Sunday, 29 June 2014
Rubtummis is a land of low hills and scrub nestled between the Dongo and Timpopo rivers. The province is the western-most of the lands settled by the Bejam tribe. The Bejam arrived in Rubtummis in the early 18th century: the previous occupants, the M’Bop, had been attracted to the province by the mineral hot springs that exist in the south of the country. Luxuriating in the cleansing effervescence of the springs, the M’Bop were unique amongst the tribes of the Leech Coast in having invented bath-bombs before the spear and shield: the former proved to be rather inferior substitutes for latter when the Bejam arrived and stole their land. Amongst other things, the Bejam tribe are famed for the ludicrous styling of their hair. By coating their locks in a thick paste made from hippo dung and cocoa beans and then brushing it upwards, the Bejam give their locks a shocking, scarified and twisted look that has led to their being termed by European observers as the ‘curly wurlies’. The Bejam are led by the wily fox, Osman Donni, who, luckily for the Bejam, is actually a man, not a fox, and so he can read a map and rarely feels compelled to sift through bins.