Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tudor Parfitt

As he entered the sacred cave, a deafening roar filled the air. It was the dead of night in deepest Zimbabwe. The lone explorer reached for his gun, the beam of his torch wavering as he battled his nerves.

This was Dumghe mountain, the spiritual home of the mighty Lemba people. In this cave lay the secrets of their ancestors. A real-life Indiana Jones was determined to reach into its closely-guarded depths.

The renowned Welsh academic Tudor Parfitt had been told of a previous hapless researcher who had wandered too far down forbidden paths leading to this den of treasures. He had been brutally circumcised by the tribe. Village elders spoke of two-headed snakes which resided in the cave.

Tonight was Parfitt's opportunity to put ancient questions to rest once and for all. He had left the Lemba drinking chibuku - home-brewed maize beer the consistency of porridge - at their chief's hut, their naked women ululating and dancing to encourage the gods to bring rain.

Later, they would collapse into an alcohol-induced slumber,
the cave momentarily unguarded .........
Tudor Parfitt, a Welsh Born Icon, and his Remarkable Quest for the Legendary Ark
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