TITLE : A WREATH FOR FATHER MAYER
AUTHOR : S. N. NDUNGURU
SETTING : TANZANIA MAINLAND
YEAR : 1997
PUBLISHER : HEINEMANN
STRUCTURE OF THE NOVEL
The novel is divided into three phases which are further divided into fourteen chapters. The division of the book into three phases is intended to show the major areas of the story.
The first phase is set in Tanzania covering chapters one to five. The second phase is set in Europe particularly Britain and Germany which covers chapters six to nine.
The third phase is set again in Tanzania mainly at Mkongo Village which located at Songea District in Ruvuma Region covering chapters ten to fourteen.
This novel speaks about Cholera epidemic disease which erupts at Mkongo Village and the attempt to find solution towards this dreadful disease.
This disease erupts due to the lack of clean and safe water within the village which located at Songea District in Ruvuma and some people involve themselves in conflict due to ignorance and poor belief that they bewitched each other while the real causer is cholera epidemic disease.
This novel also speaks about poverty at Mkongo Village. The novelist shows Father Moyo who is the Parish Priest of Mkongo Catholic Mission Station trying to solve problem of cholera epidemic disease by telling the villagers to find themselves the empty kerosene tins and distribute to themselves. He insists by telling the villagers that they have to use these empty kerosene tins for keeping safe boiled drinking water.
He continues telling the villagers to wash their hands with soaps before eating any kind of food. But the problem is that, many people who live at Mkongo village are very poor hence they can’t afford even to buy soaps and the empty kerosene tins. This situation makes Father Moyo to enter into personal conflict on how he should do in order to make his people safe.
Also the novelist speaks about conflicts which occur in the society due to poor belief. This evidenced as the novel opens with a special Sunday prayer when Father Moyo is inside the church with other worshippers fully of grief thinking about epidemic disease. Father Moyo is counting not less than twenty of his parishioners died and buried in the recent past.
The cholera epidemic had left behind a number of widows and orphans. This calamity has brought tense and great conflict in the society. For instance, the conflict between Father Moyo and the young man Adolfo Teodor. This conflict emages when Father Moyo is in the church proceeding with the miser then the young man Adolfo Teodor comes and complaining about his son illness. He was accusing his grandmother as a witch, so he followed her in a church where she was praying. Adolfo Teodor claims,
“She killed my sister las month and now
My little son is sick. She wants to kill him too”
Father Moyo as a priest is trying to exculpate Adolfo’s grandmother not to be beaten by her grandson Adolfo. This act annoys Adolfo and starts changing wards with Father Moyo by saying,
“You can say what you like. You are a Priest and it is your duty to say such things. You have no children, therefore you can not understand the anguish of having a sick child of your own. You can not feel the pangs of grief for losing a child”.
The child was not be witched but suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting, but the people always believe in superstitions.
FATHER MOYO’S JOURNEY TO EUROPE
As Father Moyo tried to find permanent solution to the villagers against cholera epidemic disease. He decides to go to find Bishop Makita and tell him about his mission to Europe looking for assistance from their benefactors. As the author narrates the conversation which is going on between Father Moyo and Bishop Makita
“I want your advice. I have been thinking of travelling. To Europe to see my benefactors. I have a lot of standing invitations from them, you know”
At first, Bishop Makita is very difficult to agree with Father Moyo’s journey, but after a long time he is conviced. Bishop Makita agreed to allow Father Moyo to go in Europe.
“Alright, Father Denis Moyo. I shall pay your fare, and you can make your travel arrangements as you like” Said Bishop Makita as he closed the door.
Therefore, after few weeks Father Denis Moyo started his journey from Dar es Salaam to Europe particularly Britain and Germany.
AT THE AIRPORT
While Father Moyo is at the airport he met a group of pilgrims who are travelling to Mecca for pilgrimage. In the group there is somebody who is not new to him. So he approached the man he thought he knew and greeted him. We are introduced to their conversation:
“I seem to have seen you before” Said Father Moyo, shaking hands with the man
“Where did you hail from Mzee?”
“I am from Songea”, answered the man.
