© Tisa Phiri
” Being born from two people that are both considered a curse and as outcasts of the village was not easy. ” she started as she continued laying down her eyes to the roof of the house.
” my mother was, no” she paused clearing her throat. ” she’s a witch” she spoke calmly and both Mattie and Thandi looked at her turning on their sides to have a view of her round face.
” what do you mean?” Thandi was first to find her voice.
” well, I don’t know how to say it guys, the thing is my mother can see things, she can tell someone’s life from looking them. She too can speak something on someone and the thing would come true” she added sighing as she let the information sink in her friends minds.
” okey” Mattie murmered in a way that showed she was having a different perception about Sali. In her mind she was imagining how Sali’s mother could have transferred that to her daughter, she flinched a bit at the thought of her friend having anything to do with her mother’s way.
” don’t worry guys am not like my mother” Sali sighed like confirming Mattie’s thoughts.
” Well, I can’t imagine living with someone who can easily say things and it happens” Thandi laughed out.
” so will you girls let me finish this or not?” Sali sat up looking at the two friends.
” well go ahead Sali, we are listening” they answered eagerly wanting to hear more.
” Well, the thing is that my mother’s family members didn’t want her and they treated her as an outcast. She was forced to move out of her village in Luagwa and move close to Chinyunyu were she settled with no one else knowing who she was. She could also give some herBs to cure some diseases and other things that I never really understood.
The thing is my mother met my father right in Chinyunyu and without knowing who she was, my father married her and I was born 9 months later.
My father who was also fleeing from I dont remember where learnt the truth about my mother. But it was too late to let her go since they had started a family.
Trouble started when my mother could see my father’s affairs with other women. One day, out of anger she spoke against a woman that she was suspecting to be going out with my father. She cursed her to death and the following day the woman died mysteriously.
People came to know of that truth and you cant imagine what they did to my poor mother.
I was only 2 years old then and very fat too. The whole community raised against my mother including my father. They stripped her naked and called her all sorts of names.
Some people said I was not a human being but some kind of vudoo since I looked so huge and big for a two year old.” Sali sighed remembering her mother’s story.
” what happened next?” Mattie asked after a couple of minutes when she realised how quiet Sali had become.
” Well, that was the beginning of problems for us. My mother had to flee the village but unfortunately my father forced her to leave me behind. I was only a baby but my father insisted I stayed back.
Well for fear of being murdered by the angry people, my mother left me. She however, sneaked back into our house one night 3 years later and took me away with her. That’s the time i came to learn the truth since then I was a bit older.
Leaving like normads was not easy for both of us. We settled somewhere in Chongwe with my mother’s cousin who had these children that always made funny of me. They would say all sorts of things about my body, you are too fat, you eat a lot, you are a child to a witch and that’s why you are so big so that she can climb on you every night….” Sali paused shedding tears as she listed the names she was called by the kids she lived with.
” sorry for that Sali, you are beautiful I can assure you. Those kids where just playing with You” Thandi patted her hand comforting her.
” yes don’t worry we will never call you fatty anymore” Mattie added too.
” so what happened there after?” Asked Mattie again
” my mother was not happy with the treatment the other kids were giving me. She had tried to contain her inner powers to avoid being chased but one day it got worse and the elder boys took me in the bush tieing me to a tree that I had some powers to flee myself.
I had to stay in the bush for hours screaming and crying for help. I was so hungry and thirsty I felt I would die there.
They tied me in the morning and it took my mother the entire day to search for me. I was almost collapsing the time she found me.
I recall how mad she was as she put me in her back and struggled to walk back home.
That night she called her cousin and talked to her about what her children had done to me. The cousin however, just took it casually and said they were just kids.
That angered my mother who had expected them to be purnished for what they did. When nothing was done my mother just that moment spoke against the children saying the worst she shouldn’t have.”
Sali was silent recalling how she woke up the following morning to the cries of her mother’s cousin and his wife. Finding out what happened, she came to know all their children were stuck with some sort of sickness. One was blind, the other had sores all over his body and the other had some kind of growth on his back.
Thandi and Mattie who were now scared of what they were hearing looked at each other.
Mattie wanted to ask what happen later on but she wasn’t sure she was ready to freak out even more than she was. It was dark outside and she started imagining a witch standing out there ready to pounce on them.
