My father-in-law and his knobkerrie

2011-02-07 00:00

DURBAN is an exclusive place. There is something unique about eThekwini. Like many children, I used to visit my relatives there during the school holidays and it was very hard to leave when schools reopened. Of course, there were a number of reasons. The ocean, the Workshop Park, ice cream — the list is endless. But for me it was Zinhle, the girl from next door.

She was very beautiful. As teenagers it was very difficult for us to see each other because her father was very strict. Any­way, we started our undercover dating. My cousin, Mdu, was the only one who knew about us.

It was the day for me to leave as the schools were reopening the following day. We were both worried.

“Mazwi, please don’t go today,” whispered Zinhle when I was taking my washing off the line.

“I don’t have a choice, baby, I have to go, but I will phone you,” I said.

“My parents are off to Hammarsdale. They are attending a funeral. They will come back tomorrow, so I will be alone,” said Zinhle with a shaking voice.

I was very scared and confused. I took a taxi bound for Pietermaritzburg at about 5 pm, but I asked the driver to drop me just around the corner. I paid him the full fare. I hid until it was dark. We had no cellphones at that time, so it was difficult to communicate. I made sure that nobody saw me. She was waiting for me, so it wasn’t a problem to enter her house. We were very happy but I was scared. She asked me to relax because I was going to leave early the following morning but the environment would not allow me to relax. She prepared food for me and we went to her bedroom.

Aunt Khosi thought I was in Pietermaritzburg already. She didn’t know that I was just across the fence. I started to relax later. We shared jokes and looked at their family album.

In the middle of the night, I heard footsteps outside. I raised my head to listen carefully. And then I heard that someone was opening the kitchen door using a key. I woke her up carefully. She panicked and asked me to get under the bed. The bed was very low and there was no space.

“Zinhle, sisi, I am back, please open for me.” He was knocking on the door of the room we were in. He said that Zinhle’s mother had left something in her room. I could not hear him properly because my heart was beating so loudly. The wardrobe was too obvious, so I decided to hide behind the door. She opened the door and pretended as if she was sleeping.

Sorry my child to interrupt you, it’s just ...” He paused. “Whose takkies are these?

While asking this he went straight to the wardrobe and I noticed that he was carrying a knobkerrie. I was frozen. He opened and checked. He looked around the room and then went straight to where I was. I didn’t wait for him. I tried to escape but he blocked the door.

“Ya sathane,” he shouted, hitting me with his knobkerrie on my shoulder. I grabbed the whole bed in order to shield myself. He smashed the bed trying to get me. I noticed that my fingers were bleeding and I threw the bed at him. He fell down and I noticed that he was bleeding excessively on the forehead. I ran away to my aunt’s house. The neighbours were outside.

Aunt Khosi was very disappointed. The following morning I was arrested but the charges were withdrawn later.

Whenever I see Aunt Khosi she reminds me and laughs. We have grown up now. I can’t wait to tell our three- month-old daughter, Abelwe, about her grandfather and his knobkerrie. At least we reconciled before he passed away.

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