The Hands of the Blacks
By Luis Bernardo Honwana
I can‘t remember now how we got onto the subject, but one day Teacher said that the palms of the black‘s Hands were much lighter than the rest of their bodies because only few centuries ago they walked around on all fours, like wild animals, so their palms Weren’t exposed to the sun, which made the rest of their bodies darker and darker. I thought of this when Father Cristiano told us after cathechism that we were absolutely hopeless, and that even the blacks were better than us, and he went back to this things about their hands being lighter, and said it was like that because they always went about their hands folded together, praying in secret. I thought this was so funny, this thing of the black hands being so lighter, that you should see me now- I don‘t let go of anyone, whoever they are, until they tell me why they think that the palms of the black‘s hands are lighter. Dona Dores, for instance told me that God made their hands lighter like that so they wouldn’t dirty the food that they made for their masters, or anything else that they were ordered to do that had to be kept quite clean. Senhor Antunes, the Coca Cola man, who only comes to the village now and again when all the cokes in the cantina have been sold, said to me that everything I had been told was a lot of Baloney. Of course I don‘t know if it was really, but he assured me it was. After I said yes, all right, it was baloney, then he told me what he knew about this things of the black‘s hands. It was like this: -Long ago, many years ago, God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, St. Peter, many other saints, all the angels were in heaven then, and some of the people who had died and gone to Heaven- they all had a meeting and decided to make blacks. Do you know how? They got hold of some clay and pressed it into some second- hand moulds. And to bake them of the creatures, they took them to heavenly kilns. Because they were in a hurry and...
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