This is Lwando. Meet his friend Kunene Khoza, a well-known fella, known for his five deceased brothers, living next to the isolated villages of Qakazane, together with his ever talkative granny, Granny G. It is said she had six grandsons but only one survived.
One day, under the orange oak tree, beneath the grumbly leaves, we were enjoying our traditional beer, not those lime drinks, I mean traditional beer.
“Boy,” Kunene said, he was about to drink the shandy with a glass that I had used to drink water. “Aah – Boy,” he repeated. “You took Gogo G’s glass again. I said the brown one, you don’t listen. She will curse you. You won’t be able to escape. If you break one, you’ll have to go to the lake to get some precious stones, one stone cost R30 000. The sun shall set darkness on your sight,” said Kunene, drinking the traditional beer.
Gogo G wanted nothing with her glasses. Those were her last pair on the shelf, waiting for Pastor M to visit, then and only then the glasses may be used. Pastor M was the well-respected man, a VIP of the Local Society Skeem.
“It’s a saviour indeed, this well help you – drink,” offered Kunene, while taking a sip of the traditional beer.
“Kunene,” called Gogo, “Pastor Magundi is here. I’ve asked him for a lift for you,” said the old woman.
“OK Gogo,” Kunene replied calmly, approaching his room, to take his suitcase.
A voice roared. “Kunene! Who took my precious glass? I told you not to use them. You want to break my last two sets? You don’t listen! I’ve told you many times,” said Gogo G approaching the lake outside the yard, near the gate.
She went out, with the pastor. Don’t ask me when the pastor arrived, my friend, I also don’t now. Pastor M always had connections, he didn’t have rules or principles.
“Kunene,” shouted Granny G.
“Almost done,” exclaimed Kunene.
The van was outside, so I assisted Kunene with his bags. He got in at the back, with filthy stock piled in tightly. The van drove off. We waved good bye to Kunene, who had gotten employed at the city.
From where I stood I could see that Kunene could see his girlfriend, running towards the van. It seemed she wanted to tell him something. I saw as the van increased speed, down the lake road. There was Gilly, standing there, looking at the van as it went up the road to prosperity.
Gogo G was now sitting beneath the oak tree, looking at her glass. I could hear her muttering.
“Hayi – Kunene doesn’t listen, together with that friend of his. Look now, my glass is useless.” She glanced up, facing the gate, were I was standing. “Lwando,” she shouted my name, approaching the gate.
I was still hiding behind the branches. She looked sideways. My friend, now I was preparing myself to run. “Lwando! Come here,” she yelled at me, waving her slob-smeared fingers at me. There I was, I ran, tripped on a large stone, fell down, down on the slime.
When I woke up I was in a dreamy state. It must have been my imagination, dreaming. There I was, lying on the bed, with an unfamiliar woman, who looked more like my future wife.
“Don’t worry, sleep, you’re in good hands,” she said. So I lay my head on the soft white pillow.
I could see that this place was different to my house. Hours passed and I woke up in darkness. Still dreaming, I thought. The woman was still in front of me, which I soon recognised.
“Gilly! What’s going on?”
She offered me a cup of fresh coffee. “Here. Gogo G said to give you this,”
I looked at it. “Gogo G’s glass,” I shouted.
“Shhh – You’ll wake the baby,” she whispered and urged me to drink the coffee.
I went outside, to sigh, everything was too fast to handle. I looked at the lake, it was dry and the sun had started to vanish.
“Oh no…” I went inside the house, took Gogo G’s glass to the lake. “What happened to the lake?” I asked myself, I was now looking at Gilly who was approaching me with an unfamiliar child.
“The lake had long dried up, after granny G’s funeral and my little juniors father. They left the house to you and a family to take care of, that includes me and the little one. I had six babies and six glasses, which are on the shelf. Five caught tuberculosis and died. Five glasses broke to pieces. I’m left with this one, my only baby boy,” she replied happily.
Two hours from there, the baby was catching cold flu, the sun was about to take its trough, the lake had already dried up.
The Pastor was driving down to the local church. I could see peril in his eyes. I ran towards him.
“Pastor! Pastor, help me, please – help me,” I shouted. He looked at me as though I was guilty.
“Go drink the traditional beer at the main house, not the lime one, it must be dry. Use the stone to guide you then you shall be saved. Watch out for the darkness, it can be friendly,” he drove past me, and swirled down towards the local church.
I walked past Gilly, who was now blowing her snot.
I looked at the lake. The precious stone, I could see it; it was red with a bright texture. I went in the empty river, took the precious stone with me. There were thoughts along the way, voices whispering in my ear.
The stone was precious indeed, so special. It was giving me instructions. The darkness was trying to make a deal with me, to take the stone and give me wealth. I coveted for a while, looking at Gilly, who was busy helping her son. She turned her back towards me and said, “Go. Go drink the traditional beer, not the lime one, the dry one. Then you shall be saved.” She blurted as I walked two steps away, with the precious stone in my hand. I turned to Gilly again, who was no longer holding the baby.
I looked back at my hand. The stone! The stone had vanished with the darkness as I had accepted them inside my heart. How could I? How could I become so intractable, so selfish? This was a pandemic; my heart won’t rest. The darkness’ voices laughed at me, they were rowdy like a choir that lacked a tutor.
That’s when I rose up, from being slouched on top of the bunk.
It was all a dream! I had sloppy trousers and slovenly hair. I couldn’t believe it!
“You okay, son?” said Kunene.
“It’s been days since you’ve been sleeping,” said Gilly, offering me a cup of fresh coffee.
“No – No,” I shouted with fear.
It was a dream all along. Kunene said he had come back from the city when heard about my health. The dream had taught me a lesson; made me to respect people’s valuables, especially Granny G’s glasses. Gogo G had perished a few days ago. I couldn’t save her. The devil had made me selfish.
What is more important, is it respect, love, trust, money? I could have not survived, but Gogo G was too chum with me, I thought. My friend was about to have six sons, with six glasses on the shelf. I was to guard them; my curse was to make me a caretaker.
Tell us what you think: Do you respect other people’s things? What do you do when people use your things without permission?