“Of course. That’s why I thought I’d seen you before. I am also from Songea. I am the Padre of Mkongo Church. Padre Denis Moyo”.
“Oh, I see. I haven’t been to Mkongo myself but I have a brother who lives there”.
“Really? Who is that?”
“Bwanapima. You must have heard of him. He is a famous medicine man in Mkongo”.
“Of course I know Bwanapima. And you say he is your brother?”
Bwanali immediately broke off his conversation with Father Moyo and rejoined his fellow pilgrims.
Father Moyo also stood up and collect his handbag. Father Moyo got on board to Europe. His mission is successfully done, first in Birmingham and then in Munich.
IN THE PLANE TO EUROPE
Father Moyo got a friend who introduced himself as James O’Brien. This was British young man who deals with drugs and hashish. This young man came from calabrini gang which deals with drugs all over the world including China, Malaya, India, Mexico and Tanzania where they grew Opium, Marijuana and other drugs.
The calabrini’s organization has huge network in transportation of drugs. Example: On the sea, roads and air.
James O’Brien succeeded to export his hashish by hiding a hashish packets in the (Green Label written Tanzania Tea) into Father Moyo’s bag. Father Moyo did not notice about the drug with him until his bag is caught at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
After short investigation with police father has seen innocent and released.
Father Moyo was captured by drug dealers from Calabrini gang. They have beaten him severely to an extent that he lost consciousness. Father Moyo found himself in gang’s house. He met Doctor Bennet a scientist and a medical doctor in Calabrini’s organization. Doctor Bennet had joined the Calabrini’s organization ten years past. He is infact the brain behind the organization. He helped Father Moyo to escape from the gang’s hands. Doctor Bennet says to Father Moyo.
“As for your safe conduct out of here I shall make the necessary preparations and by midnight tonight you should be free”.
Before Father Moyo had left he met Doctor Bennet, his savior at Basle Switzerland. In their entire allegation Father Moyo is trying to convince Doctor Bennet by any means to go to Africa, particularly in Tanzania. At the end Doctor Bennet agreed and promise to work in one of the mission’s hospitals or dispensaries at Mkongo. As it is shown in their conversation.
“How about coming to Africa with me?”
“Sounds like a good idea. Would be welcome?”
“Why, of course! If you could give the suggestion serious thought. I would do everything to help” “I like the idea of working in Africa. But I would have to plan the move carefully so that when I get there I would be able to work in a hospital or dispensary of some kind”.
In Germany, at the Benedictine Monastery of St. Ottilien where most of the White Missionaries in Songea diocese had come from and place where Father Vitus Mayer is buried. One morning as Father Moyo was passing through a small village on his way to a neighbouring town, Father Moyo noticed some lovely flowers displayed outside the window. He was informed that, that was a small time’s Florist shop. He stopped at the shop and asked the Florist to prepare a wreath of cornations and roses for him. This is to be a wreath for Father Vitus Mayer. This is symbol of honour and respect to Father Vitus Mayer.
BACK TO MKONGO VILLAGE (SONGEA)
Due to cholera epidemic disease hence raises theft and murder.
On 9th September, Papandreau’s gang invaded brother Nyoka and took a carton of medicine (Tetracycline). The notable event in this course is the murder of Father Moyo’s house servant who called Kalistus.
The man was murdered on the way trying to save the stolen medicine. He is killed by one of the Papandreau’s gang (Mohamed Saidi). We get this evidence of killing from the confession of Christopher Miteo
“I now come to the most important part of my statement, or rather, my confession”.
“We were filing out of the unused door when Kalistus spotted us. He began to give chase shouting” “Thieves! Thieves!”.
“Our mission was to steal, not to kill. Unfortunately one of us, Mohamed Saidi, became nervous when Kalistus continued shouting and following us deep into the jungle….. Saidi waylaid Kalistus behind a bush. All we heard later were the frantic screams of dying man! We went back to see what’d happened. Only to see the work that Saidi had done”
The gang include Papandreaus himself as the gang boss, Athuman Abdallah Allias, Msumari, Barnabas Kapinga known as Mandondo and Mohamed Saidi.
