Front Page | Current Issue | Past Issues | Submissions | Competitions | SLQ Blog | Links | About SLQ | Contact Us


Akinlabi Peter
Amanda Sington-Williams
A M Gatward
Ayat Ghanem
Bobby Parker
Chuma Nwokolo, Jr.
Dike Okoro
E C Osondu
Katie Metcalfe
Laura Solomon
Mandy Pannett
Michael Larrain
Oge Anyahuru
Terri Ochiagha
Uzor Maxim Uzoatu



The Strange Behaviour of Bronze by Chuma Nwokolo, Jr.




Six masked soldiers from Chief Ezama’s bodyguard enter, march past briskly from right to left, and exit, chanting. Enter ANENE and NKOMA, wearing the same red loin cloth of Carcasus with a band of leopard skin in a sash across from shoulder to waist. They wear leather sandals, they are streaked in war paint and wield the goatskin-covered wooden shields and spears of Chief Ezama’s bodyguard. They wear small, horned masks that cover only their eyes, leaving their mouths open to view. They march in front of a lowered curtain, or between the stage and audience. They have a symbiotic speech pattern, the one twin seamlessly completing the other’s sentences. They move slowly, rehearsing a primer, a word a step,




NKOMA. Fish. Odu -


ANENE. Tail. Dibia


NKOMA. Doctor. Wata


ANENE. …(pause) Wata… (They stop. They take off masks. They ponder for thirty seconds) …that’s another word gone. Forty-three left.


NKOMA. It will come back to us.


ANENE. We always say that, but


NKOMA. It never does. (Puts on mask. Beat) They bury him today


ANENE. If the trader told the truth and he is truly dead. (Beat) Forty-three left.


NKOMA. Eventually, we will forget them all.


ANENE. We won’t.


NKOMA. We will.


ANENE. We won’t.


NKOMA. (takes off mask) Egwu.


ANENE. Fear. Ndu


NKOMA. Life. Wata


ANENE. … (pause) house…no! Wata


NKOMA. … it’s really gone. Forty-three left. By the time we’re fifty, we’d have lost all the words.


ANENE. We won’t.


NKOMA. We will.


ANENE. (dons mask) Maybe we should have gone with him, but


NKOMA. It was just too early, too


ANENE. Far, too


NKOMA. Dangerous. He was just too


ANENE. Late. (Takes off mask) Too


NKOMA. Arrogant. Yet, with him we would have learnt


ANENE. all the words of the dialect.


NKOMA. (dreamy) And with him we’d have poured libation,


ANENE. upon land that actually holds our ancestors


NKOMA. (dons mask) But our wives


ANENE. They won’t go. Will they? (Fierce whistle O.S. Don’s mask.)


NKOMA. They won’t. Oge (They march off, chanting in time)


ANENE. Time. Afa


NKOMA. Name. Wata


ANENE. … Wata


NKOMA. … Wata




Top of page | Page 2 >




Chuma Nwokolo Jr. is a lawyer and writer, author of Diaries of a Dead African and publisher of African Writing Magazine. He was Oxford Ashmolean Museum's Writer-in-Residence for 2005-2007. He Lives in the UK.







October Index | Editor's Note | Essays and Reviews | Fiction | Poetry | Competitions | Drama

Sentinel Literary Quarterly is Published by Sentinel Poetry Movement | Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

©2009 The authors and artists as credited. All rights reserved. Reprint permissions.

A magazine designed and built by Eastern Light Web Services for Sentinel Poetry Movement