“Court of Kuba”  is a meditation on tragedy. The Royal family of Kuba( South-east of the modern-day day DRC) must choose  between protecting their family, or protecting their kingdom.
ACT I
Scene 5.5 A Queen’s SIGHT
The queen sits braiding her daughters hair.
FATOUMATA:
holding a mirror
this is perfect mother! thank you !
QUEEN :
i wont ask what, or who, the fresh braids are for ?
FATOUMATA:
why do they have to be for someone ?
QUEEN :
i see, so it is a who.
FATOUMATA:
what!
who?
where?
when?
how !
QUEEN :
why are you moving so much, don’t get too excited.
i am not done just yet.
FATOUMATA:
why does everything you do have to be so perfect. it is
like you woke up one morning, perfectly formed.
QUEEN :
perfectly formed, haha, you wont imagine how clumsy i
was as a child, i broke everything i touched. no one
let me hold anything
FATOUMATA:
now you hold an entire kingdom in your hand.
QUEEN :
my hands have grown strong my love!
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 2.
FATOUMATA:
wrist exercises !?
QUEEN :
braiding your hair is exercise enough !
silence as the queen braids her daughters hair
FATOUMATA:
maaa,
QUEEN:
yes my child.
FATOUMATA:
the other day, in court.
QUEEN :
what about it.
FATOUMATA:
with that child, why did you let her stay, the boshong
chief says you are ruling like a mother, and not a
queen. I think she is correct. You can not behave like
that especially when there is trouble with the chiefs.
QUEEN :
As Queen, am i not the mother of this country ?
FATOUMATA:
Well as Queen, you can order your subjects be enslaved,
or be killed, but as a mother you will not do the same
to your child. At least i hope not !
QUEEN :
well, don’t get too comfortable now !
(laughs)
FATOUMATA:
And also those men from Mali, you invite them to stay
in our country, after what they have done to Kwete.
What if they turn out to be spies, what if they try to
attack him ?
QUEEN :
(somber)
Fatou?
Okay. Sit up. Listen.
You must understand this, the farmer does not bring
Aminata here out of anger, but out of fear. Between a
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 3.
QUEEN : (cont’d)
dying forest, and the Balouba migration he fears his
hard work will be stolen by a girl who has returned him
nothing.
When people are afraid, they are leagues away from
reason.
But we must all understand. People do not choose where
or how they are born. It is wise for those who have to
share with those who have received the wicked parts of
life. We did nothing to be born in a safe country.
But in the same vein, when we share our resources, the
new ones must earn their keep.
Moreover, strangers sometimes come with the things we
need. We are not only helping them. If not us, then our
children may require their assistance sometime in the
future.
FATOUMATA:
And the men from Mali ?
Fatoumata returns her head to be braided
QUEEN :
What better prison to have them but in the presence of
the villages watchful eyes. Not all prisons are built
of steel and stone. Some of them are built with silence
and secrets. Others are built in festivity and
laughter. Because a man walks with his head up in the
street, it does not mean they are free !
FATOUMATA:
what if they see something they should not ?
QUEEN :
one can not control what others see.
only what we show them.
you will be a queen one day my daughter, and you too
must learn to see.
FATOUMATA:
what should i look for ?
QUEEN :
start with the tip of your nose.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 4.
FATOUMATA:
Maa, seeing your nose is very difficult you know.
QUEEN :
yet it is simpler than seeing the truth.
we, must only see what is infornt of us Fatoumata.
Despite how hard it might be.
you will be a queen one day, and this will be the
hardest thing for you to do.
FATOUMATA:
in the far future !!!
In this moment the Queen realizes how to bargain
with the emissaries from Mali.
When you pick my suitor, just make sure he is a decent
man ?
the queen is lost in thought
Maaa,
Maaa,
QUEEN :
yes my child.
FATOUMATA:
what if i do not grow to have affection for him ?
QUEEN :
for who ?
FATOUMATA:
for my husband.
QUEEN :
(laughs)
my child.
you will be a Queen.
and it is true, i may pick my child’s husband, but you
will pick your child’s father.
FATOUMATA:
mother, what are you saying ?
QUEEN :
dont worry about this, you can survive anything. i
raised you to be strong.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 5.
FATOUMATA:
this is why i am scared maa. You raised me to be
strong.
maa,
QUEEN :
yes my child.
FATOUMATA:
is it my mother who is braiding my hair, or my queen
Queen hands fatoumata the mirror
QUEEN :
what difference does it make, look, you are perfect.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Odogwu Ibe. Poet, play write and essayist. Born in Lagos, resident of Ottawa Canada.
I desperately wanted to be cool in boarding school, so i figured i should do something impressive like…write poetry.  Problem was i did not know how to write poetry, but my cousin did, so i “borrowed” his poetry journal, took it to school, and claimed it was mine.
I was an instant hit! So much so, that my English teacher seized “my” journal. I had to keep up the act somehow, and forced myself to write.  I haven’t stopped writing since.