I know we all have an image of South Africa of being this beautiful country with so much going for it. I know a lot
of people are quick to point how other Africans from Africa run to South Africa because things are better. We are brainwashed into believing that we are better than every other African and what is it that makes better? The fact that we rape beat, amuse our women? The fact that a good the quarters of country lives in either townships or shanty towns. Is this what makes us better? Maybe it’s the fact that the majority of the working population works in retail so we can watch other people buy clothes we can’t afford. Let’s make a round of applause because well done we have achieved as a country. I was so annoyed and I could not even hide my annoyance at this stage. There are some things which even in your wildest imagination you can never fathom. How does one even think about such things? South African people are we that desperate for money though that now we are robbing graves? I had heard of this before, on the news but it’s one of those things that was happening in the villages of Venda so typical South African, if it was happening in Limpopo nobody cares. What people fail to realize is that whatever happens in the provinces turns up tenfold in Gauteng?
“Why would anyone do that? Did they take anything?”
I asked her in total shock. I was scared to hear the answer. I can’t believe this but what if they had stolen my mother’s body?
“Lungi don’t ask too many questions please just get here quick I don’t think I can deal with this!”
My sister said in a panic and I think I would be too if that was me witnessing that.
“Ok I am coming!”
I told her. When thing are going wrong for you they seem to do in stages and I was no acceptation. It was one thing after the other and I was tired now. How does one even foresee such a thing?
“Ezile I am sorry to do this to you but that was my sister I have an emergency and I have to go!”
I told her. She had partially heard the conversation so it was obvious that I was not lying.
“Its ok I understand. Don’t worry I will settle the bill and you will get the next one!”
She volunteered. These are the type of friends one should have in their lives! The type that can pay the bill without causing a scene or creating drama about it afterwards.
“Thank you so much!”
I told her.
“I will tell you how everything goes but I honestly am at a loss for words right!”
I told her.
“Like I said its ok hey just drive safe Lungi I know it’s an emergency but don’t be reckless!”
She advised as I left. I gave her a quick hug. As soon as I got in the car I punched my steering wheel.
I screamed in frustration. There was no one near my car to have heard that but at this stage I have had enough of all this.
I asked myself out loud as I drove out.
“Why vele? It’s always me and there is always something!”
I asked myself. I drove out and that question kept running through my mind. This had nothing to do with my calling. This was simply evil people who would not give my family a break. If it was the calling they would have done worse. I drove to the cemetery and I found my sister standing by mothers little house with the caretaker.
“I am here!”
I said to my sister as I hugged her.
“Who would do this really Lungi? Why would someone be so cruel?”
She asked me crying. My mother grave was partially dug and you could see that whoever had tried to dig left in a rush because they left their tools.
“You are lucky that the police arrived. They have been a spate of grave robbers here lately so we asked the police to patrol. Last night they came in time. One of the men was caught!”
The man said to me. I had actually seen him the day of the burial and for some reason his face looked more familiar than that. Maybe it was just one of those faces. He was the caretaker of the cemetery let’s leave it that. I did not have to be introduced because it was obvious who he was.
“There are so many graces though how do they pick out this one amongst thousands!”
I asked him very surprised. Looking around since we buried my mum there were many more new graves than before. People are really dying hey.
“How many were they?”
I asked him.
“It was three men. I have seen them before. They robbed another grave and I chased them off but I am an old man so what can I do? Yesterday their luck ran out! The police I understand caught one of them so you can press charges!”
He said with a lot of satisfaction in his voice. See this was nothing personal and had nothing to do with me or my calling. It was just Joburg criminals doing what they do best, criminality!
“So what do we do now?”
I asked him.
“Give me R100 and I will refill it for you but you need to put a tombstone as soon as possible because in that last two months four other graves have been robbed. They target the ones that take too long with no stone!”
He explained. I gave him the r100 and got to work. Within 30 min it was fixed and we had placed the shrunken flowers back in shape. I still could not believe that this was my mother’s final resting place. She was partaking in her final journey all alone. How had it come to this though?
“I will keep a look out but please heed my warning. Nowadays people take advantage of every situation they can!”
