Dear God from Your Poached Egg Breast
Watch this space for my book ….“Dear God from Your Poached Egg Breast
I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SING ( Maya Angelou)
Bongiwe could not cry or do anything, but she immediately died on that day. She felt lifeless and no breath or feeling, no heart beat, no blood. She walked outside in the garden to get some fresh air, but none was there. That was years ago. Death smelt everywhere and felt in every each of her body. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside and this is her story, nobody can take it away or decipher it, it is her story and she can only tell it the way she heard it, saw it, felt it and crumbled to it. It was a journey in which she walked bear footed and the thorns were painful. All these years she wanted to find out what really happened when the ‘theory of truth’ was manifested in her village. The noise of the pain is constant, yet she was not unable to hear the sound of it in her body. Death was not an option as long as she felt the warmth of the sun. She wanted to know the truth from God and why this had happened.
There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth. Bongiwe was already watered and down as she was so ill having been diagnosed with breast cancer. Whatever facts the other women in the village had they did not have to worsen her condition by down pouring the information that they thought was the truth. They were all women and they all had breast, so they could one day suffer the same quandary. You see women’s breast in this culture are sacred. Breast are not feared like in the white man's world. Women can walk around without a bra or breastfeed in public without anyone lifting an eyelid. Breast are an asset as a child is born and breastfed, boy or girl. It is a connection to humanity. For these women Love was not brewing in their African cups of tea they were sharing; only hate was stirring their emotions to brew a hateful cup of tea. They chose the later and hate won more than love. Love for their human fellow did not exist as they had an agenda. You see Bongiwe did not know these people in the village of Zvazvoland until she got married into this clan. The clan some of them loved her genuinely and she was had developed a connection above platonic. She was a stranger and gullible. She came from a culture were woman were powerful and given dignity. She was born in a village called Nkosiland in which the women there spitefulness was not the order of the day and women uplifted each other. She got confused why things seemed so different. She just accepted everybody and wanted to be part of the big family of her new family.
The family seemed to expand, every time she was introduced to somebody and even the friends of her in-laws family became this big chaotic community family. They all called her ‘Tia’, something she carried with pride around and did her duties. Tia carries a high esteemed title in this village and across other villages, it is almost equivalent to agony Aunt in the white man’s land. That's what she is there for as she is not related to the clan so she can help solve family issues and relationships. It would extend to family feuds, friendship issues or can help whoever comes without complaining. The name then spread to friends, who in turn looked for someone to relate to in personal circumstances. You see Bongiwe was not the only Tia in the village, they were others, why she become central to this clan and village is a question left to be answered by the Almighty. Would the village answer that if they were asked by the Chief why they chose this Tia – Bongiwe would never know.
In this village Bongiwe continued to love, support and help. She was also loved by some in village, not all was dull and gloomy. Those that loved her helped her with so many things. They had a mutual understanding and respect. Sometimes innocently, she will appease her friendship with the village people by saying she is helping so and so, but not in a malicious way. Out of that she never had any monetary gain, except for the love of this adoptive family. When thinking about it now, Bongiwe might have been trying to gain a family as hers had perished in the doom of life. The darkness of the night had swallowed them, leaving Bongiwe hanging alone on a tree.
The theory goes that during the tenure of this adoptive family from Zvazvoland, some are later dispersed from this village, there was the brewing of the African tea. All the women that sat on this table making the African tea were people she knew, but she was not invited to come to the tea-party although she was the subject of the matter. She was not in the inner circle, probable because she was what they called a kwerekwere. The family, who thought knew her better, translated their ‘truth theory’ to their ‘sahwira’ called Jambaja (sahwira is a word used for a closest friend who keeps all the secrets.) Unfortunately Jambaja was on a mission. The ‘truth theory’ became her story, she narrated it better. She was known to be a courier of the ‘fake news’ and yet many women used to gather in her hut and give her stories. Other women’s stories also Jambaja would tell to others. Marriages, relationships and friendships were beeaking unknown to the village people that Jambaja was putting poison in most of the African cups of tea. The ‘truth theory’ did not work out as there were no facts and the sahwira Jambaja as much as she was trustworthy did not keep it to her self. The sahwira Jambaja did not keep her word and spread the ‘truth theory’ to the rest of her own sahwiras in the village and beyond You see Bongiwe had been introduced to Jambaja by the village family as a friend. She in her own right would never have befriended Jambaja. She helped Jambaja through a very difficult time, hiding some of her secrets and also helping her settle in the new village as the Sabhuku (headman) wanted people who had territorial papers to live there, so forging her way in this village was such a privilege for Jambaja with her family. As you know if you tell someone a story, unless you write it like Bongiwe did, they will always narrate it different. This story which started between two sahwira spread like wild fire, and each time some one was topping it up with a cherry to make it a great untold story.
