There are times when it feels like your life has reached a watershed moment, a t-junction so to speak. You run away
from your demons as hard as you can then you wake up in the morning and realize that you can never run far enough they still follow you anyway. That was how it felt to be me. This is what I was subjecting myself every morning when I ran away from making this decision. I know I had had a lot of bad luck lately and as long as this dark cloud was following me it would always appear as though this one thing was the reason. So how can I describe my feeling right now seeing these two ladies at the door right now, relief is not quite the word but it was there that’s for sure? I was anxious that’s for sure. I know I wanted to say it was about time but at that moment it did not feel like that at all. I actually had goose bumps at this moment because the other day I had told my aunt that I was ready but now seeing them here was different to what I had thought.
“Why is there something always coming though? Why can’t this thing be done in a good times when the sun is out and everyone is happy!”
I joked with her. I had this negative vibe when it comes to ukuTwasa because everything was always warning. I was yet to be told of the blessings that came with it.
“This is how it is. Today we don’t do anything serious. You aunt tells me that you are more comfortable with all this happening at your house and I agree because you live alone.”
Azwindini’s mother is the one who spoke initially. I remember my aunty had once said that she was the one who was going to be my Inyanga and that’s why I had met her anyway.
“Today we just need to talk so that you can ask questions on what you want to know on this whole process.”
My aunt said as soon as they got fully comfort. They meant business these ladies and I could see that we were in for a ride.
“Can I offer you ladies something to drink or eat first?”
I asked them which the proper why I was raised. Offer guests something to eat unless you wanted them to leave immediately. It’s the African thing to do.
“No thank you. When we are in this process we are not allowed to eat or drink from you! It’s just the rules even we haven’t fully started the process yet!”
My aunt said politely but sternly. It was a good thing I guess because generally I am lazy to cook anyway so thank you for that.
“Ok I understand that!”
I responded though I must add it made the room even tenser than it needed to be.
“Let’s start this way, do you have any questions?”
She asked me. Ok that felt like a trick question considering they had not told me a single thing as yet. I had thought about this thing yes but I had never formulated a list of questions.
“Uhm, how long does the process take?”
I asked her for them. They were sitting so close together even though there was so much free room on the couch.
“Well there is actually no set time hey it just depends on your calling. Some people are done within three months and I have heard of others going for as long as 2 years.”
She explained. Screw the 2years that’s impossible already but did she think 3 months was child’s play. I was not about that life.
“3 months Aunty but what if I am back at work?”
I asked her concerned.
“Then you will have to drop work child! You are about to communicate with the ancestors as well as mix medicines for people. Even a doctor goes to you school for 5 years le wena you must take your time to learn. Remember you will be taught your method of ukuhlola or whatever method your idlozi presents with!”
My aunt said and I stared her blankly and responded,
“I don’t know what ukuhlola is!”
“That’s the throwing of bones or stones or whatever will be the choice of your ancestor as the tool of your communication. Your gift is a blessing to help people and when you start it will be so fulfilling!”
She explained with excitement in her voice. I had watched Mr. Bones but I was not that funny.
“You will learn basic medicines, disease identification and treatment at a certain stage!”
She explained. Much as I was interested some of the thing just flew past me until she reached the rules stage.
“There are rules that need to be followed and this is important. The major restrictions are that,
1. You do not eat internal meat or animals from the water during this time!”
My aunt started. Rules mean no punishment so rules I had to pay attention.
Ok that one was easy. I am not that much of a fan of sea food because I feel like almost everything you eat from there is looking at you whilst you eat it.
“2. You must be submissive to you Inyanga as a sign of submission to your idlozi.”
This could be a problem. I am not submissive by nature. If anything I am too strong willed for my own good. Imagine being led by a stupid person and having to say yes sir, nor maam! That one I will have to take under advisement.
“3. Ithwasa is not allowed to stand in the middle of the yard. If you to stop or talk to someone, you immediately drop or bend your knees.”
She explained. She knew these rules like the back of her hand the way she was going fast about it.
“Aunty that could be a problem!”
I cut her off. She raised her eyebrows and said,
“And what’s that?”
“I live in an estate; the whole complex is part of my yard. How many people will I have to bend the knee for because this place has too many people who greet and chat?”
I asked her.
“You will have to do it because it’s part of the rules!”
“I am sorry I can’t bow to white people no matter what! I will rather be struck by lightning before I do that and you know this complex is full of them and they think they are our friends!”
I said defiantly. Steve Biko will turn in his grave first before I ever do that.
“Lungi do you want this thing or not?”
Azwindini’s mother asked me.
“I do want this but not at the expense of those people and what do they have to do with our culture? They disrespected our traditions and ancestors to start with so when I meet them in the yard I will not bow!”
I told her and I meant it with all my heart. No games with these people, last time we gave them a break they took over the country and started acting like the victims when we got it back 350 years later.
“Ok let’s continue!”
My aunt said trying to diffuse the situation.
“Yes please let’s!”
I chirped in.
“Where was I?”
She asked me.
“We are going to number 4!”
I told her.
“Oh ok cool. Let’s see… 4. You have to be up before sunrise everyday!”
