“Who will bury us if our sons are dying this way?” Cijimpi spoke with his head down.

On his hand there was a pipe of tobacco. He was sitting alone, under a tree, next to his home. His home had many huts, inxuluma and a huge kraal. He was undoubtedly a rich man.

Usesishiyile uVeli (Veli has died)!” a voice came from one of the huts.

Women began to cry, “Kodwa senzeni Mvelinqangi (Lord, what have we done)?”

Velemuseni was the first son of Cijimpi Buthelezi. He was raised properly and he respected life. He had a dream of having many wives like his father. His father had 6 wives, 5 sons and 8 daughters. He had close to 185 herds of cattle as well as uncountable goats and sheep. Velemuseni was slowly following in his father’s footsteps, for he already had two wives.


Yanguye, KwesakwaBiyela is a very green area. While women were busy with their gardens and while small lads were looking after the cattle, Cijimpi was sitting with his son, Veli, under the tree.

“I am very proud of you my son. Look! You already have two wives and three kids,” Cijimpi smiled.

Shenge! They say an apple does not fall far from its tree,” Veli said smiling right back at his father.

“Well, I am thinking of giving you 20 cattle so that you can become independent like me,” Cijimpi spoke aloud, as he lit his pipe.

Ngadla mina kaMnyamana kaNgqengelele (Buthelezi’s clan names). Thank you, baba, for such a gift. Anyways, I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. I am thinking of going to Johannesburg to try my luck. Maybe I might find a good job there, even a third wife,” he said.

Veli’s face shone with hopefulness as he shared his dream with his father.

“If you think it is a good idea then you have my blessing,” Cijimpi concluded.

Life in Johannesburg was fast and busy. Somehow Veli managed to find a job. Though it was not paying him much, it was better than nothing. He sold three of the cows his father gave him to open a small spaza shop. His spaza shop was so successful in such a way that he hired two workers. In a short space of time, he bought a taxi, and on a monthly basis, he sent money home. On top of that, he wrote letters occasionally which delighted his father’s heart and made him all the more proud.

One day on his way to his flat he met a girl by the name of Nomalanga Mbongwa. She was from Eastern Cape, but her Zulu was fluent. Veli found her breathtakingly gorgeous.

Dudlu ntombazane! Gege lagege ntombi ziyangigegela. Akukho ntombi yaqoma inyamazane sikhona Hello! Sisi how are you?”

Wo! Amhlalakhona mtanomuntu,” (I am OK, I can’t complain) Nomalanga replied with a smile.

They began conversing and from that day onwards they met on a regular basis.

“What is Nomalanga doing to my heart?” Veli thought out loud. If she can give me a chance, I will make her my third wife. However, I do not think she will be able to live in our rural area. Perhaps, it is a good idea to have a wife here in Johannesburg. Kazi iyozala nkomoni dadewuthu kababa (I wonder how the outcome will be?) He thought and switched off the lights, falling asleep.

Early next morning, he left his flat to meet Nomalanga at their favourite spot.

“I have been doing a lot of thinking these days. Nomalanga will you marry me and be my third wife?” Veli asked.

Ge! Ge! Ge!” she laughed, “I am not a wife material. However, I can move in with you and see if we can tolerate each other,” Nomalanga said amused.

Veli agreed to her solution. They soon moved in together.


Nomalanga was very good to Veli. She cooked him urban delicacies, (izibiliboco) foods he never tasted in his life. She rubbed his back every evening before they went to sleep. She made sweet love to him. In fact, she taught him things he did not know about making love. The house was always clean and smelling nice. His clothes were always clean and well-ironed.

Veli was a happy man. However, he stopped sending money home, as he was busy buying Nomalanga expensive gifts. He also stopped writing letters and visiting his family. He devoted his whole life to loving Nomalanga and loving her alone.

During the course of time Veli noticed some weird behaviours in Nomalanga. He noticed that every weekend she would disappear and come back smelling like alcohol. Veli did not dare confront her about her mischievous conduct, because he was scared that she was going to leave him.

Bangidlise ikorobela. Mamoshane! Sengaba yisiyoyo sendoda, (I am bewitched)” Veli cried.

After some years, as they were staying together Veli became sick. He was suffering from different sicknesses. First, it was diarrhoea. Second, it was fever that was very stubborn. Third, it was chest pains, as he was coughing every second of his life. Fourth, there were sores around his mouth, penis and anus. Finally, he lost weight.

His mouth was peeling. He became extremely dark. He couldn’t eat anymore. Sadly, doctors failed to help him. When Nomalanga saw all this, she took all her bags and disappeared into thin air. Veli had no choice, but to go back home to his family; the family he abandoned because of Nomalanga.


“Who will bury us if our sons are dying like this?” Cijimpi spoke with his head down.

On his hand, there was a pipe of tobacco. He was sitting alone, under a tree, next to his home.

Usesishiyile uVeli! (Veli has died),” a voice came from one of the huts.

Women began to cry, “Kodwa senzeni Mvelinqangi (Lord, what have we done)?”

Some said Veli was bewitched. A few people understood that he died of HIV/AIDS, as it was not prevalent at this time.


Tell us what you think: Do you think Nomalanga knew what Veli was sick with?