Tengyo Kura

Chronicle of Vagabondism / When everybody wants to be somebody, I want to be nobody.


Story 73

One fisherman was looking at a small lake quietly when I passed by in the morning.
At his feet fish scales scattered and shined.
I stood next to him and looked at the lake too.
He smoked for a while and asked me.
"Do you want a fish?"
His boat was made out of a lower half of a water tank.
"Water of Lesotho runs all the way through South Africa and Namibia, then flows into Atlantic Ocean," he smiled a bit and got on his boat.
"I didn't know that Lesotho was not only a kingdom in the sky, but also a mother of the ocean," I said to his back.
"See you in one hour," saying so he pulled out to the gentle lake.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Mafeteng)

Story 72

My host family in Lesotho Tshepo Nkhabu Cycles is an inspiring leader of his local youth community.
He empowers teenagers through cycling based on "a sound mind in a sound body".
I heard many young people saying with their eyes shining that they love cycling with Tshepo so much and they always look forward to the next ride.
Tshepo also teaches how to repair bicycles so that the youth can start their own bike repair business in the future.
Tshepo is young but already has experienced a lot through his life.
When I entered his room for the first time, one beautiful piece of poem by him caught my eye.
"Where I go is not where I wish to stay, and where I come from is not there I'll return."
I believe that he's got the soul of vagabond.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Thabaneng)

Story 71

One day before I left Cape Town, I met an artist from Lesotho which was my next destination.
After having a chat, he offered me one of his artworks.
"I like the way you live. I want to support it. Take this painting, and if anyone wants it then sell it. You can get some money to live as a vagabond, and you can share my inspiration as well. That's how we make this world more interesting," he said.
I decided to give the painting to an astronomer's family who hosted me in Cape Town.
The family welcomes their friends and guests from all over the world, and the painting will give inspiration to those who see it.
Here I am honored to exhibit the artwork of the artist from a kingdom of the sky, Muso Masoabi.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Cape Town)

Story 70

He is a gentle and sincere cobbler in Namibia.
He repaired a pair of my old broken boots nicely.
I asked his name when I picked up my boots.
"Liberty," he answered.
"Oh, nice name! I believe that this pair of boots will give liberty to my feet then," I said.
"And to your heart," he smiled.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Otjiwarongo)

Story 69

Isak takes care of his village’s community campsite.
Most of the San tribal communities in the Bushmanland today have their own campsites nearby their villages.
The San people were originally hunter-gatherers.
They once moved around the field freely in Namibia.
Nowadays many of them have settled, doing field work and stock raising instead of hunting and collecting.
A community campsite is also an important source of income for them.
Isak is good at stone craft.
He built a stone fire pit in the campsite which makes a good cook fire.
One morning I saw him cleaning the campsite.
I offered him a cup of coffee.
“You want sugar, right?”
Asking Isak I remembered what my Namibian sister told me before.
In Namibia people need at least five full teaspoons of sugar for coffee or tea.
“Isn't it too sweet?”
To me surprised she smiled and said “How can you taste it when it’s not sweet.”
I asked Isak if he wants five teaspoons of sugar for his coffee.
“Yes, please,” he replied.
“Let me know if you need more sugar,” giving him a cup I said.
“This is perfect, thank you,” Isak said after having a sip.
While drinking coffee, he told me how to collect Baobab seeds and eat them.
“We throw stones or branches at seeds and make them fall.”
“Then we break shells and take out seeds.”
“We soak seeds in water for 10 to 15 minutes until they become soft.”
“Then we put a little bit of sugar and eat.”
Baobab seeds provide vital energy for the San people especially for children.
“You put sugar only little? Not five teaspoons?” I asked.
“No, no. Not too much sugar for the Baobab seeds,” Isak laughed and answered.
When I was taking his photographs, he took off his hat and said, “I’m a man of the San.”
The San people are known for their beautiful thick wooly hair that protects their heads from cuts and scratches in the bush.
The pride of the San never fades away even though their lifestyle has changed today.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Bushmanland)

Story 68

The Baobab tree is blessing Bushmanland.
Animals, birds, and the San tribal people are living together with Baobab trees.
Some maintain their body with the trunk, some make their nests on the branch, some eat the seeds.
This divine tree is a symbol of life in Bushmanland.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Bushmanland)

Story 67

One day I was going to walk through the bush to go to a village where I stayed, but I wasn't sure how I could find the right path.
In the bush I often lost my sense of direction because similar trees around me confused me.
Then a young kindergarten teacher who finished her work nearby happened to pass, and offered me to walk together.
I asked her how the local people find their way so easily.
She said that they remember some unique trees that can be a guide, and also they see all the footprints carefully.
"We know who it is from footprints," she said.
"You remember each footprint by people's shoes?" I asked.
"No, seeing how they walk," she replied.
"You see, this person's toes point slightly inward. It's my neighbor," she pointed some footprints and told me.
"This person walk with long strides, it's my uncle."
"Wow..," I told her that she amazed me.
"We can find who walked this way and what the person did by footprints," she continued.
I have never been aware of footprints like that in my life.
"Footprints can tell where you go, who you are, what you do, and how you are. Be mindful when you walk on the earth road, you actually share yourself with us," touching a tree in front of her gently, she smiled.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Ovamboland)

Story 66

Johnny is a Himba who lives by the riverbank in northwestern Namibia.
The river in front of Johnny's village is known for aggressive crocodiles.
Locals advised me to stay away from the riverside in the evening.
I met Johnny when I had a camp nearby his village.
He was a very shy man.
Sometimes he was standing along the river and quietly watching water running.
One day I asked him what he was watching.
He timidly but a bit joyfully told me that there was a crocodile lying and sunbathing on an island in the middle of the river.
I stared at the direction he pointed but it was far from where we stood and I was not able to see it clearly.
Then I heard someone whistle and it was Johnny.
"Are you calling the crocodile?"
Johnny smiled shyly but didn't reply.
Seeing him whistling to the crocodile in a friendly way I felt that Johnny might have some kind of attachment to crocodiles.
Next day I had a conversation with another villager about a relationship between the Himba tribe and crocodiles.
He explained that young Himba people did not believe it anymore, but there was a legend that in the old times some of the Himba people had possessed special powers to communicate with crocodiles.
The legend told that when those people crossed rivers crocodiles had never harmed them.
I thought about Johnny while the villager told me about the legend.
I wouldn't be surprised if Johnny were one of those who were able to talk to crocodiles; whistling gently and crossing a river among a bunch of hungry crocodiles.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Epupa Falls)

Story 65

The spirit of Himba leads me to their hidden village.
The road ends at the entrance of it.
The location of the village is able to be told only by word of mouth by Himba people, it does not exist on any maps today.
They dance, sing, laugh, and give me impressive gaze that stirs our mind.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Kaokoland)

Story 64

Damaraland is where stones and rocks dominate.
There stones and rocks are sisters and brothers of the moon.
The moon rises and celebrates its little siblings on earth.
They tell stories about the sky and the land every night.
The stones and rocks in Damaraland dream of their shining families in space after the moon sets..
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Damaraland)