She told me. Again I wanted to protest but I had made enough of a noise as was is I did not want to chase them out of my house. Before sunrise means around 430 in the morning. It’s cold and quiet meaning you will probably sleep again especially if you have nothing to do. I could probably take up gyming I guess.
“5. on the days you are praying you have to fast and eat at midday!”
No problem with that one.
“6. Throughout the process you have to sleep on the floor!”
Lol! I want to laugh when she said that. I have never slept on the floor whether I was visiting relatives or not. That one again was so uncomfortable it discouraged me.
“7. You have to wash with cold water through out!”
“What if its winter?”
I blurted out. It just came out I had not expected it. This was ridiculous and absurd. For some reason people think that if you bath with cold water you are stronger, tougher, and more resilient but the truth is that it’s ridiculous.
“Then its winter! Now for the last one 8. Once you start the process there is no sex allowed between you and your partner.”
She said as though it was a matter of fact. She looked at me to see my reaction and obviously I reacted,
“Sex is not what it used to be though aunty, are you saying no pleasure whatsoever is allowed?”
I asked her. She laughed but Azwindini’s mother was not amused with it.
“This is serious and it’s not something you joke with!”
She said angrily and I honestly don’t get it. Why is it old people like acting like they were not young once? Why is it they like acting like they have never done doggy style in the lives? We are all human and its such tendencies that make people fear getting old because when people get old they act like they never sucked a dick! Chill! Relax its part of life!
“Lungi sex is one of the things that make people fail ukuTwasa and yes you can fail and you can even get sick because your ancestors will feel like you treated them like a joke!”
My aunt explained obviously seeing the humour in all this. She knew I was already apprehensive and apprehensive meant I could quit any second.
“What about the fact that I am pregnant? Does it get affected by all this?”
I asked them.
“You are pregnant?”
Azwindini’s mother asked me in shock.
“Yes I am pregnant!”
“Why was I not told this?”
She asked my aunt and me.
“Is that a problem? Can I not twasa because of it?”
I asked her surprised.
“No it’s not that. I am an Inyanga yes but I am one of those that do not twasa pregnant girls. I am not comfortable with it. We will have to find her another Inyanga to do it for her!”
She advised. I could see from the look on my aunt’s face that this was a blow.
“Can’t you make an exception?”
My aunt asked but Azwindini’s mother was adamant.
“No, I cannot change my rules unfortunately. I have been at this for many years and the one thing I know is that if you start changing your methods you diminish your reputation!”
She told us. I appreciate that she was at least honest with us. My aunt was not happy and even the rest of the consult you could sense the sourness in her tone.
“Thank you so much for coming!”
I told them two hours later as they were leaving. I had learned a lot to be honest and it was a lot. My brain even felt hot at this stage but I was grateful. I had a bit of clarity. I was starving. There was a knock on my door. I went. There was a man carrying a food bag clearly standing there,
“Miss Lungi Mbatha?”
He asked me.
“Oh I got lost twice, sorry I am a bit late. I am from Uber Eats I have brought your food!”
He said. He opened the bag and the bags were written Tasha’s.
“Sir I didn’t order food!”
I told the guy.
“I know you didn’t but it’s fully paid and oh, there is note to go with this…where did I put it?”
He said feeling for his pockets.
“Here we go!”
He handed it over and I opened it,
“I wish I could take back what I did. I can’t I know that but I promise you I will work hard every day to make it up to you. I was wrong and I am sorry, Sfiso!”
There was even a flower. Before I could smile someone walked up behind the delivery guy.
“I see you ordered us food! I am starving thank God!”
I looked up and it was Azwindini!
Dude where have you been!
I thought as he smiled at me. I had not even seen him roll up on me and those people wanted me to cook drugs for them. At this rate I will be dead in a day.
*Reference: “The Process of UkuTwasa, Amanda Gcabashe: 2009”
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Congratulations to making chapter 200 with me. This blog averages 1850 words a chapter without the letter so you have in essence read 370 000. Each chapter is 5 word pages without the letter so you have read exactly a 1000 pages of one book. That’s remarkable. The story has had its moments I am sure but I hope you still enjoy it. Thanks for sharing the journey.
Thank you for reading my letter and good morning you and all the other readers.
I have been having problems with my boyfriend in that he refuses to grow up. We started dating two years ago and he is 31 and I am 28. My boyfriend is into hip hop and a bit too much. He dresses like a teenager and when the crowd is right behaves like one. He wants to look cool all the time and he curses a lot. He is an accountant and he overcompensates for his boring job by acting like a producer. He has all the equipment and a small studio with his friends were they make really bad music. To make matters worse his best friend and partner in crime is into the whole groupie thing as hip hop people do. I worry that my boyfriend is going to get attracted to these bum short wearing club girls. The crowd that follows such are young and even at the mall the people that look at my boyfriend or try talking to him are teenagers. My friends call him a fuckboy which is disrespectful I know but he acts and behaves like that with his “yo yo yo nigger” talk! I love this guy completely but he embarrasses me at times.
How do I help him grow up without killing his passion for music?