Celebrating East African Writing!

Tears of the Mother by Nixon Mateulah

Zachariah left on Wednesday morning for South Africa, and he arrived in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon and took a bus the same day to Cape Town. Hadrak did not go to welcome Zachariah at the station, instead he sent his friend Biwi to fetch him. Hadrak was enjoying himself at Ma Xolani shebeen with one of his strings of women. He was drinking Savanna beer when Zachariah stormed in. Hadrak abruptly put his beer down and shook off from the scantly dressed girl’s hands who was massaging his shoulders and ran to Zachariah.

‘Welcome Zakes!’ cried Hadrak cheerfully hugging his brother.

‘Yo…yo…yo! you are such a big boy now,’ he said taking his brother to a seat. He sat down quietly, and Biwi took a Savanna beer and gave it to Zachariah. He shrugged his shoulders.

‘Don’t you drink beer?’ asked Hadrak laughing.

‘I don’t brother,’ he said, shaking his head. Then a scantly dressed girl got up and sat on Hadrak’s lap, her legs every time opening and closing revealing a fleshy mound between her thighs. Zachariah blinked, as though squeamish turned his head away for a while and when he turned back his eyes met that of the girl.

‘Ayanda,’ said Hadrak to the scantly dressed girl, ‘go and buy my brother something to eat! Ayanda got up from Hadrak’s lap, walked few paces to Zachariah and pulled him up.

‘Come on,’ she said giggling. Zachariah reluctantly got up and followed the girl out. The take-away shop was about hundred metres away, the girl took Zachariah’s hand and they strolled to the shop.

‘You are so handsome,’ said the girl, ‘I like the way you have shaved your beard, you look like Mandoza.’

‘Thank you,’ said Zachariah smiling.

‘I will give you my sister, let me phone her,’ she stopped, pulling out her cell phone from her bra and phoned her younger sister, Zoleka.

‘No…no…no,’ pleaded Zachariah as he tried to take the cell-phone from her ear.

‘It’s fine, she is coming, she’s such a beautiful girl. You will see for yourself if she comes,’ said the girl. They bought a box of half chicken and chips, and a cane of coke. When they returned into the shebeen, they had found Hadrak gone home with another woman. The girl became so angry that he shook the table and the bottles of beer crashed to the floor, streams of beer flowed out to the door. Biwi had to stop her and lied to her that Hadrak had gone to draw some money at the ATM machine and that he would be back shortly.

Hadrak did not return back until 9 p.m when Biwi received a call that he was at home and he was not coming back. Zachariah was very tired and drowsy after travelling non-stop from Malawi to Cape Town. Biwi took Zachariah home and they found Hadrak making love in his room, the bed was creaking in protest as he worked. It was a one bedroom house, the living room was scantly furnished with a three seater couch against the wall, there was a plastic table and chairs under it against the window and the other wall served as a kitchen, a hot plate was standing on an improvised table made from crates. There were dirty dishes by the foot of the table, a woman’s underwear was floating in a basin of water. Empty bottles of were everywhere, on the table, on the window, and on entry Zachariah stepped on used condom its filth besmirching his shoes. There was a wheel chair in the corner and a low table before it where there was unfinished game of chess. Zachariah had wondered who could be the owner of the wheel chair, at times had wanted to ask Biwi but suppressed it deliberately. The air was thick with stench of beer, sperms, dirty shoes and human sweat. Hadrak walked out of his bedroom with a fat woman whose transparent thin material of her dress printed against her underwear, her big buttocks heaved up and down as she walked, she was so plump that she had to walk on her side to pass through the door way. Hadrak escorted her out, and it took almost an hour before he returned. He returned carrying a plastic bag full of beer and in company of the girl he had shunned away earlier at the shebeen. Hadrak put down the beer on the table and walked straight into his bedroom with the girl. Zachariah looked at him scowling, cursed under his breath and regretted his journey. He felt very bitter at his brother’s life of dissipation. Biwi took Zachariah out and told him everything about his brother.

‘But…brother …don’t tell your parents about this you may kill them,’ said Biwi.

Zachariah nodded his head in ratification.

‘Debauchery will kill your brother, and he sometimes sleeps with three women a day,’ said Biwi.

‘Why don’t you caution him?’ asked Zachariah, weeping . ‘Don’t cry my brother, your brother says no one can caution the other about women, I have failed to try to ask him to get at least one steady girl. He’s so adamant and defensive that you turn out to be a laughingstock at his eccentric, untoward attacks’.

‘You know that I have come here to accompany him home,’ said Zachariah.

‘What!’ said Biwi mouth agape.

‘Hadrak phoned home that he is coming home and that I must come and help him with the goods.’

‘You have seen for yourself, Hadrak was just lying to your parents. You have seen yourself, there’s no evidence of his imminent departure. Hadrak has nothing yet among many of us illegal immigrants, he’s the only one who make money. He has a business, everyday he makes money, whereas we depend on our stipend wages,’ said Biwi.

Zachariah paced up and down frantically, sometimes hit the wall in indignation.

‘Hadrak would kill mother, indeed,’ he said.

‘Hey, Zakes don’t tell your parents about this, you will only kill them. Those of us who live here in South Africa, we don’t tell a thing at home. Keep it to yourself, don’t ever tell them, you understand,’ said Biwi with vehemence.

‘No…I would!’ cried Zachariah so loud that Hadrak ran out in frenzy in his boxer shorts.

‘What’s the matter, Zakes?’ asked Hadrak. Zakes was weeping his face in his hands.

‘No…no…no!…’ he cried.

‘Biwi, what happened to him?’ asked Hadrak taking away Zachariah’s hand from his face.

‘I don’t know, dude.’

‘What the matter?’

Zachariah stopped crying and faced his brother sternly under the light.

‘Tears of our mother shall never stop falling…’ he was weeping.

‘What’s wrong with our mother?’ asked Hadrak plaintively.

‘Mother is dying from…’

‘Is she sick?’

‘Not sick but your are killing her,’ he said, an accusing finger wagging at him.

‘Me killing her, eh!’

‘Mother will die…unless…’

‘Unless what!’ mouth agape.

‘Unless you stop your…and returned home,’ said Zachariah with a frown of vexation.

‘Oh!…now I know it is mother who’s making my life a hell because of her huff-snuffing. I think you must go back home and tell mother to stop crying and worrying for me, before I come there. What she must know, in this life, some of us, our lives are lessons for others to learn from; our mistakes were predestined. It took Mandela twenty-seven years to rot in jail for Boers to learn that black people and white people bleed the same blood and are one in the eyes of God!’ he cried as he walked into the house.

Biwi took the dejected Zachariah by the hand and went into the house. Biwi made food while Hadrak returned to his room to continue making love. When he finished he emerged out from the room with the girl and sat down on the couch and helped themselves to the food. Before midnight, another friend of Hadrak came to pick him up and they went to the famous Italian club in Deft to kill the night away with booze and women.

© Nixon Mateulah 2009

If you would like this piece to be the Story of the Week, please vote below on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak, and 10 being excellent. The numbers will be tallied on Friday and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.


3 comments on “Tears of the Mother by Nixon Mateulah

  1. Antony Chambira
    November 8, 2009

    Many spelling mistakes.

    Weak use of words. Surely there must be many other synonyms for the word scantily.

    Score 3


  2. Mercy Ojwang'
    November 8, 2009

    Your grammatical errors killed this part of the story.


  3. Kyt
    November 11, 2009

    And the end of the story? 2


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