Nothing makes a Zulu man angrier than seeing his daughter emjolweni. I swear their blood pressure rises so fast forgetting that these men bayafeba like stray dogs elokishini. These are things we are not allowed to acknowledge in society as its fine that our fathers have kids everywhere but wena the girl go on a date and see how hot and bothered they get. As I was never a problem child I had never had a run in with my father over boys,
“Who was the man in the car?”
He asked me without even saying hello. From his tone I could hear that he was already angry. He did not what he was angry about,
“That is the detective from the police. I went to open a case and he offered me a lift as he was going here.”
I told him trying so much to hide the fear in my voice. I could not make him see that I was busted as he might cause a scene.
I greeted him as was the customary thing to do. I could see that he was debating on what his emotions were but my plan worked as he responded,
“Ngiyaphila. Your mother told me what happened and asked me to come check on you. The way she spoke I thought you had been stabbed or something.”
He said starting to sound annoyed now. The anger was gone at least which was good and by the looks of things he was not going to pursue the questions about the man in the car.
“How were you going to find me though because I had no phone? Have you just arrived?”
I asked him because I wanted to see if he had seen us talking but by the looks of it he had not. This was his second visit since I came here and the first time he had only lasted ten minutes. He complained that there were too many people and he did not like crowds because it felt like they were judging hm. My father is a lot. I did appreciate that he did not behave like some of the fathers or at least I assume they are, some of the fathers that visit their daughters here but you actually see their eyes wandering looking at the girls here. To my father girls my age were annoying and even in high school he hated it when we were a group.
“I just arrived now and I saw you coming out of the car. I asked for a car from work and fortunately the warehouse manager is a friend so he allowed me to come. You are going to have to find yourself a new phone because we are not getting you one. You are supposed to be studying but you busy buying pizza and getting robbed!”
He said in his classic yet predictable way of according commitments. I already knew this was his way of saying it was my fault so I must deal with it.
“I got robbed because I had an interview and after the interview I was telling mama how it went. That is all that happened. The pizza Katlego sent me to buy since I was at the police station and it’s her way of cheering me up!”
I told him. When pizza is hot it smells like heaven.
“Would you like a piece?”
I asked him of which he did not even hesitate to say yes and helped himself. I need you to understand that this was the same man who back home when you suggested things like pizza he would say he doesn’t eat because ukudla kwabafazi.
“I am not going to stay long. Tell your mother I was here because she will be angry at both of us if you do not.”
He told me.
“Does it not make better sense Baba if I call her with your phone this way she will know we are here together.”
I suggested and I think because the extra layer of crust was so nice he agreed. Often he would complain about his airtime and how his phone was only for work purposes.
My mother said as soon as she picked up the phone. She did not call him by his name rather by his surname even at home. Back home men love that because to them it’s a sign of respect. Many children I am very sure do not even know their parents first names because of that.
“No mum Its me I am with ubaba. He came to see me but you really should not worry!”
I told her.
“You are my daughter and I only have one job in this world to worry about and that is you.”
She reminded me what she always told me. My job was to worry about her too so this feeling was very much mutual.
“Everything is fine don’t worry.”
I reassured her.
“Don’t tell him you went to a job interview!”
She warned me. Eish I had forgotten that rule between my mother and me. If ever I had money I could never tell my father because it will almost become a rule that the money I had that moment I will have the same time next month.
“I forgot Ma and I told him!!”
I said stepping away out of ear shot. It might sound weird this but my mother had learned this thing of not telling my father about money from other wives who go through the same nonsense with their ‘for better or worse’ partners. I know a woman back home who started selling school sport kits whilst her husband was away. When he came back I remember so well as it was Father’s Day, she did the wifely thing and presented the money to him. He beat her to death accusing her of cheating. Turns out he was the one cheating but who cares for there are no testimonials behind a grave.
“Ok then if you get the job do not tell him!”
She told me and I agreed with her. My father was already beckoning me to hang up and I think with the piece of pizza finished he was now remembering his airtime. I said bye to her and told her I would call later and this time I wanted to speak with my siblings.
“I will come again end of the month but please stay safe. We are scared half the time you are here and hearing such news just makes that anxiety worse naMhayise.”
He said and he left. Coming to Wits had changed my perspective on a lot of things and one of those things was that all these girls hugged their fathers. I could have done with a hug from him but yho shem I imagine impi ka Shaka would show up if we ever dared do that and scream
It is just something we don’t do. I remember in the early days at Wits how it used to shock me. We are taught that your father is definitely not your friend, you can’t confide in him, you ask him for money that’s it(well in my case it was different but you get the jist) and there is this wall between you and him. It’s crazy and absolute taboo to expect a hello or goodbye hug from him.
I said as soon as I walked into the room. She was still reading her book. I was not about to allow her to ignore me again so I went and sat on her bed.
“I am sorry I messed up. You know I love you right and I know you are just looking out for me. Please don’t stay mad at me for long because I have no one to talk to if you do and I don’t want to end up having to confide in Zamo!”
I told and at that last part she burst out,
And laughed. Even for me I knew that even in the worst of scenarios Zamo was a no go area.
“This is for you and I am sorry there is a bit of damage to it. My father happened to it!”
I told her as I opened the Pizza for her to see it like they do in the adverts cue background music.
“Wow thank you but wait, did you say your father?”
She asked me curiously but I am sure salivating over the pizza already. I was not hungry as I had had that big meal earlier but that aroma was in my nostrils.
“Yes Hlatshwayo in the flesh and worse he saw me …”
I proceeded to tell her what had happened, with a bit of hyperbole here and there you know spice nyana to make the story more dramatic. I had her hooked and with that I had my friend and roomie back. To the pizza wine was introduced, Katlego always keeps a bottle or two and her favorite saying when it comes to her habit is,
“A lady must always have a bottle vino ready for a special occasion!”
So I guess our kissing and making can be considered a special occasion. I took out my books as we ate and drank and somehow did my assignments. Student can multitask shem no wonder why we fail so much and then lie to each other that run your race at your own pace even if it takes you 7 years to finish a 3 year degree. We really have a way of justifying everything. About two hour later there was knock on the door and I opened the door, it was Zamo.
“What the fuck is wrong with you sfebe!”
She said and without warning she pushed me backwards with so much force I fell.
“You are messing with the wrong girl. What did you tell that gorilla looking ape of yours now Abedi does not want to talk to me!”
I was so confused by that but I won’t lie uNkulunkulu muhle, ungizwile I had waited for this moment with bated breath. Ungijwayela kabi Nodoli, today I was going to teach her why a hyena can laugh but it cannot smile!