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 Post subject: Just a story
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:31 pm 
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The Old Wildebeest Bull.

Next time you drive along the roads of either the Kruger National Park and you see an animal in the distance standing all on its own, stop for a moment and take out your binoculars and you may see a lone Wildebeest Bull.

An old fellow who once was a young playful calf, who enjoyed the company and the safety of the herd, who ran and played and learnt the ways and the habits of good Wildebeests from its mother and possibly the herd bull.

An animal who also in its own way was beautiful, who turned from the fawn of a calve into a dark coloured nearly blue black proud specimen shaking its mane, who snorted and watched and nodded its head. An animal who survived droughts and floods and disease and predators.

An animal who grew up with its fellow young bulls and eventually when the spikes developed into sharp strong thick curved horns proudly carried on its long head, borne by a thick muscular neck and a strong fit glistening muscular body, challenged the master of the herd of which he may have lost a few, with possibly in its heyday only had a few small scars as a reminder.

An animal who eventually won the challenge and proudly watched as the old master turned tail and ran off a little distance and then stopped and turned around and for a few days stayed in the proximity of the herd and then just disappeared.

The new champion would have rounded up the heifers and the older cows and patrolled the perimeters of the herd, keeping a watchful eye for any of his former friends now also young bulls; as possible challengers as well as for lurking predators who may be making use of the covering vegetation and the slight breeze, for a relaxed moment in which they can attack and kill and then still their hunger.

The new master would protect his herd and spread his genes and soon after the rains he would watch his offspring with pride as they ran and kicked and jumped and pumped their mothers for a last sip of milk. He would watch with pride as the young calves grew fat and shiny from the milk and the rich grazing.

In times of drought he would remember the lessons of survival taught by the now forgotten old master – he would together with the older cows lead the herd to better pastures where they would survive the leaner times and await the season to change and watch out for the thunder and lightning and sniff into the breeze for just an indication that the life giving rains have fallen and the migration could start.

Again they would settle and the herd would grow under his watchful protection and guidance and wisdom.

He would watch the spikes of the juveniles turn into little horns, he was unafraid, they would know that he was the master; he had won the challenges until he became the champion.

He would warn the herd of any pending danger, he would lead them to safety and they all knew they could rely on him – their master.

Sometimes of the younger bulls would playfully butt heads and snort and wave and toss their heads and shake their manes and kick up dust, sometimes of them may even have approached him and he would playfully join in and when he had had enough send them off with a snort and proud shake of the head displaying the strong shiny horns carried on the head supported by the muscular body.

He may have sharpened his proud horns by rubbing them against and old tree; he may also have rubbed them in the mud surrounding a waterhole, marking his territory and polishing them until they shone with a proud brilliance.

He would have kept a watchful eye at the Crocodile drifting close by, keeping the herd back when their thirst was getting better of them. He would sniff into the breeze and recognize the smell of danger, drifting in from the close by scrub, he would turn the herd away and once all were safe, he would turn around and see the last of the pride disappearing into the thicket further away . . . .

He would notice the colour of his calves turn from brown to a beautiful blue black. He would watch the spikes grow into strong horns and in play add few more scars to his body.

The herd would prosper and he may have often watched other lesser herds pass by and he would shake his head displaying his powerful body and glistening horns, the passing bulls would know better than to intrude . . . . .

He may even have noticed the odd bull standing in the distance and then walk off sometimes with a bit of a limp with its head lowered seemingly hiding its dulled blunted horns.

Maybe one day a young bull approached with a shaking head and maybe it was sent off . . . . . . Maybe one day another, challenged him and then another and another. Maybe the alertness got less; maybe he was just a bit stiff from the winter cold; maybe the challenger was just a bit stronger and younger but the injuries were more and he realised it was not as pleasant as it used to be. Maybe he decided that the bruises on his forehead and the bleeding scars needed time to heal.

He now could no longer rely on the many ears and eyes and noses of his herd. Maybe he, now watching you was distracted, maybe his senses were dulled, who knows.

What is true is that he noticed the Lioness too late, the following day you may return to the site indicated by the Vultures perched on the lone Knobthorn branches. The Lions would have left by now, leaving behind only the once proud horns, some bone and gristle and a few pieces of the once glistening hide.

Maybe you will remember . . . . . forever . . . . Maybe you will return, who knows.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:08 am 
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The Leos Part 1

As the early dawn changed the dark of the night into a crimson then into a pink then into an orange, and eventually the sky turned into a bright clear blue; in the very far north, the visitors in the Punda Maria rest camp in the Kruger National Park heard the distant roar of a male Lion rolling in across the plains that would soon become part of the hot African landscape.

Packed cars were queued up at the gate, waiting in anxiety for moment of opening to arrive. All set out along the S60, all in vain . . . . .

What they did not know was that Queen Leoni had left the pride a few days earlier and given birth to her first litter in a small secluded cave in the mythlogically rich Gumbandebvu koppies and that great King Leo; ruler of the Punda Maria territory, was now announcing this grand occasion; his first in his newly acquired pride.

The little cubs; one little princess and three little princes lay close to their mother suckling from her swollen teats, getting the precious life giving milk while feeling her tender warmth.. They could not see her but felt the comforting vibrations of her purring and also smelt her special smell which they would get used to and often in the future seek for; when in need or just for reassurance.

The rest of the pride, Leonora and Eleonor were lying up in the scrub resting after their hard night’s work-providing a meal for themselves and the great King Leo. As the day got hotter and the sun moved in its route to the west, the three would move along with the shade. The only other movement may be a tail lifting or swipe at a nuisance fly or maybe a grimace, the only sound was the contented purring of little pride and in the distance, the engine of a slowly passing vehicle, much too far away to be of any nuisance.

In the late afternoon Leonora got up stretched and rubbed herself lovingly against the great King who responded by stretching out a foreleg and caressing her with a footpad with indrawn nails. Eleonor was watching, she also got up, stretched and set off towards the little wallow filled by the recent rains.

After returning Eleonor found that Leo and Leonora were missing, all left behind was a strange smell where Leonora had been laying, not unlike something that was hanging in the air just more than two full moons ago when Leo and Leoni also strangely disappeared for two days, just before the first rains came and cooled the air. As the sun set behind the western horizon the familiar sound of Francolin and Guinea Fowl was heard as they were preparing for another evening of darkness and mystery and survival.

Eleanor knew that the Warthog family would soon be at the wallow and just maybe she could get something to eat. While Eleanor lay in ambush she heard distant grunts also not unlike those she and Leonora heard while Leo and Leoni had disappeared. All of a sudden the big Boar and his family arrived; Eleanor flattened herself and crept closer. She was well aware of the tusks carried and the result they had on Leoben when he was over courageous just before winter . . . .

Suddenly a breeze came up; the Family snorted and disappeared with their tails erect.

The crack of a twig drew Eleanor’s attention and she saw the approaching Impala herd, the Ram alertly taking guard while the dainty ewes quietly approached the wallow. All seemed safe and they started drinking, Eleonor could smell the Impala and knew that she was well positioned. Then a young ram with smaller horns passed close by, Eleonor knew that this was the one, still not quite well trained up in the laws of the bush. The ram came closer inquisitively looking at something beautifully golden coloured in the short grass. Suddenly the muscles covered by the golden colour let loose and the young inexperienced ram felt the impact and a bite and that was all he knew. The rest of the little herd snorted and set of in shock and disappeared in the dust cloud into the now nearly dark.

Eleonor had caught her meal.

At the Gumbandebvu cave Leoni woke up, realising she now had a further responsibility, she looked at the little bundles of slightly darker spotted golden fur, gave them a few loving licks and decided that it was time to get some food, she quietly set off, listening and testing the breeze; unmistakenly, there it was faintly – Wildebeeste – she heard their soft “gnu - gnu - gnu “from previous experience knew there must be a youngish inexperienced animal who may have wandered a little distance.

Suddenly there they were and yes also there was a Wildebeeste with short spiky horns, quite unaware of the queen. She approached and then in the dark the animal felt an impact and a bite, it collapsed kicked a few times and then lay quite still while Leoni tasted the fresh blood. The carcass was dragged into a thicket and then Leoni opened it and tasted the fresh meat and had her fill.

Returning to the cave she had a sip of water and then went to her big responsibility and pride, which was all snuggled closely together. Leoni gave each a few caring licks counting them and reassuring herself that all was well.

Two days later Leo and Leonora returned to Eleonor, who noticed something very mysterious about the two; it was as if Leo was more caring and Leonora had a special glow on her coat.

Just before the next full moon, one morning while the three were laying in the sun, there was a soft calling sound and then there they were; Leoni and four bundles of golden energy, exploring the bush while staying very close to the familiar smell and purring. Leoni introduced Leopold, Leotela, Leonette and Leondo first to the Great King and then to her two sisters, who inquisitively sniffed at the newcomers who did not quite know how to behave in this regal company, so they just went closer to the familiar golden body they now knew so well.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:42 pm 
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The Leos Part 2

That evening there was little rest in the huts of Punda Maria; all occupants were outside listening to the rolling thunder coming from across the starlit plains.

