There are probably about zero other people in the world that infuriate Uluthando more than his father. To him the man was a delusional controlling self loving freak that thought that the sun rose and set on his ass! He did not fall in the trash father category, the ones that do not take care of their kids but rather the ones that smothered and stifled their kids. Imagine at his age to be slapped like this like he was a child? Heaven knows even in South Africa it is illegal to get hit by anyone, parents included so what the fuck was this? Uluthando stopped at the traffic light and looked at himself in the rear view mirror and realized he actually had tears in his eyes. He knew that this was not because of pain from the clap but rather the anger and the sense of humiliation from it. If he ever does this again he would kill his father he vowed to himself.
The car behind him hooted. The traffic light had become green and was almost back to red so he stepped on it. The power of a GTI is immense as it catapulted him back to life. The car, the last gift he had gotten from his father before he had been cut off. He had begged for it and had had to earn it from his father before he had even bought it for him.
“Koloi ya de febe!”
His father had called it when He had first asked for it. Passing matric was not enough for him to earn it he had to go to a religious college first and graduate before getting his first car regardless of whether or not he had the calling to want to be a pastor.
“You are love!”
Yup fam that’s what his parents in all their wisdom had named him. Uluthando was a beautiful name even in all its shortened versions but it was pretty much a girl’s name. The only saving grace he had was that he went to white schools so names don’t really matter to them when they are not English for he was very certain he would have been bullied. Courtesy of watching too much TV growing up.
That’s what he was called PK for short like he was a version of Khaya Mthethwa or something! Thank heavens he saw through all the bullshit he always reminded himself when in doubt! You know when you grow up as the son of a pastor everyone expects something from you that you cannot always deliver.
“Thando one day you will run this church but with the way you are so lazy to step up a stranger will one day take this from you! This is your birth right!”
His father would always tell him and whenever he saw other churches fighting for leadership he would gloat,
“Do you know why ZCC has two churches? Do you know why the Shembe’s fought all the way to the court? It’s because when it comes to brothers the fight is real! They all want to take over the church and this is what makes life beautiful for you, this is yours to inherit!”
This would be part of his Sunday after lunch chats and much as he was supposed to be motivated he was not intrigued. At first his father did not notice that he was not keen because as a dutiful son I would pay attention to him to avoid the fights. Thando would go for meetings almost always as a non speaking apprentice to learn how the church worked. He was 14 when this stage of his tutelage had begun but even the he had not been interested. He did not have the guts to tell his father this however as the man was determined for his son to follow in his footsteps.
“I think I should show you another side of the church which exists and people don’t want to acknowledge!”
His father said to him one Sunday which also happened to be the occasion of my 16th birthday. It was in the morning before they left and it was something that he recalled this so well,
“Father there is nothing I don’t know about the church so I am good stop worrying!”
He had told him respectfully so as not to anger him.
“Yeah I know you know but this is something we must discuss otherwise I would be a bad father!”
Dumisani had told his son who just smiled after this. What else could he do provided he did not actually have a choice in the matter?
“Today wear your black suit, it looks good on you!”
He had been instructed. As a young man of 16 a suit would definitely not have been his first choice but when his mother had agreed with the dad the battle had been lost. His sister, two years his junior had laughed at him accusing him of being so cliché,
“So you wear on your best clothes on your birthday like a five year old!”
It was all fun and games for her. Emihle and he were close like twins possibly because they were 18 months apart in age. She had a lot of friends but even when they were young she always said he had a good eye so he would shop for her clothes with her. She did not want the things their mother chose for her so it was always his responsibility.
“Let’s go boy it’s your big day lets not spoil it!”
Dumisani had said that morning when they left for church. After the service in which he had made the church sing for his son thoroughly embarrassing him his father took him to youth. It was a slightly older group than the last section I had been in. After the youth when they came out he asked Uluthando,
“Did you see what I wanted you to see?”
Confusing the boy to know end.
