God of Hunger
The land meant everything to KK, and over a lifetime of toil he became one of
the most successful farmers in the Territory. It was in the capacity of an expert
agronomist that he wrote to Julius Nyerere, who had on the eve of
Tanganyika’s independence, invited KK to join his administration.
He sat back from his desk greatly relieved for having completed the letter and
report. He swivelled around on his chair and looked along the long verandah to
see the mountain glowing in the evening sun, its summit high above the trees.
Below them row upon row of coffee bushes. He could see by the colour of the
berries on the end of the plantation closest to the house that he would have to
set the camp to start the harvest by the end of the week. He opened a new pack
of Nyota and by the time he lit this, the strongest and most pungent of all
cigarettes, birds had stopped singing and the generator had started its night long
puffing, muffling the sound of dogs in the camp. The night had begun its
normal rhythm. In an hour Martini would serve supper, after which they would
gather for poker and play until the break of dawn when the raucous shouts and
laughter and the festival of frog and insect choirs calmed to a murmur. When
for a brief moment all was perfectly still and silent. But only for a moment. The
moment it took the gods to harness their horses to the chariot of the new day
which broke along a vast horizon of fire to the song of garden birds, punctuated
by more distant crowing, barking, and cawing. By the time the hondo-hondos
had flown crankily into the tall trees around the mill, the daylight poured white
hot out of the celestial blast furnace into the liquid blue heaven and bathed
everything below in a transparent shimmer of energy.
Kokopoulos thrived on it. Still only in his sixties, K.K. drew it into his tough
body and worked hard each day after a short sleep between dawn and breakfast
at ten thirty. Sustained thereafter only by black coffee and Nyota he touched no
food until the evening. He waited for it hungrily in the hour he gave over to
musing about the day.
The hour gave him time to replay the day in solitude. Each memorable
exchange with the world a montage in the mind to be seen again from the stalls
rather than the stage.
That day, as for the past ten, he had worked on a letter to the young man he so
admired and by whom he was soon to be appointed as a political adviser to the
government- in- waiting.
After a lengthy disquisition on past political, social and economic trends KK
“I cannot but state that from our vantage point in mid-twentieth century, the
history of the last hundred and fifty years has been a contest between liberal
democracy on the one hand, and popular democracy on the other.