His words made me feel like a heavy load had been placed on my shoulders. I tried so hard not to cry, but my efforts were futile. Tears kept flowing down my cheeks as I speechlessly gazed at him.

Swiftly, my mind took me several years back. I saw him as he stood then and gently uttered words which patted my soul.

“Mma Mupacho, I will pay for the school fees and any other necessities he needs; you can always count on me. I’ll try to make sure that he gets good education,” Uncle Zagwa comforted my mother and me in front of everyone.

“May the Almighty continue blessing you sir. There is nothing I can say except to thank the good Lord for what you have just said,” mother said tearfully.

That was three days after my father’s burial, and everything seemed to have been taking a steady pace. Then, I turned my face up to look at Uncle Zagwa. All I saw was a haloed being, a saviour who hopped in at the moment we needed rescue. Uncle Zagwa had just successfully opposed the idea of selling my late father’s piece of land and sharing the income. Uncle Ndumile, the eldest son in my late father’s family, had made this suggestion. Uncle Zagwa declared that the land was to remain in the hands of my mother, so that we grew our own food.

A few weeks later Uncle Zagwa paid us a visit as it was his routine. This time he brought us another pile of groceries even though some he brought the previous month had not finished. He also brought me a new school uniform, which made my mother and me very happy and grateful.

“Thank you Uncle Zagwa, may the Creator abundantly replace where you have been subtracting.” My mother tried to smile as she thanked my uncle.

I couldn’t think of the best words to express my gratitude. I stood where I was, mouth agape. Uncle Zagwa took very good care of us, as if he did not have a family of his own to look after.

But suddenly, the tables turned and all that our hearts wore was anguish.

I was surprised that this serpent of an uncle, by the name of Zagwa, still had the guts to show his face in front of me after eleven years. On this day, I wish I had the strength like that of the blind Samson on the day he took to death with him multitudes of philistines. I thought of jumping out of my wheel chair and pounce at him like a hungry lion does to its prey, and watch him die with his neck in my hands. I reminisced on all the hardships my mother and I experienced because of his cruelty.
As I sat in my wheel chair, I closed my eyes in an attempt not to let a tear fall from my eyes.

***

Tell us: What do you think changed Uncle Zagwa?