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ISSN: 1570-0178

Volume 3, Issue 7 (9 July 2001)

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Le pouvoir se mange entier
Power is eaten whole
A play by the "Troupe Théâtrale Mufwankolo" of Lubumbashi
(Scene 6 - Revolt in the fields)



Members of the Troupe Théâtrale Mufwankolo

Cast of Le pouvoir se mange entier

Scene 1 - The law of the land

Scene 2 - Trouble brewing

Scene 3 - The case of the thief

Scene 4 - The hunter's visit

Scene 5 - The case of adultery

Scene 6 - Revolt in the fields


Scene 7 - The chief takes control - Order reestablished



Scene 6 - Revolt in the fields

Up to this point the play has shown the chief's power. His speech in Scene One established him as the guardian of the law laid down by the ancestors. Scene Two prepared the audience for trouble in the form of disobedience and selfish pursuit of conflicting interests. After that, everyone expects the balance between order and chaos to be precarious. This is shown in Scenes Three to Five at the chief's court. They exemplify his authority and impartiality as a judge, as well as his privileges and generousness as a receiver of tribute. At the same time they are occasions to bring into the open not only breaches of the law but also conflicts among the notables who are shown to fail in their role as spokesmen both for the chief's authority and the legitimate interests of the villagers.
Scene Six introduces a new dramatic element into the play. It no longer parades "cases" that illustrate the workings of power, but creates an event which leads to a breakdown. Significantly, the action of the play itself, not only of implied or reported activities such as in Scenes Three to Five, now shifts to the fields outside the village or, to be exact, to movement back and forth between the chief's court and the fields.
At the same time, another displacement takes place. The challenge to authority that is now presented no longer regards a breach of law by individuals whose culpability can be determined and settled in litigation. The villagers rebel as a group against a specific command given by their chief. Scene Six definitely moves from the judicial, ceremonial, and perhaps economic aspects of the chief's position to his political power.
Given this dramatic turn there would still have been several possibilities to enact it. One of them was at least adumbrated in rehearsal (but eventually not developed): The most renitent among the notables , Tala Ngai, might have mobilized the villagers into accepting him as a contender for the chief's position. This would have amounted to an organized rebellion with a clear objective. But there was agreement already in the first preparatory discussions that the great "catastrophe" should be an orgiastic happening, a feast of dancing, drinking, and corruption.
Constant singing, drumming and moving about put limits on obtaining a transcribable sound-recording, not only of the final performance but also of the rehearsals. Dialog is less important in this scene and what there is of it consists of brief exchanges, many exclamations, and even more drunken bragging. Drumming and dancing are almost continuous and singing took up more than half of the rehearsal time. All this required more direction than other scenes, especially also because there was more need for choreographing movement. Accordingly, the sound recording made on June 27 was discontinuous, with most of the attention given to instructions and dialog; recording of much of the singing (almost all in languages other than Swahili) was cut short. The transcriptions/translations that follow begin at a point when Tala Ngai and Mufwankolo come to a first agreement on how to structure the scene, including the change from the chief's court to the fields.


Revolt in the fields. Rehearsal Version.

1. Mufwankolo: ...banamu accuser wa makozi/ bote bana: sultani anaenda: sasa we wote munaanza ku: kunywa kiloko: na vile: munaanza kwenda/ bon : dis Kabeya: eh: Tala Ngai: eh: hakutakuwa: eh: wa kubatuma kwa kwenda ku mashamba? ou bien batafwata paka ile ya sultani alibaambia/
Tala Ngai: c'est à dire : eh: eh: scène iko continue / njo kusema scène iko normale vile tulianza: uliezea bantu banapashwa kwenda ku mashamba...
Mufwankolo: c'est ça / ndiyo/
Tala Ngai: bon / ile tunaweka entre nani: ile ma jugements mbili/ c'est que ambiance ya village iko...
Mufwankolo: iko continue /
Tala Ngai: une ambiance parfaite, quoi /
Mufwankolo: c'est ça /

1. Mufwankolo: ... they accuse the adulterer. They all [go]. The chief leaves and then you all begin to drink a little and leave. Alright. Listen, Kabeya, eh, Tala Ngai10, is there not going to be a [short scene] where [the chief's representatives] are sent to the fields? Or are they simply going to follow what the chief has told them.11
Tala Ngai: That is to say, well, the scene is continuous. In other words the scene develops normally according to the way we began it: you had explained to the people that they had to go to the fields...
Mufwankolo: Right, that's it.
Tala Ngai: Alright. We are going to put this12 between the two court cases such that the village ambience is...
Mufwankolo: ...continuous.
Tala Ngai: [We are looking to create] a perfect ambience.
Mufwankolo: That's it.

