Her father’s sins


I miss telling stories about the people I’ve known in my few years on this planet, or rather my few years in university. My varsity experiences were made better by the diverse people I got to meet.

A girl I know was going through a lot. For someone many considered blessed, she was going through things a girl should never go through. Her strength was in her cold heart. A heart that grew cold long before she’d had any say in the kind of woman she wanted to be. It was these things that brought us close. In a lot of ways we shared a common sadness.

It was the beginning of the school term. Everyone was excited to be back after a long holiday. That first week of term is a lot about friends catching up on all the events that happened over the holidays. I usually have the least exciting anecdotes, so I find a simple joy in listening to everyone else’s tales. Little did I know that I was in for a somewhat of a scandal when I visited Kagiso’s room for a quick catch up.

A few months before the holidays, Kagiso found out that her mother’s cancer had returned. While we were excited about going home, she just wanted to be home for her mother. We’d IM over the holidays about her mother’s illness. Although she was weak at times, she was responding very well to treatment and the prognosis was good.

I knocked on her door with so much glee. She opened the door and gave me a big warm hug. We held on for a few seconds longer than usual. This setting a tone for what was about to come.

We started with a bit of small talk. The usual-you’ve lost weight, your skin’s looking good-frivolous things that don’t matter. I could tell that she was anxious to tell me something. I figured it was about her mom’s illness. So I asked how she left things.

Without mincing her words, she jumped right into it.

This is Kagiso’s story

When I was younger my father had an affair. My mother is the kind of mother who believes in protecting her children’s innocence so she’d always cover for him. Yes he was a businessman and he travelled a lot. But there were many nights where my home was without a husband. Not because he wasn’t there in presence, rather he wasn’t there in a way that I could swear on a bible that he was a loving and caring husband to my mother. Although he adored his children. I never questioned that for one bit.

It is for this reason that I resented my mother as a little girl. I felt like she was the one driving him away. I was a child then, it only made sense. I’d often think ‘Why doesn’t mommy kiss daddy hello. He’s been gone for so long. She’s so mean to daddy’.

One night, I walked in on her talking to him on the phone. She was in tears, weeping, begging him to come home. Saying how much she missed him and how much she loved him more than she (the other woman) did. This was a rude awakening for me. Unnoticed, I walked back to my room. I felt heavy and empty at the same time, almost lethargic. After what felt like a great deal of effort, I made it to my room. I couldn’t sleep.

I felt like an awful child. All those times I’d bombard her with questions ‘Mommy, where’s daddy, when’s he coming back. Mommy I want daddy’. Those memories played over and over in my head. I felt real guilty for the first time in my life. I learnt how to hate for the first time in my life. I felt remorse, compassion and empathy. I cried myself to sleep. I aged twenty years on that night.

I said nothing about this to anyone. I kept this to myself. I decided to be everything I can possibly be to my mother.

Fast forward ten years later. I go home for the varsity holidays. My mother was doing better than I could’ve ever hoped for, considering what I’d seen the last time she was ill. Everything seemed normal on the home front. It was home and glad to be back.

A week into the holiday, I get a phone call from Kirsten. Her parents had bought her a new car. She wanted us all to drive down to KZN. I obviously didn’t want to go, but I told my mother about it and she insisted that I go have fun with my friends. I was skeptical. But I went anyways.

We left for St Lucia on a Friday morning. We got there in the afternoon and jumped right into action. Did the things that juvenile girls do on a juvenile weekend away. On the Saturday morning everyone was hung over. But I drink like my father so I could function. I seized the opportunity to drive Kirsten’s new car and I drove to the local grocer for supplies. I wasn’t prepared for what was waiting for me.

I see this man, pushing a trolley a man who resembled my father. A man who was my father. He was with two boys, twins, not much older than my youngest sister.

You often hear people talking about near death experiences, how your whole life flashes before your eyes. The same thing happened to me. Everything I’d buried and masked through the years greeted me in that moment with insolence and spite. I was suspended in time. Everything in front of me was moving so slowly. My subconscious was taking in every single visual element of the cruelty before me. My eyes were fixated on those boys, and yet it was like I was feeling more than seeing. My cold heart was breaking. I could almost hear it over the sounds of cash tills, beeping scanners and trolley wheels.

I just stood there and watched as it became clearer that those boys were his. It was in the way they looked, there was an undeniable resemblence. The way he looked at them was another like a stamp that would forever seal what I felt for my father, nothing.