The four cubs grew fast, each developing its own personality, Leopold just loved lying up in the shade provided by Leo, waiting for his tail to move on which the tight spring in his little body would release into a pounce and then “kill” the hairs at the end.

Leotela would find a stick and in between feeding and napping spend the energy left investigating this wonderful object. Leondo would also find a tail to kill, normally belonging to an aunt. Little Leonette would snuggle up to Leoni and seemingly the two would share some secrets while the princess lay between the outspread forelegs enjoying the caress of the royal tongue on her soft pelt.

The royal family would lead a life of leisure and comfort, food and water was plentiful, shade was in abundance, the only disturbance was the noisy cars moving backwards and forwards when they found a suitable tree with sufficient shade, close to the road.

The youngsters were amazed at the time these vehicles spent parked in their full view and also at the activity when a tail or a paw was swiped or when the ground became too hard or the shade too little and they then had to move on a few paces. What really caused a stir was when they crossed the warm tar road and one of these vehicles came across them and then abruptly stopped.

They also enjoyed lying just off the road in the taller grass playing hide and seek, they hid and the vehicles seeked; very often not that successful in finding them.

Leoni patiently taught them how to be good Lion cubs. They soon learnt when it was safe to play with Leo or disturb his rest; the regal aunts were more tolerant and often even assisted Leoni in their education. What they hated was staying behind, hidden in the scrub or between rocks when the grown ups set off on a hunt, they soon learnt why, One day while on their own, Leotela went off to find a suitable stick. . . . . and never returned. A few days later they found a blood stain on the soil with a familiar smell.

Leonora’s condition improved, as her hide got shinier and tighter, her patience seemed to get less, until one day she disappeared while they were resting at the footing of the Gumbandebvu koppies.

A few evenings later there again was the sound of thunder rolling across the plains of the African bush lit by the full moon . . . . .

The following morning there again was great activity on the road, again all in vain.

The two little princes and the little princess spent their days tormenting the grown ups; until a snarl or a well intended soft swipe sent them off, their rest was interrupted by some serious running and tripping over small oversized feet, chasing racing tails, stalking one another and then pouncing and “killing” the victim, who often became the victor.

One day Leoni fetched them from their hiding place and led them through ditches and scrub with the mother calling them softly when they fell behind, until they experienced a delicious smell in the breeze something new had happened. Soon they heard Leo grunting and snarling with Eleonor joining in, then there they were at the source of the smell, something dark and big lay on the ground; a freshly caught Wildebeeste carcass. They ran up to the two grownups, Leondo accidently stepped into something sticky, he licked his paw to remove the stickiness and tasted the wonderful warm sticky blood. He led the way and soon the Royal juveniles were chewing at the shreds of meat, not very successful although their little teeth were sharp their jaws soon tired, this new experience really made life worthwhile.

A few mornings later the cubs woke up and found their father the Great King and aunty Eleonor missing, they searched with no success, first aunty Leonora disappeared and now these two, where on earth would they be.

A few days later they heard a soft calling sound in the bush which was followed by soft mewing. Leoni looked up and the juveniles ran for cover, close to their mother.

Then the most amazing thing happened, aunty Leonora appeared, they ran up to her and then noticed two golden bundles of fur with oversize little feet, bluish eyes and little rounded ears, close by. They wanted to warn their aunt of the impending danger, but too late, they were already at her and strangely enough she just purred and licked them. Proudly Leonora introduced the two bundles of fur; Leonini and Leomeni who hesitantly and shyly stared at the three strange monsters.

Leopold gathered all his courage and stretched out a paw, towards Leonini and felt her softness and smelt her sweet little Lion cub smell. The little princess walked up to Leomeni and walked around her sniffing and looking at this little creature with its erect pelt, not knowing what to expect, while Leondo watched from the shade, a few paces away.

That evening the Great King Leo returned, closely followed by a very attentive Eleonor, they both seemed a bit leaner but very caring towards one another. Soon there again was the rolling of thunder spreading across the hot African bush . . . .

Leonora had to keep a protecting eye over her two little princesses as the other three now about three full moons old, had excess energy and a lot to learn; also about little Lion cubs. Often there would be a loud mew coming from a lot of dusty air and she would know who the culprits and the victims were. She soon discovered the healing a mother’s tongue or just her closeness could bring about, the older three also soon by trial and error learnt what followed a snarl or a soft growl or sometimes just a warning glance. Leo would lie in the shade while Leoni would take a well deserved short rest a little distance but not too far away. Eleonor was improving in condition, her coat shining and tightening and also seeming to be getting a bit lazier and less tolerant.

The older three were now much more regularly fetched to feed on a catch of fresh meat, this they enjoyed, being like the grownups, eating real meat now being able to tear off strips of meat and then afterwards laying down with their bloated bellies not very much unlike that of Eleonor, afterwards they would enjoy walking up to the waterhole because a cub would never know what may be in the vicinity, maybe an unsuspecting Guinea Fowl who they could enjoy scaring and then watching it as its legs and wings seemed to move much faster away than the speed at which the body could follow.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:15 pm 
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The Leos Part 3

Being the cubs of the great King Leo was just great; however one day the three decided to quietly follow queen Leoni and aunt Leonora on a hunt. They could not understand why everything was done so quietly and slowly. Keeping their presence undiscovered by the two golden shadows was very difficult. Eventually they also smelt the prey in the breeze and decided to help, all of a sudden there was a stampede of black and white stripes and then nothing, except – two pairs of golden brown eyes staring them down from not so friendly looking faces under flattened ears. They realised something was wrong when they ran up to the golden bodies and were as a reward given a soft paw swipe with slightly extended nails.

The return to the lair was in quiet, the two Lionesses still ignoring the three younger followers. Upon arrival the only ones pleased to see tem were Leonini and Leomeni.

Soon their sins were forgotten about and the Leo family were again their own happy selves. Eating and sleeping and playing and tormenting and being tormented. Then Eleonor disappeared, none of the grown ups seemed too concerned.

Then one bright sunny morning Eleonor reappeared followed by two familiar looking golden coloured furry bundles, tripping over twigs and small stones, often disappearing behind a small bush or a rock and then reappearing as if nothing had happened. The introduction of little Leolella and Leosani was again done strictly as per the Royal protocol, the only two stepping out of line were Leonini and Leomeni who looked at the new princesses with soft brown eyes purring and not quite knowing what to do.

The leaves were now turning to brownish reddish and golden shades unlike the green the juveniles were used to, it was not so hot anymore and the nights seemed to be getting longer.

King Leo was now the true leader and commander of the Punda Maria territorial pride. Vehicles now daily stopped for them to be admired by the dark maned Leo or the sleek golden bodied Leoni, Leonora and Eleonor, often sounds of admiration were heard when some of the bigger Leopold and Leondo and Leonette or the slightly smaller Leonini or Leomeni or the smaller Leolella or Leosani came into the open.

The game was getting less and the great King with all his wisdom decided that they should move more to where the sun arose in the early morning. They trekked for a few days, resting in between to heal the sore little paws and then again moving on until they reached the Klopperfontein Dam; here there was water and judging from the breeze plenty of game and also plenty of cover.

That night the cubs heard a distant roar not unlike that of the King but not quite as impressive as it was when he returned the compliment, the distant roaring seemed to just disappear.

The Royal pride settled in well, it was now getting colder in the dark but laying up in the bright sunlight of the early mornings was just what they needed. Game was now plentiful coming to the dam to quench their thirst and then unsuspectingly passing the ambush . . . . .

The juveniles often wondered why it was that King Leo always left the food gathering to the three queens, it seemed so much fun.

One day after much roaring the previous evening, the King seemed very restless, he raised his head at the slightest possible sound and often got up went for a walk, when the cubs wanted to join, he just gave them a warning look and they then decided to stay where they seemed more welcome, here the seven could romp and torment and play BIG LION. That evening there again was a lot of roaring.

The following day the King again went out and stayed out only returning the following midday. His mane looking a bit scruffy and with a few small scratches on his once flawless golden hide.

The scratches healed and the mane recovered. The dark started getting shorter and the cold less.

Soon it again was hot and after the rains came everything again turned into a lush green. The Impala were dropping their lambs, Wildebeeste and Zebra were plentiful even the Elephants had calves; the Bushveld Kingfishers were calling and the Francolin scratching and feeding their chicks.

By now the older cubs were also allowed on the hunt and one day Leopold was successful in catching an Impala, he proudly allowed the rest of the pride to join in on the feast. Then the rest became easier, being Big Lions was just a great joy.

Leopold noticed that Leondo was looking scruffier by the day and one day he saw his reflection in the water and got quite shock – he was also looking quite scruffy, just like Leondo; especially the hair around the back of his head and along his neck seemed longer and very untidy. This condition seemed to worsen and then one day while the King was taking a nap he by accident stepped onto him, his father jumped up growling angrily and gave him the stare. What was wrong?

