“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou
I was left dumbstruck for a minute or two.
Malume Sfiso: ”Ngiyakhuluma mfana (I’m speaking son). What have you done regarding that issue?”
Beast: (firmly) “I don’t know what exactly you’re referring to but Malachi helped me get cleansed for that.”
Malume Sfiso: ”But have you appeased that situation? Did you ask for forgiveness?”
Beast: “No he doesn’t deserve that from me. He could have killed her and we wouldn’t have been here today talking about marriage because she would have been dead.”
Malume Sfiso: ”Eish (Oh) Bethuel you know how ancestors work. God doesn’t want murder at all and our ancestors can appease if you ask for forgiveness - the same with God. You never asked for forgiveness because you never saw it fit to do so. Now this girl’s ancestors her father’s ancestors are fighting for her.”
Beast: (confused) “But they’re white.”
Malume Sfiso: “So? You think white people can’t be ancestors? Her grandmother the one she was named after was a seer as well. She is fighting for this child. She doesn’t think that you are fit for her great grand daughter. It is so complicated Bethuel. Amasimba nje (It’s just a whole lot of bullshit).”
Beast: “So what now?”
Malume Sfiso: ”I’ll appease the ancestors for you and I’ll also cleanse you again but if they keep showing me that you will have to pay for what you did – then so be it. Ultimately you will be back in her arms again. You will just have to fight for a spot in her life once again.”
Once again? That meant I was going to lose Hazel. Everything just seemed so dim and confusing but he didn’t want to elaborate any further on that and I respected that.
Beast: ”So I’m going to lose Hazel Malume?”
Malume Sfiso: “You being steady with her will depend all on her. That is the only answer I have for you right now. For now we shall do what I tell you to do. We will go to your father’s family and request that Mandla go with us to her family. For now we shall only speak to Mandla tomorrow and draft the letter for her hand in marriage. It is all such a mess. Don’t forget that her mother’s parents are still angry at her. But you will be alright. You have always followed suit. I just wish that you hadn’t killed that boy. It will follow you for a long time.”
I had no idea what he meant but all I could gather at that moment was that I made a big fucking mess by killing Raymond. I shouldn’t have. I would have had to pay for it so be it. I was willing to do so if it meant that things were going to be alright between Hazel and I. I was prepared to face any consequences as long as it meant I’d be there for her.
Malume Sfiso: ”Let’s go back and eat before Brenda starts calling me. You know how she gets when you visit.”
I chuckled as we walked back. She was bragging about how beautiful Hazel was and honestly I didn’t blame her. My woman was an absolute beaut. No one could compare to her. She made the moon jealous and during the day the radiating rays of the sun were nothing compared to her beauty. They gave me the support I needed and I knew that I’d be safe as long as I had them in my corner. The biggest battle yet was facing my father’s family. They were quite bitter and a lot harder to win over unless you bought good quality alcohol. I decided to worry about them the following day when the moment arose. I spoke to my Hazel and everything was fine she was having the time of her life with Mathilda and she also was contemplating moving in with her but she wanted to hear my thoughts about it. I was actually happy she was considering that because I was planning on getting her to do her license. She was taking the right direction with Mathilda. I always said that during our teenage years we know nothing but once we’re faced with the adult world we are forced to grow up and that’s when you get to see the real person. We had such a great day and we ended up sleeping very late. The following morning Malume Sfiso and Mamkhulu Brenda got up early to accompany me to the Sibiya family. I was very anxious because I knew just how full of shit they were. It always baffled me how Elders always made you beg for their blessings so that you could have a better life than they did. We took a near 2-hour drive from Dundee to Greytown. I was anxious the entire way. I was always an open-minded person but my father’s family always brought the worst out of me. I was only doing that for peace's sake and so that Hazel and I could have a blessed marriage. We arrived at about 11am. Malume walked out and addressed them outside the gate before we could even approach.
Malume Sfiso: (shouting) “Greetings the Sibiya family. We have brought your son Bethuel the son of Solomon Sibiya. He has brought an important message. May we please be allowed in.”
After a few good 20 minutes my Great uncle was about to give up. He got back into the car.
Malume Sfiso: “Hayi (no) these people want nothing to do with us. I have tried.”
As he was about to give up out came Malume Sydney who was the youngest of the brothers. Malume Mandla came before him and my father was the first born.