I watched them walk away as a tear rolled down my cheek. I just then realised that I’m my mother’s daughter. Every time my father walked away, she’d helplessly watch with a broken heart. Nothing can prepare you for anything like that. There was no comfort for me. I felt a loneliness I hope to never feel again. All the company in the world left the store with my father and those boys.

This middle-aged lady briefly saved me from my initiation into hell by coming up to me and asking if I was okay. I don’t know how much longer I would’ve just stood there if she didn’t come. She had such kind eyes, I suppose in that moment Charles Manson himself would pass for someone with kind eyes too. I opened my mouth to speak, but I somehow found myself deep in her bosom, weeping. I didn’t care, I couldn’t care. I’d just lost my father. I needed to mourn him. I was inconsolable. She was rubbing my back and stroking my hair. It was like a granule of sugar in my bathtub of lemon zest, and I couldn’t be more grateful. She kept saying something in Zulu, but I couldn’t hear her over my sobbing.

Slightly embarrassed, I eventually stopped. I thanked the lady, left her clueless and rushed out of the store.

The sun was blinding, but it was different. It felt different. It wasn’t as warm as it was before. I became clear to me that things had changed again in my life. Once again I had aged.

I got into the car. It then dawned on me that I still had things to buy. But I just didn’t want to. I also remembered that I was with four other people, who I so desperately didn’t want to be around anymore. ‘Ah fuck, those fucking perky bitches’, I though to myself. That’s when my good friend Obi called, it’s like he knew something was a miss. He asked me how everything was. I knew I couldn’t handle another episode, so I played it down and told him how much I hate those fucking perky bitches. His advice ‘drink them away’. Just like that, I decided that’s how I’m going to survive the rest of my weekend. It was the only way.

With my head slung low, ashamed for such an extroverted display of emotions, I walked back in the store. Grabbed everything we needed. Then I rushed to the bottle store and bought enough gin and tonic to sedate me until I got back home.

As I was driving, a part of me kept hoping I’d get involved in a freak accident. I just needed a little distraction, some else to suffer through, anything but this. But I had to think about my mother. This triggered another emotional reaction. I hadn’t at all considered her. ‘Did she know? Oh my God, this is why she has cancer again. That bastard is making my mother sick’. My mind was like a network of trains with multiple collisions. I had murderous thoughts. I was fuming! ‘He gave her cancer, he gave her cancer twice’. Over and over again in my mind.

Before I knew it I was outside Kristen’s holiday home. I sat in the car for a bit. Had a croissant and washed it down with a massive gulp of gin. Braced myself to face everyone.

The girls were barely awake. This was a grace I was truly grateful for. I was to get sauced before I could have a conversation with anyone. I fixed myself a good shot of GNT went outside and lit a cigarette.

And so the weekend continued. Juvenile! Most of it was a blur, as per my intentions.

It was Monday morning and time to go back home. It suddenly hit me that I wanted one of them to see that something wasn’t right with me. I wasn’t going to say anything obviously, but not at any moment did one of them come up to me and ask if everything was okay. These are girls I’ve known for over ten years. Couldn’t they tell that I was going through hell? I found this quite disturbing.

As we were driving home. I contemplated the kind of person I was. Questioning if I was perhaps acting normally to my friends. Was this who I was? Maybe I was going through hell long before I saw my father in that store. I was already there. I mean, hell is hell right? How much hotter can it really get?

The girls dropped me off first. We had a quick chat reminiscing about ‘the good times’.

Before I walked in the house, I took a deep breath, as if to channel some divine being into me. And just like that. I decided to be that little again.

With my new discovery unnoticed, I walked into the house. I said nothing about this to anyone. And again I vowed to be everything I can possibly be to my mother and now my sisters too.

As for my father. I don’t have one.

Here comes the bride, and she has a pen…


A dear friend of mine is getting married. Today I told my friend exactly what I thought of marriage. I don’t think she was impressed with me. Here’s what I said to her.


Love is a miracle, marriage is a contract. Let’s not get confused. Marriage is for tax benefits, a great party and the practical convenience of a binding agreement. What we are really excited about is love and a lekker party. 

Getting married does not guarantee, companionship, sharing, caring etc. Love guarantees these things.

