Asaziland Chronicles:The Stolen Loincloth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A satirical look at an African dictatorship, where heads will roll because His Benevolent Majesty has discovered the theft of his leopard skin loincloth.There is more to this tale than a simple theft, just as the loincloth is more than a mere part of the royal wardrobe.

Submitted: September 23, 2013

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Submitted: September 23, 2013

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The September heat had warmed away all memories of the winter, after a long day at work the men converged on the neighbourhood bottle store for some liquid refreshment of the alcoholic variety. It was said that beer-drinking was the national pastime in Asaziland; rumour had it that the country was ranked third in the world in terms of beer consumption. Some argued that the figures were wrong, particularly for a country that was so poor, that His Benevolent Majesty was forced jet off every four months in search of the elusive foreign direct investment. No, the men objected in unison, Asiziland could not be as bad as other countries.

“But of course we can be in terms of beer consumption!” Sipho spoke up for the first time, it was clear that these men were not thinking of the bigger picture.

“Look at it this way, Asaziland has fewer spirit cooler and cider drinkers than our neighbours. We consume less wine than other countries; poverty has nothing to do with us drinking beer. Let’s be honest guys, who will drink spirits in this heat, better yet are we ranked among the top three for the consumption of spirits? I sincerely doubt it!” There was a cheer of approval when Sipho finished speaking. He had made his point, loud and clear and nobody dared to differ with a man who had travelled extensively.

The conversation then swung to the headlines in the day’s newspapers, it was a favourite pastime in Asaziland and no matter which corner of the little country that one visited there was bound to be somebody who was well known even among the peasant farmers in the rural areas. It was not uncommon to pick up juicy titbits of gossip at local watering holes such as this, some of the gossip was anything but idle chatter, and there were a host of stories that would never be broadcast in the media.

“One thing that’s good is that we don’t have a government that is too sympathetic to these gay and lesbian organisations.” Benson commented dryly.

“Hey this homosexuality business is a mess up, why didn’t God make Adam and Steve instead of Adam and Eve?” Poena sneered.

“Its absolute confusion, if you ask me, busy putting entry signs on exit only areas...” Sipho roared with laughter.

“For sure! I mean you don’t put a sparkplug in your carburettor but hey, hey, hey these homo’s....” Another added, homosexuality existed in Asaziland though, though frowned upon.

It inevitably came to pass that somebody mentioned the latest scandal to rock the palace of His Benevolent Majesty, God’s Chosen Leader. There was big trouble at one of the palaces when it had come to the attention of the relevant authorities that the sovereigns’ ceremonial loincloth had been stolen. It was an unspeakably audacious act, akin to terrorism. Nobody could agree on what the motive behind the theft had been, opinions were divided with each man offering his own theory.

“You have to understand that such a loincloth is no ordinary leopard skin loincloth, this is the property of the main man. In our African culture it represents more than an item from his wardrobe, we’re talking about a symbol of his manhood as well as his position as ruler of the land. So in that regard it can be viewed as a direct attack on his manhood and authority, a sign of rebellion if you will.” Sipho explained to a younger patron who had grown up abroad and was clueless to the old ways of Asaziland.

“From that perspective one could assume that the thieves were acting on orders from a third party, somebody who wanted that loincloth and offered good money for it. That’s the only way I can see somebody employed at one of the palaces committing such an offence.” Benson normally steered clear of politics, as a Ghanaian in Asaziland, he preferred to limit the scope of his conversation to the kind of philosophy that beer encourages.

“One thing we’re ignoring is the fact that Asazi people are very superstitious, the motive of this theft must be linked to a man who believes that by taking the sovereigns’ loincloth, he will inherit the same powers as His Majesty.”

“Good point there Poena, maybe they believe that the one who dons that loincloth will have the same sexual prowess as our great Father Leader. Of course on a darker more sinister note, they could also be trying to use the loincloth for sorcery to harm our king.”

Far away from where the men were having their late afternoon conversation, there was visible discount in the royal harem. A week of freedom to go shopping had been called off as a result of the recent, unwelcome discovery and the wives of King Khulubase were taking out their anger on the servants.

