I read somewhere, can’t quite remember where though that in some cultures a funeral or a wedding is not considered to
be successful if the families do not fight or having some major disagreement during it. It will be too good to be true or too fake to count if there is no fight somewhere somehow. I must say I was quite impressed with my sister and my aunt. I am not the only one with a temper or rather who is defiant to authority in this family as now more and more this resemblance between my aunt and I started to show. She even stood the way I stood and my mother used to say once upon a time before they stopped talking about how I had similar traits to my aunt. We had the same gait imagine when we were angry. If this was not a serious matter I would have laughed at what I was observing right now. No wonder why I was the one with the calling clearly. My sister looked like my mother and I looked like my aunt. How deep is that?
“Malume what you are doing is wrong. You are putting your wife at risk driving home drunk like this. You are a respected elder imagine what people would say if they found out you put her in the car like that?”
My other aunt pleaded with him running after him. Men like this love it when women chase after them so am sure he enjoyed that.
“Awungiyeke! I can’t have kids talk to me like that!”
He bellowed as he stomped on.
“Lungi say something!”
My sister started. It was his business I was not going to intervene. He needed to learn manners and treat women with respect.
“What if they have an accident? He can’t drive all the way to Newcastle like that! It’s a 4 hour drive!”
My sister whispered in protest as we watched them walk away. I won’t lie that risk was very high and coupled with the fact that it had been a long day and he was tried plus drunk it was really a bad idea.
“We can’t stop him. If he insists on acting the fool and his wife insists on acting the patsy then let them be. I never kicked her out I kicked him out.”
I told her and walked back into the house. I could hear the others speaking from room and my younger uncle the one, who had tried to stop my uncle from living saying,
“Our sister is not dead; she lives in that one Lungile! She reminds me so much of her even the short temper and the ready to fight spirit. She made me miss her!”
My aunt the sangoma then chirped in,
“She is very smart too and if only Bhuti Jeremiah could recognize that if we all worked together as a family we would all be successful. This thing of him always wanting to have the final say even when he is wrong is really killing us.”
I was tired and was starting to drift off. I tried to call Miriam but her phone was off. I really wanted to hear what that big secret was about. I think it took me about 15 minutes before I passed out. In the morning when I woke up, I did so before everyone else. I wanted to go to my house to wash and change. We were all going to church because it was tradition that after a burial the family had to attend that service. As I walked through the sleeping people it really hit me hard that they were all here because my mother was no more.
“But Lord what you have done…”
I whispered to myself out loud as I walked out. Some people simply do not deserve to die. I got into my car and drove home. I could not take too long though because church started at 9am.
“Good morning neighbour!”
Mbuso said to me as I walked back to my car. He startled me a bit actually as I had not seen him coming. I had seen him at the funeral yesterday and we spoke briefly though as there were many people.
“Morning. I did not thank you well enough yesterday for coming. I was busy and I was a mess. It was too emotional a day!”
I told him as he approached me. I gave him a hug, something I hardly ever do. I am not a hug person. I feel like men like the feel of our boobs on their chests that’s why they insist on hugging us when they see us. Today I made an exception because that was more on me than on him. I needed it. I held on longer than normal and I think he understood why.
“Its alright hey we had to show our support and it was a ceremony handled well!”
He said. He was right too there as there had been no drama at all when everyone was there so it was good I guess.
“And oh thank Aunt Lynda and Malume Rodney for me as well. I was surprised to see them there but their support was more than welcome!”
I told him. Yes they had been there too. The only person missing was Ntheteng but she was a child I would not have expected her to be there.
“I will do so. They want me to bring you over for dinner when you have time. Your sister too. They say that you guys are going to need a lot of things to do so that you don’t dwell too much on what has happened and I agree.”
I looked at Mbuso the mechanic. He was a decent guy though blue collar. Here he was offering me a full family to walk into but at this moment my mind was faraway. I still needed to deal with what had happened with Sfiso even.
“That will be nice hey and I think my sister will also appreciate that. She desperately needs an outing with what’s going on with her!”
I said. I was not going to tell him what it was that was going on with her and it’s a good thing he did not ask.
“Awesome then, they would be happy to have you!”
“I have to go ok. I might be home tonight and would love to have Ntheteng over. Maybe we can do a sleep over!”
I told him. He nodded and smiled as I went into the car. Shit, why did I say that? A sleepover? I was too tired. The words had just come out and it’s not what I wanted. I needed to be alone.
When you walk into church after someone has died everyone looks at you. It’s like they want to see if you are really in mourning and suffering. If you don’t show the anguish you will become the topic of discussion and don’t forget, they can even accuse of killing the deceased. What’s that saying again, “where ever a person dies you will find a witch” even if it’s a car accident! I think I know why charismatic churches are the rage and why government is targeting them now, they are actually fun and make you enjoy worship. I have never been so bored in my life as I was in that service. Where this service not about my family I really would have walked out without hesitation! Fuck somebody save me from this pastors droning voice. No wonder why all the old churches are only left with old people and their grandchildren. No 25 year old in their right mind would say they enjoy church if it’s this dull. It was whilst going through these thoughts that my sister pinched me to wake up. I was not sleeping rather my mind was far away.
