Editorial beat– Magodo Mutukwa is an advocate of the female gender race . She shapes her words with passion and she exposes the rot brought by moral decadence , cultural stereotypes and chauvinistic tendencies towards the female. She delves on African and global matters of concern that include sexual-ism , rape , violence and isolation. This writer is a voice of the voiceless. The girl child should emulate her aspirations for her each line of her story whisper passionately in their ears.This is the first short story to be featured in this journal and more are coming. For comments visit the comment box underneath, for more information email us at email@example.com.
High Price to pay.
As the last stone fell deathly still to the ground no one was jeering or cheering on anymore. With heads hung low they looked on in oblivion at this heinous crime they had just committed but no one wanted to be held accountable. Sirens sounded in the distance and that place that was once packed remained only remnants of what was and me as evidence, people had gone against one of nature rules not to murder senselessly or kill at all.
There I lay clothes ripped from my body, from a distance you would think I was at peace and would wake up but I was gone in the most cruelest way, the kind of death I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. They had taken with them that which was most precious to me, my life, my dreams. One thing that hurt the most was that I would never get to hold my babies in my arms again or feel their tiny hands around my neck or hear them calling out to me.
My face had been so distorted; I prayed they never opened the casket on the day of my Funeral lest that be the last memory they will have of me. I wanted them to remember me as that son of my mother who left early that cold and wet January morning. Here I was soaked in my own blood lifeless, mimed and hacked.
I had tried to run, I had tried to escape but they were just too many, they were everywhere. I was in some sort of nightmare I thought I would soon wake up from. Reality soon dawned on me when the first plunk of wood hit my head so hard and very painful; I fell to the ground, I never had the chance to stand up for myself. I coiled into a fetus position if only to protect my head, thought I would survive with major injuries. Nothing the Doctors couldn’t fix but I was wrong, so wrong as that astronomical block of concrete stone hit the side of my face and the light of day went out on me.
The next time I was conscious I discovered my legs were crinkly positioned and the pain excruciating. I couldn’t move, I could taste the blood fresh in my mouth, I couldn’t feel my teeth, they were all gone. I gazed into the crowd, disoriented, panicking, I reached out to anyone, anybody who would care to help but this only triggered my end as I stared death in the face. Faces were everywhere, they were gathered all around me, chanting things I had never heard before, faces that glanced back at me where a sight I never wanted to look at again, they were cold, angry, agitated, they wanted blood-my blood.
I stood no chance, they were too many.
I fought to the bitter end the best way I knew how, I did it for my children, and thoughts of them at that precise moment broke my heart. Their tiny faces flashed before my eyes the only thing that gave me comfort during this time of impending peril was the thought of them thinking their Father was working to bring home that better life he always talked about, but now here I was dying because I wasn’t one of these people. I had been a fighter for all of my 28years of life but to my children daddy had just fought the last battle of his life and lost.
I was no stranger to life’s hardships; I had been one who refused to be defeated by life’s sometimes heavy blows. I was born one windy and cold night in July, mother said I was born with the cord around my neck but the older women knew what to do and the rest was left to me to fight for my life thus became the first fight I ever fought. Father died when I was about to start Secondary School, life had always been hard even with him around we had to make ends meet but with him gone it became harder.
Mother, miraculously found the money for my exams and I never let her down, eight years later she was the proud parent of a qualified Teacher. Two years into my profession, my Country fell apart so I looked elsewhere for greener pastures and South Africa seemed the answer to all my problems after all everyone was trying their luck there. I could not uproot my whole family, I had to go… make it first, then see where the tide takes me.
I had married and had my children the most precious, little people who looked up to me as if I was the answer to all their prayers. It broke my heart sometimes knowing there was nothing much I could do to change things. My wife was the most gentle, understanding, loving, giving woman I had ever known after my mother of course and the thought of leaving her teared me apart but the hope of a better future was more important. She had warned me, she had begged me not to go. If we all went along with our feelings some of the greatest things that were achieved would have never been accomplished, I had told her then. I said my goodbyes that evening and early morning before anyone was up I left.
