Lindiwe? There had to be some mistake! In all that commotion I had not seen her leave. I had not seen her go. She must have slipped out when Dalu and I were too busy watching the fight. Had she? This was not correct. I asked Dalu again if he was sure and he said that the police had called him because when she came she had come from Upper Alma, my street but that road I blocked by the railway line so she had called to say she was a bit lost how does she get back to lower Alma from there. He was therefore the last number she called hence they called him. He was not lying though. He was not lying. My knees could not carry me. I felt myself sinking to the floor. What the hell was this? Was this some joke. I thought back again to the last moments I saw her, my wife had just shocked her by saying she knew about the pregnancy, after that I could not remember anything else. O God no, my baby, my baby was dead. I was never going to know whether it was a boy or girl even. My luck also.
Asthandile came and asked me what’s wrong. Like she cared anyway. I hated this woman more and more by the day.
“You did this!”
I pointed a finger at her angrily.
“You did this! I hope you burn in hell!”
She was very surprised by it all and probably confused.
“What have I done this time? Did you phone Khanyi?”
She asked then put her mouth on her hands. She was still worried about the secrets Khanyi was carrying. What the hell was wrong with this woman.
“What ever she told you she is lying! I am going to sue her for defamation! I did not do it!”
She said again before I even answered. I did not care. I wanted her to tell me why my baby was dead. I stood up to go outside. I wanted some air. I needed some air.
“Did you know that Lindiwe had a 4year old son or daughter, I can’t quite recall?”
I asked her!
“Why are you asking me about her? Did she dump you? Is that it? Is that why you are telling me to burn in hell? Are u serious right now?”
She asked me coming to confront me. She loses her temper quickly this one.
“She is dead Asthandile. She is dead.”
That stopped her in her tracks and I mean this literarily. She actually stopped in mid stride and stepped back.
“What do you mean she is dead? She was just here!”
I had tears in my eyes.
“You killed my child!”
I said and this time walked outside! I did not want to be near this cursed woman. I hated her.
When I got to the gate I bumped into the girls. They had missed out on all the action. Ezile seemed to have calmed down now. She had gone back to that shy girl all in the space of two or three hours.
“Is everyone here?”
Zimasa asked me as soon as she saw me. I was hurting. I opened my mouth to speak but I choked.
I said when I finally managed to speak. I walked past them and just started walking. I walked towards Mowbray, passed it and ended up in Observatory then lower Main where there have this arty bars and restaurants. I was hungry but I had no appetite. I sat down in one of the bars and ordered a drink. I needed something to get my mind working again and off thinking of this but it was not working. One drink became five and five became ten until the bar man serving me said that he was cutting me off because there was no way I would be able to walk home. I took out my phone and called the only person at that moment I could think off, Dalu. He did not pick up. I really did not want to go home to Asthandile. I found myself calling Khanyi. I told her where I was and to come get me. She sounded surprised that I would call her but also happy.
It took her 45min to get to me. Thank God she had her wallet because it was only then I realised that I had no wallet. She paid my bill and we got into her car. Ten minutes later I asked her to stop the car, right there on the highway and I threw up. Shameful waste of alcohol. She was patient with me, gave me some water she had to clean up and took me to her place. Note I did not ask her to take me to her house, she just did.
When we entered her place I noticed that it was not the same place wwe had come when she was raped. She had moved. Now she moved in her security high fence wall. I was too drunk though to ask but I remember thinking, should our woman really live in fear and cages everyday because us their men want to rape them? No one is safe, it is the saddest thing really… then I passed out.
I woke up about five hours later. I was on a bed and my shoes were off. I had not thrown up again but the hangover I had was on some other level. Nothing beats an afternoon hangover. I raised my head and it felt like someone was hitting it with a hammer. Serves me right.
“Are you ok?”
Someone said from behind me. I had not seen her. She was sitting on a lazy boy behind me. She had a book and a glass of wine, how ironic in front of her.
“Why did you allow me to sleep so long?”
I asked her. She said something about me needing the rest. I know why I slept so long, the previous night is when I had spent time with Ezile and Zimasa so we hardly slept. It was not just the alcohol. Thank God tomorrow was Sunday.
“I was not sure what to cook for you but you must eat something. I hope you don’t mind but I took off your shirt and washed it for you because you messed it up. My washing machine is not connected yet so washedd it by hand.”
She said calmly. Did she just say she washed my vomit? At this stage in our marriage I think Asthandile would have said go jump in the pool or used a hosepipe on me.
Then I remembered, Mxolisi focus, Khanyi is the enemy here. I must not trust her.
“I came here to ask you about something. I want the truth.”
She looked at me a bit confused but she said she will try and be honest,
“What is Asthandile hiding from me? I am tired of the lies please be merciful and tell me so we stop all the secrets!”
She looked at me straight in the eye and without hesitation said,
“No! I will never betray the confidence of a friend whether or not we have fallen out!”
***** The End******
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
Today I write a letter to myself. Last night I got the news that the little girl Nokukhanya had been found dead, raped, hung first, mutilated then thrown in the bush. She was 15 years old. Please take a moment to picture what they did to her to fully understand my anger, sadness and frustration for the pour young soul.
Every few weeks we hear horrific stories about what South African men especially are doing to our sisters, mothers, daughters, friends and neighbours. Why are we so vicious and cruel to one another? Why do we do this? I was so hurt because although I never met this young girl but the thought of grown men doing this to her really broke my heart. Are we not better than the animals we keep in the reserves? Are we not civilised enough to know that we only harm ourselves when we do these things. I am so scared for every female because living the house means you might not come back in the evening because someone somewhere decided that you will be his wife for the moment. A lot of people of comment that “at least they didn’t kill her!” when it comes to a rape victim. No my friends, they killed her the moment they held her down, beat her up and ripped off her clothes! We have become so used to rape that now we say “at least”. We all get angry in the moment of the story but once the news reporters move on to the next story we move on too.
I need your help good people. The greatest evil in this country is us because we stand and do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I don’t want to feel this helpless ever again. The help I seek is for you guys to give me and indeed all of us reading this, ideas of what we can do to fight this viciousness off. Whether we form an NGO, make an APP or what I don’t know please advise me.
What I do know is that I don’t want you to live in fear, my future daughter to live in fear and everyone else I know to suffer like this.
PS. I have one idea where I want to get SA Artists to sing a “we are the world” kind of song but I am not a songwriter. This will spread awareness, raise funds for programs etc. I have artists I can talk to but I don’t write music. If someone here knows someone who can is willing to help then that could be an idea. We need to stop this and fight this head on.