2. Tala Ngai: bon/ aprés seulement jugement njo tunasema bale bantu: kule ku kazi kule balikwenda: banaanza kuharibisha kazi: suite ya bile Tala Ngai alibasemasema kule/ c'est qui fait après tu scène yako: kama tunakata scène yako: la caméra est branchée déjà sur : eh...
Mufwankolo: ...bamashamba/
Tala Ngai: bale bamashamba/ alors on pourra faire : tunaanza kufanya nani: sawa vile tunafanyaka: tunafanya ka: ka écriteau kamoya: banasikia paka tamtam: kiisha banabaona sasa ambiance ku mashamba: kila muntu na jembe yake: na mupanga: eko nalima: eko: eko nacheza: nakunywa pombe: ulevi vile...
2. Tala Ngai: Alright. Only after the judgment will the people who have gone to work begin to spoil the work because of all the things Tala Ngai had told them. Therefore, after your [Mufwankolo's] scene is finished we will cut and meanwhile the camera is already on, eh [hesitates] ...
Mufwankolo: ..the people in the fields.
Tala Ngai: On the people in the fields. Then one could do as we always do, that is, we insert a little notice [on the screen], one hears the drumming and then they see them celebrating in the fields.13 Everyone either has a hoe, or a machete; one person works, another one dances, or drinks. In this way drunkenness...
3. Mufwankolo: bon / tufanye sawa/ mutakuwa ka: en rond hapa/ eeh? bon / mama moya hapa: njo ataenda ku servir : bale bote/ bon : tutafanya kinawapi1? mukate itakuwa moya: ao itakuwa mbili/ banaku servir weee: unakunywa mu upesi/ unafanya: na wee unamu servir tena mungine bwana paka vile/ eeh? sawa mama anasafisha: unasema servir mwengine: à la Zairoise / eh? bon / sasa pale mutaanza kupata bale benyee ba sultani alituma: bataanza kuya: ule mama moya nayee: kwa ku: kwa kuwapokelea kabisa kabisa: eh? kuwalarisha bushingishi: anabapokelea: ah: banasikia kwanza sauti: anasema: ooh kuya kwanza mbele: yee anababembelesha: anakala: sawa vile tulisema jana/ eh?
bon/ tufanye kwanza ile scène : ya kuikala mwee mbele pamoya/ mukale tu hivi/ tout ça / cercle moya hivi/
3. Mufwankolo: Alright. Let's do it that way. You will be here in a circle. Right? Alright. One mama is going to serve all the others. Alright, how are we going to do this? There will be one bread or two. They go on serving you14 and you will drink fast. You go on and serve another man, just the same way. Right? Then mama will wipe off the cup and serve another one, à la Zairoise . Right? Then you are going to get the people who were sent by the chief. They are going to come. This one mama will give them a mighty welcome, right? And she will make them sit down and stay. She receives them and they will hear her say: Ooh, come here first. She will seduce them. [And the person who arrives] stays, just as we said yesterday. Right? Alright. Let's first do this scene where you are sitting together. Sit right there, in one circle.
[The troupe then gives the scene a try, beginning with a song " Minakwenda no buta15." But singing as well as drumming are as yet without "fire." During the half hour that follows this is repeated three or four times (not recorded here). At one point Mufwankolo himself takes the "drum" (the seat of a chair that substitutes for it) and shows how it should be done. He also gives the following directions in order to assure that one of the main points of the scene, the corruption of the chief's emissaries by the celebrating villagers, becomes clear. He delivers his instructions in a style we encountered earlier: some very rapid speech, many interjections, and even more demonstrations of movement -- a delight to watch and to listen to, but extremely difficult to transcribe and translate.]
4. Mufwankolo: muikale kwanza mbele hapa/ déjà atamikutana mu rythme ya ile mimbo ile/ he? haba wote bawili banakuya: muko naimba déjà / mwee munabaona: muna continuer / tena mwee munaona: muna continuer tu kipande: njo banami faire stopper : eh: habari gani tena huku? njo kazi munaikalia? munaikala kwanza kimya/ munabasikia vile batasema/ banasema papapapapa: ule mama wa kuba entrainer : ooooh: tunayua: karibu kwanza kukaribu: eeh: weewe: karibu: kiti munamupokea kiti: bana assoir / 4. Mufwankolo: Stop here for a moment. [When one of the chief's emissaries arrives] he will already find you in the rhythm of this song. Right? When those two come you are already singing. You see them [approaching] but you go on. You see them, but you go on for a while. Then they make you stop. What is going on here [they will say], is this work, sitting around? First you remain silent and you listen to what they are going to say. They talk, blablablabla, then the mama who is supposed to seduce them [says]: Oooh, come on, we know [all that]. Sit down first, you, make yourselves comfortable. Get a chair. You give each of them a chair and they sit down.
5. Tala Ngai: est-ce que ...?... paka moya moya?
Mufwankolo: voilà / eh/ munaikala/ donc c'est, c'est la femme qui doit dire ça / muni: amewakalisha: banaikala: banakamata na nani: unona tu hivi na hivi/ mwee vile tout ça banafanyafanya: non : eh: mambo hata mambo inakuyaka: basi yee...?...munaibashukia pale: banaanza kunywa/ kiisha kunywa: mimbo ina continuer / mukisha continuer : mama moya anakwenda mu ngoma/ anaimba na anachezacheza nachezacheza weee: na bale banakuwa tentés : nabo banaanza kutafuta kucheza: ule mama mwenyewe anakamata kikwembe: anavwika moya kati yabo/ ana: nayee anatambuza2 mu ngoma/ banapiga bikelekelekelekele: banaikala/ entretemps : habaseme tena kintu hapana/ bon / kiisha tena: mwingine anakuya wa kutoka kwa chefu: notable / anafika: mêmement / eh? tunasikilizana vile? munaweza ku changer hata mimbo moya: mimbo munaweza continuer paka na ile mimbo: je ne sais pas quoi / eh?.....
5. Tala Ngai: Shouldn't this be first one and then the other?16
