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The Girl and the Mulolo Tree

21 Janvier 2019 , Rédigé par patient benjamin apollinaire

The Girl and the Mulolo Tree

       There is a time when stories from grand parents can just be boring, mostly in the age of technology in which I can get what I want by a click on the internet. But it sometimes is interesting to listen to those stories as they do contain something which is not yet available in the internet. They do have some historical facts, fears, nightmare and even their own believe. It is the story I heard not so long ago from my grandmother, the story about the Mulolo tree; what made me believe that she was serious, was the emotion, and the seriousness with which she was narrating the story. The story was first of all a personal and a communal history.

Few days later, I was back in my place and I try to enquiry more about the tree: first I tried on the internet to see more about Mulolo tree and two stories caught my attention; the first was relating about the evergreen Mulolo tree which the villagers believed to have magical power so that it was not allowed to cut it down, and most importantly it narrated how a road construction was stopped because they did fear to cut down the tree, so that they cleared all the trees around but leave the Mulolo standing.

The second story was explaining about the Mulolo being a medicinal tree, with capacity to cure snake bite.

The story I heard from the grandmother is more or less related to both stories mentioned above; she told me about the magical power and the power to cure of the Mulolo tree.

In the Mission post in Kasenga, You can see how well the tree was protected by the missionaries as if they were aware of the power of the trees.

To be able to corroborate the stories of my grandmother with the two from the internet I relied on oral stories from different people back in Kasenga.

Knowing what I was looking for, I was able to ask the straight forward questions to my informants and to get the answers I needed, I have to say however that some of my informants resulted in playing the ignorant role pretending they do not known anything by fear of explaining the truth to a stranger. But other were willing to explain and adding more information to the story of my grandmother.

I must confess that the real name of the girl in the story of my grandma was not given to me; therefore I will use an imaginary name to mention the girl, let use Bwalya. Why it is a Bemba name use also to name girls as well as boys.

The Cisungu

In the Bemba tradition when a man breaks a virginity of a girl, He has to pay the cisungu, which is influenced by the status of the girl and also the origin of the man.

The cisungu will be paid depending on whether the girl is studying or not; if she is studying and there is a case of pregnancy the price is high.

Getting pregnant at the age of fifteen and above is a fashion for most of the girls in this part of the country and to pregnant a girl in the side of the boy, is a sign of affirming his manhood. From this point of view it is acceptable by the traditional society for people to get children while they are still in secondary school.

Adding those period of waiting for the baby to be delivered and the pre-maternity period, girls are getting late for school.   

As far as the man is concerned it is another even more complicated story because the tribe element is playing a lot if you are a native, a Bemba the price is reasonable but if you are not the price is very high, and I mean what I say.

The local culture is also influenced by prostitution, even married women and men; in marriage the husband is expected to perform well in bed, if he does not, the women will go to look for someone else, on the man side, as a husband also is not ready to wait the time his wife is expecting, he will go to look for a side dish. Polygamy, side dishes and prostitution is really common.

Slowly by slowly it became an important business for some girls and even families mostly towards those who are not from their tribe.

How is the cisungu paid: the moment the boy breaks the virginity of a girl, he has to pay the normal dowry which has to be paid in the tradition. Whether you will or won’t marry the girl, you will have to pay that.

The story happened in Kasenga, which is located in the southern part of Congo in the province of Haut-Katanga. Kasenga is located along the Lwapula River, bordering Zambia and located at 230 km from Lubumbashi, the main town of the Haut-Katanga province. The soil is sandy mostly on the upper part of Kasenga; however the place is well known for the fishing and the agricultural activities. For long time, the Greeks lived in Kasenga and were mainly concentrated in fishing activity, however little were done for the development of the local population, even the Orthodox Church was built for the Greeks.  The local in Kasenga are among the people long forgotten by the politics and even the NGOs. Nowadays the border at Lwapula river, which is an important entry of goods, most of the workers are not native, therefore the money they received is sent back home and Kasenga remaining with no cash.

