When Mr Shabangu fell in love with his wife, Mmaditsela, he knew he would never love another woman again. They were so good together and both families were happy for their marriage, all except Mr Shabangu’s father. He had so much in his mind about the marriage. He grew up in a polygamous family and thought it was the right and only thing for his son to do. He thought that it would make the ancestors very happy.
On the day of they celebrated their wedding, his father called him for a drink of umqombothi, the traditional beer. They went to the little house that was made of grass. “My son, please sit down, we need to speak man to man,” his father said.
As they sat down he said to him, “Take this khalabash and get us umqombothi, man will not talk without a drink. When Shabangu returned his father continued. “My son, I love you and I respect what my ancestors say I must do. I know you love your wife too much, but in our culture a man must marry more than one wife to increase this family’s surname. Do you hear me my son?”
Mr Shabangu was nodding his head to agree.
“Yes, I hear you father, but I love my wife,” he said, “and she is going to have as many children as I wish. This is a modern world and we live a modern life. I feel happy with only one wife. Besides, life is too expensive these days and I do not want my wife to suffer and go hungry.”
“Having one wife is against my family’s ways and the ancestors will be disappointed and we will have bad luck,” his father explained. “Please listen to me my son.”
“I will have to ask my wife and see if she agrees with this. I will come back to you.”
“No, this is a man’s thing. Don’t involve women in this, it will make things worse. You know how woman are.”
“OK father, I hear you,” he said and stood up. Mr Shabangu could not even finish the umqombothi that he was given. He left his father sitting there, knowing full well that this was the last decent conversation he would ever have with him. His father was a strong man who believed strongly in pleasing the ancestors; he would not just let this go. Mr Shabangu walked to his wife, not looking forward to the ridicule; fights and hatred he would now endure from his family because he chose love only one woman. Well, they would just to deal with it, he thought as he entered the house.