Call me sexist but “papa wa ja” sounds so much better than “mama wa jewa”! I am not dumb, my mother was having an affair. Probably not with the pastor as it was too obvious as that was her excuse to where she was going. My father would never step in the doors of a church. He calls chuches “womans business” and “a brainwashing scheme designed to further oppress womens mind after her husband has destroyed it!” I hope I quoted him right. This is why it would be so easy for her to use the pastor as an excuse seeing my father would never go there. Why was it so obscene that my mother could cheat when my father had been doing it for years? I had to confront my mother but that would mean I would be saying to her face she can’t do what my father was doing.
“Why have you been sleeping early though? Is everything ok. I remember you coming home at midnight half the time to make sure that the taxi’s are fine.”
I asked him.
“I am getting old Nothabo. I need your brother to come home once and for all so I can start handing over the business to him.”
He said as he sat down. This man needed a check up. He was one of those stubborn old men who genuinely believed that being sick was a refuge for the weak. If he had a headache he would rather drink a jug of water before he even consider a panado. That was my dad for you and fortunately for him he had never been a sickly person.
“You need to sit down with him and discuss this. He should be coming to town so you must reach out!”
I told him.
“I have been trying to call him. He does not pick up my calls. I tried that whats-whats thing and sent him a message with the help of Sibo…”
He checked himself. I think he was about to say Sibongile and whats-whats was Whatsapp. Old people should not say these new words though to be honest. Now you find them mentioning “bling” or “bae” like really. Even I don’t use them because they get replaced so fast.
“I will talk to him for you!”
I told him.
“Is it true in Gauteng they are going to buy taxi’s from taxi owners for r800 000 each?”
I had heard of this too but I never followed it up.
“I don’t know. How many taxi’s do you have now?”
I asked him.
He said with a smile on his face. I could see he was already calculating in his head but I had to burst his bubble.
“Don’t be fooled, these things are only for Gauteng and KZN as it benefits those who are politically connected. It has nothing to do with reducing the taxis on the road, think about it, r800000 is more than two taxis even so why would the government be so willing to pay that per taxi. Its crazy!”
I said. Ok I fall under those clever blacks that are usually anti some of these policies meaning I always have an opinion.
“No one really cares about us in the provinces to be honest!”
He said something which was true. Compare any facility in any province versus the same department in Gauteng or Western Cape. There really is no comparison. People like my dad were now seen like relics in Johannesburg, a once necessary evil that had to be eradicated whilst her in Bloem they were seen as the future.
“So you want to leave this business?”
I asked him. This was the first time in so many years that I have heard my father hint towards leaving the business he loved so much and all he had ever known. What was going on? It just felt like he was giving up. There was more to this than meets that eye.
“Yes I do? Like I said I am not as young as I used to be. I have survived this long and stayed alife I think its time I retire and stay home!”
He said with a smile. He was up to something. He always is.
“I need to go bath. I still can’t believe you are here! You really should have woken me up last night because would have been nice to talk longer with my grandaughter!”
He said. That had almost slipped my mind with this conversatuon we had just had. He stood up and left the room whilst Lintle walked towards me with a mischevious grin. This child…
“Mum are you thinking what I am thinking?”
Lintle asked when my father left the room.
“No don’t! The thought is …”
We both laughed. She had noticed too what I had noticed meaning I was not far fetched in my assumption. I should not be laughing because my family was falling apart. I had to speak to my brother so we could each sit either parent down but I felt guilty. I was betraying women who have been fighting for women equality because when dad was doing it I did not have thoughts to intevene.
“Are you going to tell grandad?”
She asked me. See this is where it gets tricky to be honest.
“No, its none of our business. Its something they must deal with on their own!”
I told her.
“I will never look at grandma the same though, its crazy to think that at her age she is still doing it!”
Again I laughed but I reprimanded her.
“Don’t say such things about your elders!”
I warned her. Again that’s another thing people find disgusting, old people kissing or having sex. We act as though we will not get old some day that’s why we think its something unfathomable.
“Mum I didn’t say it like that but when you thinking of cheating what’s the first act that comes to mind?”
I ignored her but she continued,
“If dad cheats on you mum I will help you kill him then we will bury him in the backyard along with whoever he was cheating with!”
