Lumbiwe – Episode 9
© Tisa Phiri
“Zelipa ! ” mbuya shook me, l didn’t realize l had fallen asleep.
“mmmmmh, ” l answered murmuring, feeling sleepy. She giggled,
” l feel tired too let’s sleep and l will continue tomorrow.”
“Yeah good idea” l smiled pulling the blanket to my shoulders.
I woke up to the sound of the cock cloaking in the morning. l stood, stretched myself and smiled , l had dreamt of mbuya`s story like l was there. I quickly rushed outside and found her removing a hot pot of sweet potatoes , as steam flowed out making a meander shape above the cover. I went closer and breathed in the aroma
” Wow , l love kandolo(sweet potatoes)” i told mbuya who was looking at me take in the aroma , her hands akimbo.
“Yes , now you can continue the story ,” l spoke with my mouth full of sweet potatoes, luckily l had water near by otherwise the lamp l was feeling almost chocking me could have turned my eyes red.
“Zelipa take it easy child” mbuya laughed,
“Kandolo yupaya ka(sweat potatoes can kill you).
“please continue” l insisted after we finished eating.
“Walk with me to the stream ” she asked me carrying a small bucket,
” will tell you as we walk there…”
“Yes ambuya ” , l said excited putting on my canvas.
“Well,” she continued…
” so l walked back home and as always did some chores and prepared meals. The following day as we walked to the stream with my sister in-law,”
“Thats Jonas`s wife right? ” I interrupted her. She nodded in agreement before continuing..
” mlamu tell me, how did you get married to my cousin? did you love him ?” I questioned her. she let a laugh and tapped my back,
“why alamu? (Sister in law), is someone coming to ask for your hand in marriage ? ” she answered with a question.
“Not really,” l told her
“I just want to know how it feels when you want to marry a person. Must you feel anything special for them or it’s just to accept someone who is a better person ?”
“oh dear’ she sighed, “your cousin and i met for the first time at the road side where l used to sell vegetables to the people on buses, he was a good and jovial man , he made me laugh a lot and l liked him.”
” yeah” she concluded.
” I think l felt something l never felt for any other man before so l knew he was special to me.”
“wow !” l said impressed.
“I wish l could feel that for someone as well” .
“I think you have someone in mind” she pointed out.
“Maybe you are not just paying attention to your heart.”
I looked at her and laughed.
“Amlamu you seem so sure of that statement” l teased,
“but if l feel it you will be the first to know,” l chuckled and we both laughed.
“What about Tendeka? “she asked catching me unaware.
“My husband told me he likes you a lot but that you have other priorities ? ” she asked seriously.
” He is a good man” she added
“strong and decent too. He has handsome features , l mean he would give you good looking children, ” she smiled rolling her eyes.
“His family is very decent and respected in this village so why dont you like him ? ”
“he`s mean to me amlamu” l answered her as we reached the stream.
” He is always making me feel like am not someone worthy. plus l think l want someone higher in the society” l added giggling.
“Oh Lumbiwe” she sighed.
” A good man is more than gold , he will make you happy as compared to those of high class you are talking about” she advised as she rolled her nkata (small material to place on her head before putting the water pot.).
I bent down to lift my own water pot and as l lifted it to my chest. I felt strong hands behind me lifting it and placing it on my head.
” There you go ” , came his voice.
I looked back and it was Smart. He smiled when l looked at him.
“Good afternoon Lumbiwe ? ”
” Smart?” l asked my eyes wide open ,
” what are you doing here?”
my Sister in law looked at us.
” I will walk along, you will catch up am sure” she indicated giving us space..
I nodded my eyes still on Smart.
” I want you to come to the palace there`s someone l want you to meet and l want to come thank you for what you did for me that night and keeping it a secret.”
He explained without letting me say a word. “But Smart” l started,
” please” he pleaded with a spark of sincerity in his eyes,
“okey then l will come with you just let me take this water home and tell my sister in law so she can cover for me at home.”
” Sure” he nodded.
“you will find me on the way to the palace then” he added as l walked away.
As we walked to the palace Smart asked about my family. I looked at him and wondered what was with him, he was more serious and showed concern which he had never done before. upon getting to the palace he took me to a room with nicely curved stools and asked me to wait for him. Later on he came back with a man l had never seen before.
” Lumbiwe this is mani(Emmanuel) he`s my friend from the city. We went to the same boarding school in Chadiza.”
” Oh l see” , l responded extending my hand to greet him.
” Mani this is Lumbiwe the girl l told you about ” he looked at his friend
“wow!” Mani exclaimed
“the rumors of your beauty are so true but you are even more beautiful in person.” He smiled remarkably.
” Thank you” l smiled feeling uncomfortable. He was still holding my hand.
“I will leave you two alone” Smart said leaving the two of us in the room.
“Hey so tell me about yourself beautiful woman” he said flirting.
“There`s nothing to tell” l spoke looking at the floor. He explained about himself, that he had completed his form 5 and was now in college.
” I want to work in the mines and be a boss” he had boasted ,
“so am just here to see my friend the prince and l asked him to show me the good women in this village and he told me about you.”
” I see ” l said at last,
“so what now that you have seen me ?” l asked looking at his nicely ironed cream white shirt and a brown cotton trousers. Most of the young men in our village wore shorts at the time so seeing a person in a pair of trousers was an indication they were educated or working in the city and it was surprisingly amazing that he had chosen to see me of all the village girls. I marvelled in my head, maybe l dont need the prince after all, l told myself.
we talked some more and he escorted me home. I would admit he was a gentle man. he spoke to me softly and treated me like l was so much important to him. making jokes and explaining all about city life as we walked.
“So how long are you around here ? ” I asked him before he returned,
“mmmm, maybe 2 weeks” he said holding my hand
” and l wish to see you more before l go” he smiled.
“I can tell you more of my city stories and you can tell me about this village.”
” Sure,” l nodded smiling. I walked home head high. Hoping that was the moment I waited for to find a better man.
To be continued