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King of Kings’ Visit Leaves Abakwa Onion-eyed 

By Azore Opio

When Ndi got wind that the King of Kings, who lives in Europe eight months a year and visits once or twice, was coming to town, they little dreamed of what it would lead to. Nor did the old mothers and aged fathers, who had last seen their King of Kings twenty-two years ago. Or the bustling youngsters who had never set eyes on the King of Kings.

The King of Kings’ visit had been announced a year earlier, but nothing had been done in the direction of preparations. But for several weeks in the new year before the D-day, which remained a royal secret, there was a great hubbub in Abakwa, the town where the King of Kings was crowned. Shacks and what soon came to be conveniently called illegal structures were being dismantled. Potholes were being hurriedly filled. Walls facing the main streets were quickly being whitewashed, even just for the moment.

Ndi watched it all with eager eyes, but a throbbing heart. The times changed. First, so imperceptibly that the Ndis were taken aback. Then they changed right in front of them with bewildering reality. The times in Abakwa changed with force and rapidity. The days became overcast, the nights eerie.

Where there had been a smiling kinsman, friend or neighbour, were tough looking policemen swinging ebony truncheons and savage soldiers with the wild dog look on their faces toting machine guns. They came. Many of them. Gruff men with gruff voices and heavy hobnailed boots. One would say they weren’t breathing the same air as the man in Abakwa. They were so fiendish that fear grew in the people by leaps and bounds.

They patrolled every day and night and no one was allowed to move beyond seven. When caught, you bought your freedom with between FCFA 1000 and FCFA 10,000. That meant closing all doors and windows and cooking and eating silently and going to bed in sombre spirits. Because sleep had been killed. Each night yawned about Ndi and his kinsmen as the gruffy men snarling like bloodhounds roamed outside. Inside his cold room, Ndi was hungry. And angry.

Meanwhile, the King of Kings who had been over and over again gaining the world and stately rituals and the souls of men, had been losing his own soul. Progressively. All around him, octogenarians were answering to the inevitable call of nature. Bombs were exploding around him without harm. His chariot failed once, twice on royal trips, his generals mostly practically resurrected from dead were dying a generational death.

The organisers of the King of Kings’ visit did not lack the frivolousness of themselves and their efforts too seriously by trying to arrange the King of Kings’ visit with the utmost sense of absurdity. Theatrically speaking, it was absurdity deeply rooted in their distorted attitude toward cheap popularity which had sadly worn out. A theatre of cruelty was thus organised to depict the raw and abrasive aspects of the King of Kings’ powers. It was an asphyxiating atmosphere.
The visit turned into a cruel burden of repression, a high price the King of Kings’ zealots had to pay for their foolhardiness.

They decided that to immortalise the King of Kings’ feast and etch it on the template of modern history, the visit had to become a cauldron of violence and extreme action, whereby the subject had to be muted, rendered onion-eyed and stupefied before being attacked, then seduced and finally immolated to entertain the King of Kings. It was no surprise that the project collapsed into contempt for the visit and incomparable hatred for the King of Kings.