Mufwankolo: That's it, yes. You sit down. So it is the woman who has to say this. After you, or rather after she has made them sit down they stay, they take whatever, you see, and so on. You are going to insist, [someone objects} no there will be trouble ... You make them sit down, then they start drinking. After that, the singing continues. You go on and then one mama gets into the circle.17 She sings and dances and dances for a while until they, too, are tempted and they begin to try a dance. This mama takes a cloth and wraps it around one of them. And he, too, gets into the rhythm of the drum. They ululate and so they go on. By that time they [the notables ] don't say a thing anymore. Alright. Finally another emissary comes from the chief, a notable . He arrives and things happen as before. So, do we understand each other? You can change the song, or go on with it, I don't know. Right?
[The rehearsal continues along these lines with most of the attention directed to singing and drumming. Then the following piece of dialog was recorded. Principal speakers are Kalwasha (for the villagers) and Tala Ngai who has been sent by the chief to check what is going on in the fields. Kalwasha talks with an up-country accent and his example is followed by Tala Ngai as he gets drunk.]
6. Feza: yambo yenu baba/
Tala Ngai: heya: yambo/
Villager: yambo yenu/
Tala Ngai: yambo/
Kamwanya: hamujambo3 baba/
Tala Ngai: jambo/ sasa ni: eheh: munafansia fête leo huku? ku mashamba?
Villagers: eeh baba/
Kalwasha: baba shiye...
Tala Ngai: juu ya nini?
Kalwasha: mukongo: baba: mukongo walikunjama mubaya: njo twalisema4 acha kwanza leo tunyoroshe5 mukongo/
6. Feza: Greetings to you, baba .
Tala Ngai: Hey, greetings.
Villager: Greetings to you.
Tala Ngai: Greetings.
Kamwanya: Be greeted, baba .
Tala Ngai: Greetings. Now, what is this? Are you feasting here today? In the fields?
Villagers: Yes, baba .
Kalwasha: baba , we...
Tala Ngai: What for?
Kalwasha: It's the back, baba . They bent their backs badly. So we said: Come on, today let's stretch our backs.
7. Tala Ngai: pale haukuwa kunyoroshea mu mugini: juu ya nini munakuya kunyoroshea ku mashamba?
Kalwasha: aah baba: si unayua asema: kazi kama inanichokesha ni kukala kwanza ku mashamba/ alafu kwanza: wee mwenyewe baba: acha nakuwa nakuulishe musuri musuri/
Tala Ngai: eeh/
Kalwasha: sultani njo anasema namna kani?
Tala Ngai: eeh: ananituma asema nikuye angaria/ ni ngoma tu tulisikia kule/
Woman: eyo/
Kalwasha: ngoma eh?
Tala Ngai: eeh: njo yee anasema ni kintu gani kule banacheza....
Villager: karibu chef /
Tala Ngai:...angarie kwanza/
Kalwasha: ana: anaanza kutufokela? ao?
Tala Ngai: hapana: alikuwa asema wende ukaangarie mbele niyue ni kintu gani: njo mi nitamupatia lwapolo6/
Kalwasha: umupatie lapolo?
Tala Ngai: eeh/
Villager: eeeeh baba/
7. Tala Ngai: You did not stretch [your back] in the village and now you are doing it in the fields?
Kalwasha: Come on, baba . You know, when the work gets me tired then I rest in the fields. But first, baba , come and let me ask you [so that I understand it] well.
Tala Ngai: Go ahead.
Kalwasha: What did the chief say?
Tala Ngai: Well, he sent me saying go and have a look. It was the drumming we heard over there.
Woman: So that was it.
Kalwasha: The drumming?
Tala Ngai: Right. So he said what is this dancing about over there...
Villager: [inviting him] Sit down, chief.
Tala Ngai: have a look first.
Kalwasha: Did he begin to scold us, or what was it?
Tala Ngai: No, he just said go and have a look first so that I know what is going on. I was to give him a report.
Kalwasha: You were going to give him a report?
Tala Ngai: That's it.
Villager: So that's it, baba .
8. Tala Ngai: lakini na mi mwenyewe minakuya tu/
Feza: regezako kwanzako kiloko/ jua yoyote unatembea nayo baba?
Villager: eh: chunga kwanza kiloko/
Tala Ngai: na mi: namna tunamikutanisha/ njo ile bantu banapashwa kuikala mu mugini/
Villagers: [acclaiming and applauding] eeeh....
Tala Ngai: [shouting] munatumika kiloko: munapata nguvu kiloko: munakunya na mutama/
Villagers: eeh/
Tala Ngai: hivi munabakia tena na nguvu ya kutumika kazi tena ingine ya kesho/
Villagers: hoo baba... [applaud; ululations]
8. Tala Ngai: But I also came on my own.
Feza: Come here, first relax a little. You have been walking under the [hot] sun, baba .
Villager: Right, first rest a little.
Tala Ngai: As far as I am concerned, the way I found you [having fun] that is the way people ought to live in the village.
Villagers: [acclaiming and applauding] Right on...
Tala Ngai: [shouting] You work for a while, then you rest a little and have some millet beer.
Villagers: Right.
Tala Ngai: That way you will have the strength to go on working again tomorrow.
Villagers: Ooh, baba .... [applaud, ululations]
9. Kalwasha: munaona mwee bote? njo nalimiambia asema pale sultani anakatala kuya mu mukini: atatuma kanyamba/
Woman: eheh/
Kalwasha: kanyamba atakuya kutufwata/ sinon : kanyamba anakuya/
Woman: eyo/
Kalwasha: njo ule nalimiambia/
9. Kalwasha: You see, all of you? This is what I told you: When the chief does not want to go to the village he'll send kanyamba.18
Woman: Really?
Kalwasha: Kanyamba will be after us. [If the chief refuses to come] kanyamba will come.
Woman: So, that is it.
Kalwasha: That is what I told you.
10. Tala Ngai: lakini: hii: hii pombe: inakuwa butamu sana/
Feza: nitaongezee kingine?
Tala Ngai: [pretending to hesitate] eh non non non : leta kwanza lupalo7/....
Woman: muanzeko na kamwimbo...
Tala Ngai: ... si ni ...?...kubolo: bolomosha8 pa mulibo kwanza/
Man: umuache kwanza akunwye/
10. Tala Ngai: [interrupting him] But this beer there, it really is very tasty.
Feza: Should I give you some more?
Tala Ngai: [pretending to hesitate] Oh, no, no, no, just give me the cup...
Woman: Start a little song...
Tala Ngai: Let's have some to wet the pipe.19
Man: Let him drink first.
11. Tala Ngai: [drinks] eyoo/ mmm/ eh [shouting] munasikia/
Feza: mm/
Tala Ngai: tshintu nilikuwa namielezea ile shiku ile?
Villagers: eeh/ mm/
Tala Ngai: sulutani: na bale bantu yake mbili/ Bwana Cheko naaa... [hesitates]
Man: Masimango/
Tala Ngai: Masimango.
Feza: eeh/
Kalwasha: ndyo mubaya: muwaya: muwaya: muwaya Masimango/
Tala Ngai: zaidi Masimango/
Kalwasha: eh/
Tala Ngai: na jina yake inafanana paka na bubaya bwa mambo yake yoooote/
Woman: ...wa chuki sana/
Tala Ngai: kama bantu wa mugini bataikalako muzuri/ bawazeko muzuri vile banawaza/ ah: yee anakatala asema hapana chefu: paka vile unasema: njo vile bo banaitikaka?
Villagers: hata/ hapana/ [ululations]

