Babengaphaya kwamashumi amahlanu ngoku abantu belali ababengene ngaphakathi eyadini kamakhulu Tshezi beze kuncedisa ukucima umlilo. Abanye bagalela amanzi ngamabhakethe. Abanye babephosa umhlaba emalangatyeni. Abanye babecima umlilo ngamahlamvu neentonga. Itanki yeJojo enkulu eluhlaza, le umakhulu Tshezi wayeyithengele ukugcina amanzi okusela acocekileyo eenkomo zakhe, ngobu busuku yaba luncedo kakhulu. Wayengazange abe nawo nombono wokuba into enje ingaze yenzeke.

Ukhona umntu owatsalela umnxeba amapolisa kuba lwahle lwavakala ucingo lwawo lusitsho kufutshane. Abacimi mlilo bona akuzange kubekho nomntu omnye oziduba ngokuba babiza, kuba babeya kufika ngopewule ngenxa yobubi beendlela zale lali ezizele ziziloti neengxondorha. Ukusuka eMonti, elona ziko labacimi mlilo likufautshane kule lali kwakungaphaya kwekhulu elinamashumi amabini eekhilomitha.

“Owu madoda! Lilishwa lantoni eli?” wakhala uSkhwehle ezama ukuvula ucango lwentsimbi sabe isitshixo singavumi. “Bhuti, ingaba ikhona into endinganceda kuyo? Uphi umakhulu Tshezi?”  Elo yayililizwi lentwazana yasebumelwaneni, uZintle nowaye ngumongikazi kwisibhedlele iSt Peters esikufutshane. Wayesebenza khona njengomongikazi kodwa ngobu busuku wayengaphangelanga. Wangena sele exhobile ngebhokisana yakhe yoncedo lokuqala.

UZintle lo wayebulingana noVuyo kwaye emazi kakuhle. Zonke iintanga zika Vuyo zazimthatha njengomakhulu wazo umakhulu Tshezi.

“Heke! Ekugqibeleni!” watsho uSkhwehle xa ejika isitshixo socango lwentsimbi. Wakhawuleza waziphosa ngaphantsi kwalo msi umnyama ezigqume impumlo ngesikhafu. Kwakunzima ukubona kakuhle. Ngocoselelo wawuphakamisa loo mzimba wexhegokazi mncinanana, wamfunqula ngathi lusana waphuma naye phandle.

Abantu babamba ongezantsi besakubona uSkhwehle ephuma endlwini nalo mntu wayengathi akasenguye oweli. Igorhakazi lexhegokazi, umakhulu uTshezi. Abanye bachiphiza iinyembezi, abanye basuka bazigquma amehlo ngokungathi sebesoyika nokujonga.

“Owu hayini!”

“Umntu angayenza njani into ebuhlungu ngolu hlobo kumama omdala olunge kangaka?

“Uqalwe yintoni kanti lo mlilo?”

Yayingamazwi oomama basebumelwaneni lawo besebeza emveni kokuba bevuswe yingxolo yokutsha. Babengawuvali umlomo ngenxa yesi simanga, ingakholeleki le nto.

“Usaphila kodwa?” wasebeza omnye umama ezambathisa ngexakatho. Akukho mntu ukhe wamphendula, basuka bayana ngamehlo. Omnye wajonga komnye kungekho ufuna kuthetha into ayicingayo. Yayingeyo nto intsha kakade into yokuhlaselwa kwamaxhegokazi kodwa yayiqala kule lali yaseQolweni.

“Ngubani lo wenze into engcole ngolu hlobo? Ingaba usaphila bafazi, ndiphenduleni?” Noxa abanye abafazi babeyiqonda ukuba into yokuba ubuziswa lixhala basuka bamngxolisa.

Khawuthule Magaba!  Thula man! Yithi tu! Shhhhh! Awunakubuza imibuzo enjalo. Thandaza qha ukuba uyakwazi!”

“Masimjonge ukuba unjani na. Mbeke apha khe ndijonge ukubetha kwemithambo yakhe,” watsho uZintle evula ibhokisi yakhe yoncedo lokuqala.

“Ndimfowunele uVuyo. Usendleleni ezayo,” wongeza ngelitshoyo ephawula iinyembezi zisehla ezidleleni kuSkhwehle.

“Ngubani man lo wenze le nto? Ndiza kumkhangela ndimfumane! Ndiza kumfumana lo mntu wenze le nto! Uza kuyiqalekisa imini awazalwa ngayo,” watsho engathi ugxwala ngumsindo.

Njengokuba uZintle exakekile ezama ukuphefumlisa umakhulu Tshezi ekhangela nokuba uwurhogole kangakanani umsi omnye wabamelwane onemoto wayesele elapha ukuba bamse kwisibhedlele esikufutshane. Umakhulu Tshezi wayerhogole umsi omninzi kodwa wayengatshanga kuyaphi emzimbeni.

“Yhoo! Lo moya usibuyisela umva madoda!” Yakhalaza enye indoda isilwa namalangatye amakhulu awasuka angathi ayagquma okwengonyama evithiza uphahla lwengca lwendlu. Yonke indlu ngoku yayigutyungelwe ngumlilo. Iinzame zabo zokuwucima zazingathi ziwa phantsi, kodwa abatyhafa baqhubekeka nokuwucima.

“Ndifake umbhobho wam kula tanki yam yamanzi ekhaya, yisebenziseni madoda ucime lo mlilo,” kwatsho omnye umfo enikezela ngombhobho komnye umfana omncinci.

Lo mfana wema phezu kwegqongo waza waba kwindawo ephezulu ukuze awajongele ezantsi amalangatye. Wayetshiva kanye kula angathi ayalephuza kwacaca ukuba iyanceda le nto. Uphahla lwendlu lwavela lwawa bhuma, kwasele kusitsha nempahla yonke ngaphakathi.

“Heyi nguSathana womlilo lo! Azange ndiyibone into enje,” yatsho enye indoda ibile ibaleka amanzi.

“Khawulezisani! Usaphila. Ndimxelele noVuyo ukuba makaye ngqo esibhedlele angabi seza apha,” watsho uZintle xa bengenisa elo xhegwazana lixhaxhayo emotweni bakugqiba yatsala imoto.

“Owu Somandla, uze ube naye. Msindise Nkosi,” wamana ethandaza lo gama imoto ibaleka kwezondlela zimbi zaloo lali yaseMpuma Koloni.

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Khawusixelele: Kutheni ucinga ukuba la madoda atshisa urontabile kaMakhulu ayembona njengegqwirha?