The King now more regularly went for a walk, the two princes followed at a safe distance and watched him as he sniffed at bushes and trees, he often stopped at a thick tree where he reached up and scratched the bark, leaving deep markings and often even a bit of a smell. Some distance away he would turn around and squirt onto a bush, they looked on in great wonder, why all this.

Another full moon or two or maybe three or could it be four came and went. Then something strange happened. One day while feeding the two princes joined the great King who instantly growled and swatted at their scruffy heads, afterwards again giving them the stare . . . .

What have they done to deserve this rudeness? Afterall they were his offspring.

A day or two later Leopold again tried to join in but this time the King forgot about his nails and the young prince left with a bleeding scratch across his bright shiny black nose . . . . .

Leondo also looked on quite surprised.

What upset the two princes most was that the girls got preferential treatment, they could lie against the King, they could join him at his feast, he even tolerated their torments. Everything the two of them did seemingly irritated the great King.

The two princes grew leaner while the scruff just got worse; they were now only allowed to feed only after the other five had had their fill very often little was left. Even Leoni was now becoming irritable often just about their being around.

Then after dark there again was a lot of roaring, this time closer and the King rose and gave an angry roar and ran off. In the distance the family heard the roaring and growling and fighting. Just before sunrise the King returned, his mane all scruffy with some bare patches, his one foreleg was bleeding and he had a few new scars on his face and some scratch marks along his flank. The queens rose to meet him and when the princes joined the welcoming party, the King gave an angry growl and again gave them the stare. The girls were again tolerated, later that day they were even allowed to lick the blood from his scars. The princes looked on – life being so unfair.

That evening there was no hunting the King was just roaring angrily and in the distance there some reply.

The following morning the King growled at his two sons, they realised – big trouble, and moved away.

While in the bush a little herd of Impala came by and one was unfortunate enough to come too close, it saw a golden shadow, felt the impact of a heavy body and then a bite and then all was over.

The King heard the fleeing Impala and came to investigate, he saw Leopold with the unfortunate Impala and charged his son who took fright and moved off. They had never before experienced such anger.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:22 pm 
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The Leos Part 4

The two princes were now very confused about their situation, the only Lions who seemed to tolerate them were the five princesses, however that was of very little comfort as they seemed to enjoy their young lives without the attendance of male company.

Their condition deteriorated, they were growing thinner as they were no longer tolerated at a feast and therefore had to survive on what they could scavenge, they soon realised that to survive; they had to rely on their own skills of catching a meal. Catching close to the pride resulted in the grownups chasing them off and taking over the kill. They therefore started roaming further away from the pride, sometimes staying away for a night or two, when returning to the pride there was no warm welcoming any longer, just snarls, stares and growls often even more aggression

The staying away periods extended until eventually they became permanent. The two princes now decided to do it on their own.

They left the Klopperfontein area and set off south. They often heard distant roaring but realised that those sounds were not friendly and moved further south they spent some time at Elandskuil where they made a few kills but soon realised that it would be better further south. Soon the Dzundzwini hill was disappearing in the far distance.

They travelled along the Shisha River where food was readily available but still the menacing roars edged them on, still further south, then along the Mphongolo and then reaching the Shingwedzi. Here they turned west and followed the dry sandy riverbed catching Impala and the occasional Kudu.

Their condition improved, the ruff now turned into a short golden mane, their bodies filled out with muscle and their pelts had a golden sheen. The bachelor life seemed to suit them and their bond was getting even stronger. They lay closely together in the morning sun and moved on together following the shade as the day got hotter.

Hunting together and laying in ambush was great fun and very successful, their lives again returned to that of leisure.

Some evenings they would listen to the distant roaring and as the season grew colder seemed to come closer until one day when they smelt a strange smell and soon realised that there were other Lions in the area.

Not many days later they noticed movement on the opposite riverbank – golden bodies – they made themselves visible and immediately an angry growl was audible and a large male charged them, they gave way but not fast enough, the were really in for a big fight. Needless to say the two inexperienced princes very soon realised that getting out of the way would be the safest; and off they went, further west.

Eventually they reached a spot with a lot of rocks with a reddish colour, it seemed quite safe and comfortable. The only nuisance was the Hyaena family but they were regularly sent off yelping.

Water was available and game came down regularly to drink from the small pools, making the food supply quite good.

The two nomadic princes again settled into their life of leisure, they would still sometimes hear a distant roaring, eventually they decided to also give it a try, soon their chorus started rolling along the sandy stretches of the Shingwedzi, amplified by and echoing off the reddish rocks.

Soon another skirmish took place but now the two well fed strong nomads stood their ground and the old intruder was sent off. Afterall they had now survived four seasons and learnt a lot about the laws of the African bush, and their longer manes were now changing to a golden brown.

The season again changed and another roaring was heard. This time the Royal nomads went to investigate, soon they smelt the Lion smell on the bushes and saw scratch marks on the trees, they knew they were on the right track. Eventually they found the others, they were again charged by the big male, whom they recognised as their adversary who sent them running. They now stood their ground and after much to and fro roaring, a fight started but again they did not have enough experience to beat a pride male who was defending his territory and his harem and his cubs . . . . and were again sent off, this time the pride male had a few extra bleeding scars.

The two Nomads were now reaching their prime and they felt in the need of company. Soon they set off towards the pride from which the male had sent them off. This time they also left their markings and smells as they had seen great King Leo do, and quite enjoyed it.

Two days later they were again squirting and scratching and rolling when they were again charged by their adversary and victor. This time the more experienced Nomadic Princes stood their ground and tackled the Pride Male, dust and hair and twigs and leaves and sand was flying all over in the area where the growls and other noise was coming from. The females hid their cubs and waited and listened.

Eventually they all ran out of energy, the two Nomads lay down in the shade, watching the Pride Male limp off, in the direction of his pride, bleeding from his wounds. Soon they went to investigate the damage done and another battle raged, the cubs were nowhere to be seen but the Lionesses looked on from a little distance.

This time the old Pride Male felt his courage and strength waning and the wounds inflicted were taking their toll. He decided, getting out while he still could, would be best. The Nomads also felt the pain and bleeding but their strength and determination saw them through, it was not long before they lay down and watched the Pride Male taking off, this time in the opposite direction, away from his family, limping and bleeding.

Soon with their energy revived the two Nomads went to inspect the pride. There were three Lionesses and some cubs.

Being full of adrenalin and the smell of the old beaten male still about and also attached to the cubs, they vented their anger and tackled the cubs and killed them. The Lionesses tried to defend but realised that the Laws of the Lion could not be changed. They snarled and growled at the two victors and kept their distance.

The beaten male limped off, realising that if he stayed he may be tackled again, after a while he settled under a bush and rested, licking his aching wounds, while trying to recover his strength..

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:41 am 
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The Leos Part 5


The following day the Lionesses set off on a hunt with the two Nomads following. They soon came across some Zebra and made a kill. The Nomads were quite hungry after the fights and needed to feed, they stormed in, the Lionesses giving way and they got stuck in. Done, they lay in the shade and watched the Lionesses approach carefully and start feeding.

They dozed off and later when they awoke in the bright hot sunlight, found the Lionesses also resting close by, all seemed to be forgiven.

That night the two Victors joined into a chorus and the whole world was informed by the rolling thunder of their triumphant roaring, that they now were the rulers of the area, and that any intruder would be doing so at its own peril.

The old beaten male listened and understood the thundering message, remembering that he had also done so, he also realised that he could not change the Law of the Lion. He got up and crossed the river and followed the warm tar road. . . . .

The Lionesses also understood the message in the rolling thunder and again realised that the Law of the Lion had to be obeyed as they had been forged over many centuries and much blood had been shed in doing so.

The smell of the loser seemed to be everywhere, so the Victors decided to move off to their previous haunt, taking their hard fought for prize, with them.

The newly formed pride settled in well at the place of the reddish rocks in the bed of the Shingwedzi River.

Not many full moons would pass before Shumba the eldest Lioness started moving closer to Leopold, rubbing against him and laying close by, she would love his watching her tail as she lifted and then dropped it. The two males also experienced a strange feeling; one they had never known before . . . . .

At dusk the following day Shumba rubbed her body against Leopold and then lured him away, not far off they did what the Law of the Lion declared what strong, healthy, red blooded Lions should do to ensure their survival. Leondo missed Leopold and went out to find him, following this wonderful odour luring him into the bush. He soon found the happy couple laying close together, Shumba licking Leopold affectionately. She got up and went to him and also rubbed her hot body against his, he also understood the Law of the Lion, Leopold not being concerned, they were brothers and shared.

Two days later the happy trio returned to the other two Lionesses.

