With the way my mother had treated my aunt in life I would be lying if I said I was not shocked that she had her
covered in her policy. What made it worse was she raised us like a single mum yet both my sister and I did not have a funeral policy with her name in it. Its things we take for granted that often mean the most.
“Ok then we are going to move on this. Have you decided when you want her to be buried? We need a date so we can book at the cemetery? Are you going to take her home or she will be buried here in Jhb?”
My aunt asked us getting down to business.
“She has to be buried here. Mama loved it here and when last did she go to the villages. Aunty you know better than most that she did not want anything to do with that place!”
It was not an exaggeration and I think only recently I understood why she did not like Newcastle. My mother had taken this calling thing very seriously and I think to her going to Newcastle meant it would bring her closer to that fate. To her it was not destiny it was fate.
“I don’t mean to bring up the uncomfortable but your mother’s spirit needs to rest with her ancestors. You cannot bury her here because her spirit will always wander. It’s not my place to say this even though she is my sister but on this one I am begging you, please reconsider!”
My aunt said. I felt as though she had initially asked us about the resting place to trick us because if her intention was for her to go back home she should just have said in the first place.
“No Aunty, with all due respect Mum did not believe in such things. Please let’s not argue, let her be buried here. This was her home and everything she loved is here.”
My sister stepped firmly but politely. I was glad I did not have to be part of that decision because I was always seen as the one forever fighting. Let my sister fight for our mother for once.
“Lungi do you agree with this. You have heard both our sides and reasons as to why she must be laid to rest here or there?”
My aunt asked me putting me on the spot. I had thought too soon that I did not have to help decide.
“Aunty I think I am with my sister on this one. I am sorry!”
I told her avoiding looking her in the eye. After she had volunteered her funeral policy I thought it would like I was betraying her.
“Ok then I will respect that but Lungi you should learn to take advice and warnings as they come.”
She said. That stabbed me in my heart. Was she implying that because of me my mother had died? I have not forgotten all that had happened with her about the money and other things. I have not but this felt like an accusation. I bit my tongue and kept quiet.
“The church said they are going to come tomorrow for a prayer service. Are you going to attend?”
My sister asked my aunt.
“Yes I will. Why?”
She asked. The look on my sister was one of guilt. Maybe its ignorance I don’t know but I know my sister and in her head she was saying because my aunt is a Sangoma she could not come.
“No I didn’t know that…. I mean I wanted to say that…”
My sister stuttered her way to actually saying nothing.
“Aunty we are thinking of burying on Thursday. I know people prefer weekends but mum always said that if anything ever happened to her she did not want to be left in the mortuary for too long.”
My aunt laughed when I said this.
“She never changed neh. She used to complain when we were kids why people were only buried on weekends. Your grandfather once beat her up for it after she was rude to some neighbours who had lost someone. She said a whole week of mourning was making life bad for everyone!”
She explained. What stories did this woman have to tell about my mother? I realized I knew very little about what mum was like growing up. Who could we have asked as she had isolated us so much from the rest of the family?
“Your phone is ringing!”
My sister said. I had put it on silent when I wanted to click vibrate. It was Sfiso.
“Lungi am outside!”
He said. That was fast. I know he had said he was coming but not this fast.
I told him. It was hard to leave him at the gate and a time like this is not one where you jola in the car. He walked in and I met him outside.
“I finished faster than I thought so I drove here first!”
He said as he walked towards me. He did not have to explain for he was more than welcome to be here. I wonder if my mother would have approved of him in person. It will be quite something. I had never actually introduced any guy to my mother because we grow up being told as girls never to introduce unless he is marrying you. That’s the dumbest advice ever now though because all these girls who go missing often end up in such situations because they are forced to keep whom they are dating a secret exposing themselves to abuse. I am just saying.
“Thanks for coming. What are they saying at work? When do you leave?”
I asked him.
“Unfortunately tonight. I tried to wiggle out of it but I failed. This is the worst time to leave but I have no choice!”
He explained but I had already resigned myself to it. That hurt. To accept that he was leaving when things were like this.
“It’s ok. Come I introduce you to my aunt!”
I told him as I led him into the house. Sfiso was not the shy type. He had this confidence about him that always took my breath away. Let me explain the architecture of my house. When you walk in it’s through the kitchen, then into the sitting room. From there there is a door that leads into a small passage which then leads into my mother’s room to the far right, my sister’s old room in the middle then my old tiny room on the left. Next to it is a toilet and next to that a bathroom. When I was little I could tell who was going to the toilet simply because it was next to me. In any case when I had gone out my sister and aunt where sitting in the kitchen but when I came back it was just my sister.
