If you have ever heard someone say that they love funerals that person is a witch!
Oh yes I said and I will say it again. What’s there to love when people are crying and besides themselves? It’s something that’s just not done so the thought of going to bury not one but two people was totally devastating. They start early this side but even at 7am I cannot avoid how hot it was. It’s crazy though. My sister and I arrived very early because by 7am we were there. It was crazy because I now had to look for her family to figure out what was happening. You know we hear all these horror stories about Limpopo but for a province that is said to be so poor I could not find fault with anything I had seen. Jhb is worse with all its informal settlements and don’t even let me get on rural KwaZulu Natal because here we were driving some of rural Limpopo and I was honestly stunned. My sister did not even make snide comments when we drove into Thohoyandou.
“These houses, how do these people even afford them?”
She asked me.
When you think of Thohoyandou, the name makes you think that it’s some backward place but seeing these mansions made my judgmental self and sister realize living in Jhb paying 8000 for a 3 bedroom flat which does not even have a yard the fools are us not people here.
“Simple really, think of all the high posts in Gauteng, it’s mostly Limpopo people. Even in university there were a lot of students from this area who were pretty smart. I am not surprised but I won’t lie I did not expect it to be this good!”
I told her. The directions were simple enough and before long we had arrived at the funeral. It was packed and I say this with humility but it was really full.
“Do you think they are having one funeral?”
My sister asked seeing that was one huge marquee set up. There were hundreds of people and it was only 7am.
“Clearly but this is odd!”
I told her. Their daughter had killed the man next door basically and now they were trying to bury them together. It was not normal.
“I need to go find her mother before it becomes impossible!”
I told my sister. I called the number that had called me yesterday as it was still on the phone. Someone else picked up and it was a younger person than the one yesterday.
“Sister Lungi I was waiting for your call.”
The lady said which was rather relieving because I did not have to explain myself.
“Yes. I just arrived.”
I told her.
“We are at the church. It’s not far from the house!”
She told me.
“I have made arrangements for you to be directed here!”
She told me. I was not late I promise but the fact that even before 7am they were at church seemed rather odd.
“What car are you driving?”
The lady asked me. I told her and within five minutes a young boy came to direct us to the church. He was not so young, maybe about 15 years old so I asked him,
“Why do you have the church so early?”
I don’t think he knew all the answers but it was odd.
“There are two funerals so there are many speakers. This is why it was early. We all go to one church around here and we grew up here!”
He told us. I wanted to ask if it was correct that she be buried in the church considering what she had done but I think that was above my pay grade.
“.Y cousin says she will come out outside to meet us!”
The boy said when we arrived. We parked and walked out of the car. There were not as many cars as I thought at the church but I think this was because they had parked at the house. The house was I think a mere ten minute walk so people had walked there.
“Oh my God!”
I exclaimed when she came out, the cousin that is.
My sister asked me.
“The way she looks like Rudzani is quite unnerving. It’s like it’s her in front of me!”
I told her. It was like I had just seen a Ghost or someone was mocking me. The guilty and emotions just swamped me at that moment and the tears followed.
“A lot of people thought they were twins growing up and even people who arrived yesterday thought it was her!”
The small boy said to us. His name was Nelson by the way. The tears just started coming out at that moment as I went to her.
“Ah sister Lungi don’t cry!”
The young lady said trying to console me. She had no idea that I was crying because I had failed miserably to protect her cousin.
“I can’t help it. Rudzani is supposed to be here with us and yet we are burying her!”
I told her. I maintain that I had no grudge against her because I know what had happened to her and how I had played a role.
“We all loved her and we a still shocked as to what happened but she is with God now and she can rest!”
The cousin said thoughtfully. I was the one who was supposed to be comforting her but it was the other way round.
“I saw a picture of Azwindini, are you having one funeral I don’t understand?”
I asked her.
“Yes we are. We are neighbors and have lived next to each other for decades even.”
“I know it’s surprising. We put our differences aside. These two grew up together and we have enough problems of our own to fight about this. I remember Azwindini when we were kids; he used to come steal mangoes from the trees in the back and go sell them!”
She told me and I could hear the fondness in her voice.
“Yes it makes sense!”
I told her but to be honest no it did not make sense. How did you bury the murderer and the murdered together? I guess people out there are more civilized than I am.
“Unfortunately you are speaking very soon so we have to get in. My aunt is really grateful for you doing this. You know when such things happen people disappear and stop being your friends. No one wanted to speak for her and that really hurts!”
She told me. I could understand what she was saying.
“Its ok, I am here now!”
I was not one for public speaking but at this moment I was not scared. I had something to say and I was going to say. I entered the church and sat with the family. It was not long before they called me.
“Thank you for allowing me this honor to speak on behalf of a remarkable amazing kind person. My name is Lungile Mbatha and Rudzani and I were friends and colleagues. I remember the first time that Rudzani came to the office. Two little black girls in a big firm full of white people. She was so shy and polite I remember having to beg her to open her mouth to speak more…”
I started my speech. It was not a written down speech and I spoke from the heart. I cried as I spoke and it moved people. When I was done and I sat down I still felt as though I had not done her enough justice. Mbilahelo also spoke.
We buried them both in side by side graves at 9am that morning. I remember how still the morning air was. I don’t think I remember birds singing or butterflies about. It was still. They were with God now.
After the funeral we went to the house. My sister refused to eat she said she does not trust funeral food. I ate. I could not be seen to be proud under these circumstances.
“Please come greet the parents!”