Behind every face is a story but for a foreigner people tend to assume, because all they see is the vulnerability, loneliness and insecurity not knowing why or how they came to be but behind those same eyes stands a man, a man who decided to make a difference in his life and that of his family by bravely leaving home venturing into unknown territory seeking a better life. It hurt me when I had to leave behind my family; it hurt even more when I had to leave my ailing mother. It tore me apart when I had to bid farewell to my children, I never wanted to leave but I had to go knowing in my heart that whatever food was left in those cupboards would not last, I had to trust the Good Lord for a job.
Had I known then I would come back boxed, I would have held on to my children and the thought of greener pastures would have been a bitter taste in the mouth. We had just buried my Mother two months back, perhaps it was better this way, she didn’t have to see me like this otherwise if that high blood pressure of hers hadn’t killed her this surely would have. As the sirens reached where I laid lifeless, the officers came over to check for my pulse but I was long gone.
They looked around for witnesses, “did anyone see what happened here?”But the officers were stared back with blank faces short of any kind of emotion or expression. Yes they were in shock, not because a man, an innocent man, lay dead but because they had carried out this outrageous murder.
Under disguise of the night, a certain lady,a mother trotted through the soundless doors of the local police station. She appeared apprehensive,not so sure why she was there in the first place.”how can I help you?”asked a lady officer at the reception,the young mother with a baby strapped to her back slowly walked towards the officer as if an invisible force urged her to.
“Can we talk in private”asked the young mother looking down afraid to look anyone present in the eyes. “Of course!”replied the officer. After settling down in the privacy of the interrogation room,she recounted a story,a horrific crime she had witnessed which was both repulsive and vile. “I was hanging my washen on the clothes line outside, I heard a commotion from behind, when I turned to investigate, I recognized some of the thugs notorious for drug dealing in the area hassling this well dressed man. It is quite common in our neighborhood to see this kind of thing but when I saw them holding out a passport from the man’s pocket realizing he was a foreigner all hell broke loose.
What started out as petty robbery ended up an act of hatred and eventually murder? They was no time to react as soon as people heard what was going on it spread like wild fire, people came from all over, everyone wanted to leave their mark, make him an example of what they wanted do to foreigners. You understand I would have come earlier but I was afraid for my own safety, my conscience wouldn’t give me a moment’s rest so I had to come. Adults and children alike participated in the poor man’s annihilation.
They walloped him with everything that left grievous body injuries, they said foreigners should go home, go back, they were stealing their jobs, woman and houses. Someone wanted to incinerate him but when they heard the sirens they all ran away like the cowards they were. I feel it is so wrong that someone should die for being of a different nationality that was his only crime…”with these words she silently looked away.
It took them several weeks but they finally located my family, the case never went anywhere because they couldn’t identify and apprehend the perpetrators, they code-named“mob killing”.The case went cold as I was in that mortuary waiting to go home.
Where is he? Ndati aripi murume wangu mondi dze vanhu? I said where is he? Give me what is mine I want to go home. They had to hold her between them the deceased’s brother and uncle,she was a mangled wreck of emotions,the wife, this was still a web of confusion she had to unravel. Her best friend,her husband,father of her two children was no more. She closed her eyes,she was numb,she too wanted to die but she knew, she knew, she had to be strong for the children now that their father was gone.
© Catherine Magodo-Mutukwa
–Catherine Magodo – Mutukwa was born in the1980s in Mutare but grew up in Harare.She is a Zimbabwean poet/author currently based in South Africa.She has a keen eye for detail, an attribute that makes her a veritable artist and social commentator.In all her writing, she aspires to uplift the morale of women everywhere and to inspire all womenfolk to tell their stories and create others.
Readers you can reach the writer firstname.lastname@example.org.