“Today we are joined by the Mbatha daughters. Many of you knew and worked with Mrs. Mbatha right here in this church. We laid her to rest yesterday and today I ask you to please pray for her daughters. Girls please come forward so that the church can pray for you!”
The pastor was saying when I turned my mind to focus on him. I went with my sister and we knelt before him.
They started praying.
It started as a burp. I know rude and eeuw neh but it happened. It was so loud I am certain everyone was disgusted.
I said embarrassed by it!
Then the second one hit me. Then it hit me? I had heard this before, from my aunt the first time she consulted me.
No not now.
Suddenly I felt very cold and my body went into a spasm.
The next part my aunt and sister explained to me because I cannot quite remember. I woke up at the house, on my bed.
“What happened? How did I get here?”
I asked them as they stood over me concerned. My sister had this look of worry over her face I don’t think I can ever forget that.
“Do you know what ‘ukubhula’ is?”
My aunt asked me. The word was foreign to me. I had no idea what she was talking about or what it had to do with me.
“No I don’t what is that?”
“It is what happened to you. You need to take this calling seriously. If you don’t want it take steps to getting rid of it because what happened today might someday happen when you are driving or worse!”
She explained but I had no idea what she was talking about.
“You not telling me what happened!”
I said cutting her off. The last thing I remembered was going to the front of the church and that was it.
“Your ancestors tried to communicate with you. You had an episode in front of the whole church. They are pursuing you so aggressively and I am nor even sure why anymore. Ukubhula is that moment when they are speaking through you. With me often I have to call them to come in but with you I think because you have been resisting so much their call is becoming louder I suppose!”
“I did what?”
I asked her. Immediately an overwhelming feeling of shame swept through me because I did that in front of all the people who I grew up in front of and worse, church people! There is no one who judges more like church people meaning that I had caused a scene which would be known by the whole Soweto by the end of the day.
“God no! I did what? Sis is this true?”
I asked my sister even though I had my aunt loud and clearly.
“We told them you suffer from epilepsy but I don’t think they believed it because you were literally having a conversation with someone. The pastor is the one who helped and asked for you to be taken to the back. You should have seen people’s faces!”
My sister explained. She was spooked and there was no hiding it. I am sure had she not been my sister she would have been part of the alarm crew at the church.
“I am freaked out right now! What the hell is going on? I know about your calling but this is scary Lungi! Aunty can you fix her? Can you please stop this thing? That was not my sister I saw in there and I don’t think it’s what she needs right now!”
My sister was saying to my aunt as I covered my head with the blanket. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. Why was I so embarrassed though? This was a feeling I did not understand because I had thought I could handle this but clearly I was not ready for this. I would lose my social status definitely if I chose to be a sangoma.
“Lungi your sister is right; the time has come for you to make a firm commitment. The joking around is over now.”
My aunt said to me.
At what point had I ever joked about this!
Just leave me alone!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for reading my letter I trust you are well.
I am female and I am 33. I have been married 7 years and a year and a half ago my husband and I both lost our jobs. We had a bit of money aside and we opened a small business but like all businesses it needed a capital injection. We did not qualify for loans as we were both out of jobs. About 8 months ago a very wealthy man started pursuing me. I told my husband about it and we laughed about it. The man is about 60 and is wealthy enough to be counted as amongst the richest man in my province. When I resisted him he started pursuing me offering money. I told my husband about this. We both thought he was joking so when he offered me 20k to go for dinner with him my husband said I should see if he meant it. I went for dinner and next think 20k was in my account. It was a turning point because both my husband and I thought all along the man was blowing hot air. That 20k was invested. I told the rich man I was married and he said he already knew that. To him he thought I was cheating and my husband did not know it and that is what thrilled him. What we did not know is that automatically that turned us into conmen. Soon I started doing more dates with him. Some I would ask for money and others I would refuse so as not to be obvious. The rich man fell in love. We started having sex and the rewards got bigger. Now he is buying me an apartment in my name where will meet in private as we had a few close run ins with his wife’s friends in hotels. Our business started to thrive, my husband and I and now the time has come to stop. My husband spoke to me about this but much as I want to stop I cannot. I feel my husband is not seeing the bigger picture. If I get this apartment we are better off financially. Oh 60 year old wants to also buy me a car but because we are supposed to be having an affair he argues that how will I justify it to my husband. We even went for a test drive on the x5.
My husband is still my first love and there is nothing I will not do for him as it’s obvious. Even with me technically cheating he has not done anything that makes me suspicious. Our business everything is in both our names and no phone call are off limits. We are partners in the truest sense. He tells me no other woman would ever have sacrificed themselves for the sake of the family the way I did something he believes saved us. We have two kids by the way. The 60 year old is in love with me I think but its infatuation so it will end soon I am certain. I am so confused now. Will I ever be content with just my husband? Will this not come back to haunt us in future as much as my husband was part of the decision I can sense he is starting to get jealous? Is my reluctance to stop because I have fallen in love with 60 year old or his money?
I am in a complicated mess of our own making my husband and me now I don’t know what to do. There is also the thought that what if I dump the 60 year old and he kills me. When I say he is wealthy I am not kidding to what extent.