The Drummers of Africa
This is an African narration that speaks of many things. It is a story of the light and the dark, and of Ngai, the God of the Kikuyu tribe, of Smoke and fire, of Truth, and of the deceiver Lui the serpent, of Kalulu the jealous hare, and of Nyati the angry hippo. It speaks of the sacred crocodile of the Nile river, and of the star of hope, the bright Morning Star. It speaks of black Drummers and white mans gumboots.
The story is about the powerful emotions and thoughts, that effect all African children, yes, even the white children, feelings that combine to make the pages of our individual book of life, on this earth. It is a story about a young white boy, born in the country of Tanzania, The flower of Africa In East Africa.
The boy visits an African Muganga, a witchdoctor named Mulimo, who gives him a message from Ngai the Kikuyu God, and tells him the story of the two highest mountains in Central Africa. Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, (depicted as Father God, The possessor of all Power) and Mt. Kirinyaga, in Kenya, ( depicted as Mother God, The possessor of all Brilliance). When we speak of the two of them, we speak of Ngai, for this is the Kikuyu word for God.
I was born many years ago in a small village in Tanzania, East Africa. My Father was a soldier with The Kings African Rifles, he was a very stern man, who spent most of his time away from home at war up in Abyssinia, North Africa, thus I did not know him very well, he was not a man to speak with, for he only spoke to give out harsh orders when he wanted something done. And when I was three years old, his angry manner drove my mother away, to another, thus my early life was one of loneliness and fear.
I spent much of my early years at the homes of others when my father was away at war. And when sometimes he was at home, I was attended to by an Ayah an African maid called Sarah. She spoke to me in her Swahili language, which I learnt quite quickly. One day my father told me that he was soon to send me to a boarding school far away.
I was six years old, and pleaded to be spared from this unimaginable fate, but there was no escape, he was adamant, I felt trapped and frightened. As the days went by, I wondered how I could escape, and where could I run away to.
One night as I lay in my bed, I listened to the African drums that were drumming away most of the night in the nearby village, they were in the distance, and I was used to them. I suddenly thought of the Muganga, the witchdoctor called Mulimo. Sarah sometimes spoke of his magic powers, that he spoke to the Spirits of their ancestors, and sometimes even to Ngai their God.
The next day I pestered her to take me to his hut. She refused, saying, Your father would become very very angry if he finds out, because the white man does not understand anything about the other world, where our spirits go to, after earthly death, when they leave their flesh here in the dust, and that is also the place where we lived before we entered the flesh of this world.
She said that my father could even bring the askaris, the police, and take her away from me, and send her to Kingi Georgi Hotel. I said Sarah, what is that hotel Kingi Georgi. She said: Mtoto, Kingi Georgi is the white mans king, who lives far far away over the sea, one day he sent his soldiers here to Africa, and in every African village he has built a big Prison, if we do not pay our hut taxes, we are put in these prisons, but as we are freely given two meals a day, we call it Kingi Georgi Hoteli.
I thought about this, but could not understand it at that time. I persisted over many days with my request to visit Mulimo, and then she said, I will point out the pathway you are to follow, and it will lead you out past the village to his hut, but you must promise, to never speak of this to your father.
The next morning I found myself walking up the bush track, I was terrified, for I had heard many stories of the power of witchdoctor's, mainly from other white children. I walked very slowly and my mind was wondering what to say.
I came upon a small hut that had a blanket over the doorway, I said Hodi hodi, that is the word for knock knock, for in east Africa, you do not knock on the door, you stand back and speak from your mouth, if there is no answer, you walk away. If you are welcome, you are replied Karibu, that means welcome.
Suddenly the blanket was brushed aside, and before me stood Mulimo, he was very small, with very fine features, and very black eyes.
Na taka nini mtoto? -What do you want young child ?- he asked of me
I was speechless and just stood, we watched each other for a moment, and he then said Ingia (enter). He told me to sit on the floor in front of him on a mat. I did so, and looked around at all the skins of animals on the walls. I said: I do not know what I want, but I am here.
Mulimo picked up a small bag, he held it for a few moments and then shook it and spilled the contents on the mat between us, he poked around in the coloured stones and little pieces of bones there, pulling out three of the stones, and then said.
Mtoto ya mzungu, (child of white man) in your belly is the cold stone of fear and loneliness, under that are two other stones, one of jealousy and the other is the fire stone of anger that you have not felt yet within you, and do not yet know them.