11. Tala Ngai: [drinks, makes noises of contentment] Yes, indeed. Mmm. [Then begins to shout in a drunken voice] You understand?
Feza: Yes.
Tala Ngai: About the thing I said the other day?
Villagers: Yes.
Tala Ngai: The chief and the two men of his, Bwana Cheko and...[hesitates]
Man: Masimango.
Tala Ngai: Masimango.
Feza: Yes.
Kalwasha: He is a bad, bad, bad, bad one, that Masimango.
Tala Ngai: Above all Masimango.
Kalwasha: Yes.
Tala Ngai: His name is like the evilness in all his affairs.20

Woman: ...and he is a person full of hatred.
Tala Ngai: If the people of the village should do well and be full of good intentions then he will ignore this, saying to the chief: You must stick to what you said. Will [the people] accept this?
Villagers: No way. [ululations]

12. Tala Ngai: ... nani mwenyewe anapiga hutu tumpombe/
Kalwasha: ...?... mama Fesa huku/
Tala Ngai: eh eh eh mama/ tumpombe twako tuko makari: karibu nikatale na ile mampombe ingine ile/
Feza: eeh baba/ shi kintu unasema: na baone paka ba clients bote haba banayalaka hapa/
12. Tala Ngai: Who is the one who prepared this nice beer?21
Kalwasha: ...?... mama Feza here.
Tala Ngai: Ah mama , your beer is real strong. I am just about to renounce [all] that other beer.
Feza: Yes, baba , now you're saying something. Look at all the customers that are crowding this place.
[All begin singing and dancing. Eventually, the other two notables , Bwana Cheko and Masimango, arrive and the scene continues]
13. Tala Ngai: [drunken] ah: aaah/
Feza and Kamwanya: [greeting the notbles who arrive] jambo yenu baba: hamujambo yenu/
Tala Ngai: aaaah/ oh lal[à] / [laughing] mukubwa/
Bwana Cheko: [to Tala Ngai] toka na bulevi/ toka na bulevi/
Woman: Notable /
Tala Ngai: hapana mukubwa/
Bwana Cheko: kwende kala kule/
13. Tala Ngai: [drunken] Ah, aaah.
Feza and Kamwanya: [greeting the notables who arrive] Greetings baba , greetings to you.
Tala Ngai: Aaah. Oh lala . [laughing] [Greetings] sir.22
Bwana Cheko: Go away you, you are drunk. [Shouting] Go away, you drunk.23
Woman: Notable !
Tala Ngai: No, sir...
Bwana Cheko: [interrupting him] Go away, sit down over there.
14. Tala Ngai: sikia nakuelezea/ mambo iko hapa iko hii/ bantu banasikia fulaha sana/ banasema hivi: banasikia fulaha...
Bwana Cheko: ya mashamba ya kulima?
Tala Ngai: mbele yabo: banalima nguvu/ nilifika kule chini kote minaangaria/ mashamba ni paka kutoka kufika katomena9/
Villagers: [laugh]
Tala Ngai: kutoka hapa kuingia paka katomena/ njo banasema...
Masimango: mwee muntu...
Tala Ngai: njo banasema...
Bwana Cheko: mwee muntu mukubwa unalewa mbele ya bantu ya mukini/
Masimango: ni mutoto kiloko hivi/
Tala Ngai: hapana: hapa tuko ni mu fulaha/ [laughs] bantu ya mugini banapashwa kufulahi na bamfumu yabo/
Villager: eeh/
Tala Ngai: kama mfumu anafurahi: nabo nafanya nini?...
14. Tala Ngai: Listen, I'll explain to you what is going on here. The people really are enjoying themselves. They said, because they were feeling the joy...
Bwana Cheko: ...of work in the fields?
Tala Ngai: First they worked real hard. I went [to look] down there, everywhere. There are fields everywhere, from here to the place where they get water.
Villagers: [laugh]24
Tala Ngai: [All the way] from here until you get to the place where they get water.
Masimango: You are someone who...
Tala Ngai: So they said...
Bwana Cheko: You are a person who holds a high office and you get drunk in front of the villagers.
Masimango: [He behaves] like a little child.
Tala Ngai: No way, we are enjoying ourselves here. [Laughs] The villagers must enjoy themselves together with their chiefs.
Villager: That's it.
Tala Ngai: If the chief has fun, what are they going to do?
[At this point, Mufwankolo interrupts with further directions; Bwana Cheko and Masimango are sent away and then approach the group of villagers once again. They are greeted as before, Feza plays her role as the seducer, but Mufwankolo insists on yet another take. Finally Kachelewa intervenes telling the actors to avoid repetitions and superfluous dialog. He points out that they are not rehearsing a radio sketch where the listeners have to be told what is happening. In this case they are going to see what the actors do and how they move. For instance, when Bwana Cheko tells the villagers that they are drinking and dancing, this is superfluous because everybody can see that they are drinking and dancing. The following gives an example of his approach to directing:]
15. Kachelewa: tusikilizane: eh? tukamate hii scène [to Tala Ngai who is not listening] dis : Kabeya: je parle / kamata hii scène : tuweke kama ilikuwa réalité / eh? pale unaenda ku mashamba: uko moya alikuwa sasa asema bon : [aside] mi sione banafanya ile/ banamuke batangulia na: na bibuyu ya pombe juu mukaufichame kule/ eh? parce que hanipende tena ku nani: ku: ku fanya nani: ça on va voir / sasa hii saa: bale bantu si muko munapiga ngoma/ banakuya/ [clapping hands] ooh: voilà banakuya/ donc pour vous : munaona asema na bale banakuya: batafanya sawa vile shee tuko nafanya/ donc hamuji: hamuji soucier asema bo banaanza kufoka juu ya sultani: ou bien kufoka: non/ bale banakuwa na bo batafanya vile tunafanya/ donc : pour vous muko conscient asema na bo batakunywa/ bon / pale banafika: banaanza nani: kukatala kunywa/ alors c'est en ce moment là que wee unatuma nani: ile saa banafokea unatuma nawaza/ uwapatie nabo/ he? yee anakuya: anakutanisha pale: hamujambo yenu/ he: toka kule/ weye Tala Ngai: sultani aliisha kushirika kule/ kumbe wee njo unaleta bantu huku? he? paka vile tu analeta bantu huku/ bale banaona banaona banaona asema bon : analeta bantu huku/ pourquoi ? banakunywa: habatumike: tout ça / na vile unamupa pombe: anaitikia: anaikala kuikala/ hawezi mbele kuikala/ parce que kama anaikala: du fait anaikala yee bado kunywa: c'est que : ana accepter ile nani: muko nafanya/ ni ile pombe anakunywa: pour lui sasa pale anakunywa: butamu ya pombe njo inamu decider ende kaikale/ he? muanze vile pale... 15. Kachelewa: Let's understand each other, alright? Let's take this scene ...[to Tala Ngai who is not listening] Listen, Kabeya, I'm speaking. Let's take this scene and let's set it up as it would be in real life. Right? When you go to the fields, there is one who says --[aside] because I don't see that they are doing this-- anyway, you women with your calabashes of beer you should hide over there. Right? Because I don't think it is good if they still do..., well, we'll see about that. At that moment, the people there -- you are already drumming. They [the notables] arrive. [Clapping hands, as the villagers would do to greet them] Ooh, here they come. So, as far as you are concerned, you see them coming, [and you will think] they will do as we are doing. So, you are not going to worry, saying they will scold us because of the chief ['s orders] or for whatever reason. No, they come and they'll do as we do. So, you must realize that they will drink. Alright. So, when they arrive they first refuse to drink. That is the moment, I think, when you [to Mufwankolo] send out the one that is to scold them [telling him]: Give it to them. He arrives and finds them. [He is received:] Greetings to you. [And the emissary says] Get off, you. You, Tala Ngai, the chief over there is really angry. So it is you who brought the people here? Right? [So he complains that] he brought the people here. The people keep looking and looking and they realize that it was he who brought the people here. What is this about? They drink instead of working, and so on. Then you offer him beer, he accepts it and settles down. He must not sit down at the beginning. Because if he sits down right away before he drinks this would mean that he goes along with what you are doing. It is the beer that he drinks, it is the taste of the beer that makes him decide to sit down. Right? So begin at that point...

