Caya Makhele-Congo Brazzaville

Caya Makhele, Congo, Brazzaville, Writer
  

Caya Makhele was born in Congo-Brazzaville in 1954 and has been living in Paris for the fast 8 years . A play-writer and theatre producer, who started his own company in 1981 and put together some of his own works which were played in Brazzaville, Kinshasa and Paris : ’Sa Majesté le vent’, ’Le boxeur’, ’La fable du cloître des cimetières’ . Caya Makhele is also a writer of two novels, ’L'homme au landau’ and ’Le voyage inattendu’ (Éditions L’Harmattan), and one children's book, ’Une vie d’éléphants' (Edicef-Hachette).

  

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Canis Familiaris

[published in RN 04 in March 1992, unpublished original text written in French translated by V.C. Koppel]

  

What we have here is a god who's been banished and become a devil on earth.

The gods have their black sheep too.

In this scene the metamorphosis of Makiadi continues.

  
  

– A stand in the marketplace. Beyond it some two-by-fours are scattered about on the ground.

  
Ogba – In a trance
A grey miniature poodle, lovely lady, and your hair will stand on end! The poodle is for an estouffade. One of my favorite dishes. Marinate the poodle for as long as your patience holds out, in palm wine seasoned with pimento, bay leaves, a few cloves, little onions, salt and a litre of peanut oil. When the big day comes, reheat the poodle with bacon cut in triangles, strain the marinade, put the meat in a casserole and simmer, covered, here again, for as long as you can stand it. While that’s cooking, make a thick sauce of chicken or tortoise blood... My good man, for you, two black briards and you’ll leave here with as many dirty tricks as you’d ever need to know ! I am Ogba the devil-god. Here today, gone tomorrow. Don’t miss your chance. I‘ve got nine hundred and ninety thousand objects that’ll transport you to worlds you never dreamed of. You’ve got troubles, I’m a trouble doctor, like I was a shoe doctor, a watch doctor, a clothes doctor, doctor of all sorts of problems. Don’t hesitate to come see me, I’ve got a solution for all your problems. Have a look, it can’t hurt. Some camel stomach powder, scorpion venom and cockroach turd liqueurs, frog spittle, holy water and lilliputian sperm balms. Ageless vials. Come on over, don’t be afraid ! Are you all gonna desert me ?
  
I’m Ogba, the devil-god. Kind today, who knows what tomorrow. Choose your day. Butter me up with a couple of dogs : a Yorkshire male, a Basset female, vaccinated and tatooed, a Greyhound, a Bulldog, a Briard, a Fox terrier, a Boxer, a Doberman, pedigreed or not, even some Dachshunds, that dirty nasty species - according to St. Anthony – and don’t forget the Batéké dogs. Ogba is a cross-eyed pig. He burps, limps, ogles, drools and farts.
  
Ogba is Ogba !
  
– Come in Makiadi
Ogba knows just what you need, a mask. I’ve got masks of all colors here. You want to be white, black, yellow, red, albino, mulatto, I’ve got the mask for you. Happy masks, sad masks, hypocrite masks, hate masks, desperation and disdain masks, tired masks and rested masks. Just put one on and off you go, a new you.
  
Makiadi
No thanks, I don’t need a mask.
  
Ogba
That’s too bad, a little happy mask would brighten your face up.
  
Makiadi
Sorry, but I have the face I need. It’s the face of defeat, abandon, and resignation.
  
Ogba
In that case you need a hate mask. You’ll hate every creature on earth.
  
Makiadi
I wouldn’t know how to have hate on my face. I was forbidden to show hate.
  
Ogba
By whom ?
  
Makiadi
A woman.
  
Ogba
You love her and you’re trying to forget, is that it ? She’s driving you crazy and you don’t know where to find her. She’s running through your veins like a spooked horse and you feel her whinny in your gut. You’re in love with a dead woman. The leash she’s got you on reaches through limbo, a universe I know well.
  
Makiadi
You’re right.
  
Ogba
Ogba can’t be wrong. Ogba has eyes everywhere. Night eyes, day eyes, X-ray eyes, eyes that see far and wide. I take care of my eyesight with cat’s eyes. I don’t like cat meat, so when there’s cat I only eat the eyes. I’m a worry doctor and I’m at your service, noble sir.
  
Makiadi
Can you tell me how to find my beloved and how to save her ?
  
Ogba
How many dogs have you got ? I don’t want any more cat’s eyes. I had a stomach ache just last night from too many. So, how many dogs have you got ?
  
Makiadi
None.
  
Ogba
This country is disappointing ; Not a single dog left. Let me tell you, there was a time when you couldn’t even go out, the sidewalk was so full of dog shit. Those were the good old days. Ogba arrived... Ogba, that’s me. We’re Ogba from generation to generation, so that down through the ages there is, in effect, but one Ogba. Anyway, at that time, all I had to do was reach out my hand to catch as many canis familiaris as I could eat. Other times, other tastes.
  
Makiadi
All you eat is dog ? You don’t think that’s disgusting ?
  
Ogba
Have you ever heard of education ? Being taught how to woo a woman, how to dress, to have morals. In my case, I was taught how to eat. I was taught to eat dogs, and they’re good to chew, they are the basic identity of my stomach. And we’re living in an age of identities, don’t you agree ?
  
Makiadi
Is that a reason ?
  
Ogba
What do you know about stewed spaniel leg, about how you have to let it hang two full days, debone it just half way up, wrap it twice in strips of lard, tie the whole thing together with string, and not forget to stick it with raw garlic cloves ? You have to know how to prepare the skillet using palm oil. Then all you have to do is add the spaniel, seal the pot and put it in a hot oven. You wait, but not very long, because the smell coming from the oven will well whet your appetite. Take it out and sprinkle it with a little water. Done like this, it cooks through and ends up with a delicious, crusty skin.
  
Makiadi
Listen, I didn’t really mean anything by that. I know there are even people who eat caterpillar and snails. I’m perfectly tolerant, in fact. I just don’t have a dog to give you.
  
Ogba
No matter ! You seem likable enough to me. I’m gonna give you the steak tartare of german shepherd recipe... Really - it’s so easy, you can probably guess what to do. Better yet, the recipe for bulldog head in grain sauce.
  
Makiadi
Keep your recipe. Just give me a new face and get going.
  
Ogba
Don’t worry, I’m going to change your face right away and for free.
  
– He rumages through his stuff pulling out one mask after another.
No, not this one, it’s too narrow. Not this one either, no...no...no... Decidedly, there’s nothing here that really suits you. Oh look...look ! What have we here ? A habit ! Ogba the devil-god has found a monk’s frock for his nameless friend.
  
– He gives him the monk’s robe.
It’s the body mask you should change. Here, put this on !
  
Makiadi
You’re not thinking straight, these things are sacred !
  
Ogba
Because I’m a devil-god and because I guarantee peace of mind. Don’t hesitate too long, opportunity may be passing you by.
  
Makiadi
If you think this will help me find my beloved...
He puts the habit on. Church bells ring and a religious chant can be heard.
  
Ogba
Do you hear how the habit is accepting you ? Have faith in my diabolic know-how, you’re not far from this woman you call your beloved.
  
Makiadi
If only what you say could be true !
  
Ogba
Here, as a bonus, I’ll build you a confessional.
He slaps together two seats out of the two-by-fours lying around and puts them facing each other.
There you go, a poor man’s confessional, but it works.
He packs up his things and leaves.
See you later !
  
  
Caya Makhele

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