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Tussles. Collected Plays

Collected Plays

G. D. Nyamndi

Publication Year: 2009

This collection groups together four plays - The Bite, Things Fall in Place, The Will and The Imprisonment of Sende Ghandi - written between 1995 and 2006. The plays in this volume dramatize a comprehensive world view. Through characters and themes chosen for their power to articulate the intended message, the plays paint a convincing and at times funny picture of human beings tussling with daily life. With clearly non-reductionist purpose, the actions all eschew the narrow minority questions so dominant in Cameroon Anglophone drama and instead reach out to concerns of a broader nature. In these plays Nyamndi does more than entertain. He reaches into the psychology of human relations and individual drives, and intimates responses to occasioned challenges. His wide, penetrating mind meanders in society: detecting the drunk before he takes his first drop; uncovering the embezzler even before he lays his hands on the collective holding; steeling the masses before the calamities of misrule descend on them; hoisting the flag of freedom long before revolutionaries come anywhere near the mast. He uses the play for healing purposes.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-x

Ever since creation, at least in so far as the Judeo-Christian paradigm goes, man has played within the reaches of his own volition. He has also been made to play by forces outside his grasp. Eve played with the serpent in absolute defiance of divine prescriptions. The result was recurrent calamity for her descendants. ...

The Bite (A serio-comic play)


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pp. 3

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Scene 1. In Lobe’s office

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pp. 4-7

Abod: Nothing of the sort. Thieves. Thrice in two months they Came. Carted off everything I had of value: TV set, Hifi, my wife’s jewellery, children’s clothes, sundry Household items. But how do you tell successive Marauding gangs that there is nothing left in your house to Be stolen? ...

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Scene 2. At the Club

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pp. 8-12

Lobe: I like that sound. Send up the volume. (Volume goes up. Lobe does a brisk dance. Cuts eye at one of the ladies who joins him on the floor to a hectic performance. Other lady rises and curtsies before Abod. They too join in. Music ends and they seat themselves down, ladies at their table, the two young men at another table not far away from them. ...

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Scene 3. In Abod’s home

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pp. 13-15

Bi: Overpowering! Everything just fades out of memory. You cease to exist. All the troubles of this world stay Behind. You just go…go…go…into a world of bliss. What they do to your flesh is none of your worries. They Cut you up, rip you open, take you apart in bits and Pieces. ...

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Scene 4. In an emergency ward

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pp. 16-18

Nurse: Enough noise. Now down to more serious business. I have Examined the wounds. The one on the left leg is quite deep And will require stitching. We will have to send for the Anaesthetist, unless you want the stitching done just like that… Raw. ...

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Scene 5. In Abod’s house

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pp. 19-20

Bi: That’s the man who claims to be so concerned about his Daughter’s health. Where did you go when you left the Hospital? If you had come straight here you would have Seen me bring her back home. She is inside there resting. Here is the prescription the nurse gave me. ...

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Scene 6. In Lobe’s office

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pp. 21-23

Lobe: Your wife woke me up this morning and when I saw her I thought the little girl had died During the night or something. I was far from thinking That you had spent the night trying to kill your own Wife. You are just a stinking son of a bitch. She has Made up her mind to quit. I wish you plenty of fun. ...

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Scene 7. In the Club

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pp. 24-29

Yeza: Tu as dit zeit geist? Je crois que c’est cela. Nous sommes tous victimes du zeit geist. Notre drame Existentiel est un signe des temps. La société est en Pleine dislocation. Les valeurs normatives qui régissent La cité sont en totale dégénérescence, en chutte libre. ...

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Scene 8. Abod alone on stage

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pp. 30

Abod: Me, in a diviner’s. Real magic in Jerusalem. Diviners. Fakes, all of them. If they could see the invisible, Divine the future, they would long since have cured Africa of its myriad ills. No! I will not allow myself to Be abused in broad daylight. I will be my own diviner. Now I remember! Bi used to complain of sexual Harassment. ...

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Scene 9. Near Tita’s house

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pp. 31-36

Tita: (Visibly angry) What is this world coming to? You send my Daughter away from your house and sit there Comfortably for two weeks. As if that is not enough Insult, the day you care to show up you stand by the Roadside and order me there. God forbid. Did I make A mistake by giving you my daughter free? ...