This part of Scene Six is then repeated two more times up to the point where Bwana Cheko and Masimango have also been corrupted and have joined the drinking and dancing. Then the chief and his wife are approaching. The singing and drumming first slows down, then it dies. Some of the actors pretend to be too drunk to notice and continue. They are silenced and Mufwankolo clears his throat:


The Chief Goes to the Fields. Rehearsal Version.

Mufwankolo: minaona sasa: njo kazi yenu hii/ ba notables yangu: bale minaweka kitumaini: kwa kuniunga mukono: nabo kweli: banakuwa kujitumbukiza mu hii kazi/ minabatuma: kama mwende: mukaonyeshe: population : bakaaji/ bote wa mukini kwa kuwa kuendelesha kazi ya mashamba/ hii kunywa hivi: njo kazi gani hii? munaacha kazi ya kulima: munaikalia paka kunywa/ kweli: muzuri sana/ lakini: hata wananikimbia: wanaikimbisha mwee wenyewe/ na miye sasa hapa: nitakamata mpango moya makali kabisa kabisa/ mi iko natafuta kwendelesha inchi mbele/ niko natafuta kuendelesha: ninyi wakahaji: mukuwe kweli wakahaji wa kweli: mu umoja wenu/ mapendo: masikilizano: kusaidiana/ lakini ile yote nilifanya: mwee yote munaona kama ni kazi ya bure/ munanizarau25/ sababu ya wale watu watatu/ wanakuja kumichonga/ waiko namiambia mambo ya bongo/ wiko namidanganya/ lakini: tutaonana nao/ na hapa sasa: hii yote: mipango yote: inabakia yangu mi mwenyewe peke: nitakamata uwezo na mipanga yote: nitaanza paka kufanya mi mwenye peke/ tele: vile batafanya/ kunaisha: allez : nyi yote wa vi: nani: wa: wakaaji: ku mukini/

Mufwankolo: Now I see, this is what you call work. I had hoped that my notables would lend me a hand [to help me]; now I find that they got themselves mixed up with this "work." I sent them out. Go, [I told them] show the population26, all the people of the village, how to get on with the work in the fields. This drinking here, what kind of work is this? You stoped the work in the fields and you just sit around drinking. This is very fine, indeed. But, although it may seem that they alone abandoned me, in reality they made you run away from me. And as far as I am concerned now, I am going to make a truly severe ruling. Above all, I want the country to make progress. I want you, the population, to progress, so that you may become a population of value, one that is united. Mutual love, mutual understanding, and mutual help.27 But everything I have done you seem to regard as worthless. You pay no attention to me, because of those three people who came to work on you.28 They tell you lies. They cheat you. But we will face each other. As for right now, responsibility for all orders will be with me alone. I alone am going to assume responsibility and I alone shall give all the orders. And you are going to see how they will act. That's it. Go away, all of you people, go to the village.

