The Missionaries Arrive

Something happened soon after I was born in my silence. Preachers of a new god arrived, with messages of a place where an angry god burned his beloved in a pit of fire, The angry god held a large forked stick in his hands, roasting the dreamers until they were ashes. He loved them so much that if they misbehaved, either in their words or in their deeds, he burnt them to ashes withouŁ pity.

Day and night, ashes upon ashes. Smoke weaving all sorts of patterns in the sky. The preachers spoke so forcefully that no one doubted they had seen the forest of fire which they talked about. Leave the evil ways of your ancestors, they said, threatening the elders of the village with death by fire.

One of the new preachers begged my mother and father to allow them to take me with them, to sacrifice me to their god. 'We will bring her up in the ways of our god,' he said, his white eyes pleading too. 'The preachers say they want to take her and bring her up in the ways which you do not understand, and they will make her their wife too, if she is a good woman, the intermediary of words had said about the words of the white men [Ancestors, Harare: College Press Publishers, 1996, 18]

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