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post A Prayer for Bigwala

December 16th, 2011

Filed under: Literature Corner — Natty Mark Samuels @ 11:01

A Prayer for Bigwala

Dedicated to the remaining few

Kintu
Mukama
Emisambwa
Emisambwa.
We beg your assistance
In our endeavours.
To find the next players
Of your trumpets called bigwala.
Please intercede on our behalf
To the creator Kibumba.

Just a few of us left now
As we grow closer to the grave.
And one day we’ll be gone
To our rendezvous with ancestor.
When that time comes
Busoga will be sadder.
Who will play at the local festivities?
Who will perform for the Kyabazinga?

This instrument of long-necked gourd
From an ancient trumpet quintet.
Trumpets of the one-tone -
I play the one called Enhana.
I’ve played since early boyhood
Learning from my father.
Who played for the Gabula Kings
In the palace of Bugabula.

Soon we shall bid them farewell
But who will remember bigwala?
Only our ancestors
And the museum curator.
An ancient tradition
Gone forever.
Exiled to academia
From a place called Iganga.

People of beloved Busoga
Don’t silence your song.
That I’ve heard all my life
Between lakes Kyoga and Nyanza.
From a culture of centuries
The farmer -
The banana leaf thatcher.
Alongside the potter, the smith and the basket weaver.

Kintu
Mukama
Emisambwa
Emisambwa.
We beg your assistance
In our endeavours.
To find the next players
Of your trumpets called bigwala.
Please intercede on our behalf
To the creator Kibumba.

© Natty Mark Samuels, 2011.

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