17-01-2014 by Freddie del Curatolo
"If they come, I'm ready, I'll face them bare chest."
This is what Mzee Katana Kalulu, the last of the Gohu, the great wise men of the Mijikenda ethnic group, told me a few weeks ago.
They are those who come across any "mzungu" in and around Malindi, the butlers, the service women, the workers, the waiters, the shop assistants, the children and the old people who smile and greet us on the streets and in the villages. An ethnic group that has always been present here, whose history is narrated mainly orally, and appears in the chronicles of Chinese, Arab and Portuguese travellers.
Mzee Katana Kalulu told me stories and legends, and kept alive with her warnings, prayers and narratives, a tradition that is disappearing. 92 years old, he was a driver for the English during the Second World War, then a protagonist of Independence on the coast.
Undisputed Santone and bearer of messages of peace.
Yesterday Katana Kalulu was killed with a gunshot. Executed, as an ordinary man, as one of the many elders who in recent years have been killed with the excuse of witchcraft, in this new inquisition that burns the history of the fathers and the very origins of those who think only of money. Other than witchcraft, one kills for interest, for property, the land that the old possesses.
It is the new religion, the vile dirty money that has already completed its cycle of damage in the Western world and that is conquering as a slow and inexorable metastasis this Continent still too virgin not to be affected.
Farewell to the hopes of seeing a people proud of its traditions, its simplicity and rituals and habits that will make our civilization smile, but that have never had in their vocabulary words like violence, abuse and evil.
With Mzee Katana Kalulu the Mijikenda have killed themselves, and the hope that one day Africa can live a better future, looking back at the innocence of when it was a place poor, backward, fatalist, perhaps even wild and ignorant, but certainly more peaceful, human, free and livable than any other reality.
Farewell Mzee, rafiki yangu.
I weep for you and I weep for a world that is no longer mine.
Freddie del Curatolo
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