Chapter 5: Celebrity Status, The Responsibility Impetus!
News of my heroic return spread through the whole village like bushfire. Suddenly everyone was now offering their daughters to me for marriage. The village Chief Rimbrok arranged for me and my father to pay him a visit. “This is going to transform our social status in the community,” my father said sheepishly. I was not excited by the chief’s invite. I wanted to continue living my life in the simple manner I was used to, away from the public limelight. Surely, whoever said celebrity status is a responsibility impetus was damn right. I was now about to cross to a different world!
The chiefs court was a neatly kept compound. The homestead had five houses. Two houses on each side of the compound with the main house directly opposite the entrance to the court. Outside the main house was a stool that was adorned with beads that intertwine on the fringe surface of the tough animal skin. The three legs were coloured differently; red, ochre yellow and black. On the floor accommodating the stool was a zebra skin that stretched from the outside wall of the hut to a few steps away towards the main gate. This made it quite a spectacle because it must have been a giant of a zebra. Generally, based on how his court was presented, Chief Rimbrok was living large.
On the day of our visit, everything else remained the same in the chief’s court apart from a few embellishments in the form of decorated gourds placed strategically against the walls of the huts. My dad Wepesi, was leading the way. Guests had already arrived so all focus was on us. Many had traveled from far and wide to have a glimpse of me Ngao ya Taifa, the toughest warrior this our ancestral land has ever produced. Immediately as we approached the entrance to the court, the crowd gathered outside started pushing and shoving to get a clearer view. Other invited guests and dignitaries were all seated inside the court. Chief Rimbrok’s handy man ushered us in, Wepesi leading the way and I following closely. We all bowed before the chief then proceeded towards our seats. “Thank you for gracing this occasion,” Chief Rimbrok welcomed us warmly then asked us to sit next to him. My dad because of age and seniority, sat immediately on his left with me on the extreme left. On the chief’s right was his wife, Atol and beautiful daughter Enaan. Our eyes connected with Enaan, I smiled and she smiled back then looked away shyly.
The function got underway. There was music and dancing. Food was plentiful, ten bulls had been slaughtered. The guests and dignitaries were served first to their satisfaction. Then what was left was given to the crowd who charged causing a stir! All the while, my dad and I were chatting to the chief. This made Wepesi very proud. You could tell by the different poses he took while speaking. The village elders were sitting a stone’s throw away from us, so their conversation was totally different from ours. The moment for the main agenda of the gathering came. Chief Rimbrok began with greetings. Then touched on security and the allies that we had made. He even stressed on the importance of our animals before concluding by introducing his guests – Wepesi and Ngao. We stood up amid cheers. Then the unexpected happened. The chief after calming down the crowd, made a special announcement. “I have officially this day appointed Ngao ya Taifa the commander of our army. He will also lead a special elite group tasked with protecting the chief at all times.” Chief Rimbrok looked at me smiling expecting me to smile back and be overly excited by the new title. I was kind of aloof – did not care about the appointment, if anything, I detested it. But you cannot say that to the chief, so I let my face express my feelings and thoughts. By my side, Wepesi was excited and waved hysterically to the crowd. Then the chief noticed the look on my face and cleared the air by saying, “look at our commander, a real warrior indeed. Even when others are celebrating and rejoicing, he still keeps the mean look. That is Ngao ya Taifa, our rock of Gibraltar!” The chief was now standing between us. He went ahead and gave me a pat on the back then smiling he asked me softly, “what’s your take?” I looked at him and mustered a smile. I then took a bow before the chief and replied, “I am deeply honoured my Lord and to show my gratitude, I will serve you most diligently.” The chief was excited, he stretched out his hand, shook mine and hugged me. He then turned to my dad and did the same.