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Scene 10. In Tita’s house.

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pp. 37-44

Tita: It’s wrong for you to stay locked up in the house all The time. Go out and meet other people and talk to Them. I don’t say you discuss your problems with The first person you meet. Talk about other things. Discuss things that make you see life in a different Light. ...

Things Fall in Place (Inspired by Things Fall Apart)


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pp. 47

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Scene 1. Market square

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pp. 48-49

(Villagers in expectant mood. Festival music fills the air. Barechested young men flex muscles to the excited applause of young girls. Enter Okonkwo and Amalinze the cat from opposing ends, each showing off his wrestling skills. Crowd cheers them on. They wrestle and Okonkwo throws the cat after a well-matched fight. …

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Scene 2. Marketplace

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pp. 50-53

Nnadi: We want reparation. (Murmurs of approval from crowd) Mbaino has killed our daughter. You don’t dare a tiger and get away with it. Or do you? (Nods of disapproval from crowd). You sent me to Okonkwo and I went. And I delivered the message as you gave it to me. …

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Scene 3. In Okonkwo’s compound

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pp. 54-62

Okonkwo: Men without colour. If the gods have denied them even colour, then what are they? I will lift them by the ear and feed them to my pigs. No! The pigs will run away. I will lift them like dry wood…bear them on my shoulders, and carry them to Evil Forest. I will offer them in sacrifice to Amadioha. ...

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Scene 4. In Okonkwo’s house

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pp. 63-66

Okonkwo: (Growing irritated) Today. Go today. Tomorrow? (Exit Ike) Tomorrow…tomorrow… not for you. The gods have willed it so. There will be no tomorrow for you. Even as I speak I see it. Wrestle today. The gods await your spirit tomorrow. One stroke only. Not two. (Moving towards exit) Ransom children never suffer two strokes. ...

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Scene 5. Church

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pp. 67-72

Priest: God has commanded that we reproach you of this village for worshipping false gods, gods of wood and stone. The true God who liveth on high is neither of stone nor of wood, but of flesh and blood. It is from Him that everything proceeds, and to Him that everything returns. ...

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Scene 6. In Okonkwo’s house

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pp. 73-75

Nnadi: Look at your compound. Just yesterday you had many wives and children. Where are all of them now? Ikemefuna was your luck, your health. You lost many things in that one act. This is why I came. You need to join us. Give your soul and body to Jesus. Let him show you a new road in life. Peace be with you. …

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Scene 7. Village square

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pp. 76-78

Okonkwo: Let us not reason like cowards. If a man comes into my house and shits there on the floor, what do I do? Do I clap for him? No! I feed him with his own shit, then I take a stick and break his head. That is what a man does. These people are daily pouring filth on us, and Okeke says we should pretend not to see. ...

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Scene 8. In the D.C.’s office

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pp. 79-83

D.C.: (Rising and pacing the stage.) We shall not do you any harm if only you agree to co-operate with us. I have brought you here because you joined together to molest others, to burn people’s homes and their place of worship. That must not happen in the dominion of our Queen, the most powerful ruler in the world. ...

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Scene 9. Marketplace

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pp. 84-86

Elder: You all know why we are here when we ought to be building our barns or mending our farms. My father used to say to me: whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after its life. When I saw you all pouring into this meeting from all the quarters of our clan so early in the morning, I knew that something was after our life. ...

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Scene 10. In Okonkwo’s compound

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pp. 87-90

D.C.: I won’t have any of your superfluous words. What do you mean by my men helping you? Take me to Okonkwo right away, and be warned: if you play any monkey tricks you will be shot. (They move towards the part of the stage where Okonkwo’s hanging body is hidden, and Ezeugo exposes it) ...

The Will


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pp. 93

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Scene 1. Late Libong’s dining room

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pp. 94-101

Lauretta: I didn’t have to wait for Robert’s death to know what I meant to him. He provided generously for my welfare. But even if we wanted to see the Will now it would be impossible. Mr Ekobena is away on a business trip in Pretoria. ...