You are very young mtoto, but Ngai, the creator of all, yes, even the creator of the white man, says that I must tell you what you will hear now. For the book of life can be many many pages, even twenty-five thousand, and you are not yet even 3000 pages, but today's page mtoto, is with Ngai, through my breath, my story to you, that Ngai says will help you, on your lifes journey on this earth.
I sat without speaking and listened to what he had to say:
Mtoto, one day, far ahead, when you are a big man, the sacred crocodile of the Nile river will come into your mind, and you will see something in its eye, but that is yet forty summer seasons away, to be revealed in a vision, direct to you by Ngai, Ngai is the invisible essence of all creation, and is invisible to us. But we the Africans are very lucky, because Ngai has come to earth visibly, in a way that can guide us here to understand the invisible Ngai..
Ngai is like the two mountains that you see here where we live, the volcano Mt. Kilimanjaro the Father (the possessor of all Power) 20,000 feet high, and Mt. Kirinyaga the Mother ( the possessor of all brilliance). Their bases stand with us here on earth, but their tops reach up through the clouds into heaven, and stand clear and bright in the sunlight of the day, and at night they are in the stars.
Even though they stand more than a hundred miles apart, they see each other, and below them on the earth, walk their children, you and me. But under the ground below the giant volcano Kilimanjaro, is the cauldron of molten fire, that is great pain and suffering, below the fire is the deep dark coldness, for there is no light under Kilimanjaro, it is the home of the black serpent called Lui, he is the deceiver of all humanity, and enters our minds from within, with his thoughts.
The mountain Kiri Nyaga is different, she is all light and love, that shines and lights up the heavens. Sometimes the power of Kilimanjaro causes the earth to split, and smoke comes out, hot smoke, the anger of Ngai. If Ngai becomes very angry, then Kilimanjaro does explode in a fury, and throws up molten fire and rocks that destroy all that have not heard Ngais voice. The voice of the Father, Kilimanjaro, who says: Listen to your Mother Kiri Nyaga ,and only be loving.
For you see, when you are created by Ngai, you are filled with the love of Kiri Nyaga, and the light of Kilimanjaro, but some of the fire under Kilimanjaro is placed in your belly, so you learn of Ngais dark power, and it is all the bad feelings that can be felt by man on earth. One day they are removed from your belly by the love of Kiri Nyaga, then you do not feel them again, unless your spirit one day returns to walk on this earth as a man of flesh.
If you look up at night, you will see the stars that freely roam the heavens. When your spirit leaves the flesh of this earth when you die, you can be as a star roaming free in the heavens with Ngai, or you can be confined in the belly of Kilimanjaro, suffering fire and endless pain, and then, you can even sink deeper into the dark and coldness, trapped forever.
I was astonished to hear this, for I remembered hearing at our English Church, that none of us could be lost below, because our God, was the greatest on earth, and that our God, had even walked on this earth and also water, and then disappeared into the sky. I spoke not, but continued to listen. Mulimo continued,
Mtoto, For every bad feeling within us, there is a story that we tell our children. To you, will I tell three. First listen, for the drummers of Africa are practising. He continued on: Mtoto, I will tell you first of how the hippopotamus lost his hair.
Once a very long time ago, there was an angry hippo called Nyati, he had longi long hair. Nyati is actually the name of our Buffaloes, they are very dangerous angry animals, that is why this hippo was called Nyati.
He lived in a grass house near the river. Nyati was always very angry, for he allowed the smoke under Kilimanjaro to pour through his big mouth, when bad thoughts came into his mind from Lui the serpent, and he abused all the animals that came near.
Sometimes, fire erupted within his belly, and he exploded with fury, and then, he went on a rampage, and trampled the houses of others destroying them, even crushing people under his feet. The only person he ever spoke to was the grass fire that roams the plains in the hot season every year.
Every year he would see the smoke coming, and he listened to the roar of the fire, that was the voice of the invisible flames, hidden behind the black smoke, the voice said, Nyati, I am coming near your place, make a cup of tea ,and let me in. He always replied, Do not come in, I am in a bad mood today and even you are not welcome. If you come, I can abuse you. And the wind changed the direction, and the smoke blew the other way.
Over the years his temper became worse, and he inflicted much abuse and pain onto others, and every year the fire came past his house, always with the same words Nyati, I am coming near your place, make a cup of tea and let me in. Nyati always abused the fire saying You are not welcome here.
