Many would silently approach us and inquire about their most private issues…
…then one evening, as the #Maasaicricket warriors arrived from the Godly thousand mountain of Zululand, the whole dozen of us including Enkamitoni Sokoyian, ( Enkamitoni is The Elephant Matriarch ) tired from a 12 hour shooting of #Thejourneyisthedestination, were dropped back to our Johannesburg hotel for the night. We were exhausted and hungry. We traced Nandos with the help our fantastic drivers Tk Thempere and big bro Abraham. I asked them that we are looking for a common man’s food place… We were in dire need to restock our tummies with spicy chicken or anything that can silence our “parasite” so we can keep walking… We had our backpacks under our Warrior Shukas, correctly decorated in our Maasai regalia, spears in our hands, and I with a dragon head walking stick decorated with a golden ring, purchased from Zululand a day before. My rasta was falling all over my face as I walked carefully in front of the warriors. The six of us walked in front, Sokoyian in the middle and the remaining six after her. Shops were closing in Johannesburg around nine as workers rushed to pick their shopping on their way home.
Unfortunately, there were no more takeaway chicken. We had to walk into the adjacent supermarket for roasted chicken or anything to take with us to the hotel as it was already nine in the evening.
…the noisy place suddenly went numb, shops around it had people curiously looking towards our direction and we felt awkward but also a little scared following the recent xenophobia resembling attacks in the area… but we knew that when the roots are such deep as we know they are in us, we only had to keep walking. As Maasai Warriors, we have been drilled to be perpetually courageous, even when fear is overboard as the Swahili saying goes, Jogoo la shamba hali wiki mjini – directly translated as, a Rooster from the village does not crow in the city. Furthermore, Kuku mgeni hali kosi kamba miguuni -A guest chicken never lacks a leash around their legs.
I confirmed to my warriors that we are indeed the last man standing given this kind of reaction from our fellow black people in our own continent.
…the chicken place all froze. It appeared as if it was waiting for our response. I felt I had to prepare my warriors for any eventuality. One customer, a tall dark skinned nice looking gentleman who just like everyone in there, froze by the meat counter while making his order as we approached the same counter.
“Why are you all black people staring at us as if we are blond tourists or unknown decorated giants walking?” For me, I did not understand why black people stared at black people. I also got confused by this strange reaction as I know that South Africans have been living side by side with white people for many generations and practising their national cultural identity the reason we refer the country as a rainbow nation.
I had to ask.
I knew our indigenous look may have intimidated our fellow Africans but I did not want to chance.
“Why do you respond to our visit as if we are different from you? You make us feel like we are blond white tourist visiting an isolated indigenous village”
I posed my queries to the now visibly scared customer as I stand with my warriors and mom in front of him…
“Who are you where do you come from?” he asked… “We are #Maasaicricket warriors from Kenya and we also are from the Maasai indigenous people.”
” I know Maasai.” The now a little relaxed gentleman responded and streamed his both hands with respect to greet me and admitted his fear.
“You know in this country, there are healers who reside in the mountains. They are known as bone throwers! … and people believe that they usually come down to restock their bone stocks once in awhile and they prefer chicken bones.” the now laughing gentleman informs.
…”We are not Healers from the mountains neither are we here to restock our bone stocks…” I affirmed.
Honestly, I was not sure how true my statement was but I had to send a signal and defreeze the instantly frozen customers in the supermarket. How else would I have reacted to our fellow black men and women, who upon seeing us, visibly became shaken, went silent and stared at us as we walked disciplined, 12 of us with the Enkamitoni not leading, but tucked in the middle. We have nothing against the Healers as I think we the Maasai can relate to the Healers, as much as the indigenous nations of South Africa does, but we may have been too many of us in one single appearance. The shoppers may have thought there was a Healers’ invasion the news houses and bloggers were yet to report. But then, I could not understand that so many South Africans did not know about the Maasai indigenous people. Or were we just so exotic to the customers in that Johannesburg supermarket? Or did we just experience a reflection of how the Western civilization has made the African civilisation inferior? Or is it a matter of identity crises illness here? We may after all need more bone throwers from the mountains.
…/Saidimu Ole Ngais