Good lord! How he hates these prison bells! Won’t they let decent folk have their sleep in peace? Hell, they are already in jail for crying out loud. Isn’t that enough to drive a fellow crazy? Then there are those glaring lights…and the cold. Good lord, the porison can be oh so cold. The be;lls seem to be goijg on forever and he wotn open his eyes, no not today! A hand touches his flank and shakes him up and he wills a ‘go away’at the invader but this will not give up. He becomes conscious of the body next to him. No! What are they doing in such a close embrace. He actually has his arm across the body of this…fur clothed guy…the dog! The bells turn to wails. He suddenly opens one eye but it is the wrong one, the one nearer to the ground and he shits that, his eyelids dragging in some fine dust. He blinks away and involuntarily the other eye catches up. The hand shakes him again. Its his wife. No it can’t be. A leg materialises and its hairy and muscular. A leg of a man. The leg of the mn who had his wife moaning probably. He feels anger and frustration well up his tiny frame and he wants to stand up and smash the disrespectful thing hard until it spits broken teeth. But the will has deserted him and he remains on the ground. He closes his eyes and wishes it is for the last time. the hand rested on the lapels of his coarse short and shook him, this time roughly. His head lolled from on e side to the other and he jerked his eyes open and they were fierce and hot as they looked straight into the eyes of the invader. In an instant his eyes took in the frame of the man standing over him. He has a boyish face. The stern lines around his mouth however suggest lots of unpleasantries in the hands of his assailer would one choose to cross his path but the man lying on the floor is past caring. His arms made him look like an ape. They are huge and muscular. The hands grabbing are rough and calloused he if he cares enough he can feel his skin break but the man on the ground has passed that stage.
The man lifted the small bundle effortlessly by the scruff of his neck and had him dangling in the air. He had a mind to beat the weasel face to a pulp. How dare this murderer have the guts to show his face here after what he had done. Amid her girlfriend’s screams rose the powerful manaceful growl of the big black bitch. He slowly turned his eyes in wonder in that direction. The bitch’s jowls brittled with an anger that that seemed to blaze in black spurts of fire from the eyes. He knew he not a chance againt the dog and her litter who seemed to do any bidding their mother led them to do and he knew well these dogs would turn on him now, all those meals and patting doen forgotten because their bitchy black mother commanded them to. He had seen them turn on the helper when he tried to reprimand the old hag for stealing eggs. How perculuar of these black mongrels of dogs!He looked into the dogs’s eyes and what he saw there made him drop the little man back on the ground where he landed on all fours. He had no love whatsoever for these dogs and he wished he had carried out his plea to have them all poisoned. They had never taken well to him. Always those wary eyes whenever he patted them down or gave them food. He had once sworn they foirst tated the food for poison with their wet nose before eating it. murdering blod hounds. They had something in common with the child murderer kneeling on the ground woth his head bowed. Bloody murderers all of them. Nsizwa slowly backed away towards his girlfriend and took her arms. She shook him off and wailed harder. Their child emerged from her hut in a skirt and no top, bewildered. He looked at the man kneeling on the floor and his ‘father’ standing by her mother looking very dejected. She wondered who the strange looking man was. How he looks so wasted in those oversized clothes! She went to her mother and looked into her eyes enquiringly. Nsizwa felt his heart torn from him and he bent and stroked the girl’s hair gently. They were all looking at the man still kneeling on the ground. Themba slowly raised his eyes and he died a million times when he saw this. They had even turned his daughter from him. He knew she didn’t know who he was. He had been saved by the dogs, he knew that. This innocent looking boy would have bent and stretched him at will that he knew. Never in his life had he felt so helpless. He opened his eyes and let out steady and controlled breath. He was going to revenge this injustice. How could she do this to him? In his father’s home? Had she no respect for the customs of the land? Shameless whore! And her parents had let her go with this! They were going to pay. The bitch! He would kill the whore, the pompous bastard and the little girl too had to die. His eyes filled with tears and this tine they had nothing to do wikth self pity. They were tears of anger. Tears of a wounded buffalo. The yard was filling up with people. They were trickling in being roused by the screams. Themba stood up and paced the grounds of his former home. He couldn’t believe what was happening. He wished a bolt of lightning could strike him down there. He opened his arms and implored the heavens and everyone looked at him. He turned to look at them. They all believed he was a killer. They all believed he had killed the boy whom he had loved like his own son, his own flesh and blood. These people he has grown among, they saw him as a murderer.