The agricultural goods are sold at a lower price to the buyers coming from Lubumbashi. Polygamy is also one of the problems hindering the development of the place; people are finding themselves with many children but no money to educate them.

During rainy season, people are busy in their field and the fishermen are also working, but during dry season, the main activity is charcoal burning, with the consequence of forest being cleared. In the 1930s, the road from Lubumbashi to Kasenga was bushy and the Belgian missionaries referred to Kasenga as a forest. Now things have changed due to the growing population, forests are being cleared for new settlement, for agricultural activities or for charcoal burning, and the activity of exporting wood (red), have helped and accelerate the process of deforestation.

The all process of deforestation by companies was stopped with the intervention of the government, who makes the exportation of those red woods illegal. However the charcoal burning continues at a rate than ever before. 

The agricultural activity being done using the traditional method is not really paying well, and the fishermen are getting little from their work leading to a growing poverty among the population.

The place is occupied by a tribe Bemba therefore the main language is cibemba, being a matriarchal community, the poser is shared between husband and wife more importantly the wife has got the right to divorce a man which is not common in other communities.

Cisungu means virgin, and it is applied to male as well as to female, it is a state of people who being a teenager has not yet has sexual relation. It was the name used for the initiation of young male and female in the Bemba community, to name the passage rite from childhood to adulthood. In these two situations, a Cisungu is a boy or a girl who is still in the parents’ guidance until the initiation process took place to make him or her adult, however we have to notice that the end result is the breaking of one’s virginity.

With time the Cisungu has become a sort of a dowry, what one has to pay when He makes a girl breaks her virginity: the amount of money, I mean the things one was supposed to pay were:

2 goats, clothes for the mother, clothes for the father, basin, a lamp torch, a duvet and an amount of money.

However when it comes to a nonBemba, the cisungu payment is arbitrary and it is a lot of money leading the Cisungu to become with time a well-paid business for the one who has girls under his roof.

13th May, 2018

In the afternoon, I was talking with two boys; they were not really boys because the first was eighteen and the second twenty years old. Let name them; the one with twenty will be called Bunda and the one with eighteen will be called Tshabu.

After discussing about non value matter so as to put in them a sense of confidence and trust, I abruptly put the question on the table. “Can any of you tell me about Cisungu?”

There was a silence like the one kept by people at a burial when the most important member of the family is talking about the dead. After two or three minutes I decided that maybe I should start by explaining to them what I do know about the Cisungu, maybe they will be able to break their fear expressed by a dead silence.

I looked at Tshabu the answer I received was a smile, I turned to Bunda, and He was looking down, avoiding even eye contact with me.

I started by explaining what I know about the Cisungu from the ancestral point of view to today misused of the Cisungu. After ten minutes of summarizing what I know about the Cisungu to them, I turned to Tshabu and looked at him.

He gave me back the usual smile, then he said, let Bunda speaks as he is older than I am, therefore knows much than I do.

Bundu jumped into the conversion, when he heard Tshabu said “let him speak, for he is older than I am”, and he reacted by saying “I am a Cisungu”.

It was my turn to keep a short time of silence trying to digest was I was hearing, and then I said: “you are a cisungu?”

Bunda answered “yes I am”

What about you Tshabu? I asked

Tshabu answered that he was a Cisungu too.

I turned again to Bunda and asked him “what do you mean by you I a Cisungu?”

He said: “what I mean by saying I am a Cisungu, is that I am still a virgin, have never had sexual intercourse with a girl.

I continued asking him: “so you mean that Cisungu as a state of being virgin referred to girls as well as boys?

He said: “Yes and I will stop being a Cisungu when I will pregnant a girl”.

You mean breaking her virginity too I asked Bunda

Yes, He said

Therefore I continued, you will be required to pay the Cisungu as a dowry

The dead silence returned, and it was broke up by a smile of Tshabu and He said: “yes you have to pay the Cisungu, but there are some arrangements which will be made”

What kind of arrangements are you talking about? I asked Tshabu

He smiled then he said: “they don’t have to ask you to pay everything at once: for example if the girl is not pregnant, they may decide to convert everything in money and ask you to pay the amount, but they will consider your actual situation, the situation of the boy. Then the girl’s family will decide upon the period the money should be paid and boy’s family still has room to discuss about the extension of the payment period.

