So earlier this year, from the light prodding of my poetry partner in crime- Crystal Tettey, I submitted manuscripts to Femrite; an African Women Writers’ organization. I have never really submitted to any major literary competitions or call for manuscripts etc. so it came as a pleasant surprise when I received a mail inviting me to participate in the 5th FEMRITE regional residency for African Women Writers.
So I’m currently in Uganda, where the residency is taking place.
This year, the countries participating include Malawi, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Oh and Ghana (me). There are 14 participants (including me), 13 brilliant ladies and it is an honour to be a part of this residency.
Photo updates will be on my tumblr (seencerelyme.tumblr.com)
NB: there is dumsor in Uganda too! Dumsor is all over Africa O.o
In honour of Uganda, this is an excerpt from a story I am writing on Idi Amin’s wives. This first one is based on Idi’s 4th wife, Sarah Kyolaba. Sarah was a wonderful dancer with the army’s band. It was during these dance routines that Amin took note of her.
Sarah was then in love with a young man in Masaka. In 1974 and on Christmas day, she delivered a baby, not by Amin, but by the young man she lived with.
However, Amin made a radio announcement declaring the baby as his own. Sarah’s boyfriend later vanished. She and Amin were officially married in August 1975, during the Organisation of African Union summit in Kampala.
– – – – – – –
Desire pumps through blood-filled veins and sprouts in the slenderness of a woman’s waist. It is late afternoon but the earth is shrouded in so much heat. I am grateful for the ceiling fan in my room.
I can smell him even before he announces his presence. Idi smells like all the confidence in the world folded in a big chunk of flesh and sweat. He pokes my bottom playfully. I pretend to be asleep. He pulls the cloth off of me and laughs happily; discovering my nudity underneath the cloth.
I let him count the beads on my waist like a Catholic praying with his rosary, his large hands playing with them like a little kid with a new toy.
“Big Daddy” I purr at him.
He laughs and jostles me closer to him.
“His excellency” I smile
He nods happily and grunts, as if expecting more from me.
“President of life, Field marshal Alhaji Dr Idi Amin dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of all the beasts of the earth and fishes of the seas and conqueror of the British empire in Africa in general and Uganda in particular”
His deep bellow fills up the room till there’s no space for any other sound.
He is pleased. Just the way I want him.
“Lord of Sarah, add that to my numerous titles” he says
“Lord of Sarah” I repeat after him as I watch him play with my breasts.
“I want a shop for Mama” I spit out before the moment passes.
His smile freezes and he looks at me intently.
“You want what?”
I thrust my chest out suddenly, like I was a damn altar boy holding up text for the vicar, desperately trying to please.
“A provision shop for Mama” I whisper sultrily
“Hmm” he sighs
“Anything for you my love, anything.” He sinks his teeth in my chest but I do not complain. Mama can have a shop now and my ears can finally rest.
It is over in 15 minutes. He rolls over and tells me to prepare in time for the dance.
I can see the soldiers looking at me with their greedy eyes, I do not hear their thoughts but I know they burn with desire. I can smell the lust from their eager chants. Who knows how hungry these loins are, how starved they are for me. Suddenly it gives me great comfort to know that all they can do is watch. My ankle beads rattle with each movement, shackling me to a self-imposed prison.
“Suicide Sarah! Suicide Sarah! Suicide Sarah! The soldiers chanted on and on as I did the last lap of the dance, my torso was stiff and my legs at ease, but my buttocks were clapping majestically. I knew what fascinated these men. I had danced this particular dance several times but each time the men wanted more. It amazed them that I could cause my buttocks to flap back and forth in steady rhythm without moving my body, and I quite frankly enjoyed the attention.
I spread my arms out wide and shook my butt vigorously as a signal to the Revolutionary suicide mechanized regiment band that my dance was almost over. I thrust my legs out dramatically and spun around, finally bowing to the men’s applause and chants of Suicide Sarah.
Robina hands me a dry towel and pulls the beads off my legs. Even though I protested, Idi said I deserved maids to help me out now that I belonged to him. I pressed a pimple between my thumb and forefinger as Robina tended to my feet.
“Fetch me a damp towel Robina, this place is too hot” I thrust the towel at her.
She scurries away and I go back to murdering this fat pimple that dared situate itself on my fine cheek
I feel a wet cloth at the back of neck and close my eyes contentedly. All the muscles in my neck loosen up as my shoulders are massaged. It is only after a few seconds that I realize the hands massaging me are masculine and not as little as Robina’s hands. I turn around sharply and gasp.
“Kafuuma!” I look at him in disbelief
“It is me Sarah” He said as if to affirm my shock.
“What are you doing here?” I get over my shock quickly and look around for anyone who might have seen him
“I have come back for you and my son Sarah” Kafuuma said in that familiar boyish voice she had fallen in love with…