Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It was two o’clock in the morning, but the king couldn’t sleep. He was sitting up in his bed, his eyes looking into the gloom of his palatial bedroom. Then the hair on the back of his neck stood up as he heard an eerie high pitched whine, whoooo … whoooo ....whoooo. Then, as he stared into the darkness, he began to see the shape of a still figure in a long white robe, with large mournful eyes, staring at him…
‘Whooo do you think I am?’ whined the high pitched voice. ‘You know me, Nyamasoya. And I know youuuu …youuuu … youuuu. You said you would follow me! And you did! You followed me to my grave, Nyamasoya. Now I’ve come back to follow youuuu … youuuu …’
‘Aaarrghhh!’ the king screamed so loud that he woke up the queen, who also sat up in fright and turned on the light. ‘What’s happening? ‘Are we safe? Or are you having another of your funny turns?’
‘Over there in the corner!’ whimpered the king, ‘can’t you see him?’
‘There’s nobody over there.’ she scoffed. ‘It’s all in your head.’
‘Can’t you hear his voice, saying youuuu …youuuu … youuu?
‘It’s just the wind in the trees, my dear. It happens this time of year. Just go back to sleep.’ So saying, she turned off the light. ‘I need my rest. I’ve got an important meeting of First Ladies tomorrow. We’re trying to sort out the awful mess our husbands have been making.’
But the king could not sleep. He sat there staring into the dark, fearing that the ghost would come back. Which it did, the next night…
‘Youuuu … youuuu … youuuuu,’ came the high pitched whine from the ghostly figure in the corner. Youuuu … youuuu chased me from this palace, but I have returned. You promised to follow me, but I am following you. You followed me to my office, and chased me out. Followed me to parliament, and threw me out. Followed me even to the hospital, followed me to my death. So now, O Great King, I am your follower, I shall always follow you…’
‘Aaarrghhh!’ screamed the king, as the queen woke up very annoyed. ‘For Christ’s sake be quiet!’ she shouted, hitting him with her pillow. ‘I’ve got work tomorrow, even if you haven’t.’
‘The ghost has come back,’ he blubbered.
‘I told you not to go round fixing your enemies,’ she replied sternly. ‘You haven’t got the stomach for it. Now they’re coming back to haunt you!’
The next morning the king called his Chief of Staff. ‘Get the royal jet ready, I’m off to see the King of Namibia!’
‘Do we have an invitation?’ asked the poor fellow. ‘Is it an official state visit?’
‘Never mind all that,’ shouted the king. ‘I need a change of air!’
‘But there was no escape. Even in the faraway palace of the Namibian king, there was still no sleep for the hapless Nyamasoya. ‘Youuuu … youuuu … youuuu thought you could escape me,’ came the same whining noise. ‘Just as you followed me, I am following youuuu. Your thugs followed my mourners to the funeral house, and had them beaten. They even followed me to my burial, so that they could beat anybody found weeping. And so I shall follow you to your unhappy end. Sleep no more, O King, for I am following you!’
For all his foreign trips, Nyamasoya could not escape the ghost. And his unfortunate subjects could not understand why their king was flying round the world like a demented soul, too frightened to return to his own palace.
And it got worse. One day, when the king was in Addis, and about to shake hands with the Chairman of the African Union of Dictators, the Chairman suddenly turned into a ghost, saying ‘Youuuu … youuuu … youuuu thought you could run away from me, but I am still following you!’
The poor demented king ran screaming from the conference hall, straight to his aeroplane, and ordered the pilot to fly to Heaven. ‘I’m going to fix this little pipsqueak once and for all!’ he roared.
High in the sky, he stepped out to find St Peter standing in front of the Pearly Gate. ‘I’m looking for a certain Lament Chipotamutima, who I think has been given accommodation here.’
‘Quite right,’ said St Peter. ‘A very sad case. He had been sorely persecuted by some mad king, so he was given instant admission. He’s now known as St Lament.’
‘You think he’s a saint, but he’s been haunting me!’ Nyamasoya shouted angrily. ‘So I’m here to clip his wings! I’m a king, here on a state visit! Let me in to see the Boss! A man in my position can’t stand here wasting time talking to the malonda! Iwe, open the gate, and be quick about it, or I shall get back in my royal aeroplane and return to Earth!’
‘Your aeroplane has already left,’ said St Peter calmly. ‘I have instructions from the Boss that you should go downstairs, where you will be accommodated in the Other Place.’
‘What!’ shouted the king. ‘Downstairs! How far down? What’s down there?’
‘Don’t worry,’ said St Peter. ‘I have asked St Lament to follow you.’

[Story based on an idea from Michelo Simuyandi]


  1. I like it, you have brought out the explanation of the trips, and the fact that we are responsible for our actions. I like the last line " ‘Don’t worry,’ said St Peter. ‘I have asked St Lament to follow you.’"I am humbled to be part of making of this article.