The old beaten Lion moved further south, where he made his new home at the footing of a little hill from where he often surveyed the plains of Africa, he sometimes when he felt it safe enough, practised his roars although not as loudly as in his younger days. Game was not as plentiful as he was used to, he also now had to fend for himself, he had no Lionesses that he could care for and protect in exchange for a food supply. After a catch he had to remain in the area to fend off the large gang of Hyaenas. Times were tough, his wounds and scars had healed but the canines were blunting, with the cold approaching the limping was becoming more painful.

The life of leisure and contentment was great, the only disturbance was the Hyaena family, whom was regularly taken care of and sent of scurrying and yelping, sometimes with a new bleeding scar.

Sometimes a vehicle would by accident come across the well cared for Red Rocks pride and spend many hours watching the two dark maned Kings and their shiny well looked after Queens, lying in the morning sun on the sandy bed of the Great Shingwedzi River, enjoying their safety. They would also sometimes hear the rolling thunder across the sunlit African plains.

The other two Lionesses also followed the Law of the Lion, this time each one had her own preferred King.

After another full moon Queen Shumba disappeared but the pride was not too concerned as they had noticed that her teats were swollen and she was becoming short of breath. It would also be very difficult to find her here at Red Rocks as there are many hiding places.

The rains came and the dust settled and landscape turned to a lush green with brightly coloured birds singing their songs while building their nests and hatching their little chicks.

After a stormy night at the little hill further down south, the old Lion set out to scavenge something to eat, he smelt the carrion of a rotting carcass and followed his senses, and there it was, flies buzzing and maggots crawling around and on the rotting flesh, at least it was food. The vultures started falling from the sky, the watching Hyaenas went to investigate, there it was flies buzzing and maggots crawling around and on the carcass, and also something dangerous; a male Lion. There were many of them and they started howling and galloping around the old Lion and the flesh. They were starving and they had a duty to do, to rid the African plains of the dead, the dying and the diseased, also the old and the weak. The Hyaenas closed in and biting his rear chased the old Male from their acquired prize. He gave way and lie up in the bush watching his enemy devouring his find, but not daring to go closer.

Two days later the old male set out again, moving away further and further from his home; there was nothing, only the following enemy, the gang of Hyaenas, becoming bolder and bolder by the hour. The sun was scorching and the periods in between him stopping for a rest became shorter and shorter, thirst and the lack of nutrition was getting the better of him. He felt his stamina and strength dwindling away. Eventually the sun reached the western horizon and the shadows grew longer and the cool set in. The Hyaenas grew bolder in the dark of the night and came closer, one brave female charged and gave the old retired King a sharp bite. He turned and chased her off, then another one charged and took a bite, it was again sent off, then another and another and another.

The old King attempted to crawl deeper into the covering bush but the enemy kept on coming, eventually the whole gang closed in and dragged the exhausted old Monarch from the bush . . . . . the following morning only a few tufts of hair and piece of skull marked the place where he lost his last battle and his life . . . . . . . all in accordance with the Law of the Bush.

Many days trekking further north, the thundering chorus of two Great Kings amplified by the rocks rolled across the plains of a new wonderful day, announcing the coming of a new little bundle of darkly spotted golden coloured fur - little prince Simba; all in accordance with the Law of the Lion..

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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:06 pm 
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The ways of . . . . . Part 1.

It was at the end of winter just before the rains came.

A few fowls were scratching in the dust.

Of the old women had earlier the day, gone into the hut on the banks near to where the Wanetsi River normally flows into the Great iliMhpopo. While the others sat under the shade of an Mtoma tree waiting and quietly talking.

The men were sitting on the far side of the little village; also quietly talking and passing around the pot and filling their calabashes from which they would then take approving mouthfuls and feeling the wellbeing settling upon them, as the shadows moved on, the conversation grew louder.

A little cry from the hut indicated that all was over. There was a clapping of hands from the shade of the Mtoma tree and a little chorus broke the silence as the woman started their song in praise to their ancestors and the Great Mudimo, who had now given them another little boy. Those sitting close to the hut heard Hikatekile (the blessed one) softly say “Ndzu ku rhandza” – “I love you” to her first borne as he snuggled up and drew from her full breast.

From the far side Matimba, (power) the new father was patted on the back and Nyathi and Ndlophu and Ngala and Xinsele was called out. More pots were brought and the calabashes were filled and conversation grew even louder. The fires were lit and the celebrations began with dancing and singing until late into the night.

Matimba went to the hut and entered quietly, not knowing what to expect and then saw Hikatekile holding their little son – their first borne – both sound asleep. His chest was filled with pride and he knew that Tinyiko was indeed a gift from the Great Mudimo. He quietly rolled out his sleeping mat beside that of Hikatekile, close to the door. . . . .

The rains came and the veldt seemed happy together with Matimba and Hikatekile, the trees grew their leaves and were soon covered with their blossoms, the birds were spreading their joy and the Mhala were dropping their lambs under the watchful eyes of the herd ram, who snorted as he patrolled the perimeter of his kingdom.

Matimba knew that Tinyiko would grow up and one day be a very important man. He and Hikatekile would take care of him and educate him well in the lore of the Shangaan.

The seeds were planted and the lands were tilled, everyone was happy as they all knew it would be a good year. The cattle and goats were growing shiny; the hens were scratching and called their chickens to join in the finding and every morning early the roosters crowed their joy announcing a new day.

The herd boys would take their sticks after milking the cows and filling the calabashes and clay pots, they would take their skin bags with enough food for the day and set off for a day looking after the cattle, while playing their games and talking and dreaming about the days after they had been to the school of the Shangaan and became real men.

Sometimes they would see Mangawana approaching with his pointed ears, reddish brown body with the black silver streaked back ending in the dark bushy tail. The brave ones would chase it off; waving their sticks and throwing stones amidst a lot of shouting.

Other times they would see a flicker of an ear and maybe sometimes they would see the beautifully curved horns of Nhongo just before he disappeared into the thicket, sometimes they would see his beautiful brown hide with the white stripes and the strong neck carrying the head and the ivory tipped horns. Other days they just heard his warning bark.

Sometimes when the cattle grazed into the marshy areas they smelt the strong smell and then knew that they had to stay away as Nyathi had big horns and did not like their company.

Sometimes they would notice Koti circling high in the skies and then dropping down, they knew to stay away as King Ngala had made a kill and was most probably laying in the shade and did not want to be bothered.

Many moons came and went and after the winter Tinyiko started walking and growing his little white teeth. His little shiny black eyes watched everything around him, he knew he was safe as Matimba his father would protect them and Hikatekile his mother would feed him and comfort him.

Tinyiko joined the other children and they played with their few toys made from bone or wood and if the were really lucky from a tin. They learnt the language of the Shangaan; all was done with one eye on his mother Hikatekile.

Two more rains came and then they were joined by Nyeleti (star).

Every morning Tinyiko would watch the chattering herd boys as they went around doing their things before setting off on their day’s duty. He would join his mother as she plaited new bed mats and made clay pots or sometimes wove strings of beads which she used to adorn herself and Nyeleti.

He enjoyed it most when they went out to the lands to tend their crops. His mother taught him to be very careful while in the veldt as Mbuyuya may be lying in the sun and unlike Mfezi would not give way and bite you when you came too near.

They would chase the Guinea fowls and Francolin from the lands after seeds had been sown, they also knew that after the seeds had grown the birds were to be left as they would then feed on the insects which would attack the crops. At the end of the season all the woman and children would go into the lands and pick the maize heads and carry them to a prepared area where the pips would be removed by hand and the excess stored in the grain store which was raised from the ground.

Millet and soirghum would be carefully cut in the lands and carried to the village where the seeds would be beaten from the ears and the carefully collected and stored in pots.

The pips were put into a hollowed tree stump and then pounded into a meal by the woman while singing their rhythmic songs.

When the fruits of the Marula ripened at the end of the season, there was great joy as they would be collected from underneath the trees and put into the pots, after a while some of the ground meal may be added and maybe some honey and then left. Often someone would come and taste and add something and then one day there would be great joy when the elders would gather in the shade and a pot would be brought to them, they would fill their calabashes and first taste carefully and after nodding approvingly would enjoy the fruits of their labor. Much singing and dancing would follow, sometimes until late into the dark of the night. Amazingly the following morning the dancers would be very quiet and into themselves.

Tinyiko would see of the grown up men leave the village and much later return with goods for their families.

_________________
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Done 144 visits to National Parks.
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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:08 pm 
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The ways of . . . . . Part 2.

Eventually after six winters, Tinyiko was allowed to join the herd boys to go out to the veldt, tending the cattle.

He learnt from them what roots and bulbs and leaves he could eat. He learnt of the changing seasons, he learnt of the rains and the drought. He learnt where to hide should a storm overcome them in the veldt. He learnt to be very careful of fire and its destruction. Tinyiko was taught that cattle were the riches of the village, they were seldomnly slaughtered and then only on very special occasions like a burial or a wedding feast. Cattle were used as the lobola- the dowry a young man had to pay the family of the girl he would like as his wife.

