Umakoti and the suitcase 1/4

By Drum Digital
21 November 2013

The women were ululating

as the car snaked its way along the dusty road. A few goats scurried away from the vehicle and barking dogs chased hard to get a closer look. The dust finally settled and Anita had arrived. Phew! It had been a long day. First the wedding, then the reception and now this. She’d travelled from the golf estate where the wedding reception had been held to the smallholding owned by Lwando’s grandparents in the farming district of Ceres.

That’s where she was to begin her life as a newly married woman. Anita and Lwando had already been through a number of arguments about why they couldn’t just go on honeymoon, then return to Cape Town, to their seaside flat in Mouille Point. Lwando explained ever so patiently that it was acultural requirement for Anita to go and livewith Lwando’s grandparents. They’d taken over the role of his parents and raised him after his mother and father died in acar accident when he was seven years old. MaGasela and SiKhoma had worked tirelessly to give Lwando all the chances he could have in life. He’d gone on to make it as a successful attorney in a prestigious law firm in the Cape Town CBD. Work commitments meant Lwando couldn’t take time off to join them. his grandparents understood that –but for Anita not to come as well would’ve seemed like a rejection, a slap in the face. Besides, Anita would get along famously with his grandparents as she did before the wedding –he was convinced of that.

“My child, here is the room you’ll be using while you’re here” said MaGasela, beaming kindly.“I know it’s a little smaller than what you’re used to but ...” “It’s fine Mama, it will be enough for my needs,” said Anita graciously. She settled down and started to unpack. Then she decided not to waste energyas there wasn’t enough space to hang her clothes. She decided to live out of her suit- case instead, since she’ wouldn’t be staying for long. There was a second suitcase which Lwando insisted Anita take with her.She wondered idly about its contents but was too tired to open it. her in-laws were nice enough, Anita thought. It won’t be that bad. Not having her normal creature comforts would take some getting used to, but so what? Her  Woolies ready-meals topped the list of things she’d miss about city life. After T

Lwando and her friends, of course. As for her husband, she could speak to him anytime –and her cellphone had e-mail. So Anita wasn’t too worried about her visit to the country in-laws husband, she thought. It sounded so adult, so grown-up. No more boyfriend. MaGasela came to say goodnight. “Tomorrow will be abig day as we welcome you into the family and give you a new name. Don’t look so worried –you might actually like it! Now,I must leave you in peace to rest. “By the way, here on the farm we wake up really early, so don’t be disturbed by our movements about the house.” “Goodnight, Anita. We’ll see you tomor- row,” SiKhoma shouted through the door. exhausted, Anita fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.

To be continued...

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