Cassava Republic Press, one of the leading publishing houses in Africa, is known for churning out literary hit after literary hit. We’re talking Carnivirous City, we’re talking Easy Motion Tourist, we’re talking When We Speak Of Nothing,  we’re talking Born On A Tuesday. Well, Africa’s book hitmakers are out with another manuscript, and they are embarking on a blog tour to promote it. This would involve press releases, interviews, photo stories and reviews across some of the continent’s notable literary magazines and blogs. 

The book in question is titled “The Secret Of The Purple Lake”, a journey into the supernatural. Its author, Yaba Badoe, is a Ghanaian-British documentary film maker, journalist and fiction writer. Born at Tamale, Northern Ghana in 1955, Badoe is credited with making the award-winning documentary film “The Witches Of Gambaga”. She is also the author of the book “True Murder”.

Below is an excerpt from Badoe’s new offering “The Secret Of The Purple Lake”. We loved it, and we are positive that you would too. 

On the third day of his journey, Musa stumbled into a clearing where a thatched hut stood beside a crooked Nim tree. Sitting in the shade of the tree was a wizened woman, her grey hair plaited. She was throwing cowry shells to look into the future, and as the shells fell, she sang a rhyme to herself: 

‘Birds fly and spiders creep, 

Men sometimes cry 

But Musa shall weep.’ 

The old woman looked up and smiled. ‘Musa,’ she said, ‘I was expecting you over an hour ago. What can I do for you?’ 

Without further ado, Musa sat down beneath the Nim tree and opened up his heart. ‘I want to be famous,’ he said. ‘I want my dreams of glory to come true. Tell me, Nana, how can I make that happen? How can I make my name known?’ 

‘Are you sure that’s what you really want?’ 

‘Oh yes,’ Musa sighed. 

Nana asked him to throw the cowry shells. He shook them in both his hands, blew his breath over them for good luck, and then flung them to the ground. 

Nana shook her head sadly, for spread out before her like fragments of speckled eggshells was Musa’s future. ‘You have a gift for storytelling Musa, be satisfied,’ she urged. ‘Soon your fame will spread, and you will become a master kora player and a great storyteller. Go home, Musa.’ 

‘But I want to be a great hunter and warrior,’ the young man replied. 

Nana asked him to throw the cowry shells a second time and once again she told him to go home and be satisfied with his lot. 

‘Why won’t you help me?’ Musa cried. ‘I know I’m the son of a humble farmer, but that shouldn’t stop you from telling me how I can become a magnificent warrior so that I too will be someone people sing about.’ 

‘So you won’t heed my warning? Didn’t you hear my song, Musa?’ 

The old woman repeated the rhyme, but this time she sang slowly so that every word of the song could be heard: 

‘Birds fly and spiders creep, 

Men sometimes cry, 

But Musa shall weep.’ 

‘Don’t you know it’s dangerous to tamper with your destiny?’ she said. ‘Put aside your childish dreams. Go home a man, my son!’ 

Having travelled so deeply into the forest, Musa couldn’t turn his back on his dreams. So at last, realising that nothing she said would dissuade him, Nana asked him to throw the shells a third time. 

After carefully weighing up what the cowries were telling her, Nana said: ‘In the savannah lands near your home, Musa, lives a magic elephant, who many warriors have tried to destroy. This elephant has a name: Imoro. He’s as black as ebony and as strong as twenty hippopotamuses. His only weakness is that he can’t resist wild honey. If you succeed in killing him, Musa, you must grind his tusks to powder and then drink them with milk. Then you’ll have all the power you need to perform extraordinary deeds. But be careful,’ Nana added. ‘Hold your amulet close when you’re near Imoro, for should you fail in your task your fate will be fearful indeed.’