One day while out in the veldt the herdsman heard loud thunder like noises and the trumpeting of Ndlophu, followed by the sound of breaking trees.

That night Tinyiko reported the strange noises to Matimba, his father. He was told that a party of white hunters had passed by and it was most probably them which he had heard. Tinyiko enquired about what white hunters were, Matimba explained as best he could. Tinyiko did not quite understand.

A few days later while the cattle were grazing on the hillside, the dogs started barking and the herd boys saw some strange colored figures passing in the distance; with some black people carrying packs.

All were puzzled by this strange group.

That evening; Tinyiko again reported to his father and was told that what he had seen was the group of white hunters, he mentioned before. Tinyiko found it strange that they were hunters without him seeing any spears, assegais or knobkerries.

The following day they again heard the strange loud noises again followed by the trumpeting and noise of the fleeing Ndlophu. When they got home that afternoon there was a smell of great festivity in the air. Fires were burning and the smell of roasting meat attracted them from far away. Large chunks of flesh were being cut up and being cooked in pots, or roasted over the open fire or spread out on loosely woven green sticks over smoking coals.

Tinyiko imagined that something really amazing must have happened – all this meat . . . . Soon the pots were brought out and the calabashes filled, the festivities went on until long after the Mphisi had stopped making their dreadful calls. Eventually Tinyiko was told by his mother that the white hunters had killed an Ndlophu and that they were sharing in the abundance.

The herd boys did not sleep well through all the festivities and the following morning they arose in the quiet of the village and set off on their duties.

The bigger boys started talking among themselves about the time in which they were to go to the Shangane School. Tinyiko enquired, but was told that he was till to young to understand . . . . .

The herd boys often hunted in the veldt and were often fortunate enough to get a hare, sometimes when they took the herd down to the river they were lucky enough to get a cane rat. Their prey would then be skinned and roasted over an open fire and then enjoyed as only true Shangaan herd boys could.

A few seasons after Nyeleti, Thangelani (the happy one) joined the little family. Matimba was very happy as he knew that he would look after his two daughters well and then one day his cattle herd would also grow well. When the frost had settled on his head, he would join the elders of the village and they would solve all the disputes and lead the festivities, all in accordance with the lore of the Shangane people.

One day on returning with the herd, of the older boys were called aside and followed one of the elders into the bush. Tinyiko inquisitively followed but was soon told to go home. He enquired from Hikatekile about this and was softly told that they were growing up and had to go to school to be educated in the ways of the Shangane People.

He enquired about him also going and was told that every three to four years the school is held and that the big boys had to go. He asked whether he would also be going one day and was told yes when he is big enough.

Tinyiko also noticed that some of the elders had also mysteriously disappeared. Some mornings of the older mothers would disappear into the bush with pots on their heads; he also noticed that some of them had white clay on their faces. When enquiring from Hikatekile he was told that they were taking food to the school of the Shangane People.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:11 pm 
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The ways of . . . . . Part 3.

Tinyiko was now one of the bigger boys in the village and he enjoyed taking out the cattle every day, what he enjoyed most was sharing his knowledge of the veldt with the younger boys who now had also graduated to being herd boys.

He taught them about the different animals and the trees. He taught them about the dangers of the bush. He taught them to be on the look out for the lurking Ngwenya in the quiet pools or the slow peacefully flowing rivers when the cattle were taken for their daily drink of water before returning for the night.

He showed them the spoor of Yingwe the dangerous golden cat with the dark spots. He told them to ensure that the gate of the Zeriba is tightly closed at night ensuring that Ngala could not use his strength and force the enclosure open and kill the cattle. He also taught them the difference in the spoor of Xikankanka the other golden cat with the different spots who could outrun most animals. He showed them the spoor of the tall Nhutlwa who fed from the top of the trees, as well as that of Hlongonyi and Mangwa who often grazed together and trampled the veldt to dust during the dry seasons. The bark of Mangwa often mistaken for that of a distant dog.

Tinyiko once enquired from the returning grown up men with all the goods and money, where they had been, he was told “Egoli” where they worked in deep holes extracting rock that was crushed and then smelted and then turned into a beautiful color similar to that of the hide of Yingwe. It was then sold for lots of money. At the end of every moon they were paid some money and then when returning they were paid at WNNLA near the Makhuleke where the Levhuvu joins the Great IliMhpopo. Goods are purchased at Egoli and the last at the trading stores of Thompson, salt, mirrors, beads, buckets, blankets, cloth and many other wonderful items could be purchased or even traded at these stores.

One late afternoon Tinyiko and the herds men heard a lot of wailing from the village on returning with the cattle. They approached slowly and carefully, they had never heard this before. Stopping at the perimeter they saw the women gathered at a hut and the men a little distant, also huddled together. They realized that something had to be seriously wrong. They chased the cattle into their Zeriba and ensured that everything was soundly done. Then they quietly went to where the men were sitting together and heard that one of elders had been trampled and killed, by Ndlophu, on returning from a neighboring village.

Tinyiko found this very strange as he had often found Ndlophu feeding in the bush but after a warning trumpeting or at worst a mock charge they parted company and now this.

Matimba said that a messenger was sent to the Commissioner to inform him of the tragedy.

That night the fires were stoked and kept burning, the wailing of the women kept on while the men sat outside in their little circle discussing the tragedy and singing praise to the elder who had lost his life.

The following morning a bull was selected from the cattle and slaughtered. The hide was kept clean and handed to the Sangoma who went to the hut where the women were mourning. After a little while the Sangoma called in two women who joined him in preparing the trampled body for its journey to join the ancestors.

The herd boys were upon their return with the cattle called aside and told that the following day they weren’t to take the cattle out, they were to stay in the village. They also noticed that all the grown up men had had their heads shaven.

That evening the drums beat right through until late the following day. Informing all the surrounding villages of the tragedy and the funeral.

That evening the drums again beat until dawn. Tinyiko noticed people going into the hut of the elder and heard the scraping of tools in the soil; he was told that a tomb was being prepared.

The following day many people from surrounding villages arrived, all with shaven heads, talking in subdued voices. The woman one side away from the men. When the time was right the Induna rose and went to deceased’s hut, outside he stood and prayed to the ancestors and the Great Mudimo, he sang praise to the deceased. The sons of the deceased then brought the body of the elder now coffined in the hide of the slaughtered bull to the hut where the tomb had been prepared.

The onlookers quietly watched the little procession led by the bearers and followed by the wives and children of the old father. They stopped at the entrance while the wailing of the women now filled the air. The coffin was taken into the hut and gently lowered into the soils of AFRICA. The eldest wife and her eldest son brought the karos and bed mat of the old father together with his jacket and shoes to the grave and had these belongings carefully and respectfully laid upon the red and white hide. The other sons now carefully filled in the grave of their father. Pots were taken into the hut. Much later when they were allowed to enter the hut Tinyiko noticed that the pots he had seen, were now broken and decorated the grave.

Outside the wailing grew louder and continued until the following morning while the meat of the bull was eaten and the beer was drunk all in accordance with the lore of the Shangane People.

Two days later a hunting party arrived at the village and enquired about where the tragedy had occurred. A tracker set out with them leading them to the site. They followed the faint tracks in the dust, they noticed a slight drag mark of the left front leg and funnily enough some blood stains.

Two days later they came across an Elephant bull standing in the shade of a huge Jackal Berry tree, the trail leading towards the beast. The hunters carefully moved down wind and approached noiselessly from behind the bush cover.

The old bull turned and never even heard the shot. It just collapsed after the hunter squeezed the trigger and a little puff of dust marked the strike.

Approaching the fallen bull they noticed a bloody mark on the left shoulder with puss running from it, about a fortnight old.

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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:52 pm 
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The ways of . . . . . Part 4.

Two full moons after the older herd boys left for the Shangane School, they returned all looking a bit leaner but very proud, their hair shaven.

They packed their few belongings and moved to another part of the little village where each one selected a site and started building his own little hut.

Tinyiko went to speak to them but was sent off being told that they now are men and do not want to be bothered by children.

The following morning Tinyiko waited for the older boys to join in taking the cattle out, but was told that they now had other duties.

The Msasa trees changed to their usual gold to brown indicating that winter was approaching. Everyone was busy collecting the harvest from the fields and carefully stacked the grain stores. Days were shortening and night grew colder.

Firewood was collected and stacked, karosses were repaired extra bed rolls were made; the girls spent their days crushing the wheat and stored the freshly ground meal in the newly made clay pots.

The cattle had to be taken away further every day in the search for good grazing. The rivers started drying up with pools forming in the sandy beds. The wild animals were also growing fewer as they were migrating to better grazing.

One day when the herders took the cattle down to the river to drink, they noticed that the stock was very hesitant in going down. Tinyiko and one of the boys went to investigate what the reason was; approaching a clump of bushes they heard a warning growl; they realized danger and slowly retreated and drove the cattle away to an open area where the soil was trampled to dust by the thirsty wild animals.

