Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi W’Abasambu, that thing called money has the peculiar tendency of transforming good men into bad and bad men into good.
Just as it is the business of Money merchants in Metropolitan Forex Bureaus to convert the Peso into the Dirham, the Dirham into the Dollar, the Dollar into the Pound- Sterling and the Pound- Sterling into the Yen or Yuan, so too is it the business money to transform the deeds of men!
Money on men is like seasons on snakes or victory to commanders.When a snake becomes, it be-comes with a lovely, smooth and radiant skin- as if put together by the combined hands of six coronet artisans. At that point, the snake is more beautiful to look at than the setting sun at its most golden or the finest silks at their most silken.
But as the snake grows, its skin becomes more rugged and wrinkled with each passing day, more and more discouraging to steal a glance at than a dog severely assaulted by the calamitous pangs of old age. It too then bears all the known marks of old age.
But a time comes when the seasons also realize the wasting away of nature’s splendor and magnificence.A time when they realize they must heed to the far- cries of its clarion call. They then hurry to its urgent rescue and bring conditions favorable for its eventual renewal through the process sloughing-the shedding of its old skin.The snake then radiates anew!
Also, when a commander outwits and discomfits the enemy in all the formations that he comes and registers a most killing victory, he radically transforms from being humble, gracious, warm and obedient- as he was known to be on the eve of that feted battle, to being proud, manful and boastful.
The delights and rewards glory- the garlands, the sacred drinks, the drinking horns, the mementoes and the sparkling bead- necklaces-, he wins from his king and superiors in rank make matters even worse. Thus the more victories he brings home, the more honoured is his name and feasts he secures for himself with the lofty in birth and the high in rank.
Such is the intoxicating effect of victory, like money, on men, that when delivered in its full dozens, they tend to slough and transform like the snake of the seasons!
Abwooli, Kajango was the man that lived by the banks of the great Mwitanzige long before you were born. He was a Musaigi by clan and a proud descendant his great- grandfather, the illustrious Batahuule’ebibabagambiire Rwa Makune.
Batahuule, as the locals intimately knew him, was the first man ever in his kingdom to win the favour of his king and wear the valued coronet solely on the account of a musical accomplishment!
It were the imperial maneuverings and lordly manipulations of his agile dancing legs at that ceremony welcoming the harvest season- the season of Nyabagaba, Goddess of plenty-that caught the sharp eye of the kings scout Magambo out on a mission to bring to his master the kingdom’s finest dancer.
The dancer was to then perform at the important ceremony where the stubbornly beautiful Princess Kabacungwa was to be betrothed to Rugamban’engo, the fearsome son of Chief Muza’huranganda Rwa Mugenyi. Rugamban’engo was the ruthless commander of Ekiporopyo Regiment that had just conquered the lands west of the great Mwitanzige.
The occasion attracted the presence of Princes and Kings, Princesses and Queens from the all the nine neighboring kingdoms! Trusting as he was of both Magambo’s sharp scoutly eye and Batahuule’s swift dancing feet, it was towards the end of the ceremony that the king beckoned Batahuule to do as he was reported to do most.
Batahuule yet again never disappointed. The subtle and colorful movements of his carefully balanced steps coupled with the unique format of his large body movements perfectly executed in tempered tempos only served but to solicit an unprecedented ecstatic seizure from the expensively robed and head- geared important guests that graced this important occasion hosted by an important king for an importantly favourite daughter!
And who delights a king and knows anguish? Batahuule was rewarded with the most sought- after ancient honour hitherto exclusively reserved for the brave and esteemed in battle!
Such was the proud and famous ancestry from which Kajango claimed descent.
But life often throws up some fearsome ironies and ghastly paradoxes whose happenings and ceasings men have not the slightest control. Thus, too, Batahuule’s fortune and fame; power and influence; honour and dignity were not to fall, like inheritance, on the shoulders of Kajango, his grandchild, as had on the shoulders of his son Nyendwoha, Kajango’s father.
Kajango’s father –Nyendwoha, was somewhat an influential man in his entire village. Being as he was the heir of the skilled and famous dancer Batahuule, he had inherited his father’s name, land, plantations, cattle, concubines and, most important of all, the royal connections to King Nyabongo’s household that his father’s dancing accomplishments had helped establish.
Since that ceremony of the giveaway of Princess Kabacungwa to Rugamban’engo, fearsome commander- son of Chief Muza’huranganda Rwa Mugenyi, the two families, of Omukama Nyabongo and of Batahuule, had established between themselves a bond so strong that Batahuule’s twelve children, of which the most prominent was Nyendwoha, in fact went as far as sharing the beautifully cut and curved milk- gourds with the younger of Omukama Nyabongo’s children.
One of them was Princess Komwiswa. Nyendwoha Rwa Batahuule and Princess Komwiswa had grown up playing together, along with the other children of both families, at the King’s spacious palace at Musaijamukuru and seldom at Batahuule’s humble enclosure just by the stream of Rwebikoohi that was known to light bright during the night.
The king had nine palaces, and in the nine palaces, each a consort. He thus was always on the move for both the execution of his stately duties and the satisfaction of his voyeur tendencies. So it became almost impossible to personally monitor the daily play and growth of his forty- nine children from the nine consorts- and beyond.
It was this precious absence that both Princess Komwiswa and Nyendwoha Rwa Batahuule exploited to fall madly in love.
Nyendwoha was a whole fifteen years older than Princess Komwiswa. Yet it seemed Princess Komwiswa never cared for a moment about this age deficit! All she cared and craved for was to make and dress her lover in that finest smelling traditional royal perfume that only the royal page Kanyange, whom old age had already claimed its own, knew how to carefully mix, even if it meant stealing her father’s few- left ancient sacred seeds that lay hidden somewhere in between the thatches and poles of his royal enclosure!
Nyendwoha had to carry on him the scent of their love wheresoever he went and wheresoever dined. After all, she would gladly give him as many children as he demanded of her womb. They would then walk and run the whole earth in the happy celebration of their love.
Of her lover, she particularly was most fond of those dimples that, as the poet had neatly observed, ‘were deep enough to mingle millet in’ and, too, the dexterity of his father’s spectacular dancing moves.
Kajango was thus but a fulfillment of Princess Komwiswa’s loving pledge to her lover Nyendwoha.