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Scene 2. Libong Group boardroom

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pp. 102-105

Ekoko: The Libong University of Arts, Science and Technology bodies forth this epithet. We train students in the sciences and technology, but we also educate them in the virtues of justice, ceremony, faith and above all benevolence; for benevolence is the first of virtues, the one that stands at the heart of humanity. ...

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Scene 3. Libong’s house

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pp. 106-119

(Anta is reading and Lauretta is dusting her late husband’s portrait. Lauretta holds portrait affectionately. Anta catches her and smiles but does not comment. Lauretta kisses portrait, places it back on the wall and stands staring at it in lost contemplation.) ...

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Scene 4. Boardroom

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pp. 120-122

Tchouta: No! Worse situations have been rescued. It’s not yet too late. Libong left us with his vision. His goals were clear, the road to them straight. What we need now is someone to incarnate that vision, to bring it alive again. ...

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Scene 5. In the Libong kitchen

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pp. 123-128

Anta: This is the work of death. I never knew hunger. Today it is my bedfellow. Poverty was a distant story, now I carry it in my handbag. Oh death! Where is your victory? (Pause) But here it is: those empty pots... the mouldy smell of this kitchen… the howling worms in my stomach. Who ever said you were not powerful? ...

The Imprisonment of Sende Ghandi


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pp. 131

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Scene 1. Public square

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pp. 132-136

Dragon: Why even bother? He can have four wives and ten children, he’ll perish. Let me see. (To purported thief) Now, Mr husband, you want to go back to your wife, eh? (To Pepper) Pull him this way. (Pepper drags thief to forestage) Now dance. (Hesitation by thief) Dance I say! ...

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Scene 2. On Ewang’s farm.

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pp. 137-139

Bine: I supplied them food: plantains, meat, okro, ekomobong, congo meat, rice. Then the prisons came. I took all my money and supplied them. You think they paid me any anini? One superintendent after the other, they threatened to lock me up if I continued to ask them for my money. I had to choose between my head and my money. ...

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Scene 3. Co-operative Building

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pp. 140-143

(Manager’s office. Enter Accountant Mrs Laura Ghandi with reports for Manager. Settles them before him and disappears to sustained ogling by Manager. Manager, glasses poised on nose, sips coffee. Coffee burns his lips. Puts cup down protesting. Pores over figures, rings bell and Accountant appears again and stands at a respectable distance.) ...

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Scene 4. In charge office.

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pp. 144-152

Lukong: Lef me dat talk. If I win…if I win. You don ever win me for card before wey na today i go happen because you don see fine woman? (Rising and strolling about buoyantly) Listen, my boy. This is not a matter of winning but of acquiring. This case is for acquirers. Yes. You walk on gold everyday, and everyday you return home poor. ...

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Scene 5. On Nonobit’s farm.

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pp. 153-159

Enegembole: Calm. You see? Your mouth says one thing and your heart says another. Picking a leader is not as easy as you think. Since everybody wants to be the delegate, we shall vote. (All throw confused looks around). Vote. Yes. We don’t have the same idea of who should represent us. My choice may not be your choice. ...

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Scene 6. Innocent Sunday’s office

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pp. 160-163

Accountant: Right, Sir. By midday we had recorded deposits of 4 million seven hundred thousand. You gave orders that 4 million be sent off to your Swiss account immediately, which was done. Our figures now stand at 2 million seven hundred thousand. (Enter Enegembole in militant mood) ...

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Scene 7. In Nonobit’s farm

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pp. 164-167

Mrs Ghandi: Sense, know-how, not beauty. I said to myself: this is the farmers’ sweat and no jot of it will disappear, much less cross the ocean to I do not know which safe haven for rogues. And so I used the money to create a new home for your money called the Farmers Trust. That’s the new bank where all your money is kept. ...

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Scene 8. In Innocent Sunday’s office

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pp. 168-171

Accountant: No, Sir, of course not. The Swiss account is doing exceptionally well. In fact, just this morning the Manager called to congratulate us for the regularity and power of our deposits. He said we ranked among his top five clients in terms of regularity, and second only to one Sheik from the Arab Emirate in terms of volume of deposit. ...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956717156
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956558544

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2009