The winter came and went; everyone was pleased and hoping for a good new season. The days grew hotter and the rains stayed away.

The pools were drying up and small wells had to be dug in the sandy river bed in order for the cattle to drink. The girls had to walk further and further in order to find suitable drinking water.

The people of the village grew quieter and less happy as the rains stayed away. They prayed to the ancestors, but still the rains stayed away.

The cattle grew thinner under the scorching sun. There was no more laughter or beer drinking or dancing or singing or working in the lands or weaving of mats or making clay pots. They just waited.

Winter passed with very little rain during summer.

Grazing got less, of the weaker cattle and goats started dying as the few dried grasses and leaves could not sustain them.

The Chief realized that times were bad and he called for the Sangoma to come and assist. Everyone waited in anticipation and eventually the old man arrived with his decorations and his bag of magic.

It was agreed that the bones would be thrown the following morning, hardly anyone slept that night; they just lay and listened to the far of call of Mgawane and the dreadful howling of Mhisi who may have been feasting on some animal who had died of starvation or thirst.

The morning came and the Chief called to Village people together. They surrounded the Chief and the Sangoma.

The old man sat on his haunches and started singing and praying to the ancestors, while his body was swaying and he was clinging tightly to his bag containing the bones. The Village people looked on quietly.

Then the moment came – the bones were thrown – the Sangoma carefully looked into the magic and started removing of them, putting those aside.

He then collected the bones untouched bones and trinkets and put them into his bag and started the singing and praying, it grew faster and faster, then he again threw the bones. He again stared into them and again removed of them, placing them with those previously discarded.

The Sangoma got up and went to the hut covering the grave of the elder killed by the Elephant. Later he came out shaking as if in a delirium and collapsed, lying in the sun.

Later the afternoon the Sangoma got up and again had a look at the remaining heap of bones. He then started telling that he had had a vision who told him that someone had removed something from the grave; the forefathers were very angry and now kept the rains from falling.

The Village people had to pack up and take all their belongings with them. And move for three days and start again. Before leaving they had to burn the Village and make sure that nothing of value was left behind, anything they could not take with them had to be broken and left behind to burn, before they left.

After they had resettled the Sangoma had to be called, he would then again consult with the forefathers for further guidance.

The Chief instructed everyone to do as the Sangoma had said, as they would be leaving at sunrise the following morning.

Everyone started collecting their possessions; the few donkeys were overloaded, even of the cattle were loaded. The belongings were carried to outside the perimeter of the doomed Village.

The evening there was a wailing and slow clapping of hands, at sunrise the group set off while a few of the older men stayed behind and do as the Sangoma had instructed.

The Villagers trekked for three days, eating or drinking very little.

Eventually they arrived at a suitable spot also along the Wanetsi River; the Chief consulted with the elders and it was agreed that this was where they were to settle.

The following morning everyone set on his own task in re establishing the Village, clay was dug for bricks, mixed with the scarce water and tramped until it was in the correct consistency, then shaped into a brick form and put in the sun to dry.

Branches were cut from thorn trees to build a stockade for the livestock, while a thick wall of thorn branches was erected along the perimeter of the planned village. Grass was cut and carried from afar for the roofs of the new huts and poles were cut and left to dry for the supporting roof structure.

Two full moons later the Village was again completed with everyone settling in, still the rains stayed away.

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Done 144 visits to National Parks.
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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:55 pm 
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The ways of . . . . . Part 5.

The Chief again called for the Sangoma.

The Sangoma walked through the Village and when satisfied that the work was completed. He sat down and again swayed while murmuring and praying and then threw the bones. He again peered into them removing of them.

After a while he got up and told the Chief that a neighboring Chief had to be called and had to be at the new Village the following morning.

Matimba accompanied the Chief and they set off. At sunrise the following morning they reappeared at their Village accompanied by the neighboring Chief and one of his elders.

The little group reported to the Sangoma, the Sangoma again threw the bones and after a while spoke to the other four.

The other Chief and the elder left and no one mentioned anything.

At sunrise the following morning, the Chief and his elder returned with a man with his hands tied behind his back, they together with Matimba and the Village chief went to the Sangoma, who was now in one of the huts.

After a while the little group left the hut, the neighboring Chief and the elder left together with the man with the tied hands- who was never seen again.

Tinyiko later remembered once seeing the man visiting their old Village for a beer drink, walking near the burial hut . . . .

After the next full moon the Chief again called for the Sangoma.

He again threw the bones and prayed and sang while swaying his body. Then all of a sudden he stopped and raised his hands and said that the Laws of the Shangane had been followed and that the forefathers were now at peace.

The Chief had to send two of his men to the Rain Queen Mujaji who lived in the direction of the setting sun far across the Great Lebombo Mountains among the Mountains of the Clouds. The Rain Queen would give him a bag containing herbs and leaves and seeds of her sacred trees which had to be brought to the Village and then given to the Chief.

One of the elders and one of the men who had returned from the Shangane School immediately set off, each carrying a calabash of water, his karos his sleeping mat and some food, while the younger man carried the golden colored skin with the dark rosettes of Yingwe which was cured and as soft as the most delicate cloth- a gift for the mighty far away Rain Queen.

Each also carried a knobkerrie and a spear.

One day while Tinyiko was out tending the cattle, they heard a loud trumpeting and breaking of trees and saw a lot of dust, this kept on for a while and then all went quiet. They watched an Elephant limping from the dry bush.

They went to have a look at where they heard the noise from and saw an Elephant lying on its chest, they went closer and saw it was bleeding and not moving.

Tinyiko ran off and called Matimba.

They found the Elephant dead, Matimba sent Tinyiko to call the Villagers, they arrived with axes and were very happy, the first time Tinyiko again heard them singing for two seasons.

They cut up the carcass, the Chief supervising the removal of the tusks. Tinyiko asked what would happen to them, he was told that they would be traded with the men from Sofala. On enquiring about where Sofala was, he was told far away, near to where the sun rises.

Tinyiko told the Chief about the other Elephant, two of the men were sent off following the trail and soon came across the victor of the fight, also dead!

All the meat was carried to the Village, the drums were beaten, fires were lit and very soon the invited visitors were welcomed by the smell of roasting meat. Again everyone ate as much as he could as there was plenty.

Tinyiko all of a sudden seemed to be very popular, and he noticed that the friend of his sister Nyeleti was even more beautiful than ever.

Later that evening Matimba called Tinyiko aside and told him that he was now growing up and would be going to the next school of the Shangane.

The following day the Chief sent Matimba and one of the elders to bury the four tusks.

Two days after the following full moon there was great excitement in the Village as the men from Sofala were coming with their wagon loaded with all the different treasures. The following morning the wagon arrived and Tinyiko was again amazed by these unhealthy looking men with their pale skin and speaking a very strange language which no one seemed to understand.

The Chief called for the tusks to be fetched and presented to the traders. Goods were offloaded, cloth, copper wire, knives, hoes, beads, bangles, salt and some sweet tasting white powder, even blankets, everyone looked on in amazement.

Goods were exchanged and the traders set off on their journey. The traded ware was stored in the store of the Chief.

The time went by and as the moon was brightening towards the next full moon, the two men who had been sent to the Rain Queen Mujaji, returned.

The Chief called the Sangoma.

The Sangoma arrived and swayed and sang and prayed and then threw the bones.

He again gazed into the bones and then made a little fire, burning some of the herbs from the Rain Queen. The smoke rose and the Sangoma collapsed. Later he awoke and called the Chief and the elders, they were told that the forefathers were now satisfied that the man who had brought the evil upon them had been dealt with according to the Lore of the Shangane People. An ox had to be slaughtered that afternoon; the heart had to be buried at the entrance of the hut of the eldest son of the deceased man. The Sangoma would then light a little fire upon the place where the heart was buried. Should the smoke rise and not be blown away, he would proceed further.

An ox was brought and slaughtered, the heart was carefully removed, after the entrails had been taken away and buried. The heart was then buried at the indicated place, the Sangoma made the fire and the smoke rose and disappeared into the blue hot air.

The Sangoma told the elders to make a fire and roast the ox.

Of the coals of the fire were to be taken and put in front of the hut of the Chief.

The bag of herbs and leaves and seeds was to be brought and he would then remove of the mixture and put it on the coals. As the smoke disappeared into the hot air, the Sangoma took the remaining herbs and spread them along the banks of the near dry dusty hot Wanetsi River.

He returned and told the Villagers to eat the meat of the slaughtered ox and then left.

While the Villagers were eating the meat in the firelight, an easterly wind came up just as the full moon started rising.

That evening the forefathers held their promise and blessed them with the first spring rains. All in accordance with the Lore of the Shangane People.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:44 pm 
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The ways of . . . . . Part 6.

While out in veldt Tinyiko often thought about the recent happenings and also about why certain things were done in certain ways. He discussed his questions and thoughts with the other herd boys and was told that whenever they asked their older brothers or anyone else they were always told that were still too young to know all of this and would therefore not understand.