One day, many years later, the fire came again, it was very very strong and very very hot, and the fire said to itself Today is the day, that horrible Nyati will see me, the wrath of Ngai, being my avenging fire under Kilimanjaro, and he now will feel my power and my pain. And the fire spoke loudly to Nyati, saying Nyati, I am coming in today, even if you do not invite me, make a cup of tea, and let me in.
Nyati the hippo felt the anger in the fire, and he felt fear in his belly, and said Come in and we will talk today, for I have never seen what is hidden in your belly under your smoke.
With a fiery rush, the wind swept the intense flames into Nyatis house, with the fire power of even more than one thousand angry hippos, the heat was intense, and Nyati shrieked in agony and pain as his hair was all burned off.
He leapt into the cool waters of the river, and to this day, has never had any hair, and he plays in the cool water all day long, and only comes onto the land in the evening, to enjoy the cool air, like the air around the top of Kirinyaga, never ever again to trouble any one, because as he suffered, the fire in his belly was extinguished by Ngai, and he never listens to the forked tongue of Lui the serpent anymore.
For having now felt and suffered the pain he had made others suffer, he had also finally heard, and understood the voice of the Father, Kilimanjaro, who said If you cause pain to any of my children, I will come with fire, and do it to you another day. You my children must heed Kiri Nyaga your mother, and only love each other. Mulimo stopped, and again I heard the drum beats throbbing.
He said, Remember Mtoto, that I have told you of the fire hidden in your belly below the fear. One day, it will arise like the lightening in the sky. You will feel the power of Kilimanjaro in you. You must feel its power, but do not drink of it, if you drink it in, which you are doing, when you abuse others, then it gets bigger and stronger in you, and you may not be able to control it.
It can erupt inside you, and if you trample others, you will suffer the consequences of your actions, just like Nyati the hippo. Fire can burn you through the hands of others, or even like the swift rolling bushfire, when least expected. I listened intently and did not move. I could hear the drumming commence again.
Mulimo continued, Mtoto, Once there was a rabbit called Kalulu, he was a very happy rabbit, living in a hole in the ground. He often used to see Simba the lion when out walking, Simba was King of the jungle, and Kalulu often spoke to his friend Simba.
One day Kalulu felt a strange feeling in his belly, it was jealousy, and as he watched the lion Simba he became jealous of his Might and stature and his many friends, and at the same time, strange thoughts came into his mind.
The thoughts said, The king is big and strong, but you can show him how much smarter you are, and also if you can make him suffer pain, then you will feel very important, for you will show all the animals your power, they will fear you, and then you, will become the King of the jungle, and also, because you live in the ground, and the lion does not know even which burrow is yours, and will not find you.
The days went by, and Kalulu was becoming more jealous, and the thoughts were getting stronger, and he foolishly continued to listen to them. One day, when he met Simba, Kalulu said, If you are brave, then play the game of rolling stones with me.
Simba said, Kalulu, you are very small, if I play any games with you, then you can be hurt, and I will be sorry. Kalulu said, You are not as smart as you think king Simba, and I will win the rolling stones game. So the lion said Let us begin.
Kalulu said, Go up the hill and roll down some stones, I will open my mouth wide and swallow the stones. Then, we will change places, and I will roll the stones and you will swallow them. Simba said If you can swallow even one stone Kalulu, and it does not crush you, I will be very surprised, and then I can also do it, if you survive the first stone.
Simba went up the hill and rolled the first stone. As it came bounding down the hillside, Kalulu thought, The fool, he cannot see through the dust made by the rolling stone, and will not see me jump out of its way, and as it goes past, I will jump back into place, and the lion will think I am very clever to be able to swallow a stone.
A large boulder came tumbling down, and Kalulu did as his thoughts told him, jumping sideways, and then back whilst the dust hid him from Simbas sight.
Simba was amazed and repeated the process again. Kalulu then said Enough, your turn to eat rock. When the king was ready with his mouth open wide, Kalulu pushed a small rock, that in turn struck bigger rocks, and the lion was struck a heavy blow that knocked out all his teeth. He roared loudly in pain and ran off.
The feeling in Kalulu felt very good, and he laughed in glee at his victory, and thoughts in his mind were saying, look how strong and clever all will think you are Kalulu. He went and hid in his burrow for a few days where he was planning his next devious move, he suddenly heard a sound, and then a deep hisss behind him in one of the tunnels of the burrows, in fear he ran out, for it was the black serpent called Lui.
As he came out of the burrow, Kalulu saw Simba standing there, and he said to the lion, How did you find me, The king said, look up, Kalulu looked up and saw the eagle wheeling in the sky.
