There are things that happen in life which even in our wildest imaginations we can never foresee. Every action has consequences and often the end point of that ripple effect is something we do not see. I do not think that my
sister’s husband and that pesky little mistress of his ever foresaw that having that one fight with my sister at the hospital would ever cause this. I strongly doubt that.
“Guys what’s going on?”
My sister came outside when she saw that I was animated.
“Your husband’s mistress killed our mother!”
I said coldly.
“I don’t understand what you mean?”
She asked me hands on hips with a bewildered look in her eyes. Ok I must admit my statement had been a tad bit dramatic but that’s me right.
“Why didn’t you tell me that they came to attack you at the hospital? I asked you how you picked up mum and you neglected to mention that!”
I asked my sister. She opened her mouth to protest then immediately looked down in shame.
“Oh you know about… I am sorry. I was embarrassed to say so. You were going to shout at me for allowing them to bully me so I could not have said it!”
She said and vele she was right there I probably would have but only because I wanted her to toughen up. Another woman can’t come into your house and then push you around. Ayikho lento!
“You should have told me. How did he know you were at the hospital anyway?”
I asked my sister who still trying to grasp what I was talking about.
“I don’t know I think he followed me. I doubt it was his idea though but hers. I had called shouting at her and then next thing they showed up. They embarrassed me in front of mum imagine!”
She said with tears in my eyes. I am not going into the men being trash topic because to trash men there are always women who support them. Her husband did not come alone; he came with a woman who wanted to destroy another woman’s life. That’s how it works! We are quick to argue that men cheat and that they are dogs but we neglect to mention who it is they cheat with. It is not some helpless woman who knows nothing but often it is with someone who saw an opportunity to take someone from someone else! That someone else is always a woman. That’s the reality. As we women we go around claiming sainthood and victim status sometimes justified but how often have we taken a man from another? We have all done that either willingly or unwillingly.
“There is video footage to show that when they attacked mama dropped her medicines and your husband’s girlfriend stole one of them. It was a critical medicine in her treatment which could have prevented all this!”
I said coldly. My sister looked at me as though she was trying to deduce what I had just said. I think it was kind of a tricky story too if you were hearing it for the first time.
“So eh, what are we going to do?”
She asked me. My initial thought was have charges brought against them but that felt so little, they needed to pay more. I was not going to be impulsive though.
“I will tell you what I think later, go meet uMalume no Malumekazi there they are!”
I told her as an old sky blue Nissan Skyline pulled up on the street. I would know that car from a mile away. My uncle, Malume Jonas and mother had stopped talking a while back because my mother had told him shit about not taking care of his children. Men don’t want to hear such truths and my uncle had gone the next level and blocked us out of his life.
“Eish why don’t you go?”
My sister asked me.
“Because you are older! I can’t welcome them first before you!”
I reminded her. She trudged off towards them to welcome them.
“I know you have no money seeing that your accounts are frozen. I brought something for you!”
Nthabiseng told me.
“You are joking right?”
I asked her giving her a big hug. I needed that boost hey as I did not have money.
“No am not. The timing could not be helped. I brought 20k. I could not put it in your account for it being frozen too.
She explained to me. I had not asked her for it and she had been so thoughtful to do this for me.
“I will pay you back as soon as I am paid or when my accounts get released!”
I told her, of which she smiled and said,
“Take your time! You will give me when you are ready.”
She said and she walked away into the house as my uncle and aunt approached with my sister.
I said to my uncle aunt when they got close enough. Eish when you leave in town and you have elderly visitors from rural areas you always have to observe proper protocol. They don’t care for your modern big city tendencies they want you to greet them as though you are in the rural areas where they are from. Being a girl child can truly be a burden.
My uncle said to me politely. I shook his hand. I had not seen him in a long time but these were not those uncles you hug. They believed that men have a certain place in society and women had theirs somewhere far beneath them.
“I am sorry about your mother!”
He said but I don’t think he meant that. He was here to make sure that she was really dead that much I am certain of. My mother and him were like oil and water so no need to pretend now.
“Thank you Malume. Please come in!”
I said ushering him inside. We had to do the proper greeting and so on and when that was done we offered him tea and scones which he graciously accepted.
“Your uncle has called for a family meeting.”