Marriage guarantees tax benefits, shared legal liability, power of attorney… 

Remind me of this when I get married too. So I don’t forget that above all else I’m in love!’ *end quote*

Now I feel like I’ve upset her and I’m going to sit at the table close to the toilet. Or maybe I won’t be invited to the wedding at all. Lol! But this is an opinion I had to express. And, I suppose, a less than humble side of me felt like I am wise and this wisdom had to be shared. In all honesty I didn’t think I was saying anything that isn’t true.

LGBT activists are fighting for marriage equality because of all the statutory benefits that come with marriage, that they otherwise wouldn’t have if they merely happily live together. That just proves that it’s a social structure meant to make life easier. And every one should have that. 

I’m going to get married someday or maybe not. I don’t know. I’ll be comfortable anyway. 

All I know for sure is that I want to love and be loved. I want love and permanence in one person. No wedding ceremony or  nuptial agreement will guarantee me that. My character and the character of the love of my life will.

Postscript 

  • Maybe, just maybe, marriage is daunting enough and no one needs to here Obi’s opinions.
  • I want to hear people say I want to be in requited love, rather than hear them say ‘I want to get married.’
  • A lot of my peers are getting married lately. Tis the season for realz. 
  • I’d totally get married for the hell of it. Like all them dumb famous people. 
  • Before marriage and religion, there was love. No one created love, someone put it inside of us. Marriage and religion were decided on by a few people who were lucky enough to make it on earth before me!
  • I really hope I still have a wedding to go to!

The lebola/magadi stock exchange


The other day on the tweet machine lobola was trending. This post is long overdue actually, better late than never? I’m actually going to call it magadi from here on, because I am Tswana and lobola is the Zulu word for it. Since it is all about culture, let me preserve my own.

One of my very good friends in varsity was of the opinion that she’s going to fetch a very high price on the magadi exchange. In her words: “Amongst other things Rodean was a finishing school, someone has to pay my dad back for all that money spent on my grooming”. She said this with a straight face and I was inclined to believe her, because it made sense to me then. Growing up I’d hear stories about how cousin Kagiso’s magadi was more than cousin Lebo’s, because Kagiso went to Wits and Lebo went to Damelin.

Old Skool

Things were very different when the idea of magadi first came about. Magadi negotiations were a lot about pride and the values families instilled in their daughters. Men were only too glad to pay sizeable amounts of cattle for these young women. However, it wasn’t so much about the consideration given up, but more about the symbolic celebration of a women’s worth, to her family, society and the man she was to marry. The worth of a girl/woman was based on a few things, to mention a few:

  • The kind of family she is from and their standing in the community
  • whether she’d be able to bare children. So they’d look into how fertile the mother and other females in the family have been
  • whether she’s a virgin or not. I don’t think Tswana people did this. I think this is a nguni thing
  • aesthetics also played a role, and
  • her weight. Apparently big girls are well nourished and it shows that they are well taken care of by their families (heard from a nguni friend).

It is also important to remember then that men were the sole providers in the family. As such, for the bride’s family to allow a marriage they had to be satisfied that indeed the groom will be able to take care of their daughter. Back then living standards were relatively on the same level with the exception of a few. That few would marry into those families which they associated with in terms of wealth.

Nu Skool

While some families still have the same ideas of yesteryear, others don’t and it’s become a little dicey. Thing’s exist today that didn’t exist then, creating challenges that are left unaddressed. These things have in my view skewed the real meaning of the whole practice of magadi. From the list above we can already see how some of these things have no meaning in modern society.

Back then marrying families knew each other or at least of each other. Standing in the community was easily determinable. How’s Mashudu’s family from Polokwane going to know how respected Mbali’s family in Johannesburg is? Fertility is hardly an issue these days because children are no longer viewed as some sort of wealth. As for beauty today and beauty then…that’s a whole blog post on its own. You also find men of modest means marrying into families of considerable wealth, and vice versa. Both parties come to the table with different expectations. Inter-cultural marriages also present a different set of issues; interracial marriages are probably ten times worse.

So then what do we have to value Mbali’s worth? Education, future earning power and a loose assumption of what kind of family she is from?

I find that the major challenge with this practice nowadays is the issue of money, money, money, money!!! Putting a price on everything seems to be how this ritual is practice. The potential monetary gains to the bride’s family leave the groom’s side to potential abuse. These issues are further exacerbated by the paranoia caused by divorce. Back then this was never an issue. The money paid was an “investment” for life.

