Mulenga was kicking the stuffing right out of the heavy bag she was training with. Everyone understood that she was a fighting machine, but watching her attack the bag with ruthless intention, intimidated everyone, including the trainers as everyone stopped to watch Mulenga carve her prey.
The only beating heart in that facility was Mulenga’s, as every breath hang on her movement. An uppercut to the bottom of the bag, tossing it off its railings, Mulenga reacted by leaping to meet the bag mid-air, elbow sticking out aimed at the head of the bag. Mulenga’s pace matched the bags rise in motion with relative easy. The elbow take down was swift but extremely forceful as she trampled the bag to the ground with a treacherous thud and a woeful tear.
“Uhm…………… guys, wasn’t that bag just put up today?” A random voice in the back shouted.
The room suddenly hushed, as Mulenga rose to her feet, holding the bag from its torn head. This caused the room to erupt with laughter. The laughing shook Mulenga to the reality that she was not alone in the facility. “I told you she could do it, pay up!” Was heard over the laughter of the entertained fighters, from the front of the facility, all the way to the back, laughter consumed Mulenga, causing her to join in with the laughing crowd.
“Mulenga! My office, now!” Mayja shouted from his upstairs lounge. Mayja being the owner of the facility, ironically ran the place like a military boot camp. No one ever thought of giving him a nickname, not out of fear, but the name Mayja described his character perfectly. Mayja used discipline as a tool with all his work, no one could be late with the schedule put in place, unless they wanted to be considered the kasuli. The tradition of Kasuli started five years before Mulenga stepped foot in the facility.
‘No Pressure’ Mavuto was the boxing champion at that time. He was signed under a struggling gym but Mayja convinced him of rising higher, with funding and organisation like Mavuto never experienced before. One simple instruction was given for their meet, be at Kabwata’s Chimbabe fitness facility before 10 hours. Mavuto had walked in an hour late, with his entire entourage by his side dressed like they had walked onto a fashion shoot. The room instinctively got silent, with the rest of the fighters and trainers watching the group waiting to see what would happen now that Mr Big shot had finally arrived.
“You’re late!” Mayja spoke from inside the ring were he was sparring with one of his fighters. “Ordinarily I would kick you out of my facility right this instant. However, you won’t learn anything if I just throw you out” Mayja continued. Mavuto laughed his retort, “You shouldn’t make challenges you can’t take part in, elder man.” “We fight, I kick your ass and you will train under my instruction. No questions asked, Deal?” Mayja asked with the ease of a man reading the Sunday paper.
Mavuto looked at the man making the request, before hurdling with his team for advice. After some heated whispering, Mavuto emerged with a confident grin written all over his face. To show he was the champion, Mavuto expanded his chest while leisurely walking to the ring. Fake confidence notwithstanding, Mavuto took to the ring but his unfit body, barely made it to the 12th round where Mayja knocked the exhaustion out of him. When Mavuto eventually awoke, he found a note written to, ‘Kasuli’ with a bunch of instructions for Kasuli to accomplish. At the bottom of the letter Mavuto understood who Kasuli was, after which he turned to his entourage to figure out what had happened.
Kasuli was a demoralising, self punishing committment to uphold unreasonable standards, but mostly no one liked the general reference.
Mulenga understood why people hated being called Kasuli, she had to wear a uniform, which she had to be dressed in even as she trained. As Mulenga was getting ready to protest the unfair punishment, there was a knock on Mayja’s door. Cookie, Mayja’s right hand woman knocked, without awaiting a response, stuck her head through the door.
“Some woman I’ve never seen is in the facility looking for you Mulenga, claiming to be your mother.” Cookie swayed her head back and forth from Mulenga to Mayja, awaiting a response.