#65 – flooding back memories

Banda did not know how old he was, for natives had no birth certificates. Their ages were measured by tribal
lore: wars and battles, and births and deaths of great chiefs, comets and blizzards and earthquakes, Adam
Kok’s trek, the death of Chaka and the cattle-killing revolution. But the number of bis years made no
difference. Banda knew he was the son of a chief, and that he was destined to do something for his people.
Once again, the Bantus would rise and rule because of him. The thought of his mission made him walk taller
and straighter for a moment, until he felt the eyes of a white man upon him.
Banda hurried east toward the outskirts of town, the district allotted to the blacks. The large homes and
attractive shops gradually gave way to tin shacks and lean-tos and huts. He moved down a dirt street,
looking over bis shoulder to make certain he was not followed. He reached a wooden shack, took one last
look around, rapped twice on the door and entered. A thin black woman was seated in a chair in a corner of
the room sewing on a dress. Banda nodded to her and then continued on into the bedroom in back.
He looked down at the figure lying on the cot.
Six weeks earlier Jamie McGregor had regained consciousness and found himself on a cot in a strange
house. Memory came flooding back. He was in the Karroo again, his body broken, helpless. The vultures …
Then Banda had walked into the tiny bedroom, and Jamie knew he had come to kill him. Van der Merwe had
somehow learned Jamie was still alive and had sent his servant to finish him off.


Copyright © 1982 by Sheldon Literary Trust

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