When the girl is pregnant therefore the boy has to pay the dowry and this also will be paid in installment.

The dead silence returns for a short period this time because inside me there was a burning question and I was not able to wait for a long period of silence.

I decided to break the silence by calling Bunda

And he said yes

I smiled, and then asked him a question: “You are aware of the amount to be paid as Cisungu anyway, it is huge.”

Tshabu smiled and added: “it is even bigger when it is a going school girl”. He smiled and looked at Bunda and crosses my eyes then he looked down.

I realized that he said something he was not supposed to mention, but words are like sand when it is blown by the wind you can’t get it back. I decided to enjoy the dead silence so as not to let them being able of diverting the conversion, or changing the topic.

At my surprise, I heard Bunda murmuring something and in order to make him speak loudly I interrupted him by asking “what do you say?”

He replied: “that is why, we prefer going to a non-educated girl, a home stayed girl.”

Why it is important to go for a home stayed girl? I asked him.

He replied by saying: “a home stayed girl has one big advantage: the parents are looking at their girl as she is growing to get married, therefore it is easy to negotiate with those parents, because the only aim for their daughter was to get married and you are offering them their soul desire.”

Tshabu was following carefully the explanation of Bunda, but from nowhere he jumped in and said: “the parents of a school going girl, have long project for their daughter and the girl herself has dream to fulfill, therefore you will suffer a lot in case you have to pay a Cisungu to that family”.

I was a little bit curious and asked them: “with all the difficulties you have explained why do you still going to look and pregnant a girl before you are settled down, I mean having a hut (house) and en occupation such as a shamba or something which can be your source of income?”

I looked at Bunda and I realized that I was smiling then I realized that there was something serious and which I decided to know. I therefore let the dead silence to take over the floor.

Then Bunda takes the floor and said: “You know that in this society there is expectation, such as at a certain age when you are in your manhood, you have to show it, it is cultural that you have to get a girl and make her pregnant and the people also are looking with suspicion if a girl does not get pregnant at a certain age.” Being ready or not we have to respond to culture and do our part, otherwise I will not feel part of the community.”

The Cisungu was the initiation period at the end of which, a boy or a girl was considered to be a grown up human being therefore ready to take a wife, or get married. Nowadays all the other parts of the Cisungu are not done but the only remaining was the reproduction. Therefore boys and girls are ill prepared to face the reality of being a parent. At fifteen or sixteen a girl has a child and she is not able to take care of the child, and the boys are still under his parents care.

There is a tabwa saying: “it is with the nearby wood that we put out fire”, is this going to apply to what my two boys were saying responds to cultural demand without being prepared.

I then turned to Tshabu and asked him, how is it possible that without many and at your age you are still longing to respond to cultural demand, meaning to pregnant a girl?

He smiled, then answered: “When fishermen go fishing, they are not sure if they will catch anything but still going.” The same apply to us “we grow when facing responsibilities”; we became parents by facing the hard work of being a parent. Prepared or not, we have to do so because people before did that and after us they will still be doing the same.”

They say that: “chance smiles to those who are prepared” but to unprepared people there is another story. Many parents in Kasenga have got many extra marriages children because of that cultural element, more importantly they are not even able to care for those children because of the economic situation.

Primary schools in Kasenga cost less than a five dollar, but still finding kids who are not going to school. Infant mortality is also high because those girl are not well prepared to be a mother therefore if there is no a grown up person around, the girl cannot take good care of kid.

It was almost 5; we were now discussing about their holiday plan, to make a shamba of potatoes, onion, and other vegetables so as to be able to sustain their school fees next year, meanwhile there are hunting for a prey to pregnant and fulfill the community requirement.  

