The Inferno of Madness (Sci Fi 2)

Ndaba Sibanda

Ndaba Sibanda

A flying visit to the villages makes one sick, cringe, reprove and realize the ugly scars of deforestation. Insensitive cutting and burning of trees is rampant. Who doesn’t know that living trees absorb and store carbon dioxide?  It looks like some mean people have resolved at all costs to take us back to the Dark Ages. 

When I visit urban centers I am greeted by fumes from cars. Fumes. Furious fumes. I sometimes fume too. Chocking and shocking. Transportation and deforestation are accomplices behind the climate change crisis, I squeal! When I tell people to wake up and arrest the effects of climate change, they say how dare me. How can I say they should not use planes, their countless and beautiful cars and reduce livestock farming and coal. Am I mad? , they scream and wonder. What kind of a normal farmer would say let us reduce the use of fertilizers and livestock farming? That`s utter insanity, they say.

Do people not see the damage that looks us in the face? Floods which sweep away people, buildings and trees.  Extreme heat. Oh, sometimes it`s hellish. Beasts are dying. Wildfires are causing mayhem and destruction. The weather patterns are being disobeyed and disturbed. The planet is not happy. It needs peace and protection. Then there is the political foolery in the country. Maybe aliens are laughing at us. My country is in a mess.  Rights are a rare commodity. Some say Rights are are the thighs of a tortoise. Courts. Captured. Unseen. Master Corruption rules and ruins.

I am sick to the bone about it all. The moment l meet other nationalities and we chit-chat about it, l feel lost, let down and naked. It weighs on my pride, personality and achievements. To be frank, this curse haunts me like a hound. Excruciating bruises are written all over me, all over my place and conscience. It is a shattered dream that haunts me day in and day out. It is so mind-boggling that it clouds the horizons of my imagination and determination.

By the way, the other day l sneaked out of my office while my immediate boss, who since morning had been either reading the foreign newspaper or phoning his friends overseas- was dozing off and frothing on the mouth. I was not sneaking out because l was on the verge of throwing up. The elders have a saying: the one (meaning the eagle) that soars about has a chance of catching (probably a chick). And so like a roving eagle, I bumped into my former neighbour who is affectionately if not notoriously referred to as Mr. Patriot Anarchy. He is now a salad or one of those who live in the low density suburbs .l am still a tshwalala (thick maize porridge eater living in a ‘township’) though there is absolutely no mealie meal to cook isitshwala (pap/maize meal) with .For the majority of the low density suburbans who have no constant supply of groceries from those in the Diaspora, even to talk of eating salads would tantamount to lying through the teeth. Hunger rules supreme whether one is a rustic dweller or a town fellow. The farmers they chased away from the land are in neigbouring countries and overseas.  Does it make sense to kick out productive farmers, and the next thing you are seen in those “unwanted” countries where these “unwanted” people are, and what are you doing there? And it turns out you are actually begging for money and mercy, of course? You chase away the farmers, and then sooner than later you follow them to import food from the very countries these agricultural people producing? Who is delusional and demented here? Who has the last laugh? Please, c`mon, get real!  These are precious people`s lives and destinies we are discussing here. Bread and butter issues. Get a life or get a boot. The people are calling for the scalps of all bigoted bunglers.

Back to Mr. Anarchy. Upon catching sight of me, he teased: “Hunger has a way of making people fat like pigs.” l reluctantly shook his rough and greasy hands and responded, “Pigs eat everything. The elders say nobody knows what made pigs fat. But here there is nothing to eat, even my bones are emasculated. There is no cruelty and witchcraft worse than this!” You know what he said upon being questioned why he was putting on a few kilos in the middle of a desert of basic food shortages? He smiled, revealing teeth which were not yellowish from relentless pulls of the cigarettes, but the foulness of his breath epitomised the patent effects of a long concluded divorce between his mouth and any form of toothpaste.

“I know you have slunk out of the office to join one of those endless stale bread queues! The police, as you know, respect no queue. Sometimes if you are lucky to get a loaf, you would have to be battle with a constipation problem or a running tummy.” I added rather cautiously,” The police in this country promote corruption and disorder. And you may be tempted to keep your mouth shut for fear of emitting stale aroma! I think robotic police officers will do a better job. Robots don’t beg for favors or bribes.” l saw him subconsciously or intentionally muffle his mouth with his right hand.

In response to my aforementioned question, words of finality he delivered with a renewed zest and zeal.” As long as queues keep on snaking and shortages persist, l prosper, for in confusion l surely prosper. I prosper under dubious and opaque circumstances, l thrive well under the shadow of darkness.   I used to have meetings with the sons and daughters of Mr Inflation, but now during the day or night l mingle and mix with Mr Inflation Senior. I mean Sir Hyper-inflation!”