She said and again we laughed.
“You are crazy you know that. I need to go meet Nelisa’s mother and Nozipho’s mother but now I feel like I did not pack enough!”
I said. I had enough clothes but when you are meeting your competition you cannot show up looking like you came from under a rock. At times your appearance highlights that you are not intimidated. I also had to wear flat shoes in case there will be running at some point. By running I mean if a fight took place.
“You can’t try out shine people at a funeral mum, come on. Be yourself and you will be fine. I don’t think either women wants dad, I saw with that argument he is not popular!”
She said. I had to listen to my daughter but it was not out of choice. I simply had not packed adequately. My father like most men did not spend too much time in the shower. I swear men must think if they take too long in it they will come out with breasts. In 20 minutes he was not only bathed he was fully dressed as well. Sizwe was also like this and often I would ask him how it was possible that he was so fast and he would ask me in that cheesy voice of his,
“What on earth are you still washing after ten minutes?”
And he would laugh. Lintle takes two hours. Even I end up knocking on the door and shouting at her. No wonder why this country has run out of water! South African women love to bath for hours. Its one of those things that we all do even though we did not sit down to agree on it.
“What are you plans for the day?”
He asked me. I had not told him about Sizwe as I had not seen him. Like my mum I briefed him on the tragedy that had taken place. Unlike my mum he was not sympathetic at all.
“I have no time for childishness. She wanted it so she got it.”
“I am running late, will see you this evening right?”
He asked and I agreed. We would only be leaving after the funeral so another day in Bloem. It was nice having peace at home again but in this house that does not often last long.
“Ok see you later!”
He too said and he left. Both the owners of the house were gone. Normally when you have guests you cancel everything but not this two. It was like we were not even here.
“I must bath before your father arrives! I will use their bathroom and you use this one ok!”
I told her directing her to the house bathroom. I bathed and finished, got ready and then called Sizwe. Lintle was still bathing. He said he was already on the way so I asked her to hurry it up.
Sizwe arrived and he walked in. I think he thought my parents were there.
“Am I late?”
He asked as he entered. I noticed that his face looked like someone had thrown ash on it. He was so down and clearly he looked like he was losing his mind.
“What has happened this time?”
I asked him
“You not going to like it!”
“I am not going to like what?”
I asked him. I don’t know why I bothered asking becausel later I did not like much of what he did in any case!
“Eish, Nothabo everything is just falling apart. This is one of those for better or worse moments and right now we sitting on ‘worse'”
“Just tell me what’s on your mind. Speaking in riddles does not help us at all!”
I snapped. Why was he going round in circles really?
“They are refusing to bury Nozipho until I pay damages for her mother and Nelisa’s mother as well!”
I thought I had heard it all but this!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I am so grateful that we have someone like you we can share our problems with.
I having been dating my boyfriend for 3 years now and I don’t trust him at all. Firstly he has a tendency of ignoring me, sometimes two or three days at a time. I can call him and leave messages and he will reply only when he wants. His excuse is always the same and that is he will be going through something. Note, we will not have fought or anything when this side of him comes out. When he comes back he is the sweetest kindest person ever which then makes me think he would have done something naughty. This brings me to my next problem. Secondly he is an emotional person and is forever crying tears. Where I grew up men don’t cry but my boyfriend is an exception to this. He says its healthy and sweet that he is not scared to show me his tears but today 3years on they still freak me out. I have told him that I am freaked out when I find him sobbing but he laughs it out. I don’t even cry anymore in front of him because what’s the point if he will cry too right in front of me. Thirdly, he is too nice for my liking as he is still friends with all his exes. They don’t want him back or anything but I feel so disrespected by their presence in his life. They are exes so they must creep back in the shadows and leave us alone. He will never lie about being with them and sometimes when we go out and bump into them they will come and chat to me too like I am their friend. Like really now! Fourthly he has started drinking a lot. His brothers take him out and he calls me drunk crying. He never used to drink a lot but ever since his brother got a job that’s all they ever do. The brother in question is like their black sheep in the family, loves women and loves drinking. My boyfriend is very respectful towards me but I fear his brothers will change him. I just don’t know what to do with this man.
Please is this normal? How can I change him and how I feel about all this?