THE RAIN QUEEN HAS SPOKEN…
I heard thunder last night. It is early for rain here, but all bets are off this year anyway. As the skies rumbled, I was reminded of a profoundly moving visit in my life, years ago, to the faraway Botswana village of Beetsa, where I met the visiting Rain Queen, a woman of the Hambukusha people. She was the link between heaven and earth, the Great Transformer of Clouds and someone who could withhold or release the rains.
My stumbling and heavily abused Setswana that tumbled from my lips only took me so far because she spoke in clicks and smacks, a dialect of the !Kung, with some Wayei influences. To be honest, I was floundering but gaining points for nodding knowingly.
Looking back, the importance was not in her words. It was in the ritualisation of a change in seasons, something everyone around the world celebrates.
The same people gather at the base of the Tsodilo Hills and watch for the silver threads of lightning to strike the hills and create ‘ladders’ for those who recently passed away, their only stairway to the heavens.
September is Spring month here. In Africa, we can feel it seep into our skins.
I have a growing sense of anticipation, a renewing of our hopes and dreams as I look around and see the flush of flowers on acacias, the heavy bellies of expectant impalas, and gathered tiny fluff ball Jacanas under the wings of their fathers. Interestingly it is their fathers, yes their fathers, not their mothers, who gather them up and walk them to safety.
At ol Donyo Lodge last week, a couple on their Kenya Safari confirmed their vows to each other in the company of Maasai. It reminded me that there is no better location for a Spring wedding. There is also no better time for us all to renew our vows with Nature than now too.
Today, our Watch Wednesday video reminds us of our deep connection with Nature, Africa, and the interesting rituals that the Hambukusha Rain Queen embodies. It also reminds us of how important this connection is to us all. So, as the clouds make hollow promises but hints that give us undying hope, this African Springtime, I would like to deliver a call to action to Renew Your Vows with Nature and silently promise to return to Africa one day soon.