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DEJA VU

By Tanyaradzwa Makahamadze

One windy day in the morning when only the tweeting of birds was heard in the forests, people were gathered on a shrine for an important occasion. The sky was overcast and there was mist everywhere. Only the gods would understand the ending of such a day for the atmosphere of that day seemed to correspond with an awful ending. All that was taking place in the Oyo kingdom.

Joseph was a young man who lived in the Oyo kingdom, the village that also had a different culture in choosing its king. Unlike other kingdoms that believed in monarchy system, Oyo kingdom believed in dreams from their gods as to who should lead the state more than anything else that could exist. Each and every year there was to be an individual whom the gods of Oyo kingdom would entrust with the gift of dreams and Joseph was once entrusted with the gift. It came to a point in time when a new king was supposed to be elected and as usual, according to their custom, Joseph was called before the chief priest and elders of Oyo kingdom to get himself engage into a deep sleep so as to bring knowledge and clarity of who will be becoming the next king from the gods.

All the procedures were taken respectively and the gifted Joseph got himself into the deep sleep. Some girls would sing and dance as it was believed that the gods would regard that as a pleasing offering from the Oyo dwellers. All the expected practices were performed up until there was nothing else to be done but the gifted Joseph remained in his deep sleep mysteriously as not expected. Such ceremonies would be performed early in the morning up until in the afternoon but on that day it was a different story to tell, for the gifted Joseph remained in ecstasy as well as leaving the chief priest the most
confused as everyone’s eyes were fixed on him for an explanation of what was taking place.

The chief priest had never taken a single action of his own mind on such occasions but on that day he risked his office by ordering other people to leave the ceremony scene except for the elders only. The whole night passed by and Joseph never responded to the expectations of his people. Once again the chief priest took another step of his own thinking and ordered the people of his kingdom to leave Joseph’s body in his mud round hut full of charms. The chief priest having done all that, still expected a miracle just like others did for he had tried all he could within his powers but it was all in vain.

Five days passed by and the chief priest fell sick and the whole community in that point in time didn’t feel confused but jeopardized rather. During the same awful days, great hunters who were talented in hunting were attacked by wild animals and infants died with severe diseases. As a day would pass by, the chief priest would correspondently become worse in feeling unwell.

It came to a point in time when the chief priest failed to utter any word and the dwellers of Oyo kingdom mourned severely in confusion to such an extent that mourning almost became their style of living. After fourteen days of experiencing hell on earth, the sick
chief priest wrote something on a piece of paper and gave it to one of the state elders so as to read it publicly before everyone…. ‘Joseph my grandson, go and look for
your uncle’s favourite game meat in the forest and don’t forget we still have to prepare for next week’s inauguration of the new king.’ The gifted young man woke up stressed and in confusion of what the dream had meant.