Sali sighed before continuing.. ” that night my mother was tied to a tree by the people in the community calling her a witch and said they would burn her to death.
She cried for mercy and that she never meant to say anything. According to her, she never did anything to fulfil her words but only knew that whenever she was angry and uttered anything against anyone, that person suffered terribly.
She told me she had no control over what happened except to avoid saying evil or even thinking it over someone.
So that night as the people discussed her odeal, My mother whispered for me to ran away lest I was killed too. I fled crying and ran to the main road to find a way out of that place.
I could hear noise behind me of people shouting and yeling at my mother. I had stopped at some point wishing I could go and be with her but her words came strong back to my mind.
” go my child, you will survive and live a life better than this. You have to be strong. You are my child and I know you are stronger than you think. There’s power inside you and it will guide you to the right place” she cried as she told me.
Turning back I ran to the road side and got on a canter that was transporting vegetables to the city. That’s how I found myself here in Lusaka city, alone and scared. I spent two days walking around the streets hungry and tired until Mattie found me.”
” oh my God you were right, your story is mysterious. I swear I feel so scared right now. So can you also do what your mother could do? Do you know if she’s dead or alive?” Thandi asked one question after the other.
Sali looked at her and lay back down since she had sat up.
” I don’t know if she’s alive or dead Thandi, I also don’t know if I inherited what she had too. I mean am her child and that’s possible right?” She sighed sadly.
” but I wish with everything in me i am not in any way like her” she added seriously.
” no you are not Sali. You are just an ordinary girl like all of us and don’t worry we will not let anything bad happen to you” Mattie assured her with a smile even though she couldn’t see it as they were laying in the dark preserving the lamp light for the next day.
As the girls slept, Sali cried herself to sleep at the thought of what she had been through. She had never had a permanent home all her life and she hopped somehow she would end up having a family and a home with her two friends who clearly didnt seem judge her in a bad way.
Deep down she felt she had something of her mother but she vowed to never harness that inner power that she knew led to evil.
She had no idea how to pray but she knew if she could trust the God that Mattie always talked about. He could help her rid of the evil that she could have inherited from her mother.
Days later, the girls went out selling ice block on behalf of a certain lady who hired them from the other side of the compound.
They could get some buckets filled with small packs of ice water and some sweat Ice blocks and went round the streets and market selling.
” how much have you sold?” Thandi asked her friends as they sat to rest on the rocks near a small path their buckets placed in front of them and a pack displayed on top to show the possible customers what they were selling.
” well I only have 10 remaining” Sali responded.
” today has been bad on me, I have only sold half the bucket. I need to sale more before it all melts.” complained Mattie shaking her head her face tired. She wiped the sweat from her face as she held on to a small plastic where she had put the money from the sells.
They were still talking when two tall boys came their way. ” bring that money you girls or we will beat you up!” One of them spoke as they stood in front of them.
” this is not your money you thief, go away!” Mattie couragiously shouted standing up as Sali shook in fear and Thandi stood too not knowing how it will all end.
” give it to me you stupid girls or I swear you will regret this” the boy yelled the more closing in to grab the money and search them for more.
” stay away from us or I will call my uncle there to beat you up!” Thandi screamed trying to scare the boys away but they both laughed loudly and one of them grabbed Mattie’s plastic with money. He the turned to grab Thandi to get hers too but they all heard a sharp mysterious voice screaming besides them.
They turned to look at the direction of the voice just to find Sali shedding tears her hands trembling and she made a fist like containing something which was hot and threatening to come out.
” fall down and twist your legs you thieves!” They heard her yell her mouth vibrating as she fought hard to contain herself.
To the surprise of everyone around them, the boys fall down and each one held their legs screaming in agony as some excruciating pain run through their ankles.
” Sali!” Mattie shouted holding her hands to stop her from tormenting the boys.
” stop it now, you are killing them!” She shook her making Sali came to realising what was going on.
” lets get out of here!” Thandi shouted grabbing her bucket as the boys limped to get away.
” what was That?” They both asked Sali as they ran away from the market place.
” am sorry, I dont know I just got angry and then , I… I… I… i don’t know what happened” she stammered her hands still shaking.
Thandi and Mattie looked at each other realising what just happened and connecting the dots from Sali’s story.
Mattie shook her head worriedly as Thandi slipped to the ground not knowing what to make of what they will have to deal with.
To be continued