Ndaba Sibanda`s work has been featured in several publications including The Piker Press, Bricolage, The Dying Goose, Whispering Prairie Press, Saraba Jim, Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine ,The Metric, Unlikely Stories and Silver Birch Press.
At Long Last
People were singing and running about on the streets.
They were celebrating their victory over an obstinate tick.
Who could have imagined such a greedy and sticky
tick could be kicked off the privates of their cows and sheep?
They were sending a clear message to all the bugs and ticks
on the African continent that it was time to shape up or ship out.
It is not easy to see why—you know horse-flies and the like are bad.
These are a nightmare for humans because they make life outdoors rough.
They have a bad feeding habit of transferring blood-borne diseases
from one animal to another—besides of course, torturing their victims.
Africa has wonderful grazing pastures but our beasts are starving and weak.
These modern bugs—with their families and fans and friends-are draining our cows.
Our beasts are hemorrhaged to death every day by these unkind and bloody suckers.
One thing that drives people crazy is that the bugs do not accept blame for their mess.
Our patriotic pest controllers have always said horse-flies are a menace because
they tend to reduce growth rates in cattle and lower the milk output of cows in Africa.
“They are colonisers too. Don`t be fooled. We conquered some bunch of bugs from afar
a long time ago, and we celebrated—little did we know that we have local bloodsuckers.”
The insect specialists added, “These bugs lie and put all the blame on unseen, distant suckers.
Like cutting blades and thieves, they lap up the blood that flows from the wounds of our cows”.
A Clumsy Flimsy Flip-flop
That obstinate tick, that ectoparasite has made a u-turn,
it says the backsides of mammals are too sweet to let go of.
It claims it has the inalienable right to the tender parts of birds,
to feed on the blood of helpless reptiles and amphibians—forever.
Is there justice in this world, on this beautiful African continent--
when ticks do as they wish even if they were fairly rejected?
Before the tick’s shameless u-turn, of course some people danced
too early, they forgot they were dealing with a heartless mite.
They sang too loudly songs of justice like a careless hunter
who frightens away the very animal he wants to catch.
It was as if they were confiding a secret to an unworthy person--
is that not as good as carrying grain in a bag with a hole?
Where were the advisers? There is a Gambian proverb that says:
a fly that has no one to advise it, follows the corpse into the grave.
Maybe they were celebrating with the idea that since the tick
had been rejected and had accepted that rejection, it was a new creature.
Why did they forget that timeless Gambian saying that says: no matter
how long a log may float in the water, it will never become a crocodile?
What will happen? How will they claim their blood back when a Gambian
proverb says: if a donkey kicks you and you kick back, you are both donkeys?