The funeral (1/7)

By Drum Digital
13 July 2015

There’s bound to be trouble when you bury a man who has three wives.

She steered her red Citi Golf carefully along the dusty road. Thandolwethu was driving into deep rural KwaZulu-Natal, headed for the funeral of her older brother, Sandile. The wealthy software designer had died suddenly of cardiac arrest at the age of 38. His body was on its way to his ancestral ground, Qaqeni, in a separate vehicle, and his whole family was in mourning – especially his two rural wives, 36-year-old Zinhle and the much younger Doris. But nobody had invited Lerato, the Jozi woman with whom Sandile had been living for a while. To the family, she was nothing – just a nyatsi, Sandile’s bit on the side.

Sitting beside Thando in the front passenger seat, her Gogo Thembi kept up a constant stream of words. “My grandchild, I’m so glad that I’m now in the safe hands of a driver reared by myself. I know you have Matric and can write your name in English. But the village drivers in these parts have a date with death. Nobody is safe from the lorries on these back roads.

“I’m no churchgoer, but I asked MaNkabinde to lend me her rosary and I was singing ‘Hail Mary, full of grace’ for eight hours, going to the city.” Thando laughed out loud, until her grandmother shot a glance at her.

To be continued...

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