“You bastards are lower than snake shit, you all deserved to be whipped!” One of the queens shrieked. They were segregated, there was no real friendship between them, each one wanted to give birth to the crown prince and as a result, everybody lived in fear of their rivals’ sorcerers. Behind closed doors, they secretly accused each other of being behind the theft.

“I wouldn’t put it past that dry old bitch, trying to get to be all hers; she forgets that culture dictates that we all get our turn. It’s not my fault if hers is once a year!” The speaker poured herself a large helping of Jack Daniels and topped up her glass with Coke. She peered over her shoulder at her friend who was already feeling the effects of the liquor.

“Let me tell you this in secrecy darling, there’s many of colleagues, if you can call them that, who, are fuming because this is when they get to be with their playmates. Though in our case there’s no time to play house, it’s just a game of “Doctor I’m sick, so please, pretty please put your thermometer right here”” She grabbed her crotch to crudely emphasise her point. Her friend cackled loudly, her house was the queens’ occasional love nest, but they were careful to cover their tracks. Friends like her were hard to come by and she was well rewarded for her undying loyalty.

“Ooh but even then girl, who would want that thing? I tell you, she’s the kind of woman who has no issue with arranged marriages!”

At the palace an irate King Khulubase drove his fist into the face of his whimpering victim, hours spent in the gym had given him Herculean upper body development and he was careful not to knock his victim out.

“I want to know who sent you, if you think my fists are bad, you obviously haven’t been visited by the Special Branch yet.” The man groaned, eyes flooded with tears, officially, there was no such thing as the Special Branch and for King Khulubase to mention them was confirmation that the horror stories about them were true.

“Mercy my king, spare worthless dogs like me my lord, I beg of you!”

“Then talk dog, or you’ll end up like the soldiers who get too cosy with wives and daughters. You know the type, they just get found dead, held their breath too long!” The king sneered at his victim.

“Who put you up to this, was it Campbell, that thieving bastard?” When he was furnished with the name, the king turned to the chief spin doctor, Perry Mnguni.

“Mnguni, your job is to make sure that the media get the version we want them to hear. Firstly, the thief confessed everything at the police station. Such was his guilt over robbing his noble and benevolent ruler that he handed himself over and led police to discover the treachery of Mobeni Nzima. Handle it Perry!”

The newspaper editors were briefed on what to print in the following day’s editions and none voiced any objections, each had relatively fresh memories of what happened to journalists who deluded themselves about who it was that they were serving. He reminded them of their duty to The Elders of the nation, diligence was never ignored and many had risen from being mere journalists to members of the privileged inner circle. Every man had a price in Asaziland, a few had sought to become martyrs on behalf of the proletariat and discovered to their horror that the peasant is an ungrateful creature akin to a dog that wags its tail for anybody holding out a juicy steak. How many of trade unionist had arrived at this very palace prepared to die for their ideals only to be reminded of the rulers benevolence as they feasted on tasty treats while awaiting their opportunity to voice their grievances. The Asazi peasant was a sucker for free food and favours such as jobs or bursaries for their children. The West assumed that they were dealing with primitive Africans, the likes of whom had presidents and violent civil wars over this cancer called democracy, they could learn a great deal from Asaziland on how to keep the masses under control with the invisible shackles of a super-efficient propaganda machine. Perry was grateful for that particular legacy of British rule. Had the British not successfully created and fuelled rumours that the humble pineapple adversely affected male fertility? Even in the present day, some of the same pro-democracy rabble rousers would not touch that fruit, a fact which many a plantation owner was grateful for, without such deterrents their yields would have been pilfered into oblivion.

Nzima was to be dealt with in a quiet fashion, one which would hit him where it hurt the most, in the pocket. As per custom, he would be fined a cow, given stern warnings and lambasted in the press by concerned members of the public, some of whom were agents of or none other than one Periwinkle T. Mnguni. In his folly, Nzima had forgotten that there was indeed truth behind rumours that a number of companies that he did business with were indeed owned by His Benevolent Majesty. The plug would be pulled on a number of projects that his company was involved in, one by one, until there was nothing left. These were tried and tested solutions to problems that involved men acting on the advice of unknown and presumably powerful sorcerers, he would repent and apologise to the Servant of the Almighty Ancestors and God while his financial situation would be hyped as a warning of the fate of those who attempted to challenge the power of the sorcerers that were on the rulers’ side.

