“During the 16 days of activism against women and children abuse, let’s all say NO to abuse of any form.”
He was heard singing the traditional Isindebele dance song all the way from the gate. You could not be wrong if you assumed him to be drunk.
There was a heavy knock to the door. I heard the flick of the handle and he fell right in. My mother didn’t want me to see him like that. But I knew what she was hiding me from.
“Hide beneath the bed and don’t come out,” whispered my mother in her gentle voice.
“Wena mfaz’, nenzan’ yang’wisa?!” (What are you doing woman, you’re making me fall) my raging father said as my mother tried to help him up. I heard him smack my mother as soon as he got to his feet. My mother crushed against the wall of the tin house.
“Haw baba!” cried my mother as she fell to the cold floor. A hard kick to her stomach followed with his boot.
“Mama!” I cried rushing out from my hiding spot to my mother on the floor. She screamed at me for coming out, tears all over her face trying to be brave, hiding her pain as she was picking herself up. Daddy was standing there with his fists like a heavy-weight boxer. Mother took me by hand to my place of sleep.
“SHHH!” she said whipping her tears off her face and mine as I was crying, feeling her pain.
The next morning I heard a voice from the kitchen, it was my father’s. I quickly rushed to look if she was being hurt, fortunately not, she was all smiles. I couldn’t get it. She spotted me peeping there behind the corner.
“Iza, nas’ itiye,” (come here’s your tea), she said glowing with a black eye on her face. Daddy ate his breakfast. I sat there next to her with my long face.
“Msana kababa, akusalotjhiswa na?” he asked gently. I didn’t answer.
“Ubaba ukhuluma nawe aw,” she said. I remained quiet. “OK then, ngikhambangedwa e-mall.” She went to her purse, opened it up and she flashed money in my face. I still remained quiet.
They looked at each other.
“OK Msana. Ngyaqolisa OK? I know that you don’t understand now but it’s because you are only ten years old.”
I pushed the chair away from the table. I stood up and left him talking.
Later that afternoon as I was playing on the street with my friends, a car stopped near us. I took a look and it was my uncle. I went up to him, running, leaving my friends there. I got in the car and off we drove to my house.
There was no one home just me. My mother went to the mall and my father went to a shebeen. I told him what has happened last night.
“He is still doing it kanti?” my uncle shouted. “Now, sharp mzukulu ne.” He said handing me a R10 note from his cabinet hole. I hoped off, he started the engine and drove off.
Just after he drove off, my mother stepped in with the heavy bags. I helped her with them and she went to sit on the bed hhile I was unpacking the bags. Minutes later the door was banged with a fist as he stumbled in drunk.
“Jah ne! This is what happens when I am not home ne?” asked my father in his angry voice.
“What now?” confused was my mother.
He kept tripping as he closed the gap between them.
“Nangikunikela imali uyidla namadoda ngeenkoloyi ne?!” (I give you money and you and you spend it with men with cars.)
This was not a new thing, it happened ever since I could remember. Every time she cried I could feel her pain. I told her once and said, “I hate him with all my heart.” I could still hear her say, “Don’t ever say that, he is your father.” But I meant it.
As I was finishing unpacking in the kitchen, the argument got really big between my parents. My heart pumped and I felt as if it was cracking my rib cage. I knew that she did nothing wrong. “Don’t get involved, it’s between me and your father.” I remembered her words.
And then he crushed her face and she crushed the walls of the rusty tin house. His boot played on her stomach. Memories of yesterday flushed in.
My blood boiled. Hot pap and cabbage flew all over my mother. She screamed from the burn.
“Uphakela mina ukudla kwabonogwa?!” said my father drunk, with no remorse for what he just did.
There was nothing I could’ve done at my then age. Memories kept flooding in my head. I wasn’t thinking straight now, hate levels elevated. I had had enough of my mother’s cries and seen enough of her tears now. My eyes were glued to a shiny steak knife on the counter.
It has to stop.
This was the loudest fight they had ever had. I snuck in behind him as he grabbed her by her red blouse. My mother was screaming, begging him to stop. He called her a whore and was getting ready to punch her again.
My mother crashed to the bed. He tripped and lost balance stepping back once and he missed the next step. Down he went. I stuck the knife twice in his neck, screaming from rage. Blood flooded from the wounds. My mother screamed out for help while she held me tight to her chest on the bed.
I heard a car engine outside. My uncle came rushing in, to stop by the river of blood. Then the sirens. The police all around the yard. Neighbours shouting to call an ambulance! My mother, I and my uncle were hugged together on the bed, her nose bleeding, my hands bloody and a body trying to breathe on the floor.
An ambulance came and took him away as police took us all to custody. Hours later we were told he died from blood loss. She cried as I was taken by a social worker. My uncle organised a powerful lawyer and the following day they were out.