Growing up, I was an only child. My mother did not have any other children with my dad except for me. On my dad’s side, I can never attest to the fact that I was an only child, although no other child was revealed , well not yet anyways.
My father was a very controversial man. He stood up for quality and a high standard of living that a lot of African man did not understand at the time. Unknown to everyone , he loved having just one child which was not a norm for an African man in the 1980s. Even though he had borne a girl, he was still proud of me and so, I never felt unloved by my dad.
My mother was a full rounded dark woman. She was the epitome of a black African woman. Tall, with round hips and a small waist, she was a spitting image of a typical Zulu woman without the language and their traditions of -course. I suppose, that’s why my dad got attracted to my mother. Also she was a very respecting wife who allowed my dad to be the head of the house without questioning much of his faults. One thing , I am unable to do even after so many religious lessons and teachings.
My father’s family never understood why my dad, considered to be a handsome man during his days, not only because he was tall but also because he was fair, had married a very dark woman with round cheeks and short black hair. I could have answered them , if they had only but asked.
My mother was a very humble, hard working woman who understood what submission meant to the T. I am not sure how most families back then were like , but I can tell you that she allowed my dad to do whatever he wanted.
My dad must have loved the power he had over her. She was the prey and he was the hunter. I remember how he used to beat her up all in the name of him being the head of the house who should not be questioned about his whereabouts. Most of the times, I never knew the reasons behind my mother’s cries or their arguments but I do know how she used to whimper sitting at a corner crying softly so as not to wake up the neighbors. I remember her stifling those short breaths of pain. As a child, I tried reaching out to her, but she could not handle my sorrowful questioning eyes, so in her defence she would also shout at me.
When we traveled long distances, I never understood why she never bought me any food to eat. I only got to find out later that my dad used to count every cent that she worked for as she handed over all the money to him. I am told that dad had a lot of concubines although I only remember of one woman I used to visit. Unknown to me, I used to call her ‘aunty’, my mother included . Up to today, I do not understand why she was the master of ceremony at their wedding.
Did my mom know about my dad’s extra marital affair? Did she approve of it? If she did know of it, she sure never showed it. I do know though that even with all that abuse, my mom must have never thought of walking out of her marriage, because when my father passed on she was devastated. She loved my dad so much that all that abuse did not mean anything to her, she was a victim who never once stood up for herself when dad raised hell. She cowered down to take whatever blow my bellowing father had on any particular day. I will never know whether my mother suffered from depression after as she passed away in my teens.
And so , I vowed that I would never allow a man to tread on me. Their fighting left a scar in my heart. I never fully enjoyed my mother’s love. My father loved me so much that if he found me crying he would hit or shout at my mom for being a negligent parent. He wanted me to be happy but what he did not know is that treating my mother better would have put more smiles on my face. I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask but unfortunately, my mother never opened up to me , Instead she shied away from any sort of warm contact with me. Sometimes, I think that she did not not know how to explain herself to me. She did not know how she could have explained that the man she loved so much was the same man who was killing her softly.
I used to think my mother was a coward but I now think she was the bravest woman that ever lived.
Dedicated to a woman I love and know. You are one of the bravest women I salute,kudos to you. I celebrate your life my sister.