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Of wonders in the hood

TORN APART with BOYD PHIRI
WE’RE now used to hearing people claiming to have seen ilomba, magically crafted snake by witches and wizards purportedly meant to terrorise some people in the hood.
In fact, the myth of ilomba still lurks in many down-trodden areas and it is as old as the communities themselves.
While one would argue that he or she has never seen an ilomba slither across open space, the majority of people in the hood believe that malombas (magical snakes) exist and continue causing daily misery and deaths to people.
Ironically, while all this talk about ilomba in the hood continues to make the rounds, no-one has come forward to testify that he or she has really seen it.
It’s like scores of people in the hood come out to go and have a look at an ilomba, which is not there.
Everyone you ask would tell you that he or she just heard it from someone who heard about it from someone who also heard it from someone.
To some women in the hood, such news would add to a catalogue of gossip they are already soaked in.
In fact, they would start gossiping about how one of the landlords killed his son using ilomba and deposited his body in a hammermill to boost his business.
By the time they disperse, one of them would have a lot of explaining to do to her husband for letting a pot of meat burn on fire.
In other words, malombas have become part of non-objective tourism in the hood where no natural objects are represented realistically.
Actually, on listening to Peter Kalumba Chishala’s song titled ‘Church elder’ resonating across the hood every day, I find that the entire community is steeped in superstition.
Take, for instance, the rumour that a certain pastor transformed into a huge snake while trying to perform a miracle.
Everyone was spooked by the news that a man of God failed to redeem himself after he had turned into a snake, apparently to prove his powers – or did he say God’s power?
Well, if the story was true, we might conclude that some men of God have joined witches and wizards in providing the hood with non-objective tourism.
What can the hood do without zoos and museums?
In the beginning it was someone turning water into petrol, then someone turning plain papers into money. What else can the hood ask for?
The obsession among some people of turning something into something is getting serious in the hood and I am told everyone wants to tap into the magic.
In fact, the incident of a pastor who is reported to have turned himself into a snake has encouraged many to try and turn themselves into something.
What if prostitutes turned themselves into condoms and failed to turn themselves back into human beings?
Tourists from all walks of life would be flocking to the hood to look at condoms not made from actual rubber – and the hood would earn foreign exchange to get rid of poverty.
Actually, the condoms would be a source of pride in the hood as opposed to shame.
What if thieves transformed themselves into handcuffs and failed to turn themselves back into human beings?
Obviously, the police in the hood would go on holiday – thanks to some ‘pastors’ who have introduced another category of tourism, miracle performances.
Of course, the officer-in-charge’s duties would be reduced to showing tourists the handcuffs made, not from steel, but people who were once thieves.
What if all drunkards turned themselves into malt and failed to transform themselves back into human beings?  One thing is for sure, they would not thirst for beer anymore.
A man who owns so many plots has been seeking a pastor to turn him into Aliko Dangote to end his hunt for cement.
How else can this former council employee who owns plots in every residential area in Lusaka fund his building business?
During critical tournaments such as the Africa Cup, some Chipolopolo fans pray hard so that our players turn into Lionel Messi, Neymar, Toure, Cristiano Ronaldo while coach George Lwandamina should convert into a Carlo Ancelotti or Jose Mourinho.
Such is desperation in these trying times. I think I am not smart enough to turn into something – can somebody help me transform into Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, and not into a writing pad.
bjboydphiri@yahoo.com

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