To everyone else in the world, ‘Maasai’ was a Kenyan tribe. To me, ‘Maasai was the fleet of trucks that my father owned.
I still remember them, lined against the boundary wall of the company parking lot; short, white corrugated bodies with the ‘Maasai’ name emblazoned in red unmistakably on either side. On the driver’s side, the imprint of a moran warrior next to the owner details on the door. This last touch had been my idea. Dad had been delighted. He always said that I had lent to it a touch of sophistication.
“…Sophie?” called the lawyer, drawing me out of my reverie.
“We’ve agreed to sell the company interests.” reiterated by brother – a slight edge of irritation in his voice – when he realized that I hadn’t been paying attention.
Looking at my siblings seated around the lawyer’s table. It was then that I was finally able to understand, it would be me. I would be the one to continue my father’s legacy.
“No.” came my reply. And all hell broke loose in the room.
Walk along the street and to your right appears a small lane at the end of which sits a building. Concrete and grey glass facade gleaming in the afternoon sunlight; it’s mirrored effect reflecting the last of the sun’s rays, blue October sky above and the jacaranda tree in bloom beside it. High above in one of the uppermost floor, an errant indigo curtain flutters, a beautiful and stark contrast to the soft lavender blooms below.
Such is the beauty of everyday life.
“I came to the end. And I never got…”
The voice at the end of the line was abruptly cut off. Sharon hurriedly made her way up to the bedroom where she knew the network connection to be better. Excepting for the slight sound of static, the line remained silent.
“And so that’s all that I can advise you.” Came through the stranger’s voice. And with that, a final ‘click’ as she hang up.
Her one chance at discovering the truth about her past, her very self. Gone.
Incredulous, she remained there and all her mind could do was re-trace her attempts to get a clearer signal.
“Mom! Relax. It’s just entertainment.”
Elsie’s mother, who had been making her way out of the living room after issuing her instruction to switch off the program she had walked in on her watching, abruptly stopped and turned around. She looked at her now 14 year-old daughter with a curious look on her face; a mixture of incredulity and surprise.
Then after a short pause spoke.
“It’s not ‘just’ entertainment. Entertainment influences culture. Culture stems from learned behavior …and you’re being taught. I haven’t just now asked you to switch off a program, i’m also trying to tell you to watch the company you’re keeping.”
“…People who end up ‘first’ don’t actually set out to be first. They set out to do something they love.”
And with that last remark the Secretary of State stepped down from the podium to take her place among the rest of the panelists.
The crowd’s reaction was overwhelming. She sat down to a standing ovation. And whatever their reason for attending the forum, not one could deny the weight, the wisdom and the truth of her words that night. Condoleezza Rice had distinguished herself among friend and foe alike.
Cut off from the rest of the region, they were unaware of the changes the white man had brought to their land.
And so times and seasons passed without much ado. That was at least, until the day a man came into the camp unlike any other they had ever seen.
He had been found down by the Incomati. Unconscious and barely breathing the game breeders – once having overcome their shock at finding an apparition of a man by the riverbed – had debated long and hard whether to slay him or carry him back to camp for the elders to decide.
The latter had won over. The Chief’s youngest son was among them.
The storm clouds made good on their threat and within minutes rain had began to fall.
And as it fell, the waters pooled quietly at the center of the polythene covering overhead. Every now and again, one of the traders sheltering underneath would tilt the edge and a rush of water would come running down to the ground below. Sometimes catching a lone customer unaware as they hurriedly tried to make their way out of the marketplace; their shopping having been cut abruptly short. The clothes now lay in bundles as their owners huddled underneath waiting out the storm.