The village fisherman (3/4)

By Drum Digital
09 April 2015

Ntate Gwala caught some beauties in his net.

Ntate Gwala wasn’t going to let the villagers get away with what they’d done. And the best way to punish them was for him to stop fishing. His decision affected a lot of people because the fish that other men caught were not big enough to feed a family, like the ones Ntate Gwala used to catch.

The villagers began to get hungry. Whenever they went to the riverbank or lakeshore market there were only little fish. A market lady, who used to order fish from Ntate Gwala, explained the situation to her furious customers: “There are no good fish since Ntate Gwala stopped fishing.” Some villagers wanted to report Ntate Gwala to the chief again because his fishing strike was hurting them.

“Why should we report Ntate Gwala?” the headman asked. “He can stop and start fishing whenever he wants, and that isn’t a crime. We can’t report him for that - he has us exactly where he wants us.” “What do you mean?” asked Mama Ngwenya. “He’s getting back at us for reporting him to the chief,” the Headman replied. “Now he’s giving us a choice: If we let him mess around with our daughters, he’ll start fishing – or it will be the other way around!” “We know Ntate Gwala can sometimes be difficult,” Mama Ngwenya said, “but he wouldn’t go that far.”

But she was soon proved wrong. Because when the villagers pleaded with Ntate Gwala to start fishing again, he made it clear what his terms and conditions were. “If you want me to start fishing, then you have to stop spreading lies about me and instead make me happy,” he told them. The villagers were left speechless and went off muttering that he was indeed a shameless man. But they agreed to do as he wished. They knew it was wrong – but they had families to feed.

Ntate Gwala was clever and always knew how to manipulate them. There was nothing they could do. One day Ntate Gwala was sitting on the shore of the lake sorting out his catch when the Chief’slovely daughter, Nzila, approached him.

To be continued...

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