So what now?

Fact is we need to assess if it’s still worthwhile to have this practice. Like polygamy it’s comes across as archaic and it might no longer be relevant in the times we are living in. Women can now provide for themselves as well and sometimes even better than men can. Being the “bread winner” and the magadi payer aren’t the masculine tasks they used to be.

As much as I love preserving our cultural heritage and customs etc, I need to feel comfortable with paying an amount for someone I’m going to marry based on random valuations. In my head it is honestly so much better to give cattle. Cows are a source of life and survival. Those cows would give milk and meat and hide. Cattle are still celebrated in the rurals and it’s tangible. It makes senses.

Ever wonder what happens to the money these days? Some families give it back to the couple as they know they need the money to start a new life together. Others want to use it to help pay for the wedding. Then there are the families that use it to pay debt, get new kitchen units and whatever other things they want. Do you see my problem?

Good luck with your future magadi negotiations. Ladies I hope you fetch a high price. Gentlemen I hope you can afford it.

DISCLAIMER: If something in this post purports to be a fact, please be so kind as to look upon it as an opinion. I have not researched any of this; I’m just sharing what’s in my head. Please also try to have a sense of humour.

 I once heard a story of one malume at magadi negotiations trying to get an extra R1000 because the girl had a learner’s license.

 

 

Top Ten Things Mistresses Say


First top ten in ages!!! Last one was in October.

10. Your wife doesn’t have a gun does she?
9. Lady, what I’m doing to you, they did to me. You must just be strong.
8. Please don’t talk about your wife when you’re with me, makes me feel cruel.
7. The kids adore me, they call me aunty Nomonde.
6. What did you say your husband’s name was again?
5. If he was your man, he wouldn’t be here with me.
4. He’s going to leave his wife to be with me.
3. Sharing is caring.
2. #nowplaying Kelly Price, As We Lay.
And the number one thing mistresses say
1. OMG, he’s married? I had no idea!

Proper blog on mistresses coming soon.

“For better and for worse” Are you kidding me?


“For better and for worse” Are you kidding me?

“…I don’t”

If you strongly believe in marriage and are traditionally fanatical about it, this is not for you.

The other day I heard on the tweet machine that Kim Kardashian got divorced after 72 days. I don’t care for Kim Kardashian, but her divorce got me thinking of the institution of marriage.

I used to joke and say the only reason I believe in marriage is divorce. It’s a joke…but it’s not funny. I’m not laughing anymore. My buddy Nolo Phiri, once said something inspirational on Facebook that really struck a chord with me. She said (paraphrasing) “50% of marriages end in divorce (not an accurate stat but whatever), Ray Mcauley is getting his second divorce and infidelity is rife.
But it is gay people who compromise the sanctity of marriage. Really?”. Now here I am asking, what sanctity?

‘Do you think you’ll ever get married?’ isn’t even a question worth asking anymore; in fact it’s zoned itself into the lowest category of small talk topics, along with the weather and Zuma’s wives. Truth is marriage doesn’t matter, in real terms. Granted there are those of us (excluding me) who still have fantasies of a Top Billing wedding, followed by a flourishing marriage and a Stepford nuclear family, but in “real terms” it doesn’t mean much anymore. I say real terms because I believe in perception when it comes to the systems created and conditioned by society. Perception is reality when it comes to measuring society’s views on something ‘important’. From where we stand marriage seems to be a ‘beautiful’ union plagued by disjointed randomness inspired by foolish optimism and sometimes even desperation with scanty ambition…all leading to misery and untimely divorce. That was a
mouthful, bear with me.

I have a few married friends actually and now my buddy @ngwanamosadi proposed not too long ago and she said yes. I believe in their love (the miracle), as to their marriage (the contract), I’m not convinced, I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

As for me I’ll be honest, I’m a little damaged by this marriage thing in the late 90’s my home was a halfway house for women broken by divorce. I don’t know if I will get married, like I said it doesn’t matter and it’s not important. I’ll tell you now though; I’ll never ever marry for love. I’ll do it for fun, money, thrills and just to see. I cannot trust a dying institution with my heart.

P.S. Definition of marriage “legal union of a man/woman and a man/woman for cohabitation and often procreation”.  BE A REBEL!!! Vat en sit!!!

P.S. Always reserve the right to change your mind. Marriage is saying you never will…think about it!!!

In my humble opinion