That is Mr. Anarchy for you. The man who decided to lose his soul and senses in pursuit of a life of spreading lies and confusion in the name of keeping the ruining party’s leader and his shenanigans, doing what they know best-ruining first and mis-ruling for ever and ever amen. This is the same lousy praise singer l told in the face a few months ago to go hang on Mount Party Marionettes, and fall headlong with all the king’s acolytes ready to sing songs of heroic patriotism (instead of blatant partisanship)-after declaring his sexual lust for me. He actually whispered to me sensually, “Night is right for this. I will be your moon to give you a series of unforgettable moans”. I was not going be a sex object for him or any other man in this man-made hell. I told him to go to hell and burn in eternity.  My words stung him into silence. In fact, he looked like a hot-water doused cock! His colleagues preach powerful and sorrowful messages about the importance of fidelity in the face of the AIDS pandemic year in year out, yet most of them are busy buying concubines and mistresses with money meant for poor AIDS patients.

Not to mention that they have contributed significantly in a -couldn’t- care- less -attitude to the total collapse of the health system. There is a rapid deterioration of the health service delivery system, lack of adequate water supply, and lack of capacity to dispose of solid waste and repair sewage blockages in most areas. All these incapacities continue to contribute to the escalation and spread of many contagious diseases .The selfish leaders are not worried to death. Why? Because they are out of touch with the rest of the citizens. Because they can fly out of the kingdom at the slightest scream of their bulging stomachs, or when their imported groceries run out. They zip from galaxy to galaxy, time to time. Their universe is painted with lots and lots of sunshine and fun, yet they keep pushing ours toward a certain dystopia.

The dream. All shattered. The brave sons and daughters of the struggle paid the supreme price, deep in their hearts and heads were treasures of regaining dignity, land and their rights as citizens. Their songs were loud and clear, harping on freedom of association, press freedom and other tenets of democracy. The blood-thirsty emperor has made a mockery of Prince Franchise. This is a very sad state of affairs because all the sons and daughters of Mr. Scam and Mrs. Sham (or is it Shame?) take centre whenever ballot time comes. These sons and daughters team up with such dirty-minded people like Mr. Anarchy and run roughshod over Prince Franchise. I am bleeding in my heart as l report that Sir Democracy has gone AWOL. I heard him with my ears. I shall only return when there is sanity. Those were his words before he escaped. There is a humanitarian, political, social and economic catastrophe that should galvanize the decent souls to put their heads together and seek a lasting solution. But…l do not know. Economic meltdown is taking its toll. Political rape is suffocating and submerging all the voices of reason and dissent .It is a disgrace. I mean a calamity plus a bottomless pity. I am outraged. Were our gigantic dreams of freedom, navigation, and advances in science and technology just a piece of utopia?

Friend, this is an open secret. The emperor and Sir Democracy are like oil and water. You know what, Sir Democracy was on the minefield the very moment he declared no person had a right to foist hunger, penury and dehumanization on the poor in the name of promoting and protecting autocracy for eternity. Sir Democracy, being frank and open as his is-thoroughly rapped the emperor and the royal cronies for dining and wining without a care on the innocent blood of our fallen heroes and heroines. He also slammed His Majesty for brutalizing Prince Franchise and all the people who supported the prince. The bootlickers did not mince their words, they said he was treading where angels fear. Call to mind, those people have made it their duty to feel` pain` for him, and if it were possible, they would cough and cringe for him!

I look up to Sir Democracy. I doff my hat to Prince Franchise. Both epitomize our struggle for dignity, freedom and normalcy. I also salute Miss Equality. One dark night, the so-called Owls visited her. She was battered and insulted for exercising her constitutional right to express her views and opinions .Miss Equality , diminutive heroine was fast asleep, dreaming about time travel, teleportation, telepathy, mind control, telekinesis, space travel and exploration, mutants, aliens, extraterrestrial lifeforms, interplanetary warfare, parallel universes and fictional worlds    when one royal member attempted to rape her, and for all his troubles she kicked his testicles nice and fast, Will Smith style until he passed out!  Actually, the dazed culprit put his fingers between his legs, as if to prove whether the “kitchen utensils” were there or there was no more ball to be played!