The girl said to me. I had not met them yet because it was so crowded. Now was the moment of truth. I had to pay my respects to people who I am sure knew I had something to do with this.
“Lungi my child thank you so much for coming!”
The mother said when I entered. Immediately she stood up and she hugged me. I had expected a handshake. I noted that Azwindini’s mother was not there it was her family only.
“I am glad I came. This is all too much to bear. I am so sorry for the role I played in all this.”
I told her.
“Its ok my child. Some things are Gods will and this too shall come to pass.”
The mother told me.
“Please tell us what truly happened because her letter did not say much!”
She asked me. I was not sure if it was trick question and even if it was I was ready to answer.
“The truth is we never slept together. Azwindini came to Joburg the day that she went to Cape Town. He had nowhere to sleep because his money was clearing the following day. I told Rudzani and she asked if he could sleep at my place!”
I told the mother.
“Bad mistake. When she came back a week or so later they had a fight and it turned out that to hurt her within the context of the fight he said things that can hurt a woman!”
My nose was getting bigger.
“It hurt her, it hurt her a lot and by the time she confronted me already she was certain it had happened. Imagine I had met Azwindini the very same day so how would I have even slept with him?”
I asked them but no one answers. Their tears did the talking for them as they put two and two together.
“I begged her but she would not listen. I begged him and he took it back from her but she was now certain. She forgave him as she always did!”
I told them.
“See why I say men are trash! He made two women fight yet walked away with the girl. Azwindini was stupid! We all used to warn her about him but no! Now look!”
The sister said but some aunt cut in,
“Stop it! We don’t speak ill of the dead!”
She said but the sister did not stop!
“No aunty, the truth must come out! She was educated yet she died like a dog! Why? Because you taught her to worship a man that always made her cry! Now you sit there and act like we all didn’t know that he was bad for her? We all knew and we did nothing!”
She said angrily silencing her aunt. It was like she had stabbed her shem because I really doubt the aunt had expected to be talked back to.
“I am really sorry for the part I played. I loved her like a sister and we were close too!”
I told them. They cried some more.
I lied to save her and me from the truth.
I lied so that I could get out of there alive I suppose.
I lied because the mother was standing there looking for answers I could not give.
Am I ashamed of it, maybe but at that moment it felt like it was the right thing to do and say?
“Thank you for telling me this. I needed to know!”
Her mother said to me. I stood up and went outside. I felt like the whole world could see me for the evil person that I was but for now this family needed peace and if this could give them peace so be it.
I heard a voice behind me.
I said turning around.
It was Mbilahelo.
“My family would like to meet you!”
I had run out of lies but because I already knew his mother I could not say no. We went to his house but instead of going inside the house we went to where men were sitting.
“I don’t know how you do it in KZN but please kneel when you get there to show respect!”
He told me.
African Culture honestly will have us women as servants and subservient.
I told him.
“Vho makhadzi, hoyu ndi ene wanga! Ndi ene maloti wavho hoyu!”
He said and immediate ululation.
What the fuck had just happened? I had no idea what he had said but I know the word Makoti and I know when people ululate!
What had he done?
Thank you for the opportunity.
I am a 23 year old guy and I work in a supermarket. It’s not for lack of ambition I am paying rent and for UNISA. I walk to work and to be fair it’s about a 45 minute walk so it’s not too far. I barely have r450 to my name after I am done but that’s not the problem. The reason why my life is like this is that when I was 17 I made an 18 year old girl pregnant. We were not even dating nor were we in love. She was a girl I knew from my neighborhood and there was a party. I got a bit drunk and I spoke to her next thing we had sex. I used a condom but the thing broke maybe because of over eagerness I don’t know as I was a virgin. She gave me the condom even. The following day I went to buy morning after for her and she said she took it. A few weeks later she said she was pregnant and asked me what I wanted to do with the baby. I told her that we were both young so there was no way I could have this baby. She agreed. For two months I asked her every single day if she had done it and she kept postponing. I begged her to get rid of it because we were both not ready but eventually she kept it. She admitted she threw away the morning after. She told me never to see her child because I didn’t want it and vele I did not and I still don’t. At home they found out about the pregnancy just before my Matric exams because girl showed up with baby in hand because she wanted pampers and funny things. I was so stressed I wrote my exams and barely passed. I told her never to come to my house because I had begged her not have this child. She told me that I was being shit role model and deadbeat which I wore immediately because again I told her I did not want the child from day one. I never ever entertained the thought of us having a child. My grandmother whom I lived with kicked me out because of making a baby and for a year I slept from friends place to friends until I overstayed my welcome. I eventually got connected and I got a job at a car wash until one of my ex teachers saw me. She took me to a cousin of hers who worked for one of the big supermarkets and I got a job. I got a room and applied for school now here I am. The baby mama took me to maintenance and even though I expressly told the magistrate the circumstances of this child being born in the first place and how much I did not want it even now I still have to pay. The judge called me a bad evil man and the trash she hates. No one even considered that I did not want this child and I have never hidden that. Shap I start paying now she is telling me the child wants to see because a child needs a father!
I am forced to love a child I did not want from a woman I never once told I loved. I am forced to raise a child because when she could have gotten rid of the child as the law permits meaning it is not evil she lied every day until she gave birth. I am forced to pay maintenance to the person who ruined her life and mine because she could not take a decision when it was needed.
One day I will have children with someone that I love and I will love those kids with everything I have but this woman and her child have no part in my heart. You can judge me for this but if no means no for a woman, if a man also does not want a child from conception were every precaution was taken then he should not be punished for it.