God of Hunger
On the 30 of June 1960, the Congo was declared independent. All hell broke
loose. The temporal battle was tribal. It was fought between the federalists led
by Joseph Kasavubu, head of ABAKO, his Bakongo tribal party and the MNC,
led by Patrice Lumumba, His Mouvement National Congolais stood for a
unitary centralized state. A deal between them was done and undone by their
decision to leave the army under the control of Belgian officers; a mutiny broke
out on 4 July. The Belgians flew in troops to the main towns to protect their
human and material interests. A week later, on 11 July, Katanga declared its
independence under Moise Tshombe. Here was the main source of the Congo’s
mineral wealth. Lumumba went wild. Car loads of Belgians streamed into
Tanganyika and at the Safari Hotel in Arusha revealed rape, murder and
mutilation unseen on this scale and ferocity by its local mid-morning coffee
clientele. Not even on trips to Nairobi hospitals and mortuaries during the
height of Mau Mau.
If it meant anything now to Theo, the Congo crisis was an opportunity to
exploit. He was, after all, going to heed the Armenian’s advice to exploit a
crisis whilst it was hot.
He went in his Chevy pick-up from Arusha to Mwanza across the Serengeti and
from the lake to Kigali in Rwanda and entered the Congo at Goma, close to the
Ugandan border. Nothing was unfamiliar as Swahili bridged the frontier. But he
went no further. They came to him. Held him down. And raped him. Several
times over one weekend. And left him for dead.
„Kir ee e Eleyson’ were the first words he heard after „Mtombe’, „Kuma la
Mama yake’. „Mkundu Neyupe’ . Fuck him. His Mother’s cunt. White Arse.
Takataka Nyeupe. White Trash.
He came to in a white washed room without a ceiling, the paraffin lamps
casting shadows all around and across the corrugated iron roof. The shadows
danced slowly around and back again. There was a face close to his. Its mouth
spoke to him in Greek invoking God’s explanation. My child, my boy, what
have they done to you. Oh my God, why? What is happening? Why?
He lost consciousness and returned to the same sights and sounds. Again and
again. Each time his senses functioned a little longer before returning to the
Next he was aware of daylight. Razor thin bands through the closed shutters. It
was hot. He did not feel hot. But he could hear the tin roof grinding under the
sun just as it did at his farm house at Ndareda. But he sensed he was not there.
The scents were not the same. Ndareda smelt of the maize stored in guniyas