“This is perfect!” King Khulubase remarked as he reviewed the tenders that were to be rewarded by a company formed by a loyal servant of the Crown.

“He must be informed immediately, in the most subtle fashion, of course. I would also like to see to it that the most diligent staff members that Nzima has are lured over to work for this new company, as soon as possible.”

Matthew Billings nodded in agreement, he held an obscure post in the royal entourage, in fact he was seldom seen the company of King Asati. The Englishman controlled a “think tank”, which included state funded hackers and oversaw the training of the Special Branch in the use of sophisticated technology to keep tabs on persons identified as subversive. He had a well of experience, dating back to the Cold War, when he and many of his countrymen had been sent to Africa, South America and Asia to provide friendly governments with the necessary skills of thwarting the efforts popular resistance. There were occasions in Asaziland and South Africa where the police were reported to have used methods that he or his colleagues had introduced to Africa, using one of many captured commies as an example. Of course there would be noises made by human rights groupings, but electrocution and suffocation techniques left no physical evidence. It certainly kept crime relatively low in Asaziland! He could barely remember violent crimes committed against white people in recent years and for that reason, he was extremely proud of his achievements thus far.

“Great King, I will see to it that the salary structures of all the individuals in question are brought to your attention by noon.” Billings bowed his head solemnly, an idea had occurred to him and he was certain that it was an idea that he would cash in on. The king rewarded those who proved helpful when crises such as the loincloth debacle arose.

“Let us not delay you any further Billings!”

“If His Benevolent Majesty permits, I have a suggestion...”

“You will find, Billings, that it is your best interests to inform us of this suggestion!” It was clear that His Benevolent Majesty had grown impatient.

“Great Warthog, I propose that we set up a contingency plan to assure that this loyal citizen will be firmly under your control. A set of countermeasures should be in place, so that, should he follow the example of this dog, Nzima, we will be able to crush him.” The king shifted in his seat, eager to hear more.

“I propose that we ensure that there are irregularities in the manner in which he is granted the tender; I am also of the opinion that even an honourable man such as he will be tempted to grease certain palms in order to benefit from deals worth millions of Asati Pounds.”

“The Great Warthog is confident that you are on the right track; keep up the good work Billings. The day is coming when you will be among the first to receive a knighthood in the Order of Sacred Log!”

“My king is too kind!” Billings bowed again; it was so easy to get one wanted in Africa if one knew how to please the inevitable British-backed despot. He was edging closer to the kind of reward he deserved, for decades of doing the dirty work is motherland had required of him in aid of her allies. Men like him deserved more than meagre pensions without official rewards for the hard work and sacrifices they had made, cleaning up communist scum and protecting Her Majesty’s interests in Africa and South America.

Weeks later, as the men gathered under the baobab tree to quench the thirst they had built up over the course of a hard day in their various workplaces, the Nzima question was raised once again. Poena scowled at the mention of the loincloth saga.

“It’s just another case of a man with money getting a slap on the wrists, there are guys in jail for stealing a chicken and this man wasn’t even arrested!”

“He had to pay three cattle as a fine, what the hell are three cows to that man!” Sipho spat the words in disgust.

“I guess the only people who know how this country is run are God and the ones in charge.” Another added there were many in agreement but the speaker was wise enough not to speak any further. It was never a wise thing to speak against the regime in Asaziland, there few examples of those who had perished in custody, which were a few too many. He kept his opinion to himself, they regime could blacklist him, ensuring that nobody could employ or worse yet; his would be another in a list of mysterious suicides in custody. A list that would surely grow, as more people grew dissatisfied with the ever-increasing extravagance of a royal harem that seemed the most likely to rival that of the Biblical King Solomon, in size alone, by the time that His Benevolent Majesty went on to join his ancestors.


© Copyright 2018 Sir Nolan. All rights reserved.

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