, being the first, Mbazi, Mekah, Muke and Zila,
The only sister I had was a twin to Muke..The last son of my Pah, Zila, as we all fondly call her was the pride of our home.. She was the beautiful flower that welcomes the sun with a smile.. But later the flower was plugged off even before the rising of the sun..
So many things I want to talk about.. I wasn’t there when most of the things I want to talk about happened but I was told..
Zila was an outcast.. Because she’s a twin to a boy.. is not generally acceptable in my clan.. A girl being born with a boy at the same time was an abomination and father been a clan chief has to live by example..
Pregnant women always pray that they don’t give birth to a boy and girl as twin, because they couldn’t bear to watch their female children thrown off to be devoured by animals, Either 2boys or 2girls. Or just one, Male or female. Because if the girl is born with a boy together as twins she will be mark as an outcast thereby thrown to the deep wood to be devoured by hungry animals.
The boys are kept while the girls are unlucky, and this bad omen happened to Zila, Because of their general belief that such baby should not be alive or she will bring bad luck to all the clan, they believe Zila was a bad omen.. If such thing happen the land will have to be cleanse just to appease the gods, after the cleansing of the land it will then be prepared for cultivation,
Mother begged father to reason with his people so that their little girl can live.. But father refuse and said he is the clan head.. He came and met the tradition that their forefathers made long before him, He will go one day living the tradition behind for his sons.. Mother was in pain.. She understand Father.. She knows father couldn’t do anything because he has joined hand with other tribe Chief and send so many unfortunate baby girls born in this form to the wood because tradition requires it,
baby Zila who was few months old was taken away from mother’s arm.. Father was bitter.. He loved mother and hate to see her in pain he also love his little girl.. But the clan men look upto him to see if he will defy the law.. Which he doesn’t want to.
Father gave her the name Zila, meaning a beautiful flower, despite he knows she won’t live for long,
Before Zila was taken off to be disposed in the wood, where she will become food for the animals.. My Pah stroke her shoulder hard.. And there was a deep mark.. And he said with sadness in his voice ..
” Ooh my sweet Zila, you are the sun covered in darkness.. My beautiful flower, I wish I can change the hand of time, which will enable me go back to the day you were conceived and make you one in the womb of your mother so that you can come into the world alone not with a boy, in that way you won’t be termed as an outcast or abomination, how I wish….i wish for many things but i must follow the law as a tribe head…my daughter please come again to me.. In your another world… But alone all by yourself.. Not accomplained by anybody.. So you won’t have to be an outcast. I don’t know why God gave you to us at this time that the wickedness of men are very high.. “But I can’t question Him cos he is God am only human.. He gives and takes”. Farewell my daughter….you will always live in my heart…
The men that took Zila went deep into the wood to dropped her, Zila was in a woven basket, Which was decorated with flowers.. I quietly followed behind with Riko my father’s servant, whom i was close to.
father was with the men who carried Zila in the woven basket, he wanted to say a final goodbye to his little girl.. Whom he love so much from birth..
Zila never stopped smiling all through the journey to the wood.. Everywhere was quiet except for our footsteps and the sound of the birds, no one is allowed to speak a word all through the sad journey to the wood,
Sometime Zila’s laughter will startle everyone, her giggling was so lovely to hear, innocent little zila, she didn’t even know the kind of fate that awaits her, she was so beautiful to behold and didn’t know what was going on, that this day will be her last, her her last giggling and last laughter, no one will hear of her again, she will not grow up or know what the world holds for her because her fate has being destined , her fate was decided by men who have being long dead and every generation kept to this barbaric law until now it has gotten to father’s turn and to his own skin,
Zila’s constant giggling begin to soften the heart of some harden men among the group heading to the wood.
they sometime bend to have a glimpse of Zila and then smile back at her. She was lovely.. Some people wish the tradition of trashing the female twin into the deadly forest could stop..
Everyone deserve to have a chance to live.. No one is an abomination cos children are gift from God.
