I read in the paper recently about two family members that killed eight of their relatives because they accused them of practicing witchcraft. These eight included babies. My family feud was not on that level yet but I have no doubt that it was getting there. People should never take family feuds lightly because they can turn violent and looking at my family we had all the right ingredients for a disaster to befall us. My father and my brother had not spoken in years and that’s something considering that this was his only son and perhaps heir. There was a time when I had blamed my brother because he had earned the mistrust and black sheep status from the family but now I also blamed my father. He was the mature one in this equation and to be fighting with his only son like this was just appalling. It was only a matter of time before this feud descended into a fist fight. My father’s argument had been that since my brother was not doing anything in his life he must come drive one of the taxi, learn the family business so that one day he could take over. My brother did not like the taxi driver part as his pride would not let him start from the bottom and work his way up. His argument had been that his father just wanted to exploit him like he does his other drivers. The problem with his argument is that he had said to my father’s face at a time when the taxi drivers were complaining about salaries. I am with my brother on the fact that my father exploited his driver as some earned less than r3000 a month. My father had zoomed in on the word “exploit” that he had accused my brother of being spoiled and it was then that he cut him off. That word had really hit him hard coming from his sons lips. He had been hurt and felt betrayed. He cut him off and that was that. My mother and I had tried to intervene but both men had refused to back down.
“Nothabo I can’t believe you tricked me into coming here knowing you were inviting him here!”
He said as he was putting on his coat about to leave. My father did not seem to really care as he went straight for Sibongile.
“I was worried, I have missed you!”
He said out loud. He went over to her and hugged her tightly. Lintle was standing there and she said,
“Eeeuw grandpa that is inappropriate! What about Grandma?”
Thank God for kids. They get to say what they want without consequences.
“Yes dad this is not happening here!”
I said to him.
“What are you talking about? Who is this girl?”
My brother asked. I had not explained to him about Sibongile and I think when they got here no one had really cared. For all he cared she could have been Lintles friend.
“Your father is having an affair and that’s his girlfriend!”
I said. My brother looked at me and I think I saw something inside of him break.
“Nothabo and you allow her to stay here? You allow your father’s mistress to stay here! I am disgusted by you! Shame on you!”
He said and he walked out. Zethu at this stage was so confused she just trotted off behind him. Why was he blaming me though as though I had facilitated the cheating? It was not even cheating anymore because my mother knew about it. Would you call it an affair? If you know the person your partner is seeing and your partner has let you know about it, is that still an affair? I am not quite sure about that because I think an affair like cheating is a secret thing you do in the shadows. Not this.
“See what you are doing?”
I said to my father. I told Lintle to go upstairs.
“She is here for me and because you are my daughter you do what I say!”
He said casually. My father was such a bully. In our culture we grow up being told that we should never fight our fathers. It’s wrong and it’s something that we should not take lightly. We have to be polite in how we approach them. This time however he was wrong.
“I don’t want this girl here. I don’t hate her but you bringing here is what’s going to cause that. You are going to need my support at some point on this so I suggest you listen to me carefully!”
I told him but I don’t think he was listening. Instead he said he was hungry and accused me of being rue because I had not offered him food nor had I greeted him the way a daughter should. To some extent he was right but he must not mistake my approach to him for rudeness. It was anger. He was the one causing this. I apologized and greeted him but did not offer him food. He must eat where he came from!
“Where are you sleeping tonight? I suggest you must go there so that the restaurant doesn’t close!”
I said firmly. He said that he was sleeping here. He even had the nerve to say that I should not worry about space as he will share with Sibongile!
“Over my dead body!”
I screamed angrily. The way this man had no shame. He thought he could come share a bed with his mistress in my house when my mother was at home in bed alone. This man had lost his mind!
I shouted at him.
“Are you serious about this?”
He asked me incredulous to the fact that I could and had actually thrown him out!
“Get out now you selfish man!”
