Yet this was to the King’s great annoyance of course. He now grew more and more envious, and malice began to fully overtake and cripple his heart.

The King was usually a reasonable man, but he had been known to exercise the full might of his will and power now and then, lest anyone forget their affixed positions in life. He had once cut off the arms of two boys who had stolen cattle from a neighbouring villager, and had once cast a man out of the village into the wilderness, for giving birth to too many daughters (and so accumulating too much wealth, derived from lobolo).

But now, trouble began to brew when the King wanted to marry off one of his daughters to Tsietsi, in an attempt to indirectly control Tsietsi’s wealth. This was something that was unruly and unheard of. A commoner wasn’t allowed to have more than one wife back in those days, no matter the resources they possessed. Although some men had concubines and bastard children, they were never legally allowed a second wife.

And by so doing, the King set in motion a great divide that began to tear the village into two stubborn opinions and factions. One side, which still firmly held to traditional customs and norms, objected to such nonsense and began to question the King’s position as a divine ruler sent from above. The other side thought this was good for the balance of the society. (Or, rather connivingly, they too wanted Tsietsi’s new-found-wealth diminished.)

Tsietsi, being in love, and devoted to his wife, Tshenolo, denied the King’s request. This event made most villagers respect and grow even more fond of him. They admired his display of loyalty and affection to a woman who had been with him when he still ate hunger for breakfast; who’d been with him when the Gods were still glossing over his poverty and readily preparing him for the successful man he’d soon become.

Repulsed, insulted and feeling belittled, Kgosi Mathomo called for a meeting, at the village lekgotla, where everyone was invited. His advisors, village men, women, and children, all gathered. Their eyes and ears hung attentively to each word from the King’s pierced and vibrating lips.

“You all know that by the divinity of the Gods I’ve been chosen to rule over you o’right?”

“Ya-ha!” the crowd resolutely responded at once.

“By that which resides above all of us, only enclaved in me, I cannot be ruled or advised by any one of you. Yet some of you now, like snakes, conspire against my will on earth. I might have taken your advice in the past, but it’s never been gospel to me, and today it all comes to an end! You know yourselves, you sons of foxes and wildlings …”

The King kept ranting and raving, with bulgy eyes and foam hanging from the edge of his mouth, as if he was suddenly having an epileptic fit. His big frame of a body began to sink, and lean in towards the people. From his high throne, he began ferociously pointing at them.

“Some of you may try to raise to a status many wish for, but die never seeing! And you spit into my face, eh!? For that I’ll show all of you who I am, for standing with him!”

The King, with an alarming grin across his face, quickly rushed out of sight, surrounded by his royal guards. He returned to his palace.

At first, only confusion and unfinished, mumbled words circulated among the people at the lekgotla. But they were soon in a frenzy, because they knew the King, in such a state, was about to do something completely uncalled for and irrational.


Tell us: Do you believe a royal leader is somehow ‘divinely’ appointed, or closer to their god? (For example, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and the British Queen Elizabeth.)