11.07.2019 in Book Review

The Story of the Hero Makoma

Heroism is defined by the respected Makoma, who killed six giants and was promoted into a spirit to join other spirits in the sky.

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In Senna town, situated on the banks of the Zambezi River, a child was born. He was very different from other kids; he was extremely strong and tall, always seen carrying a big sack and an iron hammer in his hand. He also spoke like a grown-up, but he was always silent.

One day, Senna asked his mother to call all the headmen in the area so that he could challenge them through his heroism. He started, ‘O great men!’ he shouted as they all listened, ‘Is there any one of you who would attempt to leap into this pool and overcome every crocodile?’ This seemed impossible to all. He demonstrated heroism when he turned and sprang into the pool. his action of heroism made all the headmen hold their breath, for they all thought that the boy was bewitched and was throwing away his life. There was no way the crocodiles could just ignore such a feat!”. Then all of a sudden, the ground trembled, the pool swirling and heaving, turned red with blood, while the boy rose to the surface on the shore.

A hero appeared, not a boy now but a person who appeared stronger than any man. He was also very handsome and tall. His appearance just made everyone shout with gladness. `Now, O my people!’ he shouted affectionately, waving his hand. ‘You already know my name – I am Makoma, ‘the Greater’; for I have slain all the crocodiles in this pool where none of you would venture.’ This demonstrates his realization of his heroism.

This was followed by Makoma telling his mother to rest, for he was going to make a home for himself and become a hero. He put on his hat, took his iron hammer, threw the sack over his shoulder, and then went away. The hero crossed the Zambezi, and after many days of travel towards the west and north, he arrived at a very hilly country where he met a huge giant creating mountains.

The actions of the giant have, for many years, appeared to be those of heroism. Therefore, it was a hero meeting a heroic situation. The giant gave Makoma a roar and rushed towards him. Makoma did not say anything, but swinging his hammer, Nu-endo, he struck the huge giant upon the head.  Makoma struck the giant so hard that he shrank into quite a little man. This was really ironic, the most popular hero, a giant, surrendering to an upcoming hero. So Makoma picked up the huge giant and dropped him into the sack that he had carried on his back.

He was now greater than ever, for all the strength that had made the giant a hero for all those years had transferred to him. Makoma resumed his journey, carrying the new burden with ease, just as an eagle might carry a hare.

Before long, he went back to his country, having broken up big stones and immense clods of the earth. As he stared at one of the heaps, he spotted a giant that had been wrapped in dust and dragging out the earth and also hurling it in handfuls on either side.

Makoma had acquired combined force. The force that was in him before and the one that he had inherited from the other giant. He was therefore confident to face the giant. With a great shout, the giant seized a huge clod of the earth and threw it to Makoma. But the hero had already held his sack over his left arm, and the earth and stones fell harmlessly into it. Gripping his iron hammer tightly, he rushed and struck the giant to the ground. The giant groveled right before him, and started growing smaller and smaller; and after becoming a convenient size, Makoma picked him up and put him into the sack.

He traveled on with his journey that was even greater than before, as all river-makers’ supremacy had become his; and lastly, he came to a huge forest that was full of thorn and baobab trees. He was astonished at their size, for everyone at the scene was full grown and even larger than any trees that he had ever spotted in his life, and close by he saw a giant who had been planting the forest.

The giant was taller than all his brothers, but Makoma, the hero, was not afraid. He called out to him: `Who are you, the Big One?’ The giant, while plucking up a monster baobab by the roots, struck heavily at Makoma without hesitation. Unfortunately for the hero, but fortunate for Makoma, the baobab sprang aside. As the weapon was sinking deep into the soft earth, Makoma whirled his hammer around his head and made the giant fall with one blow.

Makoma, the hero, became stronger each and every day, though he said nothing. While drawing his finger-nail alongside the hair (which was as strong and thick as palm rope), he cut it, and then set the mountain-maker free. After three days, the same thing was reversed, only each time with a different member of the party; and on the following day, Makoma relaxed in camp as the others went to cut the poles. He said that he had to see for himself what sort of man this really was, who used to live in the river and whose mustache was long enough to extend beyond a man’s sight.

After the giants had gone Makoma tidied and swept the camp also he put some venison on fire to roast. At about midday, when the sun was directly overhead, a rumbling noise came from the river. When he looked up, he saw the shoulders and head of an enormous man emerging from it. And behold! Down the river-bed and also up the river-bed, until they became faded into the blue coldness, stretched his giant’s grey moustaches,

The day had arrived when Makoma the hero had met the true hero in his life. Nevertheless, he believed that he was still strong enough to face that giant. He continued and shouted to the giant, ‘You cannot bind me!’ while rushing towards him and striking him hard with his hammer. But the river giant was slimy enough that Makoma’s blow slid harmlessly off his chest. As he stumbled and tried to regain his balance, the giant grabbed one of his long hairs, swung it around him, and tripped him up.

For a period, Makoma was helpless, but when he remembered the power of the flame-spirit within him, he made a fiery breath, cutting himself free. As the river giant leaned forward to seize him, the hero threw his sack over the giant’s slippery head. While gripping his iron hammer, he struck him again; this time the blow landed on the giant’s dry back, and he suddenly fell dead.

The Makoma’s heroism was now enough. When he woke up in the morning, Mulimo the Greatest Spirit was standing by him. He said, “O Makoma! You are a hero so great that no man can stand against you. Therefore, you will leave this world and make your home with me in the clouds. And as he spoke, the hero became invisible and was seen no more on earth.

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