When one talks of the word Blackmail, what does it really mean? Have you ever been in a situation of being blackmailed? Blackmail means threatening to say something bad about someone unless that person pays some money. If someone has committed an offence or a crime, another person might blackmail them.
The blackmailer might, for example, say that if the offender does not give them a X or Y they will tell the authority.
A blackmailer may threaten to say something embarrassing
about someone unless they hand over a X or Y. It may be something about a favour or relation they are having that they do not want everyone to know about. Sometimes a business may blackmail another business. They might threaten to harm that business in some way unless something is paid. As you can see, Blackmail is an illegal act.
While in primary school, somewhere in Kyairumba just a few Kilometres from Mfashumwana Village (now known as Kyererezi), I was caught up in a quagmire. Boys being boys, we played all sorts of games until we ended up in trouble. This was true of almost all of us. Very few boys ever escaped being mischievous.
In those days, we used to have some rubber
bands, really huge ones. These were always smuggled out of the TAMTECO (Tooro & Mityana Tea Company) offices. The rubber bands were used to tie together bank notes that were always being brought to pay salaries and advances to the Tea estate workers. After disposing off the cash, the rubber bands would be thrown into the dustbins and we would end up
getting our hands on the stuff! As I said, boys will always be boys; weused to form armies of a sort and would engage in rubber band warfare, where one group shot at the other.
In those days, we had a teacher by the name or nickname of Cavanture, may his soul rest in peace. If I wished his soul to rest in pieces, that would be contrary to the African culture, where the departed are accorded maximum respect even if they were the worst of people while on this planet! Word has it that, he earned the name ‘Cavanture’ from the mathematical term curvature” (which he always failed to pronounce)!
At that time, he was our class teacher and the mathematics teacher for that. In all schools he had taught, he was feared far and wide for his advocacy in the use of the cane. He used to say that, I beat up until you shit, and I will beat up the shit too.” More or less a Bin Laden of sort!
I used to seat somewhere in the middle of the classroom, not at the back nor at the front! One day, as I was in the class, the ‘devil’ tempted me to shoot at one of my adversaries who sat way in front. Yes, it was the devil that had tempted me to do such a futile act. How on earth would anyone with a sane mind have thought of acting like I did? I shot at the guy and the ‘bullet’ (a ka piece of twig) went past the target and hit Mr Cavanture! You could have heard a pin drop.
Who did this? he roared. A girl sitting next to me had seen me and she was about to say who but fortunately, I gave her a deadly stare and she changed her mind! ‘Well, I will punish all of you’, he declared. True to his word, we were all canned!
Now, the girl next door, let me call her Alice, decided to extract a
pound of flesh from me. She told me that, from now onwards, she will no longer carry packed lunch, she will be feasting on my lunch, short of which, she would tell Cavanture who “shot” him! The fear of Cavanture drove me into submission. She began feasting on my lunch for a full week and there seemed to be no stop anywhere in the future! One day, I decided not to give up my lunch, kama mbaya, mbaya (come what may);
instead I walked to the front of the classroom and decided to report myself. I told him of what I had done and the ordeal I was going through! To my surprise, he laughed and forgave me but he called Alice forward and charged her of concealing and abetting a crime and carrying out the crime of blackmail and subsequently, she was given five strokes
of the cane!