This gang involved in different thefts in Songea. They could pick people’s pockets at the market and at the bus station, blocking people’s homes, offices, rob people during night time and take away vehicles and sometimes they could rob Banks.
Also we are told about irresponsibilities of police inspector known as Mpangala. We are told that when police given information which probably needed a quick measure they could not come on time. Father Moyo claims about the Police.
“I see all the same, it wont be until after two days that we can expect the Police to arrive. I know these people”.
In the process of exploring information about murderers, one villager called Musa who is said to have detected the death of Kalistus was taken by the Police at a hidden place. Musa was tortured and highly humiliated by the police who forced him to mention names of the murderers.
Musa saw them from a far what they were doing but he could not notice them because the murderers were strangers and had masked their faces. The investigation was therefore in vain because no arrest was made.
FATHER MOYO ARRIVED AT SONGEA FROM EUROPE
People are happy to see him back. He called Brother Nyoka and asked him if he knew the person called Miteo. This is the name proclaimed by Father Moyo’s dream.
At 08:00 hours on the appointed day the little courtroom of Songea in which the Chengu (traditional court of Ungoni) is to be held is filled to capacity. The case indeed was strange one since it was not known who was going to be the defendant.
As the case goes on, inspector Mpangala insists that Musa is the one among the killers so he should speak the truth about the Murderers. Seeing that what the police inspector did was non – sense, the angry mob begins to advance towards inspector Mpangala and his assistant.
Proceeding with this theft case, father Aloisius Kafupi, Father Denis Moyo and Brother Nyoka hold a conference in the sitting room. Kafupi suggests that the case should be explained to Mr. Patrick Milinga, the Regional Police Commander (R.P.C).
This is because Mr. Milinga is responsible, intelligent and an honest man compared to inspector Mpangala who is irresponsible man.
Now the case is presented to Mr. Milinga and Father Moyo told the Police Commander everything that is needed in this case including the suspects of the case. Father Moyo says,
“So we thought of inviting you here, in order to tell you information what we know and what we suspect about the theft and murder case of Mkongo”.
After listening for the explanations given by Father Moyo, Mr. Milinga promised to take measure on this case without any delay. Mr. Milinga says,
“Now if there is anything that you know or suspect, please let me know; For from now on I mean to take charge of this case myself.
It took almost two hours in that night when the all suspects are arrested.
Father Cyprian meets Paul aged twelve, the last born, a son of Bwanapima the medicine man who has five wives. Paul’s mother is Rozina the youngest and most loved wife of Bwanapima. Rozina is the daughter of the late Julius Ndiwu Miteo and the sister of suspect Christopher Miteo.
Paul tells the whole situation at home and why sometimes his mother does not cook for him when he returns from school. Paul says,
“She helps father with his medicine. Father brings a lot of herbs, roots and tree barks from the bush, and mother either pounds them in the wooden mortar, or boils them, or sometimes spreads the powders on a large mat. These days she sometimes peels some European medicines which look like beans”.
This information from Paul helped the investigation about this case.
AFTER ARRESTING ALL THE SUSPECTS
Mr. Milinga phoned Father Kafupi to tell him about the matter concerned.
“We have netted them”
“Netted them all; Miteo, Constantine, Bwanapima and
his wife Rozina and Yombayomba too.”
“You went as far as Mkongo?”
“Of course. We started off at 22:00 hours, and by 24:00 hours
we had all of them arrested. They are all here now.”
“How did you find Bwanapima’s house?”
Well, we got village Chairman first, and he took us to Bwanapima’s place.
We searched the maize barn and found a cellophane bag full of
tetracycline capsules. We then did a little arm twisting and the man’s wife,
Rozina screamed like a child. We wanted her to show us where she had buried the shells of the tetracycline capsules. She eventually showed us where she had buried the shells of the tetracycline capsules. We told her to dig out the stuff, which she did, of course. It is fortunately these things including government typewriters, motor spare parts, and letters which may shed light on a number of hitherto to unresolved cases”. Later in the morning we will start taking their statement. I will keep you informed, so long for now”.
