The funeral (4/7)

By Drum Digital
16 July 2015

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

Lifting the clay pot, he poured some beer on the floor and instructed Sandile to drink. Then he took a drink himself and said, “Shortly, we will move your casket to the family house and the wake will go on from now until tomorrow morning. Then we will take you to the family gravesite and place you in the ground next to your parents.”

That night, the mourners and the many faces of the Qaqeni community filled the big tent that stood outside the house, singing hymns and consoling the Sibiya family. Now and then someone would give witness of the Lord’s grace and mercy then start to pray. The songs would start again. And this is how it went on through the night.

The next day was bright and sunny, and as the people sang in the graveyard, one figure in the crowd had a head full of dark thoughts. In secret, Lerato, the town wife, had come to pay her respects. She was certain that she was properly disguised by the long dress and doek she wore, plus the shawl over her shoulders.

She knew that if she remained in the background, away from Sandile’s close relatives, nobody in the crowd would recognise her as Lerato. Many of the mourners had probably never even heard of her, she reflected.

To be continued...

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