He explained and he walked away.
“Do you realize this is the first time we have visited mama together since that day?”
My sister asked me.
“Yeah I know!”
I told her.
“Do you think this has something to do with you and your calling?”
She asked me.
I asked her.
“Lungi it does not take a genius to see that your things have not being going well nor have gone well in a long time. Maybe we should just call a spade a spade.
4je said and it kind of hurt hearing her say that.
“Of course not its not me don’t be silly. My job you know I was having problems with those racists and that’s about it!”
I told her.
“If you say you are pregnant if I was you I would fix my things otherwise the next funeral we will be attending is your babies or yours!”
She told me and again that felt like I was being stabbed in the heart. She was right and it’s not like it was something I had not thought about.
“We need to talk to mama though it’s been too long and I feel bad because I feel like we have abandoned her.”
She said. Today my sister was saying things I should say. She was sounding so sensible and that does not happen often to be honest.
“Yes we do!”
I told her. The caretaker had picked up those tools and gone with them. Why had the police not taken them though because surely they were evidence? I don’t know why but I just started crying. Seeing my mother’s little house like this really took its toll on me. I missed her a lot even all the fights we used to have. This was not right the way she had died so suddenly. I listened to my sister as she told mama all her problems and it was so sad because my mother was always that person with an opinion and now not hearing that from her side was just killing me. When it was my turn I felt myself feeling a bit exposed. My sister recognized this,
“I am going to give you some privacy!”
She said as she walked away.
I whispered after her.
“Mama I am sorry I have not come to see you in such a long time. I want to but I am so scared. I am so scared of being alone and making the wrong decisions. I am so scared because I have failed you in so many ways. You were not supposed to have died. The way things went down I should have been more attentive but look where it led. I was too busy with my life I forgot what was important and that’s you!”
I cried as I said this. I had felt this weight on my shoulders for a long time and I wanted to let it go. I needed her to know that I was sorry for everything.
“Mum I know this is going to disappoint you even further but I need to go and twasa because everything around me is falling apart. I have had so much bad luck since all this started and people around me are getting hurt because of my indecision. Please Mama forgive me for this because I know it’s not what you wanted. I love you and I will always miss you!”
I told my mother before I left. I spoke to the caretaker again and gave him an extra hundred to make sure this did not happen again. I did not trust him he probably had something to do with it.
“Let’s go home!”
I told my sister who was sitting on the bench next to where I had parked.
“It’s a good thing I finally got you alone. I have something I want to tell you!”
She told me.
“Ok what’s up?”
I asked as I drove out of the cemetery.
“I don’t know how you are going to take it. You said that you are pregnant with Mbuso’s child and since that day it has not sat well with me. I am going to break up with him!”
She told me.
“Don’t do it on my account. If you want him he is yours. We did not date it was an accidental moment and the bastard managed to slip one through!”
I told her and she laughed.
“Yeah lucky bastard but that’s not all. The one thing that made mama happy was my marriage. I am going to give it a try again with Senzo. I know you don’t like him but I owe us at least one more chance. He was my husband and he has been calling everyday to apologize! Men cheat, women cheat and if we don’t learn to forgive then we are animals at the end of the day!”
She said. I am sure she thought she made sense so I will live her to her fantasy for now.
Some lessons are not meant to be taught but rather to be experienced!
*********** The End************
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I love your work and have been a fan for the longest time.
Guys I have a problem. A month ago my friend was badly beaten up by her husband and I allowed her to move in with me and my daughter. She was a housewife and depended on her husband for everything so when she left she left with nothing. I did not want anything from her or compensation for helping her but now I have a problem. I have a modest job and a modest budget. When it was my daughter and I we survived on the food we bought because it was us two. With her in the house things are not balancing. She does not contribute anything except babysitting which was already done at crèche anyway. I stand with her as my friend but I can’t maintain her as well. Please I need help in asking her to leave. She was not supposed to move in. I feel so bad for doing this but she has a family which she can return to. She is 33 and can get a job but she spends the whole day crying saying she wasted her youth on him. She has not even started divorce proceedings.
Please help me get rid of her so she can help herself.