Every suspect was interrogated by two Policemen, but the most interesting and most important of all statements is that made by Christopher Miteo who declared being involved in the stealing at priest’s house. He mentioned names of all who participated; Athumani Abdallah, Alias Msumari, Barnabas Kipingu and Mohamed Saidi who killed Kalistus.
Christopher Miteo proceeds with his long confession.
“Saidi waylaid Kalistus behind a bush. All we heard later were the frantic screams of a dying man! We went back to see what‘d happened, only to see the work that Saidi had done. Saidi threw the sword on the ground and looked at me. Then he started running away through the thick jungle. I have never set my eyes on him again since then. My guess is that he has either hanged himself. I picked up Saidi’s blood smeared sword, and three of us began to run away.
Now we see the judgment. Justice Mandwanga of Tanzania high court tried the case. The prosecution was made by Mr. Milinga, the (R.P.C) for Ruvuma Region.
Fifteen years jail for Constantine Kaguru, fifteen years jail for Omari Mtepa or Bwanapima for aiding thieves. Yombayomba got six months for giving false information to the Police. Christopher Miteo, Athumani Abdallah, Msumari and Barnabas Kipingu, Mandondo were each sentenced to fifteen years like their boss Constantine.
Having been sentenced, the accused are allowed to appeal within fourteen days. Only Constantine Kaguru and Omari Bwanapima appealed. Unfortunately, they were enhanced the sentence of twenty years each.
Going around of the end pages, we are introduced the sugar crisis in Songea. This is revealed by Bwanali who sells sugar in black market and uses behind door to import them from Arabian countries which use to go as one of Pilgrimage Muslem. This is hypocrite muslem.
At the end we are exposed to the arrival of Dr. Bennet at Songea Airport at 11:00 hours. He was welcomed with joy at the Bishop’s house. A simple discussion was made about where Dr. Bennet shall be posted. Dr. Bennet selected to work at Mkongo to Peramiho.
CHARACTERS AND CHARACTERIZATION
- Sister Gaudiosa
- Father Mayer
- Papandreu’s Gang
- James O’brien and Calabrian
- Father Denis Moyo
- Adolfo Teodor
CHOLERA EPIDEMIC DISEASE
In this novel, the novelist shows Mkongo village is left with a number of orphans and widows due to cholera epidemic disease. Father Moyo could count not less than twenty of his parishioners he had buried in the recent past. Father Moyo gives solution to his people by telling them to boil drinking water because the water that used are fetched from contaminated stream.
TORTURE AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION
In this novel, the novelist shows that during the investigation police do not regard humanity. The writer shows constable Hilary Muhagama pull Musa’s hair and Mr. Chowo also twists Musa’s hand at the back despite the truth and cooperation he is giving to them. Also the writer shows that policemen treating Musa by pointing a gun at him threatening to kill him.
In this novel the writer shows that the police could not respond to calls when something occurred until after some days had elapsed with an excuse that they had no transport. However some police like inspector Mpangala had made so many things to the people to an extent that people could no longer trust him.
In this novel the writer shows that people who live at Mkonga village are very poor. This reveals when Father Moyo told them to buy empty Kerosene tins and to buy soaps for washing their hands before eating anything for prevention contamination of Cholera epidemic disease. But the villagers fail even to buy soaps and empty Kerosene tins. This is poverty at Mkongo village.
THEFT AND GANG
In this novel the writer shows that Papandreau’s gang involves in theft and gang to an extent that one of his member known as Mohamed Saidi murdered Kalistus who is Father Moyo’s house servant. This gang involved in different theft in Songea and in the other towns beyond Songea. They could pick people’s pockets at the market and at the bus station, rob people during night time and take away vehicles.
In this novel the writer shows that James O’brien and Calabrin deal with drug all over the world. Jame’s O’brien is sent in East Africa, particularly Tanzania mainly for collecting hashish. He concealed two hashish packets into Father Moyo’s bag when travelling from Dar es Salaam Airport to Europe.
(a) Personal conflict
This conflict appears when Father Moyo is thinking much on how to help the villagers from the calamity. Later on, he discovers ways of solving this problem. He decided to find the empty Kerosene tins and distribute to the villagers, then he would advise them to boil the drinking water and use soaps. But the problem is how could they do so while they didn’t have even the soaps? This was question which disturbing Father Moyo.
