Exploring Africa's vast savannahs is every travellers delight. But not
everyone gets to experience the deep crevices of its mystical soil. In June
2001, New Zealander John Sail and his girlfriend Elsa Snyder were on their first trip to the continent they had so long aspired to visit.
John's colleague who hailed from Angola had arranged for their stay and a guide to show them the 'real' Angola. The couple visited a Bantu village
where some elaborate preparations were being made. 'What's happening?' John asked his guide. The guide, unaware of this uncalendared event asked a middle-aged Bantu woman sitting beneath the shade of a small thorny bush growth, smoking herself into ecstasy, laughing and calling out to those at work.
She replied to the query waving her hand in air, her eyes gleaming at the
sight of sky above. She laughed many times while she spoke. Then, she
gestured with her hand and uttered something. She was clearly not wanting to interact anymore with anyone. The guide turned away after paying his gratitude that went ignored, as the Bantu woman was deep in her ecstasy again.
'What did she say?' Elsa was curious to learn of this enigmatic woman. 'She says tomorrow, a shadow will come to cover the sun and day will become less bright for some time.' 'An eclipse?' 'Yes, such events hold some importance here. Most tribes have their own customs and rituals that are quite orthodox, I must admit. But this is also a great time to see some really wild and exciting behaviour of animals.' John and Elsa followed their guide outside the village fence. 'Perhaps if luck favours, we might see something really exciting. These are times when beasts really do some strange things, you see.' 'Like wolves in the full moon?' The guide nodded to John's reference.
The next day, they jeeped deep into the savannah where the guide said
activity was generally at its peak and less trees to block sight of sky and
hunt chase. Already John and Elsa had noted a certain unrest in the
wilderness. Half an hour in their ride, Elsa heard some chanting in the
distance and sticks beating to a standing bark. A group of tribes had
gathered to perform one of the rituals, she guessed. Not wanting to intrude their sacred place, the guide stopped the jeep about a mile away. In their loud chant and beats the tribals had not heard the vehicle approach. The guide steered the vehicle behind a taller growth and gestured with his hands to keep low. John and Elsa obeyed, keeping silent without the need of being asked. 'The witches' dance,' their guide whispered leaning over the steering. Elsa and John looked through their binoculars. About six to seven women, all naked were riveting in a trance like state. Four of them danced in circle, while three other stood beating the stem in rhythm.
A few minutes passed before daylight dimmed significantly. Now they all
danced and chanted. Sticks hit harder and faster as the tempo scaled up. The eclipse set in totality directly above the tree. Its wide canopying shade grew dark and visibility faded. 'What's that!?' exclaimed John in horror. A figure descended in quick from the bark. It was a leopard. It leaped hungrily over one of the women. 'It's a man-eater!' gasped Elsa. However, the beast was not in an act of kill. It did something much more horrifying than that. It began mating the woman. A full-grown male at his wildest best. One after the other he pounced upon all of them. The witch women seemed more than willing to surrender to its wild passion. In fact they seemed to lust for more.
'The stories are true !' the guide gasped. 'The Beast of Lust does live.' Before the eclipse ended, the creature receded back to where it had come from. The witches lay naked and still under the canopy. Their moans of lust were still alive. 'We must leave before they become aware.' The guide turned the jeep. He clearly had no intention to stay any longer and be caught by the witches' eyes. Neither did the tourists, though they had no idea of the witches' eye and what belief or power it held.
Only long after the treetop was out of sight from the rear view mirror did the guide feel secure and slowed in pace. But still none spoke. They stopped at the same Bantu village they had visited a day before.
The woman their guide had spoken to was still in her place in much the
same state talking to her own why calling aloud at others and laughing in
between. She glared them briefly and then went back in her own blabber.
The guide stopped as her words reached his ears. 'What's she saying?' asked Elsa reading the stun on his face. 'Lust rules the world. It rules even light and darkness. Let them battle in the sky as long as they want. One day, they both shall fall.' he translated her words as they were spoken. Again laughter held her words. This time they held them for much longer. In her travelogues, Elsa recounted her experience as 'Witches & the Beast of Lust.'
©yogeshchandrate2008 All rights reserved
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