He looked at his ‘wife’ who still stood there wailing wrapped tightly in their arms. He went slowly to her and she cringed backwards despite the presence of her bulky boyfriend and the villagers who thronged her. He looked at her with tears clouding his eyes. He put his hands on his hips dejectedly and blew out a stream of air. It was the look in her eyes that made him decide against saying anything. He wanted to start over. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her. He wanted to tell her how broken he was of his ‘son’s death. He wanted to her he had not and would never kill an innocent child. He wanted to tell her so many things but the look in those eyes told him off. He turned back to the villagers. He wondered how they could let this happen. This was his father’s home. How could a woman take over his father’s house just like that? As if not enough, stay with a boyfriend in his home. What had happened to the customs of the village? How dare they turn their back on their own? He felt the anger rising again in his chest. It engulfed him. He thought of how whard he had worked. He thought of the years he had lost in jail. He thought of all those nights the ape armed boy faced boy had spent on his bed, helping himself to his wife. How she had moaned for him! They were in love. His eyes roamed about until they settled on his child. She looked frightened. Her eyes were round and almost popping out of that silly little head. They had turned the little one away from her. He turned towards the ape. He saw him square his shoulders. Everyone was saying something to someone but their voices seemed to fade with the rising sun. He couldn’t get what they were saying. It was those voices that he heard in his head now as they clamoured easily above the din outside. He walked slowly towards the boy faced man and drawing back, spat velocively into his face. he felt he should fight for his father’s compound but felt the will dissolve. He wanted to tell them to hightail it out of his father’s kraal but he felt too weak. He felt numb. He couldn’t feel anything and the well aimed fist that slammed into his face. He went sailing into the air and for a moment he thought he was going home, borne by the angels but even his semi blackened mind felt the ground reach out to him with a smack that sent sparks flaring in his eyes. He got groggily onto his feet and as drunkenly, went towards the granary. He hoped it still was tucked up there where he had last seen it. he knew it would be in good shape. The rust stood chance against it because he had swamped it in grease. Looking into the sky he could see his father looking down at him. He felt renewed and born again. He knew exactly where it was. He stooped a little to reach under the grass thatched roof of the so many years old granary. Feeling between the space between the roof and the wall, where rested the mopane poles that bore the roof he found what he was looking for. His hands were steady as he unwrapped the panga. It still looked the same way it had those seven years he had been away and he knew just looking at the machete that it was still as sharp as the morning breeze. He ran his fingers against the egde and was rewarded with a bit into his finger that resulted in a trickle of blood that drained into the earth. His mind was oblivious to the pain. He siled at his father and he knew he was not alone. he reached the spot of the raggely bvilagers who stood clapping hamds and shouting to each other. No one gave him much eye now. They were all listening to the new comer, the girl who was now a grown woman as she retold how she had seen him club the little boy to death. The girl turned woman was a great story teller and from her flurry hands and the chopping motions he knew she had all glued upon her. It was going to an esy job. He would start with the young brute. He didn’t trust him after he was through the surprise. He egded closer from behind the yound man. He raised the machete and with a sickening thud it went right though the head down to the side of his neck, nearly splitting the head in half. The stricken man stood hands frozen in mid air, blood gushing into the sky to rain onto the gorund painting a grisly crimson red splash around the already dead man. Slowly he toppled over and lay twitching for some seconds. The young man strectched his body for the last time anss was gone. Every one split up. Some ran straight inot the fence which caught them and had them landing stupidly on their butts where they thrashed about in a bid tp get off and fly again only yo be caught by the fence and driven senseless onto the hard ground again. The little girl, his child just stood there, horrified. The mother let out a silent scream and moved toewards the body of her boyfriend which lay on the ground. She knelt by the dead hulk and tried to take the pieces into her hands and watched with horror as one of the two pieces slipped off her hamds to land on her lap. She remained with the other half. He was upon her. She looked inot those eyes which had once breathed so much love for him. They looked grey and dead. He wondered if he had lost his mind. She knew what was coming. This man killer was coming for her now.
“I did not kill our son”, he said slowly. There was no feeling in his voice. It was like listening to the whisper of a ghost. Dry and brittle was his voice. She shook her head from side to side slowly while she mouthed things he couldn’t comprehend. He raised the machete and she closed her eyes. He let it sink forst inot her shoulder. She didn’t even scream. He lifted and sank and lifted and sank until his whole body was swamped in her blood from her mangled body. At last, he stood up his shoulders heaving with exertion. He felt something tug at his bloodied shirt and turned to look into the eyes of her daughter. The eyes looked vacant. His poisoned mind couldn’t this. He saw a traitor. He saw injustice. He saw the treachery of the girl’s mother and to him she was a plage that needed purging. Rot that needed cleaning up and he was the man who was going to do it. He turned and raied the machete above his head. The girl just stood there still clutching at his shirt. His dogs ran thus way and that way in a confused frenzy. He raised the ,machete high and it began its decsent. He would go for the dead cehter of her head and this time he would stop until she was two pieces. The whole village would remember this amd pay for their sins. The whore and her boyfriend and this chubby little girl too, they would all carry the blunt of her fury and veangence. The machete descended swiftly and true on the little girl. It was as it scratched her head that a large black object cannoed into him and rolled him over. His frenzied mind failed to see his dog and he hit a stone and went out.
Its ten days after the court and he is lying there in the jail bed and he hasn’t said anything to anyone. He even refused ti say anything ti the judge. He had stood there as he was sentenced to life imprisonment. his brain cannot believe what he has done. He keeps dseeing his daughter’s eyes. He still sees his wife’s eyes as she looked resignedly into his eys. He cant believe what he ahs done and the deep ache of regret eats into him. He wont be going anywhere now and he knows it. these walls have become his home. He thinks of his daughter who will grow out there alone in the world without a father or a mother. He wonders who will take care of her? Tears fall unchecked and he does nothing to stop them. He wishes he was dead but knows there is escape for what he has done. Twenty life impriosmnets will not erase what he has done. Jhe thinks of the chance he had been given. A cjance to win back his life. He could have abut can’t now. He will live like this the rest of his lofe and he wishes death comes upon him sooner. Turning to his side with the picture of his wife and child, Themba wept himself into trounbled sleep.
So according to me #StewieLeSavage, today we celebrate the sixteenth day of the sixteen days of activism against gender based violence with Simosami Ndlovu.