Most of the girls who got pregnant are unable to continue their studies if they were schooling and the boys some will go until the end of their secondary school, then cannot proceed for further studies as they have to take care of the families.

18th May 2018

I wanted to inquire more about the explanation received from my two friends, so I went to see another boy. What is special about the boy is that: he is in third form secondary school, he has a kid because he pregnant a girl last year, most critically, she was a school going girl. Let call the boy Bwalya.

Morning of that day, I saw him standing near a garden, I went near him and asked him a question: “Bwalya, tell me about the Cisungu”

Ah, he said: “I don’t know about that, it is a complicated story, why do you ask that question?”

From his answers, I discovered a resistance, so I proceeded as always by telling him what I know about the cisungu. 

Ah, Frere, you know too much, He answered, and then He said: “I am no longer a cisungu, because I have interacted with a girl and now I have a kid”. 

You know brother, he said: “my wife is in Lubumbashi (town 230 km from Kasenga), because I got an educated girl, with parents who went to school, so they realize that this was not the life they intended for their girl; but still I have got responsibility because I have to pay the cisungu”.

He continues saying: “you know, I was not lucky because I got a girl from an educated family, therefore they do not respect culture”.

What do you mean by “they do not respect culture?”

He said: “Even though I agreed to pay the Cisungu, they decided to move their girl far from here without consulting me, others are enjoying their girl, seeing their kid but I do not have those privileges; but I paid for maternity and was ready to complete the cisungu”.

How old was the girl? I asked Bwalya

She was seventeen I think, but I am not sure, she might be younger than that, but this is not the point, she was a grown up girl physically.”

You know that at this age, she does still under her parents’ guidance? I asked him

Those things do not have place here, as long as she is a grown up person. He answered.

I wander if it is a sin for a girl to be physically developed while still just a kid, it is not knew to my hear, because when visiting the interior of Kasenga, I found small girls with kids and the only question which come to my mind is what is the future for this kids? With an experiment father and mother. Having a child does not make one a father or a mother; it requires preparation and accompaniment, time is important in everything because the moment you said I have no time to wait you will have an uncooked ugali.

As a teacher for many years, this reality is not new to me. I remember once teaching a girl in primary school, but she got pregnant at fifteen years old, now she is twenty five with seven children. I remember meeting her when she was only having five children and I told her “my dear are you competing with someone, five kids already? You cannot believe the answer I received from her. She said what do you want us to do?

That’s true because the leisure for uneducated men is sex, meaning kid each year.


The Mulolo Tree

Here are some pictures of the Mulolo tree, an ordinary tree well known by the Bemba and very respected.

I read once a story on the internet, saying that a road in Zambia could not be constructed because they had to go around the Mulolo tree. Some would tell you about the tree having the power to cure a snake bit.

Here are some pictures of the mulolo tree


They have fruit during the rainy season, which are good for human consumption.  But what is important for us is its capacity to restore virginity.

It is said that the roots of the Mulolo tree have the capacity to restore the virginity of a human being. At first my grandma talks only about the capacity of the tree to restore the virginity of a girl. November last year, I was talking with a young man, let me call him Malambo and he told me that: “Mulolo can also restore the virginity of a man, meaning the strength and other ability to perform strongly sexually.”

I am trying to link the cisungu and the Mulolo together. Imagine how much strangers are paying when they break a virginity of a girl. In a case where a family has only one girl and the mother, or the father, but in most cases both of them have discovered how they can be having extra cash by making people paying the cisungu, what will you do?

The Girl and the Mulolo Tree

There was a family, it seems that I am telling a story, it is but not a story; it is a history of a girl as told to me by my grandma.

A family of nine children, with four boys and five girls: The first born was a girl, let name her Mulenda, who broke her virginity when she was only sixteen. However in order to have dignity when the girl will be ready for marriage, the mother wanted to restore the virginity of her daughter.

The mother got advices from a traditional doctor. In fact she knew about the tree and the miracle it can done to restore the lost dignity.

The roots were taken and put into the water, and the girl was supposed to be sitting in the water for three or more days, so that her virginity may be restored.

