Africa must refuse to be humiliated, exploited, and pushed around. And with the same determination we must refuse to humiliate, exploit or push others around
Three months after Linda had left for London to be delivered of her baby, the tension that had been looming in Salisbury in the course of the years came to a head. There were rumbles and rumours of blacks’ revolts against whites’ oppressive rule in Kinshasa, Katanga Republic and Northern Rhodesia. The colonial seat in Salisbury tightened the noose around its own capture’s neck fearing the anarchy such as was being reported from the sister lands. The people were backed up against the wall, left with the option of submission to death or turning around to fight for their life and dignity. ZAPU and ZANU guerillas continued to operate from bases in the bush, dealing continual attacks on the dwellers of Salisbury, rendering the days fragile and unsafe.
Chief Superintendent James Smith received a telegram in his office one quiet afternoon. It came straight from London. It said Linda’s term was due and she was going into labour. She wished that James were there now. He should keep faith with her through it all.
Upon the receipt of the news, James became restless. Within the hour he resolved to be in London by the following day to welcome his Jake in person. All afternoon he got busy making arrangements for his homeward flight.
In the evening, a sudden rush hit the station. A radio message had been sent in from the men of British police on patrol in downtown Chitungwiza. They were requesting for arms backup. An uprising had broken loose. The blacks had declared a war and two men of the British Police were already stripped naked and mobbed to their cold-blooded death in the open street. James appeared before the Assistant Chief Constable who charged him to go down quickly and return order.
Chief Superintendent James Smith left at the head of fifty men. They arrived downtown Chitungwiza in the nick of time to stop the irate mob from incinerating the two white officers killed upon the open street. The determined mob could only be dispelled with tear gas released from the canisters. When they had given way, the men of the British Police force had a view of their fallen comrades, a gory sight which could not but beg for revenge. Constable Lewis’ skull was smashed open, the brain ejected through a gaping opening. Chief Superintendent James Smith and his men swung into action blinded by rage. A door-to-door raid began in earnest. It lasted all night. Hundreds of blacks were battered and brutalized with utter ruthlessness. The old and the young alike, no one was spared. Black Marias travelled to and fro, all night long, carting blacks away into the police cell. By morning the town was so desolate it was quieter than a ghosts’ town. The high point of the raid had been the apprehension of two black youths, both hurriedly shot by the police squad like wild dogs until life departed their body. One was Banga, the other named Hondo. Banga and Hondo, it was said, were organizing anti-colonial government political activities, instigating their black brothers to stand up for their rights. They had all along been marked and this uprising had presented the colonial rule a perfect alibi to have them exterminated and to put full paid to their restlessness.
Chief Superintendent James Smith returned home feeling jaded but fulfilled. He had taken revenge for his brothers and he was proud of the smoothness of his operations. As he crept beneath a hot bath he felt a strange cramp in the pit of his stomach. By the time he hit the bed, his eyes were already begging for sleep. In a moment he began to snore. He was resting within the best of peace the stone house had ever offered. But beyond the walls of the house, the battle he thought he had won proved to have been far from finished; for while he slept a crowd of black youths had besieged the stone house. Bingo’s lung-wrecking barks were James’ first alert. To the elbow joint of the first black militant to thrust himself through the shattered glass-paneled door Bingo had locked her jaws and would not let go.
On impulse, James jumped out bed and dashed for the closed wardrobe where his faithful submachine gun lay like a handy defense. As he coupled the gun, he saw the swing of a machete go like a flash from a black youth. He saw Bingo’s viscera came jutting down through her sliced belly like a mighty sponge soaked in blood. Still fight was not finished in the faithful dog. The black man within Bingo’s grip cried in agony. Another hard stroke of the machete blade to Bingo’s trunk, James saw the beast crumbling to the floor but also with her a half of her victim’s arm, severed at the elbow joint. The dog’s body stretched in fitful jerks before it finally lay still.
Propping himself against the wall, shutting his eyes with grim anger, James pressured the trigger. The men, naked to the waist, powder rings around an eye, advanced undaunted by the angry fires emitting hatefully from James’ leveled submachine gun. Bobbing in the grooves of their barrel of chests were talismans. James’ over-practiced and perfect aims came quick and straight into their line. He prided in his own renown among his colleagues for never wasting a bullet. He was confident to cut down the advancing line of the ill-organized black rogues even if he was alone against a hundred of them. The vibrations of the machine rocked through the whole of his being stimulating a greater passion to kill all and spare none. After a quick good round, James opened his eyes to take inventory of his spoils but to his dismay not a single of the dirty salvage had fallen. The tingling sounds he had heard beneath the angry whoops and rattles of the submachine gun had been bullets ricocheting off the naked bodies and dropping to the linoleum. James froze. His hands went limp. Then he knew it was over.
He dropped the gun and dashed for the rear door. One smart kick and the door gave way. He jumped out but he was no lucky for already the dirty, black ants had surrounded the building. Chief Superintendent James Smith was seized. In a moment he was a mass of blood. The militants wasted no time. They wet him quickly with gasoline and set him afire. The same fate that James suffered now was the same that tens of white settlers suffered that morning in Salisbury. The days that followed saw many white settlers going away on homeward return.
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