In every family there is this main uncle who thinks he is the boss of everyone. He is treated with respect as the
main patriarch of the extended family. Often he is the wealthiest and has the most powerful hence why people cower in his presence. Everyone bends their will to him and lick his ass. My uncle was that guy in the family. He was a dick and I did not like him one bit.
“I am not being impetuous! My mother just died. She died alone! Where were all of you when she had problems? I remember she once called you asking you to help her with the land the chief gave her. You told her she must do it herself and must move there to look after it. Now you want to stand there and say you were there for her? Are you serious?”
I said standing up to him. You could hear a pin drop at this moment. I am certain the cowards wanted to bury their heads in shame but I was not going to be mellowed by that.
“Come on people, calm down. We are here for the same cause. Fighting amongst each other won’t help anyone. Please let’s use level heads, there is a lot of work to be done.”
One of the uncles said humbly. They could never call out my uncle when he was out of order.
“If it was not your mother’s funeral I would have beaten you up for your insolence!”
My uncle retorted with disdain.
“Hit me? Hit me because I said you can’t take what you did not work for? Are you serious? You still hit women in this day and age? Shame on you Malume you are supposed to be our guide but you are just as bad!”
I said looking him straight in the eye. I can testify to this, being a girl child in some families is a burden on the rest of the family or rather they treat you as though you are a burden on the family. My crime, if it was a crime at all was that I had dared to speak up for the property my mother had so painstakingly accumulated over the years. Where was this so called family when my mother cooked and cleaned for white people once upon a time? They must just relax! Now he thinks he can just come and carve out my mother’s things like it’s a piece of chicken.
“Your uncle is right you need to respect him!”
One of my older aunts said.
“No, he is wrong! If my mother wants him to have something it will be there in the Will. What is so difficult to understand about that? It’s a very simple concept!”
I said getting annoyed. I had a temper and I was known to have a temper even by the family.
“But there are rules to be followed and there are things that will have to be shared.”
“Mancane Sindi, you tell me, how would you feel if your kids are deprived of the things you built for them? Even you will not stand for that!”
I appealed to one of the younger aunts hoping she will see reason. My extended families I haven’t mentioned yet attended Shembe church and were very stuck in its traditions.
“I am not allowed to speak on such matters. This is their meeting!”
The aunt I had appealed to said looking down as though she was scared of her own voice.
“You are on your own on this one I am just following protocol!”
My uncle explained.
“Well I will challenge protocol if I have to. We have not even buried my mother yet and already you are looking for ways to divide us.”
I said standing up. I really could see why I was a thorn in their butts!
“Bhuti she is right, let’s worry about other things first before we reach that. Let us mourn and bury sisi first before we bring up everything else!”
My aunt said. It seemed to calm everyone else down myself included. We discussed the program for the funeral and everything else associated with it. Guess what, not one person contributed anything financial including the uncle who wanted us to share things.
“You need to control your temper Lungi. I get where you are coming from but there is a way these things are addressed.”
My aunt the one who had not backed me up said. Our mothers were first cousins so that made her my aunt. We used to be close but when my mum fought with my uncle we had kind of being excommunicated so she too had stopped talking to us.
“I know but there are rules and none of those rules say we must suffer for someone else’s greed! I can’t be scared of a man who cannot even take care of his own children!”
I said to her defiantly. Men always wonder why women don’t respect them as they used to. Well there is the answer, to be respected you must do things worth respecting! I understand there are places where you pack your education in a drawer and stay in your lane. This is one of them I suppose but I would have had these people been there for my mother. They had virtually become strangers to us over the years so no, I was not going to take this lying down.
“We are not dividing anything! I will get every policeman from here to KwaZulu Natal to arrest anyone who takes anything from this house! That much I guarantee you!”
I told her again so she could go warn him if she wanted to. With that said I was done. I wanted to rest so I went to my room and shut myself in and lay down. It had been an emotional last 24 hours. My sister and aunt were going to do the other things as I was not going to the mortuary and what not. I don’t think I could have survived that. It was dark already when I got a phone call and it was the last person I expected, Mbuso! I must have passed out.
“Hey, I have someone here who wants to talk to you!”
He said. I knew it was Ntheteng so I allowed him to give her the phone.
“Hello Aunty Lungi, I am sorry about your mother. I wish I can come and give you a hug but daddy says funerals are not a place for children!”
She said so sweetly. This child had a way of pulling at your heart strings. I swear you would think that she was being paid to be ultra sweet.
“Thank you so much my little one!”
I told her graciously.
