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The Lord of Anomy

Basil Diki

Publication Year: 2009

In 1875 the Rozvi Kingdom, now in present day Zimbabwe, is indistinctly besieged from within by the convergence of a missionary, Rev. Holbrook, a militant British bourgeoisie aspiring for knighthood, Sir Crowler, and an immorally amorous war emissary allegedly from King Cetshwayo of the feared Zulu Kingdom. The ëZuluí ambassador uncompromisingly makes painstaking demands. While Rev. Holbrook is earnest in his endeavours, Sir Crowler is adamant the natives are enemies of both God and Britain meant for annihilation. The elders cannot consult the oracles; all diviners having fled before the arrival of the foreigners. An enigmatic and malicious hermit comes to the fore in the calamitous confusion that ensues. But nobody can tell with certainty if the hermit is messianic or anarchical.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright, Other Titles

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

The play is a work of art put together with distinct craftsmanship clearly for entertainment and academic reasons. It exploits allegory, conundrums and various tools to depict with great skill and reproduce in the mind of the reader / audience the pictures and atmosphere reminiscent of 1875 Southern Africa, ...


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pp. 1-2

Act I

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Scene 1: 1st Day. Afternoon. King Zunzanyika’s courtyard

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pp. 4-10

(Attended, the king is seated on a rustic wooden throne in the background. Wrapped in expensive imported cloth and spotting a pair of sandals he is bejewelled with a distinctive sapphire around his neck and amulets and charms around his wrists and ankles. His headgear of ostrich feathers and porcupine spikes ...

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Scene 2: 2nd Day. Afternoon

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pp. 11-22

(Scene same as Scene One. Except for the bodyguard, the warriors and the missionaries, the characters have had a change of clothes. The missionaries are already arraigned, but seated on low stools directly facing the Council of Elders. Shannon is scribbling on a jotter using a feather which she is constantly ...

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Scene 3: 6th Day. Morning. King Zunzanyika’s courtyard

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pp. 23-34

(A unique drumbeat sounds thrice before the curtain goes up to reveal a deserted courtyard with stools and benches scattered about. Enter Kapingu after a while looking confounded. He wanders aimlessly for a moment then sits on a stool, hunched over and thoughtful. Enter Makeredza shortly. ...

Act II

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Scene 1: 9th Day. Morning. Mission site; part of a cleared area in Chikasha Forest

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pp. 36-44

(Eight distinctively sloe-eyed black men in loincloths, the porters from Sofala, are working on the frame of a primitive hut in the background. About half of the frame is off-stage. All are wearing large, beaded copper earrings that touch their shoulders. Some are strapping the poles onto the frame, some are bringing poles ...

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Scene 2: 12th Day. Afternoon. Chapwanya’s stockaded homestead backyard

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pp. 45-54

(A small mound of earth, a child’s grave is in the backyard. The place is unkempt, wooden stools, a drum and broken pots etc, lie about amid grass and dirt. Chinake on his feet winnows grain, Makeredza on his knees grinds groundnuts/corn, and Gundu pounds maize in a knee-high mortar using a pestle. ...

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Scene 3: 13th Day. Afternoon. Scene same as previous one

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pp. 55-64

But the Amandabili are flourishing on our pastures. They looted our Zebu and longhorn cattle, and left us scraggy beasts ever hobbling to their deaths with disease. I tried to turn to hunting, but the marginalisation we endure for the benefit of the foreign hunters is unbearable. Now it’s worse. ...


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Scene 1: 14th Day. Night. Inside Gungwa’s circular sleeping-hut

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pp. 66-74

(The wall is built of poles and clay, and on it hangs five large and magnificent framed portraits, all hand-drawn. The one closest to the door depicts a merchant caravan; the second, Egyptian Pyramids; the third, an unknown sultan in a fez; the fourth, a sailing steamer; and the fifth, a trade-route map ...

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Scene 2: 15th Day. Daybreak. Chapwanya’s unkempt homestead backyard

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pp. 75-87

(Lying about are the low wooden stools and the drum, among other paraphernalia. Chapwanya’s battle-axe is on the grave. Chapwanya is alone and making a single-fowl bird-cage using twigs and straps of bark. The cage is almost complete. An off-stage staccato drumbeat jerks him from a reverie. ...

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Scene 3: 22nd Day. Noon. Dombo’s homestead backyard

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pp. 88-96

(Dombo and Chikukwa are behind a hut in the extreme left of the background, i.e. upper-stage left. Dombo is receiving firing instructions from Chikukwa. The former on his knees aims a long-barrelled gun at an abstract human-size dummy of sticks and straw placed in the foreground diagonally from the position the two occupy, ...

Act IV

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Scene 1: 26th Day. Afternoon. Sir Wilkie Crowler’s sitting room

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pp. 98-107

(In the wooden room is a set of three cushioned wooden sofas around a low table. In a corner a small display unit exhibits many ethnic sculptures, idolatrous in nature. On the walls are game trophies, skins and a sword among other decorations. There’s a main door, an inner one and a panel window, all closed. ...

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Scene 2: 28th Day. Late evening. Chapwanya’s sitting-hut

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pp. 108-117

Chikukwa converted this afternoon, and was immediately baptised in that ditch of water near his homestead. When he was set to be immersed an ancestral spirit took possession of him. The spirit protested violently, threatening to kill Chikukwa forthwith. But Holbrook immersed him all the same ...

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Scene 3: 31st Day. Daybreak. The missionary station, Chikasha Forest

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pp. 118-122

(From behind the closed curtain comes the noise of a raid underway; battle cries and wails of the attacked, mostly women. Fervent whistling, the noise of crumbling structures and ceaseless mooing and bleating accompany the tumult. Suddenly all other noises except the cries of livestock die down. ...

Glossary of Rozvi & Zulu Words

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pp. 123-124

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956717729
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956558674

Page Count: 134
Publication Year: 2009