“I didn’t know what you wanted me to see so I don’t know!”
He had testified back honestly. His father laughed and shook his head,
“Son there are so many beautiful women in youth. You are the son of the pastor and some of them will definitely come after you. Now I don’t mind you dating at all, it’s only natural but always use this…”
He took out a box of condoms!
He said embarrassed and they had laughed.
“I am serious son. Part of the perks of this job is how many women worship you single and married alike. Most of these women you are the only man they feel comfortable to confide in so they end equating how much attention you give them for love. This is the reason why I advise you because you get older many women will come!”
Dumisani had advised in son who so embarrassed about the condoms. He was still a virgin at this time and not interested in dating. His hormones made him a late bloomer.
“Thanks dad I am good. I don’t have a girlfriend and…”
His father had cut him off!
“Please date someone! People at church are starting to talk about how they never see you with girls. This church is yours and if you don’t take advantage rumors like this happen!”
He advised me the ghost of his last laugh far from gone as he was serious.
“Wait dad, you think they think I am gay?”
Thando asked him incredulously,
“Do you think I am gay?”
He asked him skeptically,
“No I don’t think my son is gay but I do think he needs to start doing what men do though because perceptions are very important at church and you know it!”
Dumisani explained to him.
That was years ago now and today Thando was driving and just parked in the driveway at his place. Before the engine was even off the door opened and Zenande came out immediately,
“Dude you are earlier than I thought please tell me you didn’t fuck it up! Did you get the money?”
Zenande asked and Thando shook his head in the negative!
“Fuck fuck fuck Thando you promised me you would!”
The two of them had been dating for 6 months now and Thando had started to make promises that he could not keep. That’s why he had gone home and now that man was ruining his private life too.
“Don’t worry babe I will talk to my mom!”
He said pecking Zenande on the lips as he walked in. His mom had always had a weak spot for him when it comes to his unreasonable father so she would help he was sure of it.
This was a total mess!
Seeing her family fight was something that Emihle had gotten pretty used to over time. It was nothing new and the only person who actually seemed to care about the fights was her mother. She was not even sure why her mother still bothered with this man because her father was just too controlling and unrealistic. At church they treated him like a god and he expected her mother to do the same thing too. A lot of the times she indulged him something which as a modern young woman she detested a lot. Her father could go fetch his own water but he would rather call her mother from upstairs to fetch it for him. If this was love is then she didn’t want it.
“So how have things been Emihle?”
Her father asked her on the table. She was actually quite hungry because living in a flat meant her diet was mostly take out and junk. If it was because of her good genes she would probably weigh a tonne by now and oh…the gym of course!
“Things are ok daddy, school is fine and yes there are few challenges here and there I am coping! I am thinking of getting an internship before I do a higher degree though!”
She told him. It was a lie though! She got academically excluded in her first year and had been living off her allowance all along. These were not the type of parents that asked for academic transcripts because they were too busy with their lives.
“See Sindi, we have at least one child that is trying to follow the right path!”
Her father told her mother. It was actually not a manner of bragging on his part more like the irony of the situation. Her father loved her she knew but he almost had this way of treating her as weak, feeble and in need of protection as the girl child. Her brother he was hard on because he was the boy and had to man up.
“Yes indeed but you need to call Uluthando and discuss what happened today!”
Her mother responded almost dismissively to the compliment he had paid his daughter.
“Not now, for now can we just enjoy this meal that the Lord has given us!”
He told her. It was always morbidly fun seeing how these two interacted because her father tended to want to use the bible whenever he was in a corner whilst her mother would just press on.
“Mum is that a bruise I see on your eye, what happened?”
She asked her mother who very calmly and nonchalantly responded,
“It’s a shower accident! I have been complaining about those tiles in the bathroom forever but no your father has to pray about things first before he can do simple tiles!”
She said sounding annoyed. Her mother had a tendency of wanting to improve anything and everything even when it was not necessary. She had complained about the tiles that is true even her daughter knew that but that bruise did not look like a fall.
