Brinda yawns as she wakes up to the same words that have always been on the walls of their hut.”survival for the fittest” . she is twelve now and having been born in Western Equatoria was something worth pride in plenty.The suburbs she had been raised on were peaceful enough for everyone’s liking.She gazes at the mud falling from one of the walls of their strongly built hut as she drags herself out of bed in a bid to check on her mother and younger brother who are sound asleep at the moment.She hardly makes the third step when ferocious screams pervade the air..She is in shock ,and so are the vicinities of western equitoria! Yes from the neighbouring ridge,people are screaming helplessly.Either curiosity or concern outdo her and she rushes out to get a clear view of what’s happening outside .Danger lurks in darkness so they say but this one lurked in her day; two rebels emerge from a nearby bush,captures her holding her body so tight she could hardly breath,it caught her by surprise! Her day had darkened in fractions of minutes.“mamaaa!! Nhiaaaal!!” She shouts in an attempt to reach her mother and brother but phew! One of the army rebels shatter her efforts almost immediately ,covers her mouth with a dusty piece of cloth.She gives in.Does she have a choice? It being the first time violence flares in western equitoria,a region well known for its relative calm,Brinda is totally inexperienced in these things..yes she wishes to resist but doesn’t know how to! So she swallows a bitter saliva,relents and follows her abductors like a lamb being led to a slaughter house.She could be headed for slaughter..who knows?
“Wake up mama, wake up Nhiaal” Brinda shouts,this time inside her brain.A voice so zealous but only heard by her.Her mouth covered, arms tied behind her back .She is a prisoner,of fate. That she knows ,but does fate really imprison ? Does it ever set free? She wonders… “Brinda,Brindaa, My child,where are they taking you? ” a voice loud enough to stop her from wandering any further in her thoughts is heard.She turns only to see her mother running towards them ,behind her is Nhial,only three years of age,trying to keep up with his mother’s pace .For the first time in life, Brinda desdains a mother’s love! Yes she despises it.were it not for this motherly love her mother wouldn’t be blindly walking on fire!, towards a fire capable of consuming! She shakes her head to disagree,trying to stop her mother from drawing any closer but in vain..If she came any closer;she’d lose her! There was no doubt.Sooner than later,the army rebels would hear her shout,then spot her..and that would end it all.She quivers at the thought.Her mother and brother meant the world to her,she can’t lose them now.
“Hail Mary full of grace our Lord is with you…………pray for us sinners,now and at the hour of death, Amen “she whispers a quick prayer ,just like charplain Bonny had taught,but that doesn’t stop what happens next .A group of army rebels emerge from the other side of the forest ,pulls her mother by her hair,gets her on her knees .She let’s out a shrill cry that digs deep into Brinda’s spine.She fears for her dear mother .This attack happening now could be as a result of state sponsored violence.A repeat of the cycle her grandmother had told her about before passing on few years ago.Indeed it was! Sources had it that there were political feuds between president Salva kiir,a Dinka and vice president Riek Machar ,a Nuer.Brutal feuds marked by ethnic targeting! Ethnic clans were being pitted against each other like it had been in South Sudan’s long lasting civil war in the 90s.The wounds of war her own granny didn’t manage to heal before her death were to be inflicted on her ,any time from then! She imagines people succumbing to knives , machetes and shakes violently. This fear is beyond her,outweighing her with ease.A repeat of the same story is a profanity she wishes God forbids!
A rifle is held right in front of her eyes targeting her mother who is now defenseless, oozing blood, a bunch of her hair on the ground .These creatures are determined to have her life,on a silver platter ,and when the rifle goes off,she knows they’ve got it,her innocent mother’s life,on a platter! Like it had been in John the baptists time.How awful!
“Noooooo! No! “ Brinda cries.When she meets her mother’s lifeless eyes,her strength fails her and she falls on the ground. She knows her mother is headed to heaven now,and Abraham is probably there,by the gate,ushering her in.“but I wanted you on earth mama!come back!” She cries as she crawls towards Nhiel.He is seated right besides their mother’s lifeless body,literally wiping the blood on her face with his shirt.Poor him ! He is innocent, too young to pick up on what’s happening.
Brinda bends and let’s Nhiel climb on her back. It would be both of them all the way now..survival for the fittest indeed! Whether they are fit or not is only known to nature..The cruel pangs of fate already doing rounds in their day,with it,violence in it latest version.The devil is smiling ,his tooth s ugly!!She eyes her mother one last time,wishes that she shines on her way to heaven.One of the army rebels grab her.Its time to walk on.They walk past land that was once peaceful, now a flashpoint for fighting and attacks on civilians. A war driving civilians from islands to swampy islands in search of safety. By the time they arrive in canoes.They are hungry and traumatized. Attacked many times especially in places they had fled for safety.
A larger group of civilians have been captured along Brinda.They are being forced to walk for hours some carrying looted goods.luckily she is carrying her little brother.Her hands are free .She walks behind them all,figuring out time and again how she’d escape , eying with disgust the army rebel who shot dead her mother.“you will pay dear Dinka,i’ll make you pay ,I swear I’ll tear your throat into two,maybe dismember your stupid self!” She say to herself ..she is burning with vengeance,rage as well, she wants to get even ,though deep inside she knows that that the biggest culpability wholly lies on their politicians.“My dear mother just died for you Salva kiir ,,are you happy that am opharned now Riek Machar ? If I get out of this alive I’ll make you pay. Oh yes I will! I will drag you to these bushes and make you search for the remains of my mother at gun point.. And nothing will make me happier than watching you suffer the same fate,dying right there ,where my mother bid goodbye to the world ,like straydogs!!” She continued mumbling, quietly and without certainty..tears rolling down her face.She knows it can’t happen..She can’t outdo their potency..only heavens can avenge the death of her mother.Are you there Moses?? Otherwise, Riek Machar and Salva Kiir will be in their palaces ,heavily gurded as usual. She’d be damned to think reaching them and maybe making them pay is a possibility!
Brinda hopes that one day such leaders will realise that whenever they instigate tribal violence ,civilians are in the middle,and they suffer for them that don’t care one bit ..In her imagination, she could see the political elites,seated on luxurious houses swinging on expensive chairs ,galloping warm coffee while she,a simple native survived on wild berries ,shivered from cold…
“it has always been POWER and MONEY!,a meal nutritiously prepared for our political elites ,then a bunch of victimised civilians !trampled on time and again..weary. Hungry for peace.The only antidote for our poisoned Africa “..
Preach peace ,its a Messiah too..
And we need peace more,politics either seconds or come last!
Brinda,Nhiel and I says “Peace”
Article by Wachira Florence
For my Papa ,Te Quiero!