By Kon Joseph Leek, Juba, South Sudan
December 20, 2016 (SSB) — It was two hours away from cock-crow. Just like everyone else, I had entered another day; I was only two hours old, it was already Saturday. Night breezes so cold, weather too cool, and calm also pleasurable. The moon standing at 6pm Sun’s position shining brightly with calmness and peace, it was there next to my window with its full view through the open, it was blissful seeing stars sparkling with their random dots like fire flies in the frogs and snakes’ swarmed swamps of Jonglei.
The distant trees’ hilouet were lurking closer to my house. It was great being awake at that time of the night. I thought of old Displaced Camps of Mangalatore, Bamurye, Lobone and Mangali if it were this month, the 12th moon of the year when it was bright and dry with clear barren sky, sectional youths would organize parties at their residences with hand-written posters to invite Others “……….Party, Party, Party tonight In Pande Mr. X. Organized By Pande-Changulooi Youths. From Evening To Morning. Come One, Come Two, Come Three, Come More. Come With Your Sister And Your Chair”. That was how the content of most posters could look. It wasn’t times for CDs memory cards but cassettes.
Those were the times when Congolese musics, the likes of Wenge Musica, Yondo Sister, Werason, Awilo Longomba, Kanda Bongo Man, Tabu Lei, Extra Musica, among others were the hits. They were followed by South African musicians especially the likes of Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Verenda Fasse, South African Top Chart musical van and Chiku.
The LIGHT used in the parties was the moonlight and some few hand-made lambs! They were parties of choice at a time, “……Pursa le banat” the MC would say for girls to go and pick whom to dance with. Only few would dress in expensive cloths of the time especially the Millennium T-shirts of varying colors with either elephant, giraffe, leopard, buffalo or crocodile drawn at the chest for girls, men could dress in Fubu jeans, Tokyo trousers, white kamocha shoes which could be smeared or polished with white shocks, and DH shoes, available jellies were mainly tip-top and binti El-Sudan!
If this track is played the girls would make different choices in the next round (track). everyone especially girls were not allowed to move out beyond their confine, they goes home only when their brothers were going – moving home alone was another story that could probably earn her some few slaps later in her face when the day break. ‘Where did you sleep?’ she would be asked with suspicion!
That was many years ago when I was a boy. Those were the moments which immediately came into my mind.
I couldn’t have woken up at that time of the night but had you taken coffee like I did especially when you are not used to it, you would be sorry; you’d be awake for 48 hours unlike me who could at least sleep and wake, sleep and wake!
Few minutes later, night crooks, those ones who run the town at night, the armed violent robbers (they call them unknown gunmen) disrupted my peace, one voice roared piercingly through the night in a distant and unexpectedly stopped like a maniac. For beer and other long necked-bottle liquors are damn expensive, I thought it was either makoyo or kasa-kasa doing its best on a poor soul – but I was wrong!
Before the sleep could blur my eyes was a gun short, “pam, pam, pam” …three bullets! A neighbor’s dog whose bark woke me at that weird time of the night suddenly shut up, and scrolled to its owner’s hut. Only big dogs, the unknown gunmen could singly bark!
As I was struggling to close the window the foot stepped and noise had already approached just close to my room but at the side where the window was not. The dividing-line between me and them was a bamboo fence, old and spaced enough for a person to squeeze himself through
They were teaching one unlucky soul a lesson for not having some money ‘…..hagot ya bilit, gum fok, hagot, nuum teit, yala dhuruf fi raasu, la! fi gelbu!’. The poor soul was crying for help from nowhere. The only one I presumed to have been awake at that time was me; ‘could I go and help him?’ I thought, but how? In my room was only a short hollow bamboo stick. Could it confront guns?
My eyes were fixed on an opaque wall like I would see through, poor soul. How could he be helped? I was afraid to the extent that I have failed to close window lest they hear another madman awake at their working times and randomly shoot to the direction of the sound!
I was like in their midst, minutes later, they left shooting. The poor soul was neither hut nor left behind.
Sleeping refused my eyes that night, I couldn’t sleep anymore, and the moon-light was abruptly made dim by the night hoodlums. I hated myself for taking coffee the evening before that made me too sensitive to anything around; I hated the dog whose barking woke me, If only could I get sleeping pills!
As I was bathing early in the morning, I received a phone call that my cousin, like many others was killed on the highway in Gumbo last evening at 4pm by unknown violent robbers because of 20,000SSp. None of his killers was apprehended
NB: Juba’s insecurity in the hands of these unknown stickmen, panger-men, stone, bodaboda riders and unknown gunmen is real. To live longer, we need to be very careful. Juba is not the Juba we knew, there are some unknown thugs running it
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