The villagers take up their tools and the drums and leave. This could be the end. Tala Ngai suggests a change: if the chief now goes back to his place alone, hakuna suite , then there is nothing that follows. Kachelewa thinks the villagers should follow him. Tala Ngai: You get them moving right away. Tell them that all have to go home right now. You and your wife go ahead, they follow you to the court. They enter and sit down. Then you give your morale , the final admonition. This is agreed upon. Kachelewa makes suggestions for the morale .
In the final performance, the villagers are shown drinking and dancing and this continues for some time. Then the camera is briefly back on the chief's court where Mufwankolo gives orders to notable Tala Ngai.]


The Chief sends Tala Ngai to the Fields. Final Version.

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Villagers preparing for feast
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Mufwankolo: bantu bapashwa: beko nalima mashamba/
Tala Ngai: ndiyo/
Mufwankolo: ule wasipo kulima: wasipo kuwa na kazi: wasipo kuwa na shamba yake: ukuye kuniambia/
Tala Ngai: kalombo/
Mufwankolo: upite ku mashamba ya kila muntu: eh/
Tala Ngai: kalombo/
Mufwankolo: wende wepesi/
Tala Ngai: kalombo/
Mufwankolo: mbiombio/

Mufwankolo: The people have the order to work their fields.
Tala Ngai: Yes.
Mufwankolo: [If you find] someone who does not cultivate, who has no work, who does not have his field, come and tell me.
Tala Ngai [At your orders] chief.
Mufwankolo: Go by everybody's field, you understand?
Tala Ngai: Yes, chief.
Mufwankolo: Go and hurry.
Tala Ngai: Yes, chief.
Mufwankolo: Hurry up.

After that, the scene in the fields appears on the screen. The villagers are still singing and drumming, there is drinking and general merriment. Then Tala Ngai arrives. The soundtrack is of fair quality but portions cannot be transcribed because several persons talk at once.

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Villagers feasting in the fields
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Tala Ngai in the Fields. Final Version.

Tala Ngai: acha: acha: ...alafu ni nini kwanza makelele hivi?
Villagers: [protest]29
Tala Ngai: hii furaha inyewe ni ya nini? inapashwa hivi: inapashwa hivi/ [...] kila muntu analima mashamba yake/ [...] kuisha kulima mashamba munaweza kuikala paka hivi munakunya kakilauri: si njo ....?...[...] leta mbele lubaya/
Woman: acha kwanza bakupatieko mbele kamoya/
Kalwasha: ikala kwanza pa mututa pale/
Others: pa mututa/ njo vile tunaonaka [...]
Woman: wimbo: wimbo: mwiko mu kucheza...

Tala Ngai: Stop it, stop it ... but what is this noise here?
Villagers: [protest]
Tala Ngai: What is all this rejoicing about? This is what ought be done, what ought to be done [....] every one cultivates his fields. When the fields are worked you can take a rest and a little glas, isn't that ....?... pass the ladle.
Woman: Let them first give you a small one.
Kalwasha: He should first sit down in the furrow over there.
Others: In the furrow. That's how we see it [...]
Woman: Singing! Singing! Get into the dance!

A sort of fighting song is intoned, consisting mainly of repetitions of tuta mawila, Lumundu 30
Then the camera is back on Mufwankolo and his court in the village. He speaks to his guards:


The Chief Sends his Guards to the Fields. Final Version.

Mufwankolo: muangarie/ nilituma Tala Ngai: mwanzo alienda: yee bado kurudia hapana/ mwee wende: mukapite mu kila mashamba/ tena kama munamukutana Tala Ngai eko kule: munabamba yee: munaleta hapa/ tangu nilimutuma: kunakuwa masiku tatu muzima/ yee hapana kurudia/ mwee munakwenda hapa: mwende/ mutaangaria bantu: kama beko naanza na kazi ya kulima/ munasikia?
Guards: ndiyo chef /
Mufwankolo: allez : mwendeni bwepesi/
Guard: ...?... chef /
Mufwankolo: ule hakatumika kazi munafunga yee: kuleta hapa/
Guards: ndiyo chef /

Mufwankolo: Look here. I sent Tala Ngai. He left and has not returned. Now you leave and go to every field. And if you find that Tala Ngai is there, arrest him and bring him here. It's been three full days [hours?] since I sent him and he has not come back. You leave right now and see whether the people have started working. You understand?
Guards: Yes, chief.
Mufwankolo: Come on, get going fast.
Guard: ...?... chief.
Mufwankolo: Anyone who does not do his work you tie him up and bring him here.
Guards: Yes, chief.

[short passage incomprehensible]

After that the action is back in the fields. The villagers are singing and dancing. The guards arrive. When they come to the villagers they have difficulties getting their attention. Tala Ngai, now obviously drunk, speaks for the people. Almost everyone joins him in trying to get the guards to sit down and have a good time. They protest weakly: chef atashirika , the chief is going to be angry. Then they give in; Tala Ngai orders piga ngoma , beat the drum, and the festivities continue. As to obtaining a text of this brief scene, some fragments could probably retrieved but they would be meaningless. In this case the sound recording is of reasonably good quality, it is simply that disorder, confusion, and anarchy successfully enacted do not lend thenselves to being represented in an orderly fashion.
The camera stays for a while on the people in the fields, then the action is back in the village. The Chief gets more and more impatient and now sends the two remaining notables , Bwana Cheko and Masimango, to the fields.

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Two notables are sent to the fields (Bwana Cheko and Masimango)
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The Chief sends Bwana Cheko and Masimamgo to the Fields. Final Version.