With time, the mother ended by realizing how she can make good money by collecting cisungu and restoring the daughter virginity artificially.

How many times the restoration of the virginity can be done using the cisungu? I do not know.

Tshabu went on a hunting to find for me someone who can answer that question, he found a man let call him Claude. But Claude refuses to explain to Tshabu, how many times a girl can use the Mulolo to restore her virginity. He said to him: “I would like telling you about that, but we need to seat down and I will explain to you everything.”

When I got that answer from Tshabu, I know it is a positive one; therefore I was happy, however sitting down in an African context means putting drinks on the table.

We set a date with Tshabu to go and see the man and I send Tshabu to go and let him know about the arrangement.

It was an afternoon of the 20th of June 2018 that we went to see Claude together with Tshabu.

An introduction on what is Mulolo was important and how it has been use in the Bemba culture since time in memorial, and still be use today.

All the explanation of Claude were just noise to my hears, but to him was a way of expressing his knowledge of the culture and enjoy the drink as well.

I interrupted him with my core question: “Baba Claude, how many times a girl can use the Mulolo roots to restore her virginity?”

He smiled, and then He said: “I hope that you will not try misused mulolo to your daughter as many times as you want.”

Likely, I don’t have, I answered.

Then He said: “It is normally used twice to a girl, when it is used to restore virginity, beyond that it is just damaging, but can still work, however it is not recommended from the ancestors’ point of view. We were aware that a girl may try once or twice and in the process breaks her virginity, but to be married she was supposed to be pure, therefore Mulolo was used to restore her to the original state.”

I wanted to know more as I realize that he was right and the introductory stories were important, I should have let him continues, but it was not late as long as the beer was still on the table.

Baba Claude, was it an open event, if someone wanted to restore the virginity of her daughter? I asked.

He smiled, and then said: “it is a shameful event because it means you are delivering a used product to the market; the ceremony was hidden and still private even today, because the time it is known by the people around you, your daughter was supposed to go miles away to look for a husband, because no one will be ready, to have her.” However those old mama (mother), were able to know the secret and will tell you, that why they were consulted by boys.”

The practice of using mulolo to restore virginity was supposed to be left in the hand of professional (traditional doctor) like you, why is it that each and every one is able to use it?

You know, He said: “it is a shameful practice, using mulolo in such a way means that the girl broke her virginity before marriage and in traditional society it was not acceptable, therefore it was important to make it a family practice so that the secret is well preserved.”

I do think that in a way, it means that the girl’s family is laying to boy’s family, that our daughter is still pure.

I don’t think so He said: “for me it means giving the girl a second chance.”

How was seen a girl by the community members, who used mulolo more than twice to restore her virginity? I asked Baba Claude.

For sure, he said: “as a prostitute and she were because it was not mormal. It was a fact because it happened and in most cases was encouraged by the girl’s family.”

Families were being able to collect the cisungu for the many times the girl has been using the mulolo?

Asking a Cisungu is what was helping to spread the news about what was happening in the family, therefore if the community realized that you are asking it for the second time for the same girl, they will now know that you have been using the Mulolo.

Therefore, he continues explaining; the moment you are asking for the second time and there is no pregnancy, it has to be reduced, however it happened that to a stranger they will overtaxed him.

We ended the evening discussing about the outsiders working in Kasenga without having permanent residence in Kasenga and the consequences of the practice to the economy of the village.

It is a sad reality as the economy of the village is mostly taken by people from other places, for example the port, which is the entry point of goods from Zambia, Tanzanie and so on.


The story of Mulenda started when her mother realized how much she can get by asking the cisungu from non Bemba people, who break the virginity of her daughter. The mother encouraged her daughter to prostitution.

With great sorrow my grandmother told me: “it was a good family, and they had a big shamba and the father was a fisherman; therefore well known in Mwalimu (this is a place within Kasenga, where offices, market and even the first port were located. It was well developed mostly with the arrival of the Greeks who came for the fishing activity, more importantly most white settlers were located in that erea. Mwalimu is also called Kasenga, it is said to be lived by a person with the name Mwalimu. Mwalimu is the Swahili word for teacher, if the person was a teacher or not I don’t know).

