Africa.

Yesterday I had one of those really bad days. Made worse when I realized that I was supposed to have asked for help. But I didn’t. And it didn’t even occur to me to. That means I still have a lot to unlearn to live a better life. Simple lessons like asking for help when I need it.

But even as I went through all that, I knew things would get better. Somehow.

So I woke up today with a mammoth of a headache and a flu. Certainly not the better I had in mind. The kind of a flu that makes one tear up, coupled with a running nose and a heavy painful head.

So to concentrate on other things, I decided to try out Show Max. Its like Netflix. You pay a subscription then stream whatever you want to watch. A friend who we share similar interests on Facebook, on books and films, had recommended it when I got curious on where she watches her African films from.

You can imagine my surprise when I realized that its only 250 Bob for 3 months! As she had told me, either Show max doesn’t do its advertising well or we had just never seen its adverts anywhere. Anyway, besides the data or WiFi you shall use, that’s such a good deal. Especially for us who have been looking for old African films to no avail.

Anyway, the first one I try to watch is kinda boring. Its like moving illustrations with no words. I think it was ground breaking in their time considering it has themes such as interracial LGBTQ content.

So I decided to jump ship to another movie. And let’s just say it has made my day! Totally.

I’m not sure on whether I should tell you about it. Coz I’ve shared it elsewhere. But basically its about this folktale from the Mali people in Africa. A woman once went out at night, when she wasn’t supposed to coz the Andumbulu( human spirits) usually roam around that time.

She does go out anyway. Because her husband has refused to fetch her firewood as a result of being laughed at by other men. And as she collects firewood at night, she encounters the Andumbulu who attack her. She injures one, and so that she can have proof that she encountered the Andumbulu, she steals its mask. Which has some powers.

But when she goes back to the village, her aunt, whose old husband wants to marry a younger wife, advises her to instead use it for the benefit of the women in their village. So they pretend to be the Andumbulu, who are so feared here, and command the men to serve women henceforth.

You can imagine how interesting it is to watch men carry babies on their backs, wear traditional women clothes, grind flour for supper, struggle to balance water on their heads, obey their wives who are now the ‘men’ and fetch firewood.

The women on the other hand wear men’s clothes, loiter around doing nothing,wake up late, go for ‘meetings’ like the men used to etc. In one of those meetings, some women want to help men with their chores because they have nothing to do. But the rest are against that because that is what their men were doing. A lot of nothing.

So instead they decide to go to the village square like the men used to, and drink the local liquor and smoke tobacco. And that is what they do. They go there and start making banter of how some shall add husbands while the old ones vow to marry younger men, much to the amusement of the younger women who think young men would ‘kill’ those old ones.

But the character that stood out for me most, is young witty Kuni. Kuni is a young girl whose humor is on another level. She refers to her grandma whom she’s named after as her co-wife since technically she’s like her reincarnation.

When women decide to be men, Kuni still chooses to remain female. But she teases the women endlessly. Anytime she’ll pass by them, she’ll joyfully and sarcastically greet them as men, much to their enjoyment.

But finally the beautiful Andumbulu, whose mask was stolen, comes looking for her mask. For she can’t go back to her people looking like that. Kuni greets her and is like, “the women of this place chose to be men, I chose to remain female. And you, what do you choose?”. She almost makes you wish we all had that choice.

Anyway, the story ends with men being men somehow.

But it has been such a treat to my soul. Like I totally enjoyed that story. Its concept and execution are superb. Though the man behind it admits that it isn’t his story. Its a folktale that has been around his people for a couple of hundreds of years. Feminism in Africa is clearly not a new concept.

Anyway, I sleep a happy soul. Africa makes me so happy.

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