In Uswaz, we are superstitious people

Sunday September 16 2018


By Peter Muthamia

It is yet another mating season for Uswaz cats – at least in our god-forsaken Uswaz. Eerie sounds as cats happily mate away that has been wafting from roofs, ceilings and the Uswaz allies has been sending everyone to the brink of death with fear of the unknown. Rats, out of fear are no longer inclined to sing their national anthems. Mating cats need more energy and therefore, the rats have taken to hiding in the nooks and crannies of the Uswaz tenements. These sounds are not ordinary mews wear are accustomed – they are death knells in Uswaz.

As with my neighbours, it is even worse for in the mango tree just behind our tenements an owl has incessantly been hooting away and making all sorts of the spookiest and doleful sounds any Uswahilinite has ever heard for three months running. You know from African mythology what owls stand for; don’t you? It spells doom – a bad omen.

It is as if the end of the world is eminent. It seems that the age-old belief of our remote past is not extinct. I remember recently in daladala how my one-and-only Bisho Ntongo cringed when a standing mother requested Bisho to hold her baby. Bisho declined. Why? Because the baby resembled a miniature witchdoctor with charms, weird trinkets, armlets and waist beads that conjured up a scene in a Nigerian movie. She later confessed to me that she dared not touch the child adorned with all sorts dedications to the devil lest she defiles herself (Bisho is a ‘born again’ Christian).

Even a hardened idiot like me is beginning to be on vanguard. I never minded when rats sung their carols and national anthems but the noise that is coming from without is forcing me to be the next candidate for Mirembe madhouse. The incidence that took the biscuit was the Uswahilinites purporting to have seen a msukule (a zombie) of a man Ally Masharubu who had recently died. Had the police not swung into action on time, Amina would have been lynched for it (she was accused of turning Ally inot a msukule. Masses of people stood in front of door baying for her blood, claiming that she had bewitched Ally even though I know he died of the big disease with a little name.

As result, I have been desisting from taking shortcuts through the Uswaz graveyards especially after dusk. Talking of taking shortcuts through the Uswaz graveyard, do not imagine that I go to make incantations to the dead. Nay! I prefer that route because so many Uswahilinites are baying for my blood over unpaid debts.