A legend is told of scapegoats. Scapegoats were servants of rich masters who were punished in the steads of their masters and their children. Scapegoats were widely used from China to Europe.
There was a servant girl in Africa who unfortunately had the curse of the lot to be chosen as a scapegoat for her chief’s son, Makulume.
The Chief, Juruge owned close to ten thousand head of cattle and land which stretched as far as the eye could see. She was to be given a cow every time she was whipped and since her family was poor, the promise of daily cows was a temptation for them to blind their eyes to a little pain.
Daily cows I say, because Makulume was naughty. He raided cotton granaries, let his dogs loose on old women to see them run, sowed his oats wherever they could be planted and raised the ire of girls’ parents who depended on their virginity to get good dowries from the neighbouring villages.
The scapegoat cried out to the silent gods and to the goddesses of the land to save her from the hell she was about to enter and finally to her parents. As was to be expected, they pretended to be dead asleep while they substituted their daughter’s face with pictures of the cows and lush land that was in their grasp, if only their pesky daughter would keep quiet.
So, for the girl the next day, her doomed life commenced. Any time of the night, she would be roused for a thorough whipping. Makulume was naughty the most at night.
Pretty soon she lost all interest in life. She kept wishing that the steel claws that scratched her back every time they hit her would hit her throat, and she would turn in the middle of a whipping so that the whipper would reach his target.
Slowly by slowly, her parents started regretting their greed. The girl, who never left home without greeting, had only insults and epithets, always mocking the boys who came to visit her, and had become quite terrible to look at, since she wore her death wish on her face like a frown.
Her mother was the first to break. She visited Makulume in the night to ask him to stop misbehaving. “Please stop, my daughter wants to die because of your bad behaviour,” she told him.
Makulume only laughed and pushed her down and went on his merry way, as he was going to the stream at night to meet up with a village belle. Of course, her daughter suffered for that misdemeanor.
As he neared the stream, Makulume saw a lithe figure leaping through the tall reeds heading towards the same stream he was going to. He followed the person, mainly as he thought the belle was entertaining someone else before him.
As he crept up on the figure, which was now perched on a fallen log, he prepared his palm to give the belle a hard slap. Whether it was his raised hand or whether he snapped a twig, he will never know however, it is now spoken widely that Makulume ran mad of love with his scapegoat on the same night she killed herself. Screaming in pain and anguish at the amount of pain her young life had had to bear.
Makulume never married and he was quiet from that day, until the day he died.