‘Brave man humiliated’

Life: What a journeyCHARLES CHISALA
I WAS in Kazembe village in Mwansabombwe district in Luapula Province on Friday when I witnessed a spectacle that reminded me of what

my instructors at Mindolo Mine Police Unit Training School and Kamfinsa Mobile Police Training School in Kites taught me.
They had told me that blind courage was foolish and dangerous.
A self-glorifying man learned this simple lesson the hard way.
By then the sparkling village was choking with people from all walks of life as the 2017 MUTOMBOKO traditional ceremony got under way near Senior Chief Mwata Kazembe’s Kapale Palace.
I had been struggling with internet for hours in end to file news stories to Lusaka.
There is no wireless internet connectivity and I had to depend on my bundles to access the service.
Every time I was about to send a story I would get disconnected and I had to start all over again.
I only managed to send a story after 11 attempts.
My patience was tested to the limit but I was determined to send the news.
And to toast the achievement I decided to take a stroll to the main road.
As I waded through a mass of human beings from the ‘MUTOMBOKO Ceremony’ poster I came across a bitter quarrel between a man I estimated to be in his early 50s and a group of youths, about seven of them.
The man appeared to have been drinking and was standing behind three to four women selling food stuffs on the roadside.
I didn’t know how the quarrel started but it was clear that the senior man was to blame.
Apparently his wife was among the roadside food vendors and he must have wanted to impress her and her friends.
“Do you know me, do you know me?” he was shouting at the boys.
One of them retorted that they were not interested in knowing him because he was just a simple villager.
This angered the man who threatened to beat up the boy.
“I can beat you if you are playing with me,” he warned. I am very bad.
I can show you how to fight.”
The boy was not intimidated.
“Who are you trying to scare, villager? I am not afraid of you,” he said.
That was too much for the hero.
“Stop right there!” he shouted as he advanced towards the group. “Let me teach you how to fight. I will only give you two because I don’t waste my punches on people like you.”
The boys stopped and the vocal one stepped closer to the man.
The man was still ranting.
“I am Shanghai Joe my friend” he said.
But the boy cut him short, “Look, we don’t want to fight with you old man. We as kopala people and we don’t want to mess up that wrinkled face of yours,” he said while menacingly wagging a finger in his face.
The boys’ courage temporarily humbled the boaster.
“Okay, okay guys. It’s over. I am sorry. Forgive me. I am going back,” he said politely.
As he walked away the boy gave him a parting shot, “I didn’t know that you are a coward after all.”
Some onlookers started laughing, and the man wouldn’t take it.
His ego had been bruised badly. How could all boys cow him into submission like that before his wife and other women as if he was not Shanghai Joe?
“I will show you that I am indeed Shanghai Joe,” he said.
The boy was as surprised.
“You have come back to provoke us? You really are longing for a beating,” he said.
But this enraged the man even more.
He lowered his head in a fighting crouch with clenched fists.
“Now let me show you,” the man snarled.
“Take that one, and this one,” he shouted as he threw two punches in succession.
But the boy parried and dodged them with contemptuous ease and hit the man on the left side of his head with a cracker.
He crashed to the dusty ground but quickly sprung to his feet as onlookers booed him.
His wife and at least two other women grabbed him and started pulling him away.
“Women, get out of harm’s way. Nor he has provoked a leopard,” he shouted.
“Are you not ashamed of fighting with little children?” his wife rebuked him.
I left him still trying to wiggle out.

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