Mufwankolo: Bwana Cheko/
Bwana Cheko: vidyee/
Mufwankolo: Masimango/
Masimango: kalombo/
Mufwankolo: mwendeni/ mwende mukaangarie bantu bupesi bubpesi/ ...?... bwepesi/ bantu pa fasi/ mulete haba bantu betu/
Masimango: vidyee kalombo/
Mufwankolo: toi viens ici / bantu pa fasi/
Masimango: vidyee kalombo/
Mufwankolo: mwende ...[the rest incomprehensible]

Mufwankolo: Bwana Cheko.
Bwana Cheko: Chief.
Mufwankolo: Masimango.
Masimango: Chief.
Mufwankolo: Go. Go and look at the people and do it fast. ...?... fast. [See to it that] the people are each where they are supposed to be.31 And bring me those people of mine [whom I sent out before].
Masimango: At your orders, chief.
Mufwankolo: You, get here! [I want] the people where they are supposed to be.
Masimango: At your orders, chief.
Mufwankolo: Go...[the rest incomprehensible]

The the fields appear on the screen again. The villagers are singing and dancing; some are on the ground, overcome by drunkenness. The camera shows the two notables approaching through the fields. When they arrive, Bwana Cheko addresses the villagers. He scolds them and reminds them of the chief's orders. Masimango does the same. Then things happen as before in rehearsal -- the two notables accept a drink and join the singing and dancing. Again, I had to give up making a useable transcription of this passage. The gist of it is: Bwana Cheko and Masimango stop the villagers and accuse them, above all Tala Ngai, of disobeying the chief's orders. The villagers talk back. Beer is offered and things turn around when Bwana Cheko has a taste and declares it delicious.

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Notables watching the villagers
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At any rate, dialog is now getting less and less important. The soundtrack consists mainly of singing and drumming providing the background to scenes of drunkenness and dissipation. The song is still the same: Tuta, Mawila , march on, Mawila. Also, something went wrong with the microphone connection and there are some gaps on the TV soundtrack. At one point the director (or a technician) switch to Camera 2 (in the chief's court). There is a brief passage of (incomprehensible) "backstage" conversation between Mufwankolo and the people who are still with him. Then the mistake is noticed and Camera 1 is put back on. Finally there is one more switch back to the chief's court. The chief has nothing left but to send out his wife.


The Chief Sends his Wife to the Fields. Final Version.

Mufwankolo: Inamfumu /
Amunaso: Mwami32/
Mufwankolo: minaona mambo inaanza kunichokesha kabisa/ mambo inanichokesha/ nitafanya sasa namna gani kwanza mbele? bantu natumako: tangu balikwenda: natumako haba: tangu balikwenda: natumako haba: tangu balikwenda/...?...kwanza mambo gani inapita kule ku: ku mashamba kule? sasa wee mwenyewe wende kwanza ukaangarie bale bantu haba/ wende kabisa kabisa/ unapita fasi yote/ kubaambia asema sultani anasirika kabisa/

Mufwankolo: Inamfumu .
Amunaso: Chief.
Mufwankolo: I see that I am really getting tired with this affair. I am getting fed up. What am I going to do now? I sent out people, again and again, they never came back. ...?...[I want to know] first what is happening there in the fields. So now you go yourself and look at those people there. Leave right away, and go everywhere.
Tell them the chief is really angry.

Then the action is back in the fields. Inamfumu approaches the villagers and watches them from a distance, hiding among banana trees. Then she returns to the court and tells the chief what is going on in the fields. He now decides that he must go and see for himself. He arrives on the scene and addresses the villagers. Tala Ngai tries to steal away.


The Chief Goes to the Fields. Final Version.

Mufwankolo: mwee/ njo kazi munaikalia huku? wanamituma kwenda kulima/ kufanya kazi ya mashamba/ munaikalia kunywa mapombe/ na kucheza paka michezo wa bule/ mwee hapana kumbuka hata na kazi hapana/ minatuma bapulisi: banakuya huku/ hata kuniletea rapport hapana/ minatuma ba notables : nabo banakuya huku/ banakimbia na kukimbia/....?..../ mwee kazi yenu inaisha/ njo kusema: mwee bote mwiko hapa: allez munifwate kwangu ku mulango/ mutasikia/ ba notables njo bangu kweli: minaibatuma: banakuya kuikala paka kazi ya kunywa pombe na kucheka michezo ya bule/ tutaangaria nabo/ pamoya na polisi/ nitaangaria: allez : mwee bote ya mugini: allez kwangu upesi/

Mufwankolo: You there, is this how you are doing your work? You had the order to cultivate, to work in the fields. Now you are sitting around drinking and dancing stupid dances. Not for a moment do you think of your work. I sent out my guards. They got here but never gave me a report. I sent the notables . They too arrived here and [now] they are running away [in all directions]. [Short passage incomprehensible; then to the notables ] Your job is finished. And all of you here, get going and follow me to my house. You will hear [what I have to say]. I sent out my notables and they got here and all they did was drinking and have fun with stupid dances. We will look at them, as well as the guard, [and see what we do with them]. I will look [at them]. Now get going, all of you from the village, get to my place fast.

The villagers pick up their things and follow, together with a crowd of spectators from Kawama who had followed the action to the fields.


