They Called him Mbakara the Light One



He didn't mind the name, afterall he was a white man, not just in complexion but his hair and eyelashes were the most dazzling shade of platinum, when the sun shone on him his very presence was dazzling and his whole being illuminated. The villagers called him "bringer of light" because his very presence cast a glow!
He had not come to live with them volunatrily, he had been curious about their ways yes but more interested and intrigued with the simple majesty of their land, he was a landscape photographer and travelled the world to exotic destinations capturing natures beauty, he had suffered from wanderlust for many years and had wondered where he would settle eventually, inevitably the decision had been taken from him when the villagers had captured him many years ago. They had accused him of trying to steal their souls with his camera, he had only made matters worse by attempting to demonstrate how the camera worked and had cursed himself for choosing to work alone. The story of his capture had become part of their folk lore, he laughed at the fact that now they couldn't get their pictures taken often enough and no longer worried about him "stealing their souls".

He had many opportunites to go home but he had no "home" as such, he had found affinity with the villagers simple ways and enjoyed being reverred by them, he was a big fish in a small pond. The British embassy had made many attempts to convince him to come home and had asked him severally to consider the consequences of living amongst "natives" for too long, he had made his point by visiting the embassy with only a loincloth tied around his waist and told the attending official, "alas, I fear I can no longer live in civilised society" with this they had let him be.

The loincloth had seemed a great way of coping with the heat but after an embarrasing incident at the market place he saved it for indoors, the market women had fallen about laughing when he lost his cloth, they had always wondered about the colour of his down below and they still laughed behind their hands whenever they saw him.

He didn't mind any of it and had asked the Paramount ruler Obong Nnsetip if he could join his age group when the next initiation came round, the Chief had laughed at him and told him to keep out of the sun. He was undeterred and went back to Chief, they had what the villagers call "a meeting of minds", he said he would do "big things" in the village and share all the secrets of "his people" he promised he would bring more of his light which would make the whole village shine. The Chief had agreed wholeheartedly, he understood the meaning of progress and told him to prepare himself for the next initiation ceremony, he was sitting in his hammock thinking about the prospect when he looked up to see her standing there. Ah, Etido, how are you today? she looked him dead in the eye and said in broken english, "I come to stay with you!" He wondered about the Genesis of such a statement?!

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