It was a welcoming and a warm family. But when the girl was growing, the mother was expecting a lot from her, mostly because of the growing number of foreigners in that place.

The girl said my Grandmother broke her virginity more the five times, and at each and every moment she would disappear for two or three days, after that she would be back in the business.

Those days were enough for her to sit in the water, made of Mulolo’s roots to help her restore her virginity.

It became known in the area about what the girl and her mother was doing the foreigner, but no one was courageous enough to tell the family. We were all afraid of the family witch craft,

She said: “you know that foreigners were not only interested in her only, there were girls around the area, who were beautiful, honest and from good families.

It happened that a soldier who came was interested in a girl (let call her Pundu), the story went on well, being single, the soldier (let call him Luzeamu), wanted to make his relation with Pundu more serious, so he reduced the time he was spending at the local pub.

Mulenda notice how distant, Luzeamu was trying to be, so she decided to investigate to know what is going on, more importantly they have met twice in the street and Luzeamu was with Pundu.

She arranged an occasion to meet with Luzeamu alone and asked him: “I have noticed a strong relation between you and Pundu”

I want to make it more serious, I want to take her has wife, Luzeamu answered.

Mulenda did add anything to the conversation, but two days later she went to see Pundu and told her about Luzeamu criticizing him and telling her all the adventure they had with him.

The story made Pundu furious and she went to see Luzeamu to discuss the matter. Using his diplomatic tactics, Luzeamu explained everything to Pundu and the relation was restored.

The only mistake made by Luzeamu was to inquiry from Mulenda about the problem, this made her even more jealous so that she went on and explained everything to her mother.

The following day,Mulenda’s mother went to see Pundu’s mother and told her: “we are the same people, but we are being divided by foreigners, more importantly why can you give a daughter to a soldier and above all he is not a Bemba?”

I don’t see anything wrong said Pundu’s mother, to give my daughter to the person of her choice and above all they do love one another.

Angered by the answer of Pundu’s mother, Mulenda’s mother went home without saying anything. One week later Pundu was sick, all the places she went to seek medical help, they were not able to give her; and rumors were spreading that Pundu is sick of aids.

Luzeamu was disappointed with the story, so that he broke with Pundu without even telling her anything. This situation was just adding stress to Pundu who was already sick. The parents decided to send her to Makungu (a village near Kasenga), because they were advice that it might be someone trying to kill their daughter.

Two weeks after that event, I was sitting under a tree, it was cold on July, and a neighbor came to me and said, have you heard the story?

Not yet I answered

She said: “Luzeamu, the man who was supposed to be marrying Pundu, has to pay Cisungu to Mulenda’s family.” 

What are you trying to tell me? I asked her.

She said: “what happened to Pundu was the work of Mama Mulenda (to means Mulenda’s mother), she wanted her daughter to have a share in the relation between Pundu and Luzeamu, as she was unable to persuade Pundu to let go Luzeamu, or Luzeamu to stop loving Pundu. Being unsuccessful, they resulted to using witch craft, as a result was the uncured sickness of Pundu.

It happened that with the romours of Pundu having aids going around, Luzeamu was desapointed, but Mulenda was there to lend him a shoulder, and pretend to be compassionate.

The result was Luzeamu was accused of breaking the virginity of Mulenda, therefore has to pay the cisungu.”

My grandma stopped looked at me and said, it was a sad story, we were wondering how many times the virginity of Mulenda will be broken?

She continued: “From that moment, people were warning foreigners against that family, in the barrack, soldiers were warning those new comers against the mulenda’s family.

Having discovered that it was impossible to have the cisungu from foreigners, she became Christian in a local protestant church, a member of choir.

The church was having frequently preachers coming from Lubumbashi to conduct seminars or conferences, therefore a better place for hunting foreigner for cisungu.