The land again was green after the rains, the streams and creeks and rivers were flowing and the pools filled, fish traps were erected and every night there was fresh fish; a pleasant change in diet from boiled maize and millet. Red meat was seldomnly eaten, thereafter there was a lot of dancing to the tune of the “Fayi”, all the herd boys could play it as it was often the only amusement they had in the veldt while herding the cattle and the goats. They all at a young age learnt how to make this small rough wooden flute with its rasping sound.

The “xitende” was played by the more experienced musicians. The younger boys often tried to make this instrument from thin branch, in the shape of a bow with a sinew or leather or wire string and a resonating calabash at the top, which was then softly melodiously beaten by a light stick or often hollow reed. However the youngsters tried they could never get it quite right. Tinyiko often noticed that when people went on long journeys they would also play the “xitende”.

The very experienced musicians had their own, often delicate fine tuned “mbilas” the wooden sound box with its metal keys.

During a real festive occasion the Grandmother “Garingani” would tell her stories while the listeners would cheer “Garingani” at the end of each sentence.

The stories told the Kudu horns and the drums came out and with the Fayi, Xitende and Mbilas joining in the Muchongolo dance, which celebrated the women as well as war victories and ritual ceremonies, the dancing often continued until the fires lighting the dark of Africa had turned only to glowing embers.

Tinyiko loved the python dance performed by the girls and the women of the village; he was in his mind picturing Nyeleti taking part in this dance but knew that she would only be allowed after she had returned from the Shangane School for girls, approximately still three winters away.

Tinyiko knew that the next Shangane School for boys would be held this coming winter and he remembered what Matimba had told him the night of the festivities with the abundance of the Ndlophu.

The crops grew in the fields, the women used their hoes to keep them clean and the young children assisted in chasing the birds.

It was often reported that wild animals would come into the fields; these were then chased away with a lot of shouting and noise making, assisted by the barking dogs. Sometimes someone may be fortunate enough to kill a warthog or bush pig or maybe a zebra or blue wildebeest which the provided meat for the Village.

The season changed and again the Msasa trees turned to their gold and then to brown indicating that winter was on its way.

The crops were again harvested and brought to the Village and stored for the times to come.

There was a sense of anticipation as it was now three winters after the newly initiated returned to the Village wrapped in their red loin cloths. Some of them were now assembling their own cattle herds in order to pay the lobola.

One morning after the swallows had left and the tjip chrrrrr call of the Woodland Kingfisher was no longer heard, Matimba summonsed Tinyiko to his hut.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:40 pm 
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The ways of . . . . . Part 7.

Matimba told Tinyiko to close the door and sit down. Tinyiko listened and heard that he was now reaching adult hood and was to go to the Shangane School for boys where he would be educated in the ways of the Shangane. That evening would be his last on the boys’ hut, after returning he would build his own little hut where he would stay.

Tinyiko was very excited and asked what he should take with to school land told nothing. He was also told that the younger herd boys would now look after the cattle and the goats.

Leaving his fathers hut, Tinyiko saw his favorite sister Nyeleti and her best friend set off to the river with their clay pots to fetch water, he had a lot of time and decided to join them, he even offered to carry a pot for Amukelani. He was asked why he was not herding the livestock and proudly told them that it was no longer his duty and that he was off to the Shangane School, the following day.

Nyeleti noticed how Amukelani admiringly looked at Tinyiko.

At the river the girls were told to wait as Tinyiko first needed to ensure that all was safe. After a little while they were called and they filled the pots. Again Nyeleti noticed that Tinyiko was very helpful, especially to the appreciative Amukelani.

On the way home it was three very happy young people laughing and talking, all too soon they were at the little Village . . . . .

That evening the older boys who had not been out herding the cattle that day sat together and felt very proud that they were now old enough to become men and that they would now be educated in the ways and Laws of the Shangane people.

The following morning the boys were up early and assembled at the coals of the previous day’s fire some twigs were added and blown onto, soon it was warming their bodies.

The sun was not far above the trees when two f the elders appeared and indicated to the boys to follow them.

Tinyiko joined the group and off they went, he looked over his shoulder and he noticed Amukelani and his sister Nyeleti standing watching the group depart, he was so pleased that the two were such good friends.

After a half days trekking they arrived at a clearance in the bush. The elders told them to get undressed, after following the instruction they were taken to a little pan with little water and white clay, they were told to cover their bodies in a thin layer of this white clay and their heads were shaven.

The elders built a little shelter for themselves, when the boys enquired where they should build theirs; they were told that they were to live outside. They were to collect firewood and to make a fire to keep warm during the night.

The following morning one of the elders called the boys together and told them to listen carefully as they were now growing up and had to be educated in the Lores of the proud Shangane People. Many of the unanswered questions of their younger days would now become clear.

They were told that it is an honor to be a man in the Shangane Tribe. Men had many responsibilities towards the Tribe, his wives and their children. They would be educated in the customs of the Shangane People. These customs had been developed over very many generations; these were the customs that made the Shanganes different from other people and these were the customs that made the Sangane the proud People they are.

That afternoon they boys were told about the Supreme Being and that the ancestors had much influence on their well being. The ancestors appear in dreams and also often become spirits.

These spirits live in certain sacred places where ancient chiefs are buried. Each clan has its own burial grounds. The ancestors are communicated with by prayers and offerings which may be beer or even animal sacrifices.

The Sangoma is to be called in times of illness or trouble or on any special occasion to make the offerings on behalf of the community. The ancestors have be kept satisfied at all costs as restless ancestors could cause trouble.

Children are named after the ancestors to ensure continuity of the family.

They were taught about “nthumbuloko” – creation and “Tilo” – the Supernatural – the superior being, who created mankind, they were also taught that Tilo resides in heaven.

They were told about “mmiri” – man’s physical body and the “moya” – the spirit that enters the body at birth and leaves the body at death, to join the ancestors, and “ndzuti”- the spirit in the man’s shadow and has human characteristics, at death Ndzuti would leave the individuals body and characteristics of that person and also join the ancestors.

At death the members of the deceased performed a welcoming ceremony to help ease the passage of the dad person to into the world of the spirits. The surviving members would become unclean and later had to undergo cleansing ceremonies at different times of the day during the next few months.

At the end of the mourning period ‘kuhluvula” starts after a year indicating that the mourning period is over, the widow of the deceased may then stop wearing a dark blue or black head cloth.

If the deceased was buried in a grave yard the attendants would visit the grave while carrying the branch of a Marula tree, it is then placed in the ground at a place indicated by the ancestors, this means that the deceased has come home. The Marula branch is sprayed with traditional beer and may then again grow into a large tree.

After all the rituals had been completed tea would be made and served to all with something bread like, the young women serve the tea to the older women sitting on mats and the men who would be sitting on chairs.

Some goats are now be slaughtered, the unfortunate animal is let loose and when caught by the chasing boys, the hoofs are tied and the throat slit with a very sharp knife. It is cut up and put into an open container and left at the entrance to the Village, together wit another container filled with clean water.

Anyone entering the Village had to first wash his hands in the goat remains and then in the clean water, indicating cleansing.

During all of the above education the boys are circumcised, they are to sleep outside and endure hardships without complaining.

Food is supplied from their Village which eaten over a certain period, often long beyond freshness.

Families or groups of Villagers would gather at certain sacred sites to pay homage to the ancestral spirits. Food and beer would be offered to thank them for providing top the people.

They were also told that in transition from childhood to adulthood, certain markings would be burnt into their skin, indicating their status and education.

They were told that their society was a unity consisting of both the living and the dead.

They were told about evil magic “vuloyi” practiced by the “valoyi” in order to harm the community

Good spirits would bring rain and caused good things to happen, the evil spirits were controlled by the sorcerers and caused great harm. Disease, drought or bad luck was attributed to the presence of “baloyi”- evil spirits.

When baloyi was present a cure ha to be found by divination, the Sangoma also called “tin-anga” would be called who through “tinholo” – the throwing of bones, would consult with the spirits and determine the way to get rid of the baloyi.

They are told about taking care of their cattle as the tsetse fly would kill off the weaker ones – also explaining to them why cattle were not often slaughtered for consumption. The boys now understood why their meat diet consisted mainly of fish and sometimes chicken.

They were also taught the meaning of being a tribe – a group of people which recognizes the authority of one tribal chief or “hosi” living in “tika la hosi” a specific tribal area.

The boys are taught many other rituals and songs, they learn the dances of the Shangane people, they learn how to hunt, as well as the politics, government, how to treat his wife and behave as a man, above all of this, they are taught respect and discipline under these harsh, winter conditions.

At the end of the initiation period, their heads would again be shaven. The white clay would be washed off and the bodies now smeared with red clay and they would get clothing. The hut in which they stayed would be burnt with all they brought with them or used during the period of initiation. They would then after a month of maybe hardships start their journey to their Village and a new life.