Malume Sydney: “Weh (hey) Sfiso. We here you. We’ll open the gate now. Come in.”
I was annoyed at the way he addressed Malume Sfiso because he was indeed older. We always grew up knowing that we respected those older than us. I let it slide in any case. The gate was opened for us and we drove in. We parked the car and walked out. Malume Sydney addressed us and of course he was drunk before midday.
Malume Sydney: (shocked) “Hawu (Goodness) Mshana (nephew)! You’re so big! What are you eating in Gauteng?! You must be taking your father’s genes.”
Beast: (annoyed) “I haven’t seen him in years.”
Malume Sydney: “Oh hayi (no) one day you’ll also grow up and make mistakes. Don’t take it to heart. At least you are grown and you smell so nice now. Look at you I hear you’re getting married. Is that why you came?”
Beast: (nodding) “Yes.”
Malume Sydney: “Well have you brought us something to drink at least? You know Mandla will give you a hard time kodwa mina (but I’m) on your side.”
He was a sell out like that. I went to the boot and took out all five bottles of whiskey I had bought and three bottles of cognac some few wine boxes for the women. I knew if I wanted their support I had to buy loads of alcohol.
Malume Sydney: (excited) “Oh Hayi ke (well then) come on in so we can have a drink.”
Mamkhulu Brenda: “Where is Mandla? Is he not supposed to be here?”
Malume Sydney: ”Oh he is still at the rank. He’ll be here soon once I text him.”
So basically he had us sweating outside for no good reason. That left me even more irritated than I was already.
Malume Sfiso: ”Why ungashongo (didn’t you say so)?”
Malume Sydney: “Hawu (Goodness) Sfiso I’m also an uncle. I must look important otherwise no one will take me seriously. Come Mandla will be here in no time.”
I decided to humble myself and let him drink away while we waited. I couldn’t believe we waited about 2 hours before Malume Mandla came back after listening to Malume Syndey’s tedious jokes.
Malume Mandla: (firmly) “And then? Ni funani la (wha do you want here)?”
Malume Sfiso stood up and started addressing him.
Malume Sfiso: ”Mandla kunjani (how are you)?”
Malume Mandla: ”I asked you a question. What are you doing here?”
Malume Sfiso: ”We came with Bethuel. He wants to pay lobola for his bride so he wants you to be involved in the process and came to ask you personally.”
Malume Mandla: “I have nothing to say to you.”
Malume Sfiso: “Hmm okay then Mandla. Rest assured; we will be out of your way. We did come all the way from Dundee to ask you and you saw it fit to chase us away like dogs. You will not let this boy pay for his father’s sins. We shall be on our way then.”
I was heartbroken but I stood up and walked right behind Malume Sfiso with Mamkhulu right behind us.
Malume Mandla: “Wait.”
Malume Sfiso: “Yes?”
Malume Mandla: ”I’d like to hear you out.”
Malume Sfiso: “Just so you know Mandla
Malume Mandla: ”I’m all ears.”
Malume Sfiso: ”You may speak Bethuel.”
Beast: (clearing throat) “Malume I’ve come all this way to let you know that I’d like to pay lobola for my bride Hazel.”
Malume Mandla: ”So you took all these years to come and see us? If it weren’t for this you wouldn’t be here right?”
Beast: ”Believe me uncle I came here because I feel having you part of this process is important for me.”
Malume Mandla: ”What about your father? Have you told him?”
Beast: (clenching fist) “No. I haven’t spoken to him in years.”
Malume Mandla: “Well I won’t do this without him.”
Beast: “Well then I guess our business is concluded. Have a nice day furhter.”
I stood up with all the intentions of walking away. He saw that I wasn’t prepared to stop so he stopped me.
Malume Mandla: ”Okay I’ll help you.”
Malume Sfiso: “That wasn’t so hard now was it?”
Malume Mandla: ”I’ll have to consult with your father first.”
Malume Sfiso: (shaking head) “You know very well he gave up his right to be a father years ago. This boy practically raised his sisters and became a husband to his own mother. Your brother is in prison. What good will his input do?”
Malume Mandla: ”I’ll still have to speak to him. He is our elder brother and this concerns him.”
Malume Sfiso: “Either way just think of Bethuel. You are doing this for him - not for Solomon.”
Malume Mandla walked away as he started dialing on his phone. He was very weak minded though he didn’t want to show it. He could never do anything without my father’s approval - even though he was in prison.