I screamed. Sibongile was now standing cowering in the corner the home wrecker! I ran upstairs and thank God for her she had not unpacked. I picked up her bags and went and threw them outside! This had gone on for long enough.
“Nothabo if you throw her out you are throwing me out and at some point you will need my help again!”
He said very calmly actually. I don’t know if it was arrogance, disbelief or a steely composure in him that caused that but frankly speaking, I didn’t care.
“If you don’t even see what’s wrong with you a doing then no father I don’t need your help. Even my own mother does not talk to me because of you but to you I doubt you see that you are the wrong one here.”
I said shouting at him and then I turned to Sibongile,
“You, go get a boyfriend your own age and stay away from these old men.”
I said pushing them both towards the door. As we went past the stairs I saw Lintle peeking through the staircase. Sizwe was just quiet and I think it’s because he realised that this was one fight he definitely did not want to get in the middle off. Wise man indeed. I banged the door when they were both outside and I locked it.
“Don’t come back!”
I screamed from inside the house! Sometimes you have to lose to win again and one day I know my actions would be vindicated.
“I have never seen you so angry!”
Lintle said to me. I looked at her with the intention of snapping at her because she was part of the stress in my life. The thing with stress is that it builds up into a crescendo until it blows up.
“Lintle you and I have to talk on a serious note!”
She had given me the opening I need.
“This nonsense has gone on long enough. You were raped, I am sorry about that. I can’t fix it. I wish I could but I can’t. Now you are pregnant and that I can fix and I will fix. Keeping the baby is your choice but you will have to get a job. I am not in in position to support that evil man’s child. It was not a gift that he gave you so make no mistake about it, this baby will be a curse!”
She started sobbing. I know I had been a bit harsh but with good reason. I didn’t believe the pregnancy was from the rape, it felt like it was earlier but I had to play the charade so as not to push her away if I wrongly accused her of lying.
“Yes mum it’s my baby. It’s me who has to live with the burden and I will get a job if I have to…”
She tried to protest but I was having none of that.
“Get a job? Where? The only certificate you have in life is your Birth Certificate! You don’t even have an ID yet. Do you want to be a teenage mother and go to one of those schools where pregnant teenagers go because you can rest assured your school won’t accept you with a belly?”
I told sternly and I was right. Private schools love you for a second but once you embarrass them you are out. Black schools like all things black leave you room to negotiate.
“But mum how can I be expelled because I got raped?”
She asked incredulously. See this is how she surprises me and puts me off my game. She said that with enough conviction to have fooled anyone. Why was i the only none believer?
“You can’t be expelled for getting raped that’s obvious but they won’t keep you on if you are pregnant! It’s bad for the reputation of the school! You are smart enough to know that!”
I told her. She was not buying it.
“I will just stay at home them! What choice do I have?”
“Lintle I already told you, I don’t want a baby in this house. it’s expensive and loud. You won’t raise him or her but instead you will look to us to do that for you! The answer for that is already an emphatic no! The baby has to go!”
Finally I had gotten the courage to advise it. As a doctor we often advise abortion in teenagers because the complications are many. Telling this to my own daughter however made me realize how cold and evil telling a frightened young girl that.
“So you really want me to have an abortion?”
She asked me. I think she thought the word would scare me but oh well, it was not going to be her lucky day.
“Yes! Yes I want you to abort!”
“…and Lintle I know you and your stunts. If you run away I will not look for you. If you harm yourself I will not pay for a doctor. I love you but I will not be held ransom by you! Now go to bed!”
I said sternly. I don’t think she had expected that.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you very much for our daily bread
I need your help and fellow readers; well I don’t even know where to begin. ok there is this guy I have a crush on, he is just everything I need but o kare ga a mpone gore ka mmatla.
So my question is should I tell him? If I do, don’t you think he will take advantage of me? And where do I even begin? I like this guy so much, he ticks all the boxes.