Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bukago Lost and Found


Many generations ago, at the top of Mount Elgon lived the father of mankind, Muchwezi. This father of old had 3 sons – Kintu, Zungu, and Kago. Each was a strong boy with a stubborn streak. They would carry stones and sticks as Muchwezi built his home, but throughout the day Muchwezi would need to take a stick and beat each boy into obedience. They were the type of sons who would try a father’s patience, but also whom a father knew would each rise to lead a nation. All of the boys were fascinated by the streams of Mount Elgon. Where did the water run? Each knew his future would be discovered by following the streams of Mount Elgon.

Kintu was a gatherer of people. He slowly pondered and only acted when he had seen all the possibilities. He was fascinated by stories, traditions, and rituals. He loved the soil and would spend his days digging in the banana plantation. He journeyed down Mount Elgon and followed her streams to the nearest lake. There in the lower elevations between the world’s great lakes among fertile soils, Kintu built his nation. He loved many women and produced many children. His children became the Bakintu, their nation the Kikintu, and their land, Bukintu.

Zungu was an active child. In fact, some thought he was actually a mad man. He ran in circles. He seemed confused in his constant activity. Some thought he was lost while he thought he was discovering. Occasionally in Zungu’s activity he would discover a new tool. However, he left a trail of broken people and hopes in his mad activity. Zungu followed the streams to their source, and then to the oceans, and then disappeared for generations. While gone he also became a nation. His people were the Bazungu. They spoke Kizungu. Their land was called Buzungu.

However, those of Bakintu who traveled to the land of Buzungu found the Bazungu never seemed to be at peace with their land. They hungered for more while neglecting what they had. A few Bazungu returned to Bakintu. Some came as traders, some came as diplomats, and some came as tellers of fables.

One of these Bazungu story tellers took the Bakintu name Agaba. He was tall and strong with the capacity to suffer and endure. He felt most at home in paradox. He loved the open plains of Bukintu, but in the boredom of the Bazungu dwelt among the large Bakintu villages. He had many friends who represented all the diversity of both the Bakintu and the Bazungu. He had a daughter named Namulindwa. She was true to her name and born after a much awaited and difficult labor. Upon her arrival the world was blessed. Since she was born and raised in Bukintu she shared a Kikintu heart held within her Kizungu skin. Namulindwa was wise with the wisdom of both the Bazungu and Bakintu. She hungered for knowledge from both the story telling of the Bzee and the modern schools.

Kago was the lost son. He hungered for the water as did Kintu and Zungu. He was a gatherer of people and digger of the soil as Kintu. He was also an artist. As with all artists his ways are difficult to understand for those who must understand through reason. Zungu had a method to his madness. Kago only seemed to have madness. He made trails on Mount Elgon that wrapped in circles. Even Zungu would become lost on Kago’s trails. Kago was a builder. In fact, he built and built and built until Mount Elgon no longer had stones or sticks for his building. At this moment Kago’s hunger needed more. He followed the streams. Then he disappeared. No one knew where Kago had gone. What was most remembered was his slight speech impediment. Before Kago left Mount Elgon, Muchwezi blessed him.

“Kago you shall become a great city. Many shall gather to you. You shall build huts that reach to the sky. You shall gather the produce of the land and sell it to far traders. Your strength shall be known by many people.

However, because of your ever growing appetite you shall be under an eternal curse to keep you humble. Though you will have many successes there shall be one game in which success will elude you. You will be the home of the Bakubi. Their prophet shall be Hari Kari. The Bakubi will sing and dance to the words of Hari Kari, but the Bakubi shall never rule over their foes.”

Kago argued with Muchwezi. As he argued his language became slurred. Muchwezi spoke again, “Your culture shall be Kikago, your people Bakago, your land Bukago.”

Kago responded back, “No, my culture shall be Chicago. And my people will forget their name
and origin.”

At Kago’s curse, Muchwezi pondered. Kago’s anger had created a speech impediment. How could a son forget his father and home? How could Muchwezi answer? Muchwezi spoke one final word, “Kago you shall forget your home, but never lose your hunger for knowledge. Great schools will arise among your land. Even with those great schools your language will become cluttered. You will forget how to speak. However, in a distant day you shall be found. You may call yourself what you choose, but to your relatives you will always be Mukago, your people Bakago, your culture Kikago, and your city Bukago.”

Kago left Muchwezi’s home on Mount Elgon. He followed the streams. He found a new land. He forgot. But the children of Zungu and Kintu always hoped to again see Kago.

Generations later Agaba and Namulindwa went on a journey. The season had come for Namulindwa to study away from the Agaba’s home. Agaba trusted his daughter, but did not trust the far schools. Thus he would journey with Namulindwa until he was convinced her new home would be a safe one for Namulindwa’s gentle heart. Namulindwa heard tales of a school called Witoni. The rumor whisperers told stories of Witoni being home to many like Namulindwa who had a Bakintu heart contained within Bazungu skin.

Agaba and Namulindwa boarded an iron kite to fly to Witoni. All went well. Then as they landed they noticed a marker in the trail “Welcome to Chicago.” Had they found lost Kago?
Agaba and Namulindwa rode the trails of Chicago. They were always lost. The trails took turns that made no sense. Yes, this was the culture of Kikago. Finally, they found an iron horse that took straight paths. Maybe, a lost Muzungu had given Kago some wisdom in generations past to build a trail for iron horses?

Agaba and Namulindwa took an iron horse to be near Chicago’s lake. Upon the way they saw huts that reached the sky. Kago had found a place where his building dreams had enough sticks and stones.

At the place where Chicago village met the lake was a great palace of art. Namulindwa was fascinated. Agaba was weary, but this was the art of Kikago.

Finally, they found the records of old. Chicago was home to many strong athletes. Kago was strong and so were his sons. One game of Kago’s even had a strong Ankole bull rule over their opponents with a mythical hero named Mikali Jodani. Yet Muchwezi’s curse had fallen upon Kago. The Bakubi were in Chicago. They danced to the songs of Hari Kari, but they never ruled over their opponents.

Agaba and Namulindwa had found lost Kago. Kago called himself Chicago, but Agaba and Namulindwa knew the truth. He was a Mukago. His people were Bakago. His city was Bukago. His culture was Kikago.

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