An overbearing darkness

Evening going-homes as a small and only child, on the back seat of a fifties British Austin car, were frightening.

The n’anga’s, witchdoctor’s, drums were calling, they were always calling … I couldn’t hear them … they tapped a call of anxious urgency in my veins and on my mind. Happily relaxed after sundowners at the club, my parents couldn’t hear them: they weren’t meant to hear them…only I was.  Hugging my knees on the back seat, I tackled them alone in the colour-faded dusk, which turned forest shadows into canyons of fear. My thin frame, in high-waisted grey shorts, black lace-up shoes and three quarter socks pulled up to my little knees was a poor defence against the overbearing spread of spiritual dark that crept up on me on those vulnerable journeys home. ‘No we can’t drive with the interior light on,’ said my father with a slight beer slur of words.

Luanshya musings

Cambridge

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