My sister told me as she walked into my room. There were people everywhere and I suppose that meeting had to happen at some point. A black funeral always has to have a family meeting and it’s often the men that talk. With my family because it was just us girls it meant that we would have to either sit and listen in without saying a word or get ready for war.
“Ok fine I am coming!”
I told her.
“Please just hear what they have to say and don’t say a word!”
My sister pleaded with me because she already knew that I don’t play games with any of this patriarchy business.
“But why is he the one calling the meeting because he has not spoken to mum in years. Shouldn’t it be someone else?”
I asked her as my aunt entered.
“He is still the eldest so it his duty. If he does not anyone else can. That’s how it’s done so do not take offense at that.”
She explained. I had not realized that she was there and now I felt a bit embarrassed for being so abrasive about it with my sister.
“Ok I was just asking because it seems a bit odd that’s all!”
I told her. I am not trying to be difficult but how come he got to speak up on our behalf like we had no voice. So far not one member of the family had offered to help financially except for my aunt and her funeral policy. Already on the money I had been given by Nthabiseng I had used it for a lot of things. The casket would come on the funeral policy and that was expensive. We still had to go and choose one. I was dreading that moment ah.
“This gathering is tragic indeed. Death has a way of taking the best amongst us and my sister here was one of them. Over the last few years it’s no secret that we did not see eye to eye on a few things but she was still my sister and I loved her.”
He told the small gathering. He was honest on that at least.
“I will never forgive myself for never getting a chance to say goodbye.”
Some of the family consoled him on that as he sniffled as though he was crying but I am not sure he was to be honest.
“Its ok Malume, she is with God now!”
My aunt told him patting him. Other voices chirped in acknowledging this and when he was satisfied with the sympathetic remarks he then continued. This guy could work a crowd.
“Can we please hear from the girls what happened to our sister here? No one seems to know the real story and I think the right thing is for everyone to be told the story at the same time!”
I can safely conclude that he was asking this in terms of what had taken my mother.
“She was sick for a short while and then she got discharged. She stayed in the house for two days and then died suddenly!”
My sister explained to the family. I am glad she did not mention the fight and the pills. It was too much information and besides these people had a tendency of hearing what they wanted. I am very certain they would have deduced something else from that had she told them that story.
“Ok as head of the family we need to decide where all the things will go. They need to be divided amongst the family!”
He said standing up. This man had arrived a couple of hours earlier after years missing and if he thought he could come and carve up my mother’s property he had another thing coming.
“With all due respect Malume, my mother had a will and we will do things according to the Will!”
I said out loud.
“What is a Will? We must follow our culture and in our culture there is nothing like a Will so please don’t come to us with such nonsense!”
He responded dismissively. The other men laughed whilst the women just cowered before him as they always do. This man was a principal I kid you not and he knew what the law was but because they treated him like a king.
“Well there is a Will and if anyone takes anything from this house without following the conditions of the Will then that will be a crime and everyone knows me I don’t play, you will go to jail. I hope I am making myself clear with all due respect!”
I said clearly and unafraid!
There was a silence in the family and I think the lines had been drawn.
“This child is impetuous! She cannot speak to me like I am her friend. Tell her to watch herself or I will beat her up!”
He said standing up menacingly but not talking to me directly. Welcome to the Mbatha family were the men wanted to be treated like Gods when they are actually little pieces of shit!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for the beautiful books.
I am 25 years old and I have a problem. When I was younger grade 11 to probably last year I lived a very wild life. I loved to party and money. I went through my “whore phase” really hard whilst through universities and I dated anyone from married men to blessers. When I graduated earlier this year I got a job and something in me just switched off. Suddenly I was too tired to party after work and I just mellowed down. From having lived that lifestyle to what I have become I have become so depressed and miserable. I figured that no I can try and party again but I realized that even the people I used to party with have moved on and it’s not pretty. One is pregnant and does not know the father with all the men she tried to pin it on denying the child. The other is dating a married soccer play who plays for Wits who just got a baby and makes her sleeps with his friends in Hartbees. Its just so twisted. I found myself judging them when we used to do all these things together. My problem comes from the fact that someone has asked me out recently. He is 30 and a decent guy. We did dinner and a few outings but I am so bored already. He is a doctor, no kids and lives alone etc.
I need to grow up or grow out of this phase. Can anyone advise me how?