“Yes daddy when are you redoing the tiles?”
She asked her dad seeing that he was suddenly tense after that question was asking but she was not sure why yet.
“When you come to church with your brother and you lead one of the youth groups I will do it!”
He said in what was meant to be sarcastic humor because he knew that would never happen.
“Why must I lead the youth though dad there is other people like Ntokozo here who are ready and willing?”
“It will make you more responsible and closer to God as you will be doing his work!”
Her father responded a tad bit touchy though this time.
“Your position in the church is not your relationship with God dad!”
She told him trying very much to hide her annoyance with him.
“There was a time you once preached that just because your father is a nurse or a policeman that does not mean it has to be your destiny! What’s different with this situation? You are losing your son because you won’t practice what you preach!”
Emihle added at the end. Some words sting and the good reverend was quite stung by being told off by his own daughter. He was holding an oxtail bone which he had been sucking as though it was the only piece of meat left on his plate but after those words he quietly put it down and said,
“Excuse me ladies!”
And walked away. It had not been her intention at all to challenge her father but the man had a way of getting under your skin without even trying.
“I have spoiled another meal haven’t I?”
She asked her mother.
“Why are you asking me? You know in this house we always have peace when you guys are not here! No one fights or argues right Ntokozo?”
The mother asked her niece who did not want to be here right now being put on the center stage like this. At her house her mother was a real black parent, talking back to her would most certainly mean you will sleep outside until your found your manners.
She said but it felt like she was betraying her cousin right now. It’s not nice being put in the middle like this.
“What did you expect your pet to say? She does everything you want when you want!”
Emihle retorted cheekily.
It was not a nice thing to say at all.
“Excuse me please!”
Ntokozo said standing up following her uncle out. She did not know whether to cry or not and if she was to cry what exactly was she crying about.
“Are you happy now? Why can’t you guys just give me a moment of peace just so that I can be happy?”
Her mother asked her sounding very annoyed.
“Mum I am sorry I will make it with dad ok. I will talk to him but he was already on edge when he got to the table so I don’t think having differences with him would have evoked a less reaction!”
She told her mother and this was true. This was not the reason why she had come home though and now that her mother was not happy with her the chances of it happening were much less.
“Mum I drove with Uluthando and now that he left can you go drop me off please at my place?”
She asked her mother.
“No, get Uber and whilst you are at it I want that tattoo gone! If it’s not just know that I am cutting you off! You will only get money for food so I hope you have been saving!”
Her mother told as she too left the table. That was what having a meal at the Sibeko’s always felt like, a battle of wits. Sitting on the table now alone with the maid and her daughter who had heard the entirety of the conversation she felt rather stupid. She should have kept to the script.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I hope you are doing well sir. Lately I am never sure whether you will post or not and I hope it is not because of your health. Please get well and give us back our reliable blogger.
Eish guys how are you? So I caught my man cheating with a woman who is ten years his senior. They work together and the woman is married with kids in high school. My husband is 29 and this woman is 41 so it’s more than 10 years even. For the last six months my husband has been bringing home more money than usual. I know he did not get a salary increase so I could not figure out why. Every time I asked him he says he has been hustling. For the last six months as well we have paid all bills on time and for the first time ever our 6 year olds fees is paid up in advance. I believe my husband has been prostituting himself to this woman for the sake of our comfort. I have not confronted him on his infidelity and I am ashamed to say that part of me is happy with the level of comfort we have had recently. It’s not nice to hustle for everything in the economy and I have a low paying job myself. I have upgraded my education and applied everywhere but still stuck where I am.
Does this mean I don’t love my husband if I allow him to do what he is doing for us? The man worships our child and me and if I had not gone through his phone I would not have suspected a thing. He is even talking of baby number two now something which we could not dream of earlier coz finances were so tight.
Please advise me I am a loser I know.