Celebrating East African Writing!
Written by Wesley Macheso
My sister has no proper name. At the age of seventeen she got rid of her name and renounced her faith in Islam. She had a dragon chiselled on the upper part of her left arm and a butterfly flies on the small of her back. She pierced her tongue and her bellybutton and tells me that I can call her anything. She says a single name is too specious for a human being because we are many things. At the same time you can be a student, a daughter, a lover, a Muslim, a drunkard, a whore. You can be anything to anyone depending on how they choose to see you or what you choose to show them of you. So she decided not to have a name and I call her anything.
When my father disowned her, she left our house to see the world. She told me that the world is a dark place and what we see is just a fraction of it – a thin flash of light in an ocean of darkness. My sister says the most important things, the things that define and shape life as we know it, happen in the dark. She plies her trade on the curve to the Grand Palace Hotel. She told me that she chose to trade in flesh because that is the only way she can make full use of her material body. She says she wants to deplete her body of all pleasure and of the ability to feel pain. She wants to discover the point at which the body meets the soul – that point where you feel you have crossed the line and you resent yourself. I don’t understand any of that but that’s just her.
My sister told me that she may be seen or treated as nothing but she sees everything. She says that in this city anything goes. She says she saw the girl who last week threatened to expose the Minister of Finance with indecent pictures being escorted into the hotel. A black Mercedes dropped her off and two men tugged her by the waist and forced her into the hotel. Last night four men in work suits came and sealed the well that used to be at the back of the hotel. They took almost the whole night and by the time they were finished my sister was almost dozing on her work spot. They cruised past her as if she was nothing. They were not even interested in her enormous hips. She says that girl is now a closed chapter and no one will say anything about her anymore. If my sister had a name I would have asked the police to talk to her. But where will I begin to begin? “Officer, there is a girl with no name… well, you can call her anything… or just nothing… but she knows something….” who wants to be thrown in a madhouse?
– Wesley Macheso