The Koma people can be found north of the Adamawa plateau.
Dakki climbed the hills shakily, wheezing painfully with every breath. He could hear the drums above him, could smell the billows of smoke ascending into the chilly October night.
The Initiation had started without him.
Gasping for air, he paused at a treacherous clime and struck his tightening chest in renewed frustration.
‘Curse this sickness,’ his mind screamed.
His family considered him a disgrace. All of his peers had undertaken their rites of passage the year they turned 14, but his family, sure that he will bring them dishonor by failing the test, had put his off for the past three years. Even Ghi, his childhood love, no longer had faith in him. How could she?
A hushed silence fell upon the circle of elders as he approached them, coughing. They were the Kene-Mari, responsible for the customary circumcision of Koma boys. The young boys on their knees before them sniggered at the weakling who had dared to come to his own Initiation late.
Ignoring them all, Dakki blindly staggered to the centre. Bending down to scoop a calabash of the local brew that doubled as an anesthetic, he caught sight of the barely concealed fury in his father’s eyes. Whatever was left of his willpower faded. In one swift gesture, he yanked his waist sheath away, exposing pink flesh. His wheezing was getting louder, his lungs struggling to suck in air.
It was thus inevitable that when the cold metal of the Head Kene sliced through the shivering cap of his manhood, he blacked out.
Lurching forward, the last thing he heard were the blood curling screams of the onlookers as both men fell into the fire.
The boy was now a man. Posthumously.