“You are welcome Aunty Lungi. Don’t worry your mother is now with my mother sitting with Jesus!”
You should have seen the tears roll down my eyes at those words. When you love someone and you lose them, tears are an endless fountain. I had no idea I had so many of them though.
“Here is daddy…”
She said giving her father back the phone.
“She insisted on talking to you before she slept,”
He started to explain and before I could respond he said,
“Ntheteng put on your pyjamas and get into bed. I will come read for you just now ok!”
He said to her in between what he was saying. I did not hear her respond but he came back to me instead,
“Sorry about that. I thought I was going to be able to come to you but unfortunately I could not get a baby sitter!”
“Its ok, there a lot of people here anyway I would not have been able to give you attention!”
I explained to him.
“Nah it’s not about the attention, sometimes just knowing someone is there to have your back and tell you they got you is more than enough!”
He explained to me. My aunt peaked through the door and called me to come with her. I thanked Mbuso for his kind words and told him that I had to go. Even though I was crying Mbuso had actually managed to make me smile
“I am meeting someone at the gate please come with me!”
My aunt asked me. I don’t think she had noticed I was not the phone when she first called me because that could have made it rather rude had she done so.
“Since when are you scared of walking in the dark by yourself?”
I teased her as we got up to walk out.
“I am not scared but you have been stuck in the house the whole day. You shut yourself like that and it’s not healthy. A lot of people have come and go today whilst you were closed up like that. It’s a funeral, its rude you can’t shit yourself up like that!”
She was advising me when we got to the gate. As we got there Miriam came out of nowhere.
“I thought you were out, I have been in and out of the house all evening where were you?”
She asked me. I had not seen her that’s for sure.
“I fell asleep I was tired. I am up now though don’t worry. Let me just take my aunt to the car then I will be right with you I promise!”
I told her when I noticed that my mother had not stopped with me. She had walked away and was already next to whoever she was meeting. As I approached her I heard her say,
“What happened? I thought your mother was coming. Why did she send you?”
She asked him.
“I am sorry aunty; you know mum can be a headache at times. She received people just as we were about to leave so she sent me to bring the money instead.”
The man said in a deepish voice which was so familiar to me but I did not know how. When I got to them my aunt said,
“Ah ok me wanted her to meet my daughter Lu…”
And my movement made the guy turn to look at who was coming. You should have seen both our jaws drop!
“You? What … I mean how… What do you want?”
I asked him rudely. My aunt looked so confused.
“You two know each other?”
She asked us both and I responded immediately.
“Yeah your friend here tried to arrest me imagine!”
I said angrily and he responded,
“And your daughter refused to go for a drink with me! How is she your daughter though I mean I have known you all my life I would have known this, I am a cop for crying out loud.
He retorted. He actually sounded bemused by it all. He was not happy.
“Mbilahelo she is my sister’s son! It’s her mother’s funeral and your mother was coming to meet her!”
My aunt explained.
“But how do you know his mum?”
I asked her.
“She was my mentor into all these things and she helped me a lot but I swear I did not know that you knew her son or that he would even agree to be sent by his mother! Mbilahelo vele how did you end up coming you never go see your mum”
My aunt explained to me in awe before turning to Mbilahelo.
“I asked to see you because I have been having some bad dreams. I went to see my mother about them and she said the person I am supposed to see is you so when she had guests I volunteered!”
Did he say dreams?
You have got to be kidding me.
This was some trick play I tell you.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I am 29 and I am about to marry the most amazing man. We dated for a year and a half after I left Bloemfontein and moved to Jhb. He is from Jhb. As fate would have it, he has just been promoted and got a very good job back in Bloemfontein and we must move back together. Our wedding is in September and I should be happy that I will be moving back closer to my family but I am not. Here is the problem, before I met him I used to be very promiscuous. In Bloemfontein a lot of people knew because I either slept with their husbands or bosses. Even for me to end up in Joburg it’s because I had done too much damage. I had women wanting to beat me up and someone even burnt my car once. I have changed though so much that I don’t drink, smoke or party no matter what. I am not born again but I attend church regularly. This is the woman that my fiancé met and fell in love with. I have never told him about my past. Imagine telling your fiancé that you were the town bicycle having threesomes with politicians etc. I am saying all this because this is how bad I was and I accept it. My issue which I would like help with is if we move to Bloemfontein he is bound to find out? It’s not that it’s a small town but I was well known and at the time I guess I did not care. Now I do.
What should I do? Please after you are done insulting me can you offer me advice as I have met a very good man?