Lumbiwe: The Village Star – Episode 6
© Tisa Phiri
I walked down the path with a mixture of feelings, upset, excited but the most evident of all mad at Tendeka. He just had to humiliate me. However,now that l felt normal again , l really was glad nothing happened. I wasn’t going to worry about loosing my virginity and getting pregnant.
Reaching home , l found my mother,father and my elder brother talking to an elderly man whom l couldn’t recognize. As per tradition l knelt down and greeted him. He smiled widely as he greeted me back looking at my father. I walked to my hut wondering what the meeting was all about.
Later in the evening my sister came to kneel before me as l chatted with my grandmother.
“Father calls for you aLumbiwe,” she told me.
“Am coming ” l responded immediately standing up. Wondered what it was my father called me for. As l tied the chitenge tighter on my waist. I knelt before him as soon as I was closer. He sat on his favorite chair, which we had nicknamed ‘lazy man`s chair’. My mother sat on the mat next to father, he indicated for me to sit with mom then he cleared his throat before he begun.
“My daughter, l have called for you, you are now a grown woman and no longer that small girl you were a few years ago.”
I nodded my head following him , usually when father called for a meeting after super we all knew it meant some serious family business. Except l was the only one called that night so l felt a bit nervous not knowing exactly what to expect.
“So” he continued, “that man you saw this afternoon is an old friend of mine Mr Zulu, he came all the way from the neighbouring village. He has a son who is working in the mines on the copperbelt and he came to ask for your hand in marriage on behalf of his son.”
“what ?” I asked in my head.
“why would a capable man send his father to marry him a wife who he hasn`t seen ?” I wanted to say it aloud but l knew better than answering when my father was still talking so l kept quite and listened on.
After he finished his statement which to be honesty l never listened to the rest of it. My mind went back to the tree and l was thinking of what had happened with Tendeka. Something in me was triggered that day and for some reason l couldn`t stop thinking about him the whole afternoon. I stattled when my father called my name ,
“Lumbiwe! have you heard my question ? ”
“Oh pepani(forgive me) ” l said sitting up.
He repeated his question,” l asked if you would accept Mr Zulu`s proposal on behalf of his son.”
” well, father am sorry but l cannot accept marriage to a man l know nothing about. You yourself told me that unlike your time it is better to know someone before marrying them. If l may say , l think it’s better he comes here himself so he gets to know me and l also see and assess the kind of man he is.” I remarked composing my voice.
“Okey” my father nodded,
“l think you have a point. Since Zulu promised to come back here in a couple of days l will let him know your response and we hear what his son would say”.
“thank you father” . I got back to where granny sat and narrated what my father just told me.
“Eeeehe , so what do you think ?” my grandmother asked. I was free with her so it was easy for me to truly express my feelings , “amama” l looked at her,
“l don’t want to marry someone l dont know, besides there are a lot of suitors here in the village l don’t need to go to the mines leaving my family behind here.” she laughed and said
“You are still a child dear, Your friends aim at going to live kumigodi ( in the copperbelt) yet you are set on marrying here in the village.” She shook her head.
“Yes amama,” l told her, am going to marry a Prince remember ?” I said proudly.
“that prince is no good man from what l see and hear, his is to take away innocent girls virginities and then never marries them , what makes you think he will treat you any better?” she responded.
“well, amama am not other girls” l told her with confidence. She shook her head.
“I rest my case then, do what you want Lumbiwe” she said shrugging.
Two days later, Mr Zulu came by and and my father explained what l told him. He agreed and promised to write to his son and explain the situation.
In the afternoon Dolika came to visit me. We sat in my hut chatting and l told her about the incidence with Tendeka. She laughed so hard at me and making me feel bad.
“it’s not funny” l scolded.
“It sure is my friend , that man knows how to put you in your place. ”
We both laughed. My mother called me as we went on chatting and l went to her,
” someone is here for you” she said pointing at one of my friends,
” helo” l greeted her.
“The prince told me to come call you” she whispered
“walk with me and you will find him by the stream. ” I smiled
“okey just wait for me to call Dolika l cannot leave her alone in the house.”
I told my mother we were going to my friends place and she gave me an errand,
“pass through Mr Mbewe`s house and see if he has any meat for sale and get some for me” she said handing me the money.
I couldn`t say no but l didn’t like the fact that she was sending me to Tendeka`s house , his father was the one who sold Bush meat. Dolika saw my facial expression and laughed at me again as we walked away.
” You are in trouble” she teased,
“I guess you won’t avoid him after all.”
To be continued