6. Love

‘I heard you tell mother to use it. What did you mean?’

‘Tawana, I said..!’

There was a sudden clap at the entrance of the hut.

They both stopped talking and stared at it.

An old man came in. It was the same old man who had married Tsitsi to the chief.

‘What do you want here?!’ Farai asked him, developing a bitter taste in his mouth.

The old man raised his hands in innocence, ‘I just came to congratulate you on the wedding.’

‘Is this a joke?!’ Farai was getting even more furious.

‘Of course not. Now that Tsitsi is married to the chief, she and her son are now royalty. They are now part of Chief Mbada’s royal family…’

‘I’m not joining a family of immoral fools!’ Tawana spat at the old man.

‘I’m afraid it’s too late for that, my boy. Everything is done. Tawana, as of tonight you’re moving into the chief’s hut with your mother. Farai…’ he looked at him in disgust, ‘…you’ll be provided with everything you need for your journey back home.’

‘I’m not leaving without my wife and my son.’

‘I don’t think you have a choice on the matter, but for willingly handing over your wife to the chief, the chief thanks you.’

Farai was now fuming. ‘Old man, I advise you to leave while you still can.’

The old man stared closely at him and smiled. ‘Are you angry?’


‘Are you telling me that you’re angry that the chief…our chief, the most powerful Shona chief, greatest warrior and wisest of the wise has picked your wife to wed?’

‘Tsitsi is my soul and Tawana is my rock. This chief of yours has no respect for his people.’

‘Be careful what you say, peasant. If the chief walked in on you speaking like this about him he would have you executed on the spot!’

‘Does it even matter if I die?’ His fists were clenched. ‘That man took my family…I am left with nothing now!’

‘Oh, but the contrary, my friend,’ the old man wagged his finger at him, the smug look still displayed on his face. ‘You will be remembered in history as the man who willingly gave up his family for the good of the people.’

‘So the chief is the people? Since when is someone forcibly taking your wife a service to anyone?’

‘It’s tradition…’

‘Tradition?! Are you serious! This is one that has got to stop. What if he had taken your wife? How would you feel?!’

‘I’m a widower,’ he spoke casually still displaying the conceited look on his face.

‘Then you don’t know what it feels like. You have no idea what it feels like to lose something that is so close to you…someone you have known your whole life.’

Tawana could see that his father wanted to cry. His anger was the only emotion restraining the tears.

The old man sighed, ‘I don’t know why you’re making a big deal out of this. There are plenty women you can find out there…’

‘You don’t know what love is, do you?’ Farai’s face was hardening with solemnity.

The old man chuckled, ‘You think anyone cares about this poetic mumbo-jumbo?’ He chuckled some more, ‘Women are only meant for child bearing and taking care of the children while the husband goes hunting or fighting in the army. This foolish thing of treating a woman like she’s an egg or literally your heart is for the soft and weak…like you.’

Farai let loose his hand and smacked the old man on the head, knocking his frail body with a balled fist onto the floor.

Tawana placed his hands over his mouth in shock.

The old man’s eyes were on Farai and one arm was raised to protect himself. His smile was extinct but his fear looked immortal.

‘Men like you disgust me…and that includes your immoral chief!’ Farai hissed.

‘You should be warned…’ the old man muttered at them both, ‘…your actions shall not go unpunished.’ He trembled violently as he stood up, still cautiously eyeing him. ‘You could have let this go and I would have asked the chief to pick another wife for you but…but you had to be sentimental.’

‘I’d rather be trampled on by a herd of buffaloes first before I accept your offer!’ he hissed again.

‘Either way; no man is immortal.’ With that, he left them in the hut. His pace was quick but filled with humiliation.

Tawana was staring at his father with a sideways glance. He was still astonished by what he had done. His father had never let his anger get the best of him…well…this far at least. His heart skipped in pride though.

Farai was now breathing heavily, staring at the exit of the hut. ‘Morality conquers culture,’ he breathed the three words out with an air of power and triumph.

Tawana flexed his puny shoulders. He knew what his father had done was cause for dire consequences but all the more, he was proud of him. ‘What do we do now, father?’ he asked him.

He shrugged. His face looked a lot calmer now and this relieved Tawana a little. ‘I don’t know, son. Everything just happened too fast. If at least we had known that this would happen we would have prepared for it…I would have prepared for it.’

Tawana gave him a pat on his back. ‘We’re not gods, father.’

‘I know…but our will to survive is immortal. That good for nothing chief stole my life from me but I’m not giving up just yet.’

‘What I don’t understand is why he chose mother. There is a great distance between our home and his.’

‘No one knows how that dog thinks, Tawana. If I had my way I would walk into his house and kill him right now. I brought my knobkerrie safely tucked away.’ He pulled it out from beside his waist.

It looked stronger than most knobkerries Tawana had ever seen. It was wood but shined a dazzling gold as if it had been polished and shined by some expensive oil. It was funny that he was noticing these features for the first time since it had belonged to his late great-grandfather.

Farai tucked it away by his waist again.

As dusk approached, Tsitsi came into their hut, her hands clasped in front of her but her head raised high. ‘What is this that you have done Va Masimba!’ (Mr. Masimba).

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