You know, we all have several reasons for living. Several reasons for standing up from our bed every morning. Or mat as my own situation was. I was born enslaved, a second class citizen in my own country but, I am probably one of the few who see it that way.
One hundred and fifty years ago, the Vitainians invaded our lands, it was a slaughter really. But the Korugians, my people fought back…at least. That was a lot more than the lands and tribes surrounding us could say for themselves. The Fananians, the Wamarians , Stadoonekis amongst others were all overwhelmed in one simple push. Suffices to say, that we were one of the few who took one look at the Vitainians and actually thought to fight back.
Really, you must be quite insane to look at a race that survived the harshest conditions, this planet had to met out, they didn’t only survive in lands of subzero cold, raging infernos of lava and giant tsunamis…yes giant tsunamis. They submerged and evolved beyond the environmental conditions they were born into. A typical Vitainian was taller than most Korugians, a typical Vitainian was at least as strong as twelve Korugians, none the Korugian weapons affected them. I mean, what do you do when a projectile travelling twice the speed of sound only puts a Vitainian in a bad mood, most of them had evolved beyond the gravitational pull of the planet and could create their own gravitational field enabling them to fly. And those were the nice ones, the upper echelon of Vitainia had developed natural abilities beyond the scope of mere physical extremities. But, these were mere whispers of the defeated dogs.
But, my people, my feeble people fought back against these monsters. In a war that lasted seventy years, We pushed with all that we had, died in our millions and…we actually won a few victories. Our terrain was harsh and the juggle unfriendly. We made use of this and won one or two victories and killed seven Vitainians. No one knew how the old warriors did this and such talk was forbidden in Koruga. But, we knew it was the Korugian tribe of odos that achieved this feat. The Vitainians handled their loses badly, and were not gracious in victory. Eighty years ago, after their decisive victory in Galos, the city of water, they wiped out the tribe of Odos that fought back hardest against them.
In a mix of tales and history, I read that, the Odos city stood no chance. The Vitainians killed everything that moved in fear that the Odos would come back from the dead to kill more Vitainians. The rest of Koruga fell like a pack of cards after this. The remaining warring tribes fell to in fighting and betrayal as the mighty clan of Odos had fallen. The Vitainian would splinter our history after this. Lord Lackhirox of the Vitainian High Synod proposed to the collective council that our lands be saturated with teaching of Vitainia. Our history was scrapped and removed from our oral teaching. Formal schools were established that taught only Vitainian ideology and world view. Our indigenous traditions and religions were outlawed and branded evil while Vitainian scrolls of meditation and vitality were introduced.
Eighty years down the line to my generation, the Korugian way of life was all but gone, this was a generation of Korugian that knew little about their fore fathers or about the way of life that had guided their ancestors, nor were they bothered. These were the thoughts that woke me up that Tuesday morning. My name is Gboka, Son of Iriku and I had been dissatisfied with this world for as long as I can remember. The Vitainians were the elite everywhere you looked at, they ate fat of the land and they were born to rule the rest of us. Everyone saw this as normal, these were the truths of the world we lived in.
My friends and mates copied everything the Vitainians did, the closer you were in behavior and looks to a Vitainian, the better your chances of getting by every day. I was neither close in looks to a Vitainian or close in speech or behavior. The Vitainians were not totally unkind, they allowed us to live our lives within their rules and as long as you behaved as you were told, everything was fine. But, I wanted more…and with growing despair every day, I realized…I would not have it.
So, what is the itinerary of a sixteen-year-old Korugian with little to live for and too cowardly to kill himself. I roused myself from sleep musing about why my mother kept trying to push Xaxwek, the Vitainian god of absolution on me. The Vitainians considered Xaxwek the god of all and he was the Vitainian benefactor of kindness and the one who said to have given the Vitainians all their physiological abilities that separated them from mere Korugians like us. I hated the Xaxwek lore and it was taught to all Korugians from a very young age. When I think about it, I didn’t really blame my mother, after all, this was all she knew.
“Gboka!!!”I heard my mother’s voice from the living room. I knew this was a call for xaxwekian prayers and meditation to start our day. I always spent as long as I could to escape as much of the meditation as I could but no matter. I lazily jumped out of bed, walked into the bathroom and took care of my hygiene needs. I continued my morning ritual lazily to growing lull of my mother screaming my name with annoyance. I walked down the stairs as my mother raged “Gboka, why do you do this every morning??!”..I have told you that our lord Xaxwek sees all and will reward all according to the work of their hands”. I tuned her out as I allowed my mother to drone on. This was our daily morning dance, and I was accustomed to it.
After the meditations, I stepped out of the house with a slice of bread in my mouth as I walked lazily towards Zone 4, Koruga Adolescent Centre fondly called 4KAC by us scamps. Our principal was a Vitainian who flew in every morning. He was stern and he disciplined erring students without mercy. He disciplined students by waving his hands and creating blasts of air from the speed of the action. This blast would carry the subject several metres depositing them against the wall or scrapping them on the ground. He almost seemed bored as he did this. The principal, Xmith Savid was a slim muscular man with dull eyes who never looked at any of us, and if he did, it for split moments. It was almost as if to him, we were nothing but sub humans deserving nothing of his attention.
As I walked into the school, my friend Laisi Abexu said hello. Laz as I called him was an old man of indecipherable mien. I know him since my years in the Kindergarten centers to Preteen centers. He was just always around. Everyone knew him as a grumpy old man while going about his own business. As far as I knew, he had no house and he seemed to be always clean even though his clothes were worn.He always sat at the same place, everyday and greeted only me as every passed by him. We’d spoken a couple of times and he always ended it the same “ma pa iya e lekun”…”don’t make your mother cry”.
“hey old man laz”, and he grunted a young morning young one. I slipped past laz as I wonder why he was there at that same spot. But, there was speculation that laz was insane, so everyone left him alone. Classes slipped by fast and at break time I sat in the food court eating my packed lunch. I mused about some of the books my father had left behind in his Akoka (Library). My mum told me that my old man was learned man who lost his life protecting us during a routine purge of the Koruga. He was a librarian of Ifa Creed, Ifa being an old god of knowledge, medicine and divination of the Korugian people. Those gods that my generation call dead because now, the god of Vitanians was our god.
To be Continued.