Simba said, Kalulu, you did not know that Ngai has eyes in the sky, and sees all, and knows all that takes place on earth, just like the eagle. So I asked the eagle where you live. You ignorantly listened to the whisperings of the serpent, Lui the deceiver, he has a forked tongue, first he deceives you by giving you a very good reason to do wrong, then he destroys you, his thoughts came into your mind because of your jealousy. Kalulu, did your parents not tell you about the power of Lui ?
Now you will feel the suffering of many many days. I see that the fire in your belly has from this moment changed you into a Hare, with a big strong body, so you cannot enter your burrow again, and your legs are long and strong, and you will now spend the rest of your days working very hard, running and running over the hot grasslands, trying to keep ahead of the grass fires that will burn you if you stop. There is no rest for the wicked Kalulu, until you have paid your dues to Ngai, who will then set you free again.
So for the rest of his life, Kalulu the hare suffered heat and tiredness, as he ran and ran and ran, praying to Ngai, to turn him back again into a mild friendly rabbit. Mulimo stopped, and I heard the drums again, little bursts of drumming that came and went.
He then said, Now you see what happens when Ngais children listen to the thoughts of Lui, and allow the fire in their belly to throw up rocks onto others, they become controlled by others and suffer. None can escape the wrath of the invisible Ngai. Mtoto, the danger is not what others do to us, but what we do to them, thus, the enemy is within us, being any thoughts coming within our own minds, from Lui, who is very cunning. I sat quietly and listened, as I was enthralled by these stories.
Mulimo spoke again: Mtoto ya Mzungu (child of white man), remember well this page in your book, for one day, you will travel far away from Africa, to the bottom of this earth, and will meet men of many colours, and when you return, you will bring to us Africans a great story of Truth, but first, you will remain here and suffer feelings in your belly, that you have to suffer for Ngai, to gain understanding of the pain of this world.
He continued: Mtoto, Now I will tell you how our black children control the fear and anger in their bellies. In the evenings, they go and sit by the drummers. The drummers are muscly and very strong, some can even hammer the drums until the morning, because the love of Kiri Nyaga, flows strongly through them, and as they beat the drums, the fearful ones can sit very close, and are not afraid, for they can see the strength of the drummers, and feel the power of sound, throbbing in their veins.
The angry young ones also come near, but they dance and stomp the ground with their feet, and as they stomp and stomp, they are pushing the anger in their bellies back into the ground under Kilimanjaro, this way, they will not blow smoke and throw rocks onto others. They dance with great power until they are exhausted and then they can sleep.
He continued, A long time ago, before the white man came, there were no boundaries in Africa, all could roam freely as the gazelles, and Kilimanjaro and Kirinyaga, both stood on the same land, and there was freedom.
Then the white man came, full of insatiable greed for the spoils of Africa, and he spoke with the thoughts of Lui the serpent in his mind, and from his mouth came the forked tongue of Lui, and the lies from his mouth was the smoke from under Kilimanjaro, and fire came from his hand in a stick, a stick that spoke death, it was the gun. I told the young men to remember the message from Ngai, that we must dance, and not fight, for if we fight, we are disobeying Kirinyaga, then Ngai will send all our spirits to the underworld when we die.
Ngai said to me, Mulimo, tell all the angry men, that instead of fighting the oppressor, they must put on the white mans gumboots, then they can dance and stomp their feet even more energetically, without bruising them, thus driving down more forcefully the powerful fire they feel boiling in their bellies, brought on through the ignorance and disrespectful actions of the white man, who heeds not the call from my Queen Kirinyaga.
Tell all the young men and girls, that they must resist from retaliating. Even if they are to be abused or even destroyed. If they do not control their fire and smoke, then, Lui the serpent will speak to them in their minds, and they will not be able to resist his forked tongue, as he gives them an irresistible reason to fight, and thus do they deny their mother Kirinyaga, and then, they will fight the white man, also forgetting me their father, Kilimanjaro.
And they will forget the love of their mother, Kirinyaga, the possessor of all brilliance, and as they fight, they are stealing my fire power, that flows into them up from below as they fight, and thus it grows stronger in their bellies, and any of any race, who steal my fire, to hurt my children, are destroyed by me, for when they die, with the strength of the coils of a giant python, the weight of my fire in their bellies, drags them below, to my underworld.