“Oh hi how are you?”
My sister greeted Sfiso when we entered,
“I am good thank you. My condolences yet again!”
He said as he shook her hands.
As I was about to ask where my aunt was we heard her let out a loud burp then another one? For those who don’t know, when a Sangoma is receiving her spirit of call, often they burp. It’s the most disconcerting thing and can shock the leaving daylights out of you.
I said funny enough a bit embarrassed I mean Sfiso in the house now she does this.
“My aunt is a Sangoma so I think she is in her element!”
He on the other hand was quite shocked because I could see he was not familiar with it and I am ashamed to admit he looked a bit frightened by it. Talk about bring a guy home for the first time.
“Please take a sit with my sister let me go check on her!”
I said politely trying to act as normal as possible but inside I was bursting. Why did this woman have no timing? She was in my sister’s room sitting room now kneeling on the floor and she was clapping hands saying something. I am not naïve my aunt was not there anymore,
I called her as I took off my shoes to enter. She burped again and I knelt down in front of her.
“The ancestors are not happy. I sensed something when you left the room. I have been warning you my child but you are not listening. What have you brought into the house?”
She asked me. I can assure you there is no way my aunt could have known that the car outside was Sfiso. With all the comings and goings today that made it even more improbable. Even when I went out to meet him I had not told my sister or her who was on the phone.
“But Aunt… I mean Gogo…”
I protested but she cut me off,
“Get rid of this evil. He should not be here. Do you want to disturb your mother’s passage too? Get rid of him!”
She obviously was not speaking in English and besides I doubt my ancestors went to white schools so why would they instruct her in English. Jokes aside though this was getting ridiculous now. What did “they” have against Sfiso? Had they even met him?
“Ok I will do so Gogo?”
I said so politely.
“You need to tell him that he needs to see someone. It is not his fault but he carries with him a very dark shadow or a cloud I can’t see quite clearly and that thing will destroy him and anything he touches! Lungi, this is not a joke you take lightly, this is strong omen please Lungi get rid of him!”
She said. I stood up very confused and my aunt burped again just as loud as before. I walked out and when I got to the kitchen my sister and Sfiso were not there. I went outside and I found them by the gate. Thank heavens she had taken him out of there.
“I thought she needed privacy! What’s that’s all about?”
My sister asked. I could sense in her voice she was not comfortable with all this but really who could blame her! I was not comfortable with it either yet I had a calling!
“It’s a long story! Sfiso we have to go!”
I told him.
“Am I not meeting your aunt?”
She asked me.
“No not today. Sis, please take aunt water when you go back inside!”
I instructed her.
“What? You leaving me with her? I am not comfortable with this. Where are you going?”
She asked me with fear in her voice.
“I won’t be far I will be back just now. I just need to talk to Sfiso privately as he is leaving today. We will go to Maponya or something don’t worry! Mam’Dolly is there you will be fine!”
I told her but she was not fine. She even had to cry but there was nothing I could do, she had to stay.
I think it’s time I told Sfiso the truth. I mean if I really cared for him, I had to at least warn him of my aunts warning.
I was going to look like a lunatic!
*******The End ***********
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
I am proud to be one of your loyal fans. Your books have changed over the years and have a lot of maturity in them. Thank you for this.
I am a 33 year old single female. Three years ago I was dating this wonderful man who passed away in an accident. He was my fiancé at the time and it was a week before our wedding when I got the news that he was in a car accident. I was devastated. Here is the kicker; turns out he died coming from his side dishes’ house. I did not know about the side dish but at the funeral word filtered down until it eventually reached me. I did not know the girl and apparently she was there at the funeral meaning she knew my face. Three months ago my younger brother came home and introduced us to his new fiancé. We all loved her and she was amazing. She is pregnant with his child and they signed papers at court. The wedding is only after birth I am told. Anyway as fate would have it turns out she was the girl who was sleeping with my fiancé. Honestly I was shocked. Of all the women in the world my brother in all his wisdom found her. Do I confront her? I have so many questions and I have never really gotten closure on this. Sometimes I cry for him because I lost and sometimes I cry for him because he betrayed me. It still hurts so bad knowing that’s how he died. Now the girl has walked into my front door and she is calling me sister? What am I supposed to do? If I keep quiet I die inside but am also scared if I speak out I will ruin how my brother sees this home wrecker!
That is my story.