Malume Sydney: (shouting) “I told them to wait for you Bhuti but they over powered me! Abezwa laba (they don’t listen)!”
Malume Sfiso: ”You’re such a sell out wena. It’s no wonder you’ll never find a wife.”
He just ignored us and carried on drinking meanwhile I went outside to speak to my Hazel. I video called her and she answered almost immediately.
She looked so cute rubbing her eyes.
Beast: (smiling) “Baby wami (my baby). Don’t tell me you're still sleeping?”
Hazel: “Eish (oh) Mathilda and I had a late night talking and drinking a little bit.”
Beast: “If I didn’t know better I’d say you feel a lot more comfortable living there than your current flat.”
Hazel: ”Yes I wanted to speak to you about it. I mean it is a drive away but Mathilda has moved out of res and stays here permanently so I thought I’d catch rides with her daily.”
Beast: (sigh) “I wanted to surprise you but I’d rather let the cat out of the bag now. I had a plan for you to get your license because I want to buy you a car.”
Hazel: (shocked) “Aowa (no) Beast. Do you have any idea how much I have in my bank account right now? You and Malachi never wanted me to spend a dime of the money you guys gave me. Ngapha (and then) it’s the bursary giving me a hefty amount every month. You can’t buy me car Beast.”
Beast: ”So basically you’re refusing me my right to husband duties?”
Hazel: ”Ai (oh) how is it going there? Are you okay?”
Beast: (sigh) “I’m fine I have come to visit my uncle and aunt here in KZN.”
I hadn’t even told her that I went for the lobola finalization.
Hazel: “Oh that must be nice. They must be excited to see you.”
Beast: ”Yes they are actually. Speaking of which how are you feeling? I mean the pharmacist told me that the pills have some sort of side effects.”
I saw her change her facial expression immediately.
Beast: ”Hazel? What’s wrong?”
Hazel: ”I - ”
I couldn’t hear what she was saying because an incoming call from my father interrupting everything. I tried saying goodbye to my wife to be but the network got cut off so I figured I’d call her back later. I didn’t want to answer his call but I knew he was going to pester me so I answered.
Solomon: ”Finally you decided to answer your father’s call. Or is it only because you need something from me?”
Beast: ”I don’t need anything from you.”
Solomon: ”Whatever you need from my brothers means that you need something from me.”
Beast: (sigh) “Is that why you called me? To lecture me? Isn’t prison supposed to be a rehabilitation centre for people like you?”
Solomon: ”You're no different from me Bethuel. If you don’t watch it you’ll be back here in no time. You’ll be sharing a cell with me.”
Beast: “I don’t have to listen to you. Goodbye.”
I hung up and blocked his number before he could say anything further. I tried calling Hazel again but the network didn’t want to pick up. I decided that I’d try again later.
My day was starting on a good note until Beas started asking me the morning after pills. To be honest all I remember is me having them in my hands. I was about to take them when I went to the bedroom to cry after that I couldn’t recall where I had placed them. I found myself spacing out when Mathilda came to greet me.
Mathilda: “Good morning. What’s wrong?”
Hazel: “Eish (Oh) Mathilda I think I may have fucked up.”
Mathilda: (frowning) “Why?”
Hazel: “Beast gave me morning after pills to take last night. I was in such a bad space I must have forgotten to take them.”
Mathilda: “Okay don’t panic. Was it the first time you guys had unprotected sex?”
Hazel: (shaking head) “No We had sex a few days prior to yesterday but it was only once you know.”
Mathilda: “Hazel you of all people did Life Sciences at school. You know that you could be pregnant for all you know right?”
Hazel: (panicking) “I can’t be pregnant Mathilda. His family already hates me. Imagine if they found out I’m pregnant. They wouldn’t take it well and they would honestly think that I’m trying to trap him you know.”
Mathilda: “Slow down. I have an aunt who works at the mall Pharmacy. Don’t panic I’ll get her to bring us the pills.”
Hazel: “Are you sure? I really don’t want to be a bother really.”
Mathilda: “Relax it’s what friends are for. But just know that they aren’t 100% effective and even if you were to be pregnant Beast would never think that you’re trying to trap him. He’s an adult and he loves you. Remember that.”
Hazel: “Thank you Mathilda.”
Mathilda: “I’ll be right back. Let me go and call her.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 - “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”