I was mesmerised by Mulimo's story, and as I sat, he took an old pair of gumboots out from behind a skin, they were very worn, he put them on, and by chance a drummer struck a few beats, and Mulimo stomped a few steps, chanting Songa chafu chini, songa chafu chini, meaning, send the filth below, send the filth below. He sat back, pulling off the gumboots and said,
Remember well mtoto, because for every child of Ngai comes many a test, and one day, when they show Ngai that they have learned the word Courage, and thus do not retaliate against the bad ones, even those who are abusing them, but can and do forgive their enemy, then, Ngai cleanses the fire out from their bellies, and then they can put away the gumboots, for they feel at peace within, and when they die, their enlightened spirits are free to roam the heavens, as the stars in the night, freedom at last, dancing forever in the sight of Ngai, Kilimanjaro and Kirinyaga.
When you are older, and have seen the sacred crocodile, and have prepared your message to all humanity from Ngai, then, please remember Mulimo, and the story of The white mans gumboots, and the drummers of Africa, wherever you are, please tell all Ngais children of Mulimo's story.
He put the old gumboots in my hands and pointed to the doorway and I left, I felt like I was floating on air, and knew that the light of Kirinyaga Ngai was flowing through me, and with me, and I felt happier and freer that ever before.
That night as the drummers drummed away I stomped very quietly around my room in Mulimos giant gumboots, so my father would not hear me. My mind was filled with sights of Kalulu, running over the plains as the grass fire swept along behind him, and as he darted from side to side around the tussocks of grass my body moved from side to side with him, and I felt the quickening in my pulse as the power of the drums flowed through my soul.
Wherever I travelled in Africa in later years, I heard the drums drumming, and remembered Mulimo, but I saw very few gumboots stomping. The message through Mulimo it seems has been lost, and all men are preparing for war.
So now I am an old man, and I remember seeing the sacred crocodile as a vision in my mind years ago, when I was about forty years old. The crocodile had a beautiful star glistening in its eye, it was a six pointed star. The sacred crocodile spoke to me, and said, Think of the morning star every day, it is the star of Bethlehem, that shines brighter and brighter, and it is calling you, and all who listen to you, for you, are the dove of Ngai, the messenger of the one God of all races.
As time went by, Mungu/Ngai spoke directly to me, and gave me the message that I now give to all Gods children in the book of Ngai I have written, saying that we must forget the past, and only looking forwards to Ngai, through the star of hope, the bright morning star. The true light, the heavenly symbol of Gods wisdom because it stops the thoughts of Lui from overpowering our minds.
Because Lui likes to cause us pain, but first, he gives us a reason to do something nasty to others, then, telepathically he makes others do it to us, so the pain goes on and on, and we cannot wash away blood with blood, only with the water of forgiveness, thus comes the freedom of the spirit within. And I remember the help of the old Mulimo, who said;
Tell all of Africa not to forget the love of Kirinyaga, the possessor of all brilliance, and not to forget the fire under Kilimanjaro, the possessor of all power, and tell all children, even in the white mans classrooms, of the story of the gumboots and the drummers of Africa.
So children, that is the story of the gumboot, it is about how to control the power of negative emotions you feel within. And the star prayer I now give you, is what helps you to keep your mind free of dark thoughts that erupt within your minds from Lui the serpent, hidden deep in the belly of the earth, for he reaches up through the vibration of the bad feelings in you.
To keep out
bad thoughts, this is what you need to say
For those of
you who remember Gods other messenger called Jesus,
That is the story I bring you today, and send now back to Africa, you can help Mungu by telling others about the drummers of Africa, and about the gumboot dance and the star prayer. It is a very powerful true story. For what you do to others, will be done to you. That is the only law of Mungu.
You are all Gods most beloved children, God would have it that one day, your spirits can roam the universe, free as warriors of truth and love. For when you are freed within of the bad feelings, you will only feel the power of joy and happiness that flows from Kirinyaga , the possessor of all brilliance, and all your days will be happy.
Tomorrow, is a fresh page in your personal book of life. You can walk the road as a hippo, or a hare, abusing others, and wonder when, and from where, will come the wrath of God, from below Kilimanjaro, or you can turn your face towards Kirinyaga, by keeping your minds clearer of devious thoughts from Lui, and be happy.
Remember to pass on this message to all, tell your friends, so you can dance together the gumboot stompie dance, with the Drummers of Africa, and every day as you awaken, and you speak to Mungu the words given by me above, about the star of hope, the light of Kirinyaga will shine through you, and you will be happier on your daily journey as you are sustained by the light, love and wisdom of Kirinyaga the Holy Spirit.
This is the voice of Mungu