Note: This is an old story by Tisa Phiri. So try ignore the basic errors you find while reading
Lumbiwe: The Village Star – Episode 2
© Tisa Phiri
After a while of dancing, the people watched with joy and others with admiration. My male cousin scooped me and ran as fast as he could to the hut as all the people cheered. It was a really great time. My parents were proud and my friends all came to welcome me to womanhood ,” you are welcome Lumbiwe ” they said.
“Now that you have grown we all look forward to seeing who is coming to ask for your hand in marriage.”
Funny how every girl dreamed no further than marriage. I had always thought of aiming higher if am to get married. l told myself, It ought to be to an important man or a prince , not just any man in the village.
So one day,l went fetching wood alone in the woods after my mother insisted l get the wood since all my brothers were busy helping my father in the fields. As l walked, enjoying the feel of the fresh growing grass on my feet, humming to the song l learnt from initiation, I didn’t realise a nyau (masquerade) had followed me. when it cried out letting out a scaring sound l turned to look back and l saw it, wagging its whip as it’s outfit flew around him like it was windy. I ran as fast as l could screaming all the way.
It was never a good thing to meet a nyau , they had a tendency of whipping anyone in their way especially women.
Just when all my strength was gone and l couldn’t go any longer, l fell down to the ground panting and weeping in fear. He stood straight before me and l bow my head to him in respect like he was my master.
Instead of whipping me as l aniticipated, the nyau leaned forward and tried to touch my face. l looked away , he stood before me for a few more minutes. It was like he was enjoying watching me suffer , lifting me up with his one hand, l felt his strong hands holding my back. At that moment l almost collapsed , his strong smell filling my nose. He bend his head to the side watching me carefully his mask scaring me to the core.
As soon as he let me go. I took off leaving my chitenge caught in the branches of a small tree. I arrived home panting. my mother who sat outside sewing a basket saw me.
” Lumbiwe what is it ?” she asked when l fell on the mat panting and sweating.. All l could do is point in the woods untill finally, l managed to say ” nyau… nyau….!”
she sat back shaking her head.
” It really must have scared you to death my daughter , you look scared.”
” I hate those people” l cursed after calming down.
Two days later, my friend Dolika came to visit me. we sat under the tree as she braided my hair.
” So tell me Lumbiwe, how is it like being a woman ?”
I let out a laugh , “what can l say? well, it’s good , only that l cannot play my favourite games any more.”
she chuckled ,” yeah l miss those too , now its our tradition there`s nothing we can do.” She shrugged.
We laughed as we discussed our experiences in the initiation. Later, l called my young sister ,we used quarrel a lot and were always fighting. However , since the day l came out of the initiation, she had greatly changed. In fact she was now calling me ” a Lumbiwe” , how funny even my father started calling me aa (respectfully) and it sounded funny coming from him.
So l called my sister,
” Maaaa ! “she answered and we laughed with Dolika.
“How nice” , she said,
“now you are respected.” I stood and turned around ,
“just look at me ” l skit, “Am a woman” she clapped her hands as we both laughed out.
I escorted Dolika and on the way we met Tendeka. when he saw me he started laughing hysterically. We looked at each other with Dolika
“what ? ” she asked shocked and l raised my shoulders in ignorance ,
“l don’t know my friend, maybe we are naked” l teased.
Dolika went closer to him , “and what is funny this afternoon Tendeka, that you laugh at us like that ?”
” It’s nothing” he said as he tried to compose himself. Irritated we walked on ignoring him. On my way back l found him seated on the path like he was waiting for me.
“Oh no he didn`t just do that ” l thought to myself ,
“who does he think he is ?” I gnarled angrily. I charged forward deciding to give him a piece of my mind.
“What is it you fool ?” I snapped
“You laugh at us like we are carrying faeces on our backs and now you sit here knowing am coming this way. What is your problem?”
He stood up and blocked my way.
” I thought l warned you about that pride Lumbi ” he said , abbreviating my name.
” you never learn eeh?” , he said laughing again.
“You know what? I don`t have time for idiots like yourself!” l shouted pushing him out of the way as l walked away raising my bust and buttocks knowing so well he was watching me.
I hated his guts, there was something about him but I never wanted to look at him any different from what he was, a Hunter’s son and therefore not my type at all.
After walking for a few meters away, I looked back and was surprised to see him watching and grinning.
” stupid Hunter! ” i whispered to myself walking on.
To be continued