“Get out of the house you old witch!” shouted an armed angry crowd, impatiently waiting outside the house of an old woman.
“Come out already, we will not leave here until you are dead!” they shouted.
She was a 93-year-old woman who lived alone in a big, dirt house that was always locked. All of her children had died over the years.
“Seems like we will be here till midnight, let’s just go inside and kill her.” someone said.
“No, no, no, we can’t go inside. What if she has snakes locked inside. This woman never opens up her house – she must be hiding something.” said someone else.
I was standing a little bit farther away from them and felt sorry for the woman. “I have to save her, she can’t be accused of witchcraft just because of her age. Mandela died at the age of 95 and he was never accused of witchcraft. I really have to save her. They can’t judge her based on age.” I said to myself, while trying to think of a plan.
“Hey look, she just ran away using the backdoor,” I shouted.
They all started to run after her in the direction they thought she took.
I quickly sneaked inside the old woman’s house. She was sitting crying, holding a bible. She looked up and said: “Lord is my witness, I’m a Christian. I don’t practise witchcraft. My mother was murdered when I was 8 years old; they chopped off her head and called her all kind of names because they thought she was a witch. I ran away from home and became a street kid. I would go to church on Sundays and then the priest asked me to go and live with them. I was a happy kid – I went to school and got married at the age of 30. We had children, we were one big happy family until one day…” She started crying and I felt really sorry for her.
She began to speak again. “My husband went to fetch the children from school and they never came back. Two police vans came and asked me to go with them. I didn’t hesitate I got inside the car; they took me to a nearby morgue and asked me to identify the bodies. I cried when I saw them lying there helplessly, they were all dead. They were involved in a car accident, or so said the police. That’s when my husband’s family chased me away saying I am a witch and that I killed their son and grandchildren. Please pass me the water…” I looked around and found a glass full of water, which I took it and gave to her.
“I then decided to come home, but people hated me because they believed that my mother was a witch and therefore they thought I also practised witchcraft. They told me that the ‘leaf doesn’t fall far from its tree’. When someone died people would say it was because of me. This is why I decided to stock up on groceries and never go outside again. I stay inside my house, read my bible and go to bed. You really don’t have to help me. It would probably be best if I died now; I am tired of living in fear. I have prayed to God many times now, asking him to make me a happy person, but He seems to be too busy answering other people’s prayers.”
This old lady’s story had made me cry. “I want to help you,” I said.
I quickly called a cab and took her to an old age home. She could not stop thanking me. The community carried on searching for her but with no luck. The poor woman was heartbroken because she had been judged by her age and if they had only spoken to her for 30 minutes they would have realised something. They would have realised that a book is not about the cover, but rather about what it contains inside.