Of the situation by Mncedisi Malinga
The tree gave a soft rustle when she plucked one of its leaves. She stood up from the boulder she had been sitting on and hurried towards him, her arms outstretched before her ready to clasp him in a fervid embrace. The sun shone conspicuously against the sky like a bright yellow button on a giants blue gown. It was mid-March.
Let us walk a little.
She recognised the tone in his voice. It was tired, torn, bitter. The expression on his face was knotty as usual.
Their bare feet kicked up waves of dust as they hurried through the scorched footpath. The brown earth burned their feet, quickening their strides. They came to the foot of the hill and stood there a while contemplating the climb.
They found a flat rock where they sat under the shade of a huge trunked uMkamba tree. The spot was favoured by a cool breeze that drove away the sultry midday heat. Before them was painted the whole village on a great canvass. The huts were vivid dots of brown and white. The khaki patches were the fields where the scorched maize stalks fluttered ominously. The expressionists work was animated by ants that roamed about the picture stopping here and there to bite the brown dust with lethargic tintinnabulation.
The land is bad
It was a common cliché she did not know how to respond to: not out of naivety or ignorance but, may be, a sudden feeling of helplessness- a painful compulsion.
how are we to survive?
She knew what it was coming to next. Politics, the mother of, so they said, unemployment corruption and many other rots in society. Such talk annoyed her. Why do people always complain about things they dont do anything about?
I am going too, he informed her as he carefully picked blackjacks from her skirt. He did not look at her and his face remained expressionless as if he had not said anything. She looked at him, her eyes desperately begging an explanation either on his face or in words. His eyes did not meet hers. He heaved a heavy sigh, rolling a blackjack between his two fingers while he longingly gazed at the lonely mountains that jutted out of the hazel horizon in the misty distance. He dropped the blackjack and his hand unconsciously fell on her thigh.
Go where? She asked, slowly pulling away his hand and entwining her soft fingers with his that were horny and calloused. He looked at her questioningly and she blushed and looked away.
Im going eGoli! He told her, determinedly. On his lips was a faint smile and his eyes glowed with sudden assuredness, a desperate conviction.
So you want to leave me? The question startled him. He looked at her and quickly away.
Please dont say it like that; in this situation I have no choice. Things are harsh here and a man cannot stand by and watch himself waste away
But they say life is not easy there too and you
I know, but it is at least better than here. He put his arm around her waist and drew her closer. He brought his face towards hers wanting to kiss her but she turned away. She looked, with her glossy eyes, at the village below. In the distance she saw a group of girls carrying pails, headed for the river to fetch water five kilometres away.
How life was difficult now. She thought of Petersons days, before the boreholes and water pumps were destroyed or stolen. The time before her father and Mr Peterson were taken away in a police van, never to be seen again.
Her mother had died when she was only ten and she had grown up under the care of her father. Being the eldest, she had naturally been tasked with the duty of taking care of her siblings when her father went to prison. She had fallen in love with Themba before he lost his job as a farmhand during the invasions. The skies did not yield any rain after the invasions. People suffered in the drought. They had watched helplessly as their crops wilted and shrivelled under the scorching sun. They had prayed for days and nights for rains that would never come.
She watched the crows hover ominously over the village. She felt a stinging in her eyes and as she blinked a tear rolled blithely down her cheek. Its all over, she thought, now that Themba her pillar of strength is leaving too. She burst out,
What about us? Me and you? Our promise? Our future?
As soon as I get a job Ill send money for your upkeep and with time Ill save enough to send for you. Things will work out
But Themba you cant leave. It will be difficult for me. Things will not be the same without you andandII.Ilo love you Themba. Please dont leave
Her head fell on Thembas chest. Her whole weight rested on him and she clawed desperately at his tattered shirt. Her body shook and trembled with convulsive sobbing. She felt his rough hand brush her plaited kinks. The tears poured and thoughts flooded her brain. Her mind blackened out
She heard loud chanting and singing that increased as it filtered through the slowly lifting veil of darkness. She saw a group of men armed with axes, knobkerries, metal bars, hoe handles and sticks vivaciously chanting slogans, dancing ceremoniously and bashing their weapons together threateningly. She saw Mr Peterson come out of the farmhouse. Her father followed behind carrying Petersons rifle. They both stood before the crowd and shouted something above the commotion. The crowd advanced towards the two menA shot rang. She saw a man lying in a pool of blood; her father held the shotgun in his trembling hands
All she could hear above the drumming in her head was a drawled, I have to go! I have to go
I was born and raised in the City of Kings ,Bulawayo Zimbabwe , I’m a writer and poet. I’ve always written for personal expression
I’m an avid consumer of African literature because I feel it tells my story though I sometimes fornicate with some European and Russian work- James Joyce, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy to mention a few. I’ve also been haunted by the ghosts of Marechera and Vera…as cliche as it sounds..Mention should be given too to my fellow
Mthwakazians Noviolet and Philani Nyoni who have kept the flame burning, .I think like every aspiring writer my plan of the future is to get published one day…Favourite literature work I have many and for different reasons.
You can catch me on http:/www.facebook.com/Mncedisi/Malinga