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Barren Land

AUTHOR: Elizabeth Dhliwayo

PUBLISHER: FunDza Literacy Trust

LANGUAGE: English

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A bare clear sky symbolises happiness, clarity in mind and clear future goals. Some moments were never meant to be yet they are. Reality knocks at the door when we least expect. Like any young girl, Musa had great dreams of even buying her parents the whole heaven, earth and the underworld. Dreams, dreams, dreams.

Her predicament welcomed her like a bride walking down the aisle to meet her groom. A month away from completion of matric, the dragon of doom met her. In today’s language, a Blesser crossed her path. Before really comprehending what was happening, she had fallen head over heels.

Mahlomola, which means troubles, was a really sweet thorn in Musa’s life. He was fairly young looking. In actual essence he was in his early fifties though he looked thirtyish. He always shaved his hair to a brush cut and trimmed it in the front like an M. Maybe, it was standing in for his name. Part of his love magic? Maybe.

Every morning, Momo, as Musa was known, would sing her love songs from Genesis to Revelation to her friend Lulu. Her daily prayer was, “Lulu, yesterday was my greatest day. Shomza treated me like a queen. After being picked from school, a movie was waiting for us. You know what, I can’t even express myself. We, we, we…”

“Momo! Momo! Stop it. My friend, you have gone too far! You are wasting your life dear. He is an elderly person; a vulture if you consider me not mean. Why are you doing this to yourself and your poor mother?”

“Dare not lecturer to me Lulu. If my mother is a saint, where is my father? Why doesn’t she ever want to talk about him? At least Shomza is both a father and a lolly pop in my life. He is a bag of honey for me. A bottle of oxygen in my intensive care moments. He calls me gorgeous names no one has ever called me. My mother, whom you care so much about, once called me a ‘bastard’. A word Shomza has never used. My mother used to call me ‘stupid, useless thing’. A thing Shomza has never done.”

“In fact he never dreams of calling me those nasty, ugly names which my so called mother enjoys calling me. Instead, he calls me Miss Universe. I am his rose and light in his darkest moments which his wife fails to do. Lulu, you have never been loved. It’s a shear waste of time because you do not know what I am talking about. Neither do you know rejection. These are my daily bread. I mean my life man. Wake up dear and smell the roses.”

Lulu was baffled.

“It’s your life and it’s your choice. I thought I was trying to help. If I have stepped on your toes, please remove your foot and tip toe around me. We live life once. It’s you who creates the life you want to live. It’s no point whining and cursing your background. That will never change…”

“Forget it lady Lulu. You talk of theories and thesis on things you know not of. Do you know rejection or you read about it in books? It stings like a scorpion in partnership with a bee. Lady Lulu, you then have the audacity to be the judge? Who made you judge over Israel? Free word of advice; in the future before crucifying, persecuting and putting me on judicial law, think first…”

“My lovely, apologies for making you feel judged, but I will not apologise for telling you the truth. Mark my words.”

“Lulu, if you think I care, keep dreaming. As long as I get love from Shomza, let people talk, the likes of you girl. Mahlomola is my all. He is all I need in life.”

Minutes accumulated into hours, into days, weeks, months then into years. People always say once a rose has a canker, it will never be the same.

Like Musa, yes she was Miss Universe as Shomza put it, but not until when the grapes she had eaten started fermenting from within. Like a precious stone, Shomza became scarce and so far and dear to set eyes on. Weeks and months passed. Then years.

Mahlomola became a scarce commodity. Not just a scarce one, but a sweet and bitter precious pill. He paved his way into history books, competing for popularity with Tata Nelson R Mandela. By the time Thulani came into this world, his father was never in the picture. He was gone for good. Thin air had swallowed him. It’s believed by then, another girl must’ve have been a victim of his charms.

Momo’s matric results were one of those which you cannot throw a party for. But good they were, enough for her to find her a space to do her diploma in food and nutrition. Tertiary money was just one of those winter dreams after a cold weather.

July of the following year after matriculating, found Momo a young single mother. With no employment and no career, life became one of those irresolvable puzzles. Momo’s mother gave in to breast cancer, leaving her alone in this cruel world with all the vultures eying her.

