Lumbiwe – Episode 14
© Tisa Phiri
I was fully recovered by the end of the month. Tendeka was reluctant for us to try having another child, he asked the old woman that had treated me to give me some medicines that i avoid getting pregnant for some time. All went well and i was happy, my friends were saying i was glowing.
Tendeka was always buying clothes and new chitenge materials. he had gained much respect amongst his friends, they told him he had changed so much in months. I definitely made it my mission to make him happy as much as he made me..
I remember one day, i went with my friends for the nyau ceremony, as we clapped and sung, Tendeka in his mask came in with another nyau and dance before us. As he raised the whip every one ran in all directions but i stood in the same position smiling. He raised the whip to scare me away but i smiled and shook my head as he looked at me from behind the mask and shook his head too, dancing and wagging his mask he raised dust and ran back leaving me covered in dirty.
Dolika who now was married too came and she burst out laughing.. “Lumbiwe” she said,
” you know better than standing up to a nyau.. you are a woman.”
” well, he will be punished for that tonight” i giggled. she looked at me laughing
“you know he will never agree that it was him? ” she giggled too.
“i know, but today he will have to….” i said proudly..
I walked home with my friends chatting and laughing on the way.. with all the women complimenting me for marrying a good man.. In my heart i was over joyed, he really was a good man and i didnt deserve him.
later that evening he came home laughing..
“what is it ?” i acted surprised.. “you are crazy” he told me.
” oh so you agree it was you uh?” i asked laughing.
“i should have whiped you” he laughed holding my waist..
“and now you could have lost the chance of ever holding me like that” i let a laugh..
” i love the smell of dust on you” i teased him and he giggled walking away to take his bath. Well, we were happy….
“wow” i sighed,
“Ambuya i feel happy for you, at least you were finally happy. but what about Mani did he ever come looking for you? what happened to him mbuya?” i asked her watching her every move.
she had not removed her feet from the water all this time they even looked pale from the water. I too joined and placed my feet in the water and understood why she was enjoying. It was getting hot and the cold water felt good on the feet.
“mmmmmmh, am waiting” i reminded her..
“what do you want to know now Zelipa?” she chuckled looking at me…
“everything until today” i smiled..
” i got pregnant 6 months later and gave birth to your uncle Tendeka.. he was an exact copy of your grand father and we named him after him. Let me just say he brought so much joy in our home and good lucky too.
One day Tendeka’s uncle from the city called him and helped him find a job in the construction company…. after working for 2 months he found a house and came for me and your uncle that is how we all moved to the city. As always his hard work earned him favors with the white people who were running the company and after a year he was promoted to a position of a foreman. Everything had changed and in less than 3 years i had given him two more kids , your mother and your other uncle James who your father named after his good friend a white man.
Latter on i gave birth to another child your uncle Dalitso, we named him that because we just considered our lives as a blessing..” she smiled widely.
“but ambuya you have not said anything about Mani.. does it mean you never saw him again?” i asked her..
“oh Mani” she frowned
” i never saw him for years until one day i met him on the copper belt where your grand father was working after quitting the construction company job. His friend James helped him get a job in the mines and God blessed us even more. He was promoted to supervise some workers due to his hard work. surprisingly Mani was one of the people that were reporting under his supervision.
Tendeka didn`t tell me until one day as we drove to town we meet him and he introduced him to me. i was surprised to see him. He looked at me and i could see he was dying with jealousy.
“you are looking good” is all he said and Tendeka held my hand as we walked back to the car were we had left our two kids by then. your uncle and your mother.
“Tendeka why didn`t you tell me hes here?’ i asked him when we were inside the car. He smilled and looked at me..
“what for? i just pretend he doesnt exist” ye shrugged,
“otherwise, i could have made his life hell in the mines…”
I let a laugh and sighed..
” you are unbelievable and i love you..”
” i know now.” he said holding my hand as he drove his Toyota Cresta.
After he retired years later… we came back to settle here in the village and by then he had educated all his children up to university and college levels. Mani unfortunately never had any kids… I heard the woman he had married had 4 miscarriages until they gave up trying.
Since then, i never heard of him… the Prince is still here in the village but he is now ruled by one of his nephews. He still benefits somehow from being royalty, but his status is not what i had thought would turn out to be.
We lived here with my beloved Tendeka until he got ill and died at 82 years old 3 years ago. He died still loving me, i still love him and i know where ever he is he`s looking at me now and smiling.”
I looked at mbuya, she shed tears. I held her back..
“its okey” i whispered feeling sad that she was crying. she sighed sadly,
“i miss him a lot and i feel lonely. i wish he was here to hear me tell this story and understand how much i loved him and how special he was and still is to me.”
“Am sure he would say that to you too” i told her..
“i remember him though i saw him last when i was ten, he was very jovial and cheerful…”
” yeah” she nodded.
” that was my Tendeka.. the love of my life and father of my children, a proud father and husband, he died in peace and with a smile.” she added smiling…
“so you see my Child Zelipa life taught me big lessons, one is that beauty does not always attract good, especially if its not from the inside… and that pride and ambition can blind a person from what truly matters in their lives, it most of the times lead to destruction.
Good men are out there, but it takes a wise woman with a diligent heart to find one. it was pure luck and blessing from God that i came out of my horror happy. Otherwise mine was to end in doom and shame.
A true and real man is not defined by status or wealthy, but his genuine heart, honesty, hard work, tolerance and patience…” she explained as we reached home.
“wow.. you mbuya was Lumbiwe the village Star.!” i teased loudly and she laughed…
“thank you for the beautiful story” i hugged her.
“my holiday was well spent and have learnt lots of lessons, hoping to live and make better choices in my own life….” I added honestly.