(b) Conflict between Adolfo Teodor and Father Moyo
This conflict images when Adolfo Teodor went to the church and make quarrel with her grandmother accusing her to bewitch his son who was sick at the moment. On seeing that Father Moyo is trying to save the old woman from being hurt by the young man Adolfo Toeodor. By so doing, Father Moyo engaged himself in the conflict with this young man.
(c) Conflict between Inspector Mpangala and the angry Mob
This conflict emages when Inspector Mpangala insists that the priest of Mkongo also is responsible for the murder of Kalistus but all the presented claims are neglected before the Chengu. Seeing that what the police inspector did was non – sense, the angry mob begins to advance towards Inspector Mpangala and his assistant.
(d) Conflict between the government and Papandreau’s gang
This conflict emages when Papandreau’s gang involves in theft of stealing tetracycline carton and the murder of Kalistus who is Father Moyo’s house servant. All suspects are arrested and sentenced fifteen years jail each but after appealing Bwanapima and Constantine Kaguru were enhanced twenty years jail each.
POSITION AND ROLE OF WOMEN.
“The position of women” is the social status of women within the society in accordance with traditional attitude dictated by the culture of the society.
“The role of women” are the cultural obligations and responsibilities of the female members of any society.
(a) Woman as sympathy person.
In this novel the writer shows sister Gaudiosa feels sympathy with Kalistus death. This is seen when sister Gaudiosa sees the wound in Kalsitus body which caused by Mohamed Saidi as a result led him to his death.
(b) Woman as faithful person.
In this novel the writer shows Sister Gaudiosa handles the remained carton of tetracycline to Father Moyo because she thinks that capsules can be used on wisely or extravagantly.
(c) Woman as weak person and coward
In this novel the writer shows Rozina Bwanapima’s youngest and loved wife, screaming like a child and shows the investigators the place where the shells of tetracycline had buried after these men twisting her arm.
(d) Woman a tool of enjoyment
In this novel the writer shows that Bwanapima has five wives who use them as tool of enjoyment for his sexual desire. Apart from all wives but Rozina is the most his lovely wife who entertains him a lot.
- Theft and gang hindering development in a certain community, therefore government should provide severely punishment to offenders.
- Government should alleviate poverty from Regional level because it becomes a source of eruption of epidemic disease like Cholera.
- The police officers should respect human rights and rule of law in our country because torturing people who are still suspects is against the law.
- Drug dealers existing in our country but the government is quiet on them due to nepotism and weakness of some leaders.
The title used in this novel impresses the readers to know what is inside the book the novelist has succeeded to show why he has named the book “A wreath for Father Mayer”. The title extracted after Father Moyo visited European countries. One morning when he is passing through a small village on his way to neighbouring village in Germany at the Benedictine Monastery of St. Ottilien, where most of the white missionaries in Songea Diocese had come from and the place where Father Vitus Mayer is buried. Father Moyo noticed some lovely flowers and is asking the florist to prepare a wreath of cornations and roses from him. This is to be A wreath for Father Mayer, the title of the book. He replaced them on grave of Father Mayer as a symbol of respect and honour for him.
This novel is set in Tanzania and other some parts in Europe. The main and important provinces in Tanzania include Mkongo a small village in Songea District and Ruvuma Region Sub – Catholic Mission Station, Peramiho; The main Catholic Mission Station where Bishop Makita works and Dar es Salaam International Airport. In Europe there are two important provinces, Birmingham the funny city in London and German the Benedictine Monastery of St. Ottilien, the place where Father Mayer the founder of the church at Mkongo was buried.
The novel has flashback narration as the events expressed do not narrated chronologically. First we are introduced about cholera epidemic disease at Mkongo village then Fatehr Moyo is in Dar es Salaam Airport and then in Britain and then in the plane where James O’bried hidden hashish in father’s bag. After that we are introduced the conversation between Father Moyo and Bishop Makita which occurred before father Moyo’s journey to Europe.