Anyway, that’s the mother she hated because Shomza was everything any young lady could dream to have. He was present at the time and in the picture. That’s the mother she accused of calling her names.

Not only airplanes fly, time flies too. At times, faster than what we think. Musa later studied and became a chef. She struggled alone and sent Thulani to the township schools. He did well in his academics to make him earn a bursary to study overseas. Knowledge is acquired, but wisdom, is surely from God.

Thulani started working as an accountant. His father’s family were never in the picture, but rumour had it that they were bleeding rich. For many years Thulani worked and gave his mother the best any mother could ever dream of. In short, she received the best treatment anyone on earth could ever dream of. The only thing she never asked for from that package is a bag of life for dark days.

Thulani impregnated another girl who worked for them as their maid. Nothing wrong with that because they loved each other despite his mother’s negative remarks. She complained about how much she had suffered sending him to school, only to settle so lowly on Mandie when it came to marriage.

His words were always, “Love is blind. Let’s rock Mama.”

In life, death strikes when we least expect. The mystery of Thulani’s death is, and will ever remain God’s treasure. The bottom line is he collapsed at work. By the time the ambulance arrived it was just to give him a lift to God.

What followed his death was one of those Nigerian movies; it turned out to be a bioscope. His mother was organising her child’s funeral and the same applied to Thulani’s father’s side. They just rocked up like a minister rocking in his rocking chair in the office at work. It was survival of the fittest.

Mahlomola was heard saying, “Momo, yes I was a bad father. I admit I left you when you needed me most. I know Thulani too needed a father, a pillar to look up to. A father to give him all manly direction which I have failed.

But denying me to give my only son a decent burial will never happen. Yes I failed to welcome him in this world. I cannot fail to bid farewell to my son. I will never forgive myself for that. I ran away because I am married. I was afraid my wife would cause a scandal when she found out. Momo, you are a strong woman. Please…”

“Strong woman, thus your stupid way of describing your cowardice? He-e e? You left your only son to a poor matriculant and you call that strong? You never cared whether he ate or not. I do not want to talk about his education and clothing. Worse health care. You are such a coward you bastard. You are worse than a wizard. Damn you Mahlomola. You used to sing praises in my ears, yet you left my son and I for fate to take its course. Leave my son alone. I will bury him. Whether in a plastic, coffin or reed mat, I don’t care. Six feet under will never make my son rise from the dead because you want to bury him in a glass coffin. Keep your pride to yourself. All you want is the world to applaud you. I am appalled by your pride. OK Mr, just do as you please. You did it with my life. You can still do that today to your “son”. Do it and NOW.”

In this sinful world, money is silent but it makes a deafening noise. His father’s family used it to pave their way to Thulani’s coffin and they buried him like one of the world’s ministers. All that Thulani had was shared amongst his friends, families and those who did not even deserve it. The big question was about his money from work.

It turned out that his mother was the beneficiary. But now that he had a wife and a son, it raised another monsoon winds. Momo made it clear that she was the beneficiary because she was nominated. On the other Mandie made it clear that she would not leave that uncontested.
Someone advised her to seek legal advice. The day she went to Thulani’s former company, she also met Momo there. The company made it clear that no one was to benefit from that money because of their disagreements and greediness.

Shock and anger escorted Momo to God sooner than she expected. She fell right in front of the manager’s office and she left for glory.

What a trauma? Sometimes, troubles fall like hail storm. Mandie organised her mother-in-law’s funeral. She felt the bareness of life, of marriage, of being a mother, of unemployment, of unfairness of life and the bareness of the whole land.

Luck was Mandie’s middle name surely. Thulani’s family was present at Momo’s burial. One of Mahlomola’s daughters who was married and working in Canada took Mandie with her as a maid and they left for Canada.

***

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2 Responses

  1. Perfect👌

    Makgale Kekana
    19 Mar 2017 at 16:14
  2. Thanks , keep it up.

    Menzi
    17 Mar 2017 at 11:52

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