1Kinawapi is an expression of uncertain origin, synonymous with namna gani , in what manner, how.
2 The verb kutambuza could be an ECS form (not used in Shaba/Katanga Swahili) meaning "to forge, to beat the iron," hence, by extension, to beat the drum; but then the locative mu would be incomprehensible. Or it is simply a mistake, for Shaba/Katanga Swahili kutambuka , to stride, step over (see Lenselaer 1983: 515). In the translation I opt for the latter.
3 By using the ECS form of the greeting (seldom heard in Katanga) Kamwanya switches to a higher register, in this case as a mocking exaggeration of politeness.
4 Kalwasha here (and elsewhere) mixes morphemes; twa is the Bemba equivalent of Shaba Swahili tu , the verb-prefix marking first person plural. In other words, apart from using phonological ("accent") and lexical elements, he also plays with morphology in order to achieve the desired effect of an old fashioned, peasant way of talking.
5 Kunyororosha means to stretch (see ECS kunyorora , to become thin).
6 Here a French loan appears phonologically fully integrated: rapport , heard as something like lapoo , becomes, with an intervocalic l and a further "Luba" touch in the form of an lw cluster, lwapolo . The point is, though, that this is no longer done "naively" but in a manner calculated to get a laugh.
7 Lupalo or lupao means a spoon; in this case it refers to a cup with a handle made from a gourd, resembling a large spoon or a ladle. Synonyms are lukata (see ECS kata) and lubaya (Luba, see Van Avermaet and Mbuya 1954: 41, a long-stemmed calabash, cut in two along its length).
8 A form of ECS poromosha, knock down, cause to fall.
9 Derived from Luba - toma , tomena , to drink (Van Avermaet and Mbuya 1954: 708).
10 Mufwankolo corrects himself here; Kabeya is Tala Ngai's name in real life.
11 The sense of these questions is: Should the change of scene to the fields and the necessity to move back and forth between fields and court require a separate scene or should the action simply go on and explain itself (by orders presumed to be given by the chief)?
12 What "this" refers to is not clear. Were the chief's orders to be sandwiched between the two court cases (taking the place of the scene with the hunter)? Be that as it may, the remark suggests that it was a function of the hunter's visit to create a "continuous village ambience." In Shaba/Katange Swahili ambiance is integrated as a loan and has a positive connotation, roughly "having a good time."
13 This is how it was done in the final performance. While the move was made, a record was played and a legend appeared on the screen saying Shambani , in the fields.
14 The "you" here is second person singular, explained by the fact that Mufwankolo addresses the actors who will be sent out by the chief (see below) and corrupted, one after the other, by the villagers. In the following sentence, the "you" refers to the woman whose role it is to cajole the visitors.
15 This is a song that used to be popular in Lubumbashi. At this point in the rehearsal only the refrain is repeated, later on verses are added; both are in Bemba. Minakwenda no buta means "I am off with my gun [to go hunting]."
16 Tala Ngai seems to be somewhat confused by the constant switching in pronominal address in Mufwankolo's direction (a confusion shared by the translator) and asks for clarification. Are we talking about two events or one?
17 The original says literally that she "goes into the drum[ming]." This evokes the manner a dance gets stared. First people sit or stand around in a circle, then one person takes the initiative, steps into the center, and begins dancing.
18 Kalwasha uses ("quotes") a metaphorical and possibly proverbial expression. As to the meaning I can only offer the following guess. Kanyamba may be a Luba term said by Van Avermaet and Mbuya (1954: 439) to designate an animal, striped red and white, which stinks. This could refer to the chief's uniformed guards.
19 The sentence is partly incomprehensible in the original. Literally, it says "...cause [something] to go down the throat."
20 Masimango means "rejoicing over another's misfortune," (especially going around, telling others about it).
21 "Nice" is an attempt to render a connotation which in the original is marked by adding to pombe the diminutive plural prefix tu- . A more literal translation, with a diminutive having about the same connotation, would be possible, for instance, in Dutch or German: biertjes , Bierchen .
22 Tala Ngai addresses Bwana Cheko properly as mukubwa , older person, person of importance, chief.
23 Literally, the original says: "Go away with your drunkenness."
24 The laughter acknowledges a pun or double entendre based on the Luba word kutomena in the original. It can refer to a place where one fetches water, but also to a place where one drinks.

25 The verb kuzarau is current for "to ignore, to neglect." It does not seem to exist in ECS, unless this Shaba/Katanga Swahili form is a variant of kusahau , to forget.
26 Here and in the following the term "population" may sound awkward but it renders an intentional assumption, on the part of of Mufwankolo, of an "official" register in his speech. See also the note to the original.
27 Mufwankolo here uses a formula that occurs almost exactly in the same form as a central tenet in the teachings of the Jamaa movement in Shaba (see Fabian 1971). It is not to be excluded that he did this consciously, for my benefit. More likely, I believe, it is simply the kind of spill-over from Jamaa discourse into general popular rhetoric that I have observed elsewhere (see Fabian 1979: 182)
28 The original has the verb kuchonga , to carve, to work on a sculpture; the extended meaning is: to work on someone in order to turn him around; see the meaning of ECS kuchongea , tell tales about, inform against.
29 Here and in the following, the villagers greet Tala Ngai's speech with protest and interjections. These are too confused to be rendered meaningfully and are therefore only marked by [...].
30 According to information received in a letter from the Mufwankolo group (May 30, 1988) it is in Kizela (a group east of Lake Moero):
     March on, Lumundu
     It is still far to Mwenge's.
31 Literally, the command given by Mufwankolo would have to be translated as "people in place."
32 The terms of address exchanged here are both marked as "traditional." Inamfumu is Luba for the chief's (first) wife, the "queen." Mwami is yet another term for chief, here probably taken from Sanga/Yeke (where it was introduced from the East).


Fabian, Johannes. (1971). Jamaa: A charismatic movement in Katanga. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

Fabian, Johannes. (1979). 'Text as Terror: Second Thoughts on Charisma.' In Johannes Fabian (ed.), Beyond Charisma: Religious Movements as Discourse. Special Issue of Social Research 46: 166-203.
(reprinted in Johannes Fabian. 1991. Time and the work of anthropology: Critical essays 1971-1991. Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers. 65-85.)

Lenselaer, Alphonse. (1983). Dictionnaire swahili-français. Paris: Editions Karthala.

Van Avermaet, E. and B. Mbuya. (1954). Dictionnaire kiluba - français. Tervuren: Musée Royale de l'Afrique Centrale.



[Scene 1 -The law of the land]

[Scene 2 - Trouble brewing]

[Scene 3 - The case of the thief]

[Scene 4 - The hunter's visit]

[Scene 5 - The case of adultery]

[Scene 7 - The chief takes control - Order reestablished]

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Copyright notice:
These texts from Power and performance were made available online courtesy of The University of Wisconsin Press
1990, renewed 2001 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
Deposited at APS: 9 July 2001
Revisions: 12 July 2001 (reference to Fabian 1979 completed), 24 August 2001 (APS Volume number added), 2 October 2001 (photos added), 31 October 2001 (ISSN added)