Zila was in her beautiful woven basket and beautiful flowers where placed inside she never stop giggling..
When we finaly got to the wood.. children’s bone and skull were scattered around the wood.. It was a dreadful place to be, Father hasn’t been there before. The only reason why he was there was because he wanted to say a final goodbye to his daughter.
as they dropped Zila’s basket on the ground which was filled up with mites, caterpillars different kinds of ants and dry leaves everywhere, father walked upto where she was.. He knelt down on one knee.. He looked round again.. All he could see was bones of babies, discarded for tradition sake, scattered everywhere.. Baskets just like the one Zila was lying on also was scattered round, he looked troubled and pained, sorrow was marked on his face, he knew he can never forgive himself for being part of such evil, father spoke again…his voice cracking..
” So my little Zila will be gone.. Eaten by some disdainful animal.. And her basket thrown off.. Like the ones here…oh mine.. I wish the power is in my hands to change this barbaric law….
Father raised his head and shut his eyes. Just thinking of animals tearing children off for food.. Makes Pah to become dizzy..
No..”No.. I can’t let that happen again.. Pah stammered.. More to himself.. As the men stood watching him and waiting for him to say his final goodbye as he had wanted to do.. So that they can be on their way back.. He took Zila tender hand as tears poured down his face.. Zila held unto him and giggled.. Father tried to pull off.. But her tender hand held his two finger, she held on tight..and look into father eyes.. And she has that look on her face that was like saying “Father Please don’t leave me here”.
father was becoming too emotional.. I have never seeing father cry or so broken before except now, He thought of innocent children.. Killed all because of stupid belief.. Some of the men that came with him try to encourage him to stand up so that they can leave and put Zila behind like one of those unfortunate happenings… Some of the other tribe men whisper within themselves waiting to see if father will break the law, Riko, my father’s servant and two other men came to take father who was bent over to his daughter up,
But father dismissed them.. Father felt ashamed of himself.. For even agreeing to dispose his on child for a tradition That was organized by men.. Probably for their selfish reasons. So many innocent children..has been destroy for same stupid belief.. It got to stop.. It must be abolished.. He will be tagged an infidel.. Law breaker, a weak man, some will even stage war against him but He cared less about what they will say or do.. He is the clan chief.. He will not leave his daughter to be destroyed here in the wood by a hungry animal.. Neither will he allow any other child to be thrown away for the sake of tradition or anything.. He lifted Zila up.. While the tribe men watched
“Am taking my daughter home’. this law, this unlawful sentence, this wicked tradition and ritual has to stop. Every child is a child.. No child is a bad omen.. Children are precious gift from God.. Zila.. My daughter will live. I know i was once part of this, I have agreed severally for a girl child to be disposed, I was foolish, now I understand what it feels like, I understand the pain the mothers and fathers go through as their daughter is taken away from them…i can’t do this..i can’t .please forgive me, I beg everyone.. Please my people….i can’t leave my daughter here… The thought of leaving her here to die will kill me faster than anything… Please my people.
There were murmurs coming from the men present, some disagree and said that it wasn’t possible for father to take Zila, father got angry and spoke loudly
Anybody who doesn’t agree with me should try and stop me, I’m taking my daughter with me and she will live among her brothers, she will grow up in our tribe, this law is evil and will be abolished, this children did not chose to come to this world on their own, why should we destroy them even before they could have say about their lives.. Go and deal with it if you don’t agree with me…or try to stop me..
Some cheered for him.. While some were not happy..
Argument began right there in the wood, some men said father can’t change the tribe tradition because he was born into it and he will die leaving it behind, he is the tribe Chief and he has allowed the trashing of the female child since he became a tribe leader, is not possible for him to change it now it has gotten to his turn, he must live by example.
The tribe men refuse to allow father to save his daughter, Zila. But father was determined, is either he take Zila home with him and end such law or they kill him too along side his daughter, he was strong willed person and was ready to face anybody or anything that will stop him from taking his outcast daughter, who was abomination to the clan home..
To be continued