At the Village the new men would be welcomed by clapping and cheering, they would be wearing their new red loin cloths and led to the waiting mats where they would sit down and be treated with gifts of any possible kind, while the Villagers would be dancing around them in a circle clapping and singing to the tune of the Mbilas and Kudu horns and the Xitende and the Fayi, enjoying the abundance of meat and posho and for the first time – beer, and also of course eyeing the maidens.

They would now also start building their own round huts with their high conical thatch roofs and assembling their own cattle herds for now they were real grown up men, who accept and understand their responsibilities and also who do not waste their time with nuisance youngsters.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:28 am 
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The ways of . . . . . Part 8.

Tinyiko and the other new men went on doing the things men do. One day coming home early from the hunt he saw strangers at the Village. Now being a man he joined the congregation who had assembled with the strangers, Black and White men.

Eventually he found out that they were from WNLA, recruiting labor for the gold mines at Egoli. They were told that they would be offered a contract to go to Egoli and work in the mines for a period of a year. All recruited labor would be taken to where the iliMhpopo and the Levhuvu flow together, from there they would be taken to place called Soekmekaar, where they would get onto the train (many wagons with iron wheels, running on iron tracks pulled a by a big iron engine making a lot of noise and making black smoke) and be taken to Egoli. Here at Egoli they would be taken to their accommodation which would have beds and good food called a compound, many other men are already living in the compound.

They were told that they would earn good money and be paid at the end of each month (a month is approximately how long it takes the moon to complete a cycle). At the end of the contract (which lasts from summer to the next summer) they are again taken to Soekmekaar on the train and then to the iliMhpopo place where they will be paid the last of their wages. They could purchase wonderful things for their families at Egoli and the last bit at the trading store at the two rivers and then return to their families, rich men.

Tinyiko was very impressed about what he heard, this WNLA and Egoli and the train and the good food and plenty of work and the stores sounded very good.

He thought that this would be good as he could come back rich and get some cattle and who knows maybe enough for him and his father to go and visit the father of the beautiful Amukelani, who by that time may have returned from the Shangane School for girls where she would have spent a week learning how to be a good Shangane woman, who could work in the fields, bear children, keep a household and take care of her husband.

Tinyiko saw of the other men of whom many had attended the earlier Shangane School make a mark on some paper. They were told that the WNLA people would be returning in two weeks time (the time it takes from a full moon to a dark moon) and then the recruited men would join them and go the Egoli from where they would return rich men.

Tinyiko wanted to go but his father told him that although he was now a man, he should first spend two seasons at the Village where he could gain experience and then later he could go to Egoli. Tinyiko knew that his father was wise and would only give him the best advice and decided to do as he was told.

The excited recruited men got their belongings together and waited for the WNLA men to return. As promised they returned with many other recruits and were soon on their way to their adventure.

Tinyiko now became a skilled hunter, he knew of using the breeze when approaching the wild animals, he knew the difference in the spoor of the Mhala and Nhongo and Hlongonyi as well as Mangwa and Nhutlwa as well as Ndlophu and Mfubu. Tinyiko soon became and excellent hunter and tracker.

He was taught how to use snares, he one day set a snare, using a cable obtained from one of the men that had been to Egoli. The noose was set across the game path leading to the pools in the Wanetsi River and tied to a Mopani tree.

A few days later Tinyiko and one of his friends Themba visited the snare and found that it had been removed, they also noticed that the Mopani tree had been uprooted they also noticed drag marks leading away from the tree.

The two men decided to follow the drag marks which lead into the reed thicket on the banks of the Wanetsi, suddenly there was a bellow and Nyathi came charging from the reeds, both the men gave way but Themba just too slow and was tossed into the air by the thick sweeping horns of Nyathi, landing a little further in the dust. Fortunately Nyathi was slowed down by the branch attached to the cable around his neck. Tinyiko grabbed Themba and pulled him up a small tree, out of the way of the angry Nyathi.

From up the tree Tinyiko noticed that the branch had got stuck between another tree and a rock, explaining why Nyathi could not complete the charge. He also noticed that the snare had cut deep into the flesh of the Nyathi and that flies were buzzing around the wound he also saw white and yellow wormlike things crawling around and in the wound from which blood and a yellowish liquid was oozing.

Tinyiko carefully got out of the tree and ran to the Village, he quickly assembled a hunting party who went off to fetch Themba and to try and slaughter the angry Nyathi. Armed with knobkerries, spears and assegais the party returned, led by Tinyiko. They found the exhausted Nyathi lying in the reeds and was soon dispatched of, the meat was cut up and carried to the Village while others attended to Themba, carrying him on a support made from branches and leaves and reeds.

At the Village Themba was attended to by the woman and a fire was stoked to roast the meat of Nyathi.

Time went by and Tinyiko was often reminded about the dangers of the bush when he saw the limping Themba – his friend, he also remembered the blood shot eyes and the smell of the yellow liquid and decided that he was no longer going to use snares; he would rather use his assegais, spears and knobkerrie.

Tinyiko always admired the players of the beautifully curved Nhongo horn when they got together for a celebration; he also thought that it would really impress Amukelani. He decided that he would try and find Nhongo, he would keep the horns and learn to make music on them and he would prepare the beautiful hide with its white stripes and mane and keep it for Amukelani and give it to her as a gift when she returns from the Shangane School for girls.

The rains were good that year and game was plentiful, one day Tinyiko noticed the spoor of Nhongo, he carefully followed it into the hills, he knew it was a big bull as he saw the spoor was large and the scratch marks on the tree stumps made by the horns were nearly as high as his outstretched arm.

The wind was right, the dark of night came and Tinyiko decided that he would sleep out in the bush as the horns and the hide and Amukelani . . . . . . .

That night Tinyiko heard the distant sawing of Yingwe as well as the howling of Mphisi, he prayed to Tilo to take care of him that dark night as he had to get Nhongo.

Early the following morning Tinyiko set out, fortunately the wind was still favorable as he stalked his prize, and eventually the hunter saw his quarry, the prize bull with its ivory colored horn tips. He crept closer and closer to the unsuspecting bull, using every bit of cover available, eventually the time was right and he threw the assegai with all his might, it struck, the bull gave a bark and ran off Tinyiko followed the frothy blood marks and soon came across the animal he so dearly wanted.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: JUST A STORY
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:50 am 
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The ways of . . . . . Part 9.

The end of the season came and again the women and children went into the fields and picked the harvest and brought it back to the village where it was prepared and stored.

The cleansing rituals after the death of the elder were completed and life was good.

Amukelani was growing more beautiful by the day and the hide with the eight white stripes was now cured and carefully stored.

One morning Tinyiko noticed that his mother Hikatekile was not at the cooking area, and then also that Nyeleti and Amukelani were missing as were a few of the other maidens and of the older woman. No one said anything but he had an idea . . . . . .

After the dark moon had changed to first quarter there seemed to be great excitement among the woman in the Village, food was cooked and extra care was taken in tidying up everything. Their best beads were worn and their bodies were shining from the oils they had massaged into their skin.

Just after the sun moved over towards the distant mountains Tinyiko heard a happy singing he got up and went to the opening in the thorn surround of the Village and then he saw his mother, his sister and her friend and the other missing girls, the lower half of their bodies also covered in red cloth with brightly colored beads and adorning their shining upper body.

Tinyiko now knew that the Nhongo skin would that evening be the bed mat of Amukelani. He also just imagined that she had given a slight greeting wave and a bit of a friendly smile.

The young women sat on a mat in the shade and all the Village women and girls started dancing around them. Clapping and singing, the prepared food was brought and the feast went on well into the night.

Gifts of hoes and calabashes and clay pots and mats and even a blanket or two and some cloth and beads, were laid in front of the maidens, who proudly sat and just enjoyed the celebrations. Tinyiko called Thangelani and gave her the neatly folded striped hide he had so carefully prepared and looked after; she was quite surprised but was then told to put the hide with the other gifts that had been given to Amukelani, she was also to make very sure that Amukelani knew of the hide.

The following morning Tinyiko made sure that he was near his mother and a little later Thangelani came to him and told him that Amukelani said that this was largest and softest Nhongo skin she had ever seen or touched, she also asked to find out whether this was the hide of the horn that Tinyiko so often was practicing on.

Tinyiko told his youngest sister that it was the hide and horn of the same animal.

Later that day Tinyiko again imagined a wave and friendly smile from the young woman sitting with his mother in the shade of the tree next to Hikatekile hut. He also just imagined an approving glance from his mother.

Tinyiko felt that his body was getting strong and also noticed that his sister and her friend were also getting more beautiful as their glistening anointed bodies were no longer those of the young girls they used to be.

Tinyiko also now noticed that he had a few more men friends than he had before.

The young warrior watched his little herd of cattle grow but he knew that the father of Nyeletis friend would want a very high price for the hand of his daughter.

Tinyiko would often sit and wonder how he would ever get enough cattle for him and his fathers visit. He then decided that next time the WNLA people came he would also make a mark on the white paper.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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