Later, as assertive as ever,  she told people attending a residents meeting that only idiotic women went into paroxysms of jubilation and praise singing after being given a mere piece of meat before an election. Hunger stalks the land for the majority, but a certain dish of fish called propaganda does not run out. Hardly a day passes by without one watching those gigantic fish on TV. These vertebrate cold blooded animals with grills are portrayed by the overzealous bootlickers as real and nutritious.

Miss Equality was arrested for writing in the local paper that what people were actually hearing was nothing but verbal diarrhea. She was castigated for saying there is a lot of hand-clapping, handshaking, pontificating or posturing whilst the kingdom was going up in flames. I was moved by her words that day. “Brothers and sisters, speak out. Tell the world your story. Don’t wait for a Moses to descend from heaven. Tell yourself you are your own Moses. Did not our wise elders say: the Rock Rabbit has no tail because of his dependence on the generosity of others? Similarly, didn’t our seniors warn us about a thing that belongs to someone else? They did. They said a thing that belongs to someone else is the gravy of the hyena”. Upon meeting her in the food queues people ululated, chanting” Our Lady Moses. True! A plough that belongs to someone else cannot banked on for a good harvest.  If a tyre has a puncture, what do we do? You would say: mend the tyre. If a soccer coach is giving fans no joy but a series of failures and excuses, what do we do? Yes, we show the bungler the red card! The exit! ” Did I mention that Miss Equality escaped from the police station? Not before she smashed the handcuffs into smithereens! One police officer`s body shivered and  welled up with a great grandparent of terror and begged for her mercy.

Master Corruption would hear no word of it, though he is the official way of conducting business here. He called Miss Equality names, including poisonous witch, genetically superior smug subhuman, and uncultured, westernized street-girl. Master Corruption actually leapt in the air like a possessed , hit his chest five times and declared no Western-indoctrinated woman should talk as if she has what men have between their legs! Master Corruption was furious that Miss Equality had managed to free all the women who had been bundled into the back of a truck and detained in a prison whose toilets were flushed once per week …for two months, eating maize porridge once a day.

As a woman, I look at the innocent children whose future has been ruined and tears start to cascade down my cheeks. There has to be a better life. Is this a life, really? Do we deserve all these debasing experiences? It suits us well? What about the children whose future has been turned into doom and gloom? What sin have they committed? Their schools are nothing but some white elephant. There is no schooling to talk of unless if one can afford to pay a `private` tutor in foreign currency for extra lessons. The hospitals and clinics are devoid of any form of medication under the sun. No pill. No nothing.

Absolutely horrifying institutions. No longer life-saving centres. Not anymore. People just pray that they do not fall sick. How precarious a life this is. And cholera is always lurking. It is and was always coming…No wonder, for where are the chemicals to treat the water? Innocent people are dying like flies. Yet there is always money for rallies to demonise the opposition, the West and for flying overseas to pontificate about our `independence and successes` as a people! And the world listens… or does it?

Then there are the senseless killings and a wave of violence, fear, indoctrination, discrimination and intimidation? Who shall put out this inferno of madness? The players? Are they not putting their selfish and personal agenda ahead of the plight of the majority? My hope will not perish in the midst of this suffering, and the collapsing of the kingdom. Somebody else? No. l am a woman of strength, endurance and with a vision. Just as the fallen heroes and heroines had a dream, l also need to dream anew. It is real most of my countrymen are scattered all over the world. It is also real that there is no currency to talk about in this kingdom, something people call `burial` cheques (meaning the real money has been laid to rest in the cemetery of corruption or something). To make matters worse, banks time and again run out of those useless but numerous papers.

l personally shall not whimper, but do something about this decay, this conflagration ,this stench and this imprisonment. My home land has been turned into a kingdom of muddle, misery and madness, but l have a burning desire to transform it into a heaven of hope, prosperity and unity. This rebuilding and healing process starts with me. National radio and TV stations are powerful media houses. But these are rooted on one side of the coin. Is it possible that all the people who are interviewed there think alike? No, the question should be:what can or should l do? I will tell my story with vigour irrespective of all the indignities l have suffered. For the African proverb spells it out: until the lions get their own historian the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

I will work with people who love our county, our continent and our planet. I am glad that I see a number of villagers planting trees and reducing livestock farming. In urban centers, I see people getting involved in local and political advocacy around issues of climate change. They have started to make personal choices in such areas as diet, household energy use, long-and-short distance travel, consumption of goods and services   and family size.  Kids are showing greater interest in conservation and minimalism. There is a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. Miss Equality is our heroine. She says she will import advanced technology, knowledge and powers from other places and planets.  We know she is capable because she can travel to other spaces and at different paces with ease and charm. She flies and conquers for us. Our victorious heroine.

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