Nalunyi and Silunyi

Here is a story:

There was a couple named Nalunyi and Silunyi who lived in a big village. These people often prayed, and the man’s wife belonged to a group of Tertiaries while he belonged to the church choir.

One day, a great famine swept through the land. The man said to his wife: Nalunyi, what are we going to do with this famine which has fallen on us? His wife said: It is the man who is supposed to have the brains to look for food. The man said: This is not a difficult task considering you belong to the Tertiaries and I am the head of the choir. This is what we will do. I will pretend I am sick and you will go to the chairman of the Small Christian Communities we belong to and say: ‘My husband, Silunyi is very sick’.

His wife went to the chairman and told him the whole story and the chairman gathered his people. After gathering, they set off to visit Silunyi and took some flour and relish with them. When they got there, they found him on his mat tossing about in great pain. They stayed with him for a while and then left. After they left, he said to his wife:You can see now how good the community is, and we do not die of hunger. A wise man does not suffer.

After a few days went by, the famine fell upon them again. Silunyi said to Nalunyi: Since the famine has come on us again, we will do the following: You will be sick and because you are embarrassed to pretend to be sick, you will simply just yell and scream. I will say to the people: You people, Nalunyi is sick. The man Silunyi went to the village and said to the chairman: My wife is very sick. The people of the village all came to visit her and discovered she was in bed. They asked her: What is wrong, what is making you sick? She replied: Shame. The people went home and she got up and prepared the mush using the flour they had brought. The people of the village came every day to visit Nalunyi, bringing her flour until it became a bore. Whenever they came to visit, she never got out of bed, and when they asked her: What are you suffering from? she always said: Shame. After they all left, Silunyi would tell Nalunyi: Get up and make me some mush. It was like this every day: whenever the people came, they always found the reason was: shame.

One day, the chairman sent someone to visit the sick woman but Nalunyi stopped talking about shame. The people stopped supporting them and eventually buried them because of their shameful behaviour. This may happen to anyone who is like Silunyi and Nalunyi.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: (1) do not abuse the kindness of others; (2) we must persevere in our troubles and problems and always adhere to the truth as we do not know the day or hour God may come for us; a man must suffer as long as he lives.

The Mambwe proverbs say: (1) In passing always over the same bridge one ends by breaking it (Mundemwa, ukavun’ulalo); (2) The tail of a cow always swings (Umusinda wa nghombe, imilelembele); The one who died did not see his blood (Uwafwa, asilola uwazi wakwe).

Subjects: abusing – kindness – death – unpredictability – perseverance – troubles – sufferings – life truthfulness – difficulties


Written by Victor Penesi Manda, Cikunta 4th of April 1984.