She became a really good Christian, always at the church, prayers were flowing from her house, and she was singing solo in the church.

But even under a sheep skin, the leopard will never lose appetite for hunting prey. There was a young reverend as he was called who came to conduct a seminar for youth and it happened that Mulenda was among the organizer of the function.

The Mulenda’s family organized themselves to shelter the reverend instead of letting him to go the place arranged for him by the church.

The seminar was supposed to last five day, and the reverend was supposed to be going back to Lubumbashi on the seventh of the month, meaning He was supposed to be spending three days in Kasenga after the seminar.

He will spend only one day free, after the seminar and the second day he was brought to the local chief saying that he has to pay the cisungu because he has broken the virginity of Mulenda.

The news was a chock to the church members, not the members of the local church in Kasenga, because they knew the mulenda’s family but was afraid of telling the reverend not to accept the offer of being housed by the mulenda, they feared witch craft.

Money has to be sent from Lubumbashi to pay the cisungu to Mulenda’s family. The church as a ground for hunting for the Mulenda’s family will pay twice again with the people coming from Lubumbashi.

The local pastor and the elders of the church one day send a messenger to Lubumbashi to warn the reverends coming to Kasenga against the Mulunda’s generosity, by explaining everything going on with that family.

After every cisingu, she will disappear for two or three days and come back, but we knew why she was disappearing, she was going to be put into the mulolo roots to restore her virginity.

Realizing that they could not hunt from the church, She went back to the local pub, hunting young man and old for money; she was not able to stop because she was now used to that and more importantly was able to prepare the solution of the mulolo tree by her self.

She spent month in that pub, destroying marriages of people around Kasenga, she will disappear going to the surrounding fishing villages to buy fish. You have to know that she was going without money but with only her body to buy fish, and she will come back with a lot of fish.

Easy lady has always been going to kambi (fishermen village, island where they stay for the fishing period), to seduce the fishermen and get fish from them, it is a business which has been going for so long around here; they have even extended to the shamba people pretending of going to cassava campaign (the cassava campaign is mostly during the dry season, people are coming buying a part of a shamba with cassava in it and start harvesting by themselves, not only money was being used as the means of exchange, oil, clothes, empty containers, bed sheets and even sex).

It was from those campaigns that she once came back with a man. It is said that the man was from Mansa (a nearby village in Zambia), and has got a wife and children back there in Mansa.

However rumors from those doing business Zambia – Congo via Kasenga were saying that the man has got aids.

For Mulenda it was like bringing a trophy or a gold medal to wipe out the shame she brought upon herself and her family.

The mother was really happy and introduced the man to everyone passing by, and even to the church member.

It lasted nine months and the man disappears from Kasenga; first we were told that he has gone back to Mansa to prepare himself and his family for the cisungu payment.

From the people crossing Kasenga to Mansa to buy goods, there was another story: it said that the man after discovering that he was having aids run away from Mansa, for a place where he is not known to proceed with life. They said that he has spread aids to many women along the Lwapula River, and now he is in Mansa in a sick bed.

But the story arrived at a critical moment, Mulenda was not feeling well and her mother was just going to every witch doctor for solution, the answer she was getting was, “the man he was living with throw him a ghost.”

Was it a ghost or the witch doctors were not courageous to talk about aids?

Even though people were trying to hide the story of the man, Mulenda’s mother was able to get the story once coming back from the shamba, from three women from Mansa who did not know her.

Arriving in Kasenga, she was disturbed and what she did was to put forward the story of the ghost to protect the dignity of her daughter having aids. Meanwhile she advised a daughter to run away from hospital and go stay to her uncle on a village along the Lwapula River.

One morning we heard that Mulenga has disappeared from the hospital, the mother gave her version of story that: “Mulenda my daughter has gone to Mansa to meet her husband, too much witch craft here in Mwalimu, people do not wish well to children of others.”

From those who were coming from fishing villages, we learnt that Mulenda was living somewhere along the lwapula river and his condition has worsened.”

This is Kasenga, ended my grandma; and this is how we were living in that place.
















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