Bongiwe wondered why so many people in this village were interested in her story. Now she can relate to a story told by one of the neighbouring great teachers. ‘Women sometimes are like crabs in a basket, when one is trying to come up to get some air, the one on top wants to stay on top, get all the air and never allow the ones at the bottom to at least get up.” You see Bongiwe had been doing her own thing in the village, helping the clan and also helping others. She was advancing in her life, but she felt that her glory or gift from God was to be shared with others. Bongiwe was very gullible and naïve. She trusted and kept on trusting. Sadly she was the last person to know that an indaba had sat down to plan her destruction in the village. She had no one except her children as her late husband who had made her know this clan had been swallowed by the darkness.
The unfolding of the story scared other women in the village. They wondered why some one could make a ‘truth theory’ and bring so much pain to another woman who at that time was facing death through cancer. Others celebrated the downfall of Bongiwe who was seen as too good for nothing, strong and able to feed herself and her children besides her circumstances. Jambaja was cheered as if she was a bull in a cattle pan fighting alone and felt the ego thrive in her. She did not wade away as the in-law family seemed to go with the energy. This also led to Jamabaja feeling unstoppable.
Jambaja was on a mission. A mission to harvest the crops she did not plant. She even took over Bongiwe’s family – not from the in-law but her sisters who had visited the village and fed them with bitter wheat, bitter sorghum and bitter leaves. The sisters also turned against Bongiwe. Well God was on Bongiwe’s side as one day she found that her sister was being housed in Bongiwe’s hut. The sad part was Bongiwe’s sister years later does not talk to her while Jamabaja continues with her her happy life. The family was divided, the happy family that enjoyed a lot together was divided. You see besides Jambaja playing a crucial role, they were many players in her indaba. As the unfolding of her destruction unveiled, others who lived in the village took the story as their own for no apparent reason. There was Mai Domasi who also wanted to destroy Bongiwe. She collaborated with Jambaja. Mai Domasi was so bitter that she then sent a malicious message to Bongiwe just to inflict pain on her about the ‘truth theory’. Cowardly of Mai Domasi she did not revile who she was. She then further wanted to pain Bongiwe and literally ‘kidnapped’ one of Bongiwe’s children. Mai Domasi was a big woman and very boisterous, so it was hard for Bongiwe to try to get her child. You see even children in the village were asking why this was happening and why the women were being so hateful to ‘Tia.’ Jambaja seemed to be possessed by the spirit of the sangoma, she had to destroy Bongiwe, she had to destroy Bongiwe and also wished Bongiwe will die, even her in laws did not like her, she thought, so she was helping them destroy this menace in the village. She bought so many women into this army of hers and unfortunately they all believed her.
In quest to find out why this had happened, Bongiwe found out that Jambaja has confessed to other women that the “truth theory” she wouldn't have known it unless one of the in-laws family members had not told her the story of Bongiwe. She added that how would she have known what was happening long ago before she was a sahwira. Guilty can be an insidious thing.
When Bongiwe attended church, those other women who had heard the story from the family and village people , instead of them praying and behaving like God’s children, they found a forum of making Bongiwe look like she does not fit into the Christian world. They attacked her with sarcastic words. Bongiwe could not fend off an attack like that anymore. Where was God in all this? Later one one of the church members also confessed that if it was not from her adoptive family she would have not know about Bongiwe’s ‘truth theory’.
Despite what happened at the indaba when the African tea was brewed and other cups of tea, the children who had grown in the village and knew each other continued to play together. They ignored the adults who were shaming them. They have grown to appreciate each other in the village, help each other and love each other. You see to be a good mother or father requires that parents defer many of their own needs and desires in favour of the needs of their children. As a consequence of this sacrifice and develop a nobility of character and learn to put into practice the selfless truths taught by the Saviour himself (quote). The children had their own indaba when they grew up and discussed how they could tackle these female adults who had destroyed the key foundation of the village. They came up with one thing that always win LOVE and UNITY amongst themselves despite. So they continued singing together and ignoring the adults. They were not going to be caged birds. They were not going to drink the African tea that was brewed.
Bitterness is like cancer, it eats upon the host. Although Bongiwe nearly died not because of cancer but the poisonous African tea cup that was brewed by the village Indaba nearly killed her. She survived because of people from her own village Nkosiland and some of her in laws who supported her throughout. She lived to write her story. The village women did not want to remember the good Bongiwe did to families and strangers for years, they chose to remember that one mistake, one mistake that Bongiwe had created that Bongiwe had done. Nobody wanted to find the truth and today the truth has never been found only Bongiwe knows. The sangoma in the village had tried to cast the bones but there was a big dark cloud that was cast on her not to see, she just said that the devil was strong in the air and the village people needed prayer.
The question that Bongiwe still asks today is Dear God why did this happen? For Bongiwe she later said to some people from her village “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” She is thankful that this happened, as it gave her a purpose to live and be alive. It made her progress from a dead woman walking to somebody who is driven to change the world, not only in the village, but other women. You see what the village women didn't know was from birth Bongiwe was holding her umbilical cord from her mother’s womb. She , found a stepping stone to build her life through these adversity. She took out the weed from her ploughing land and kept only the crops that could grow and feed her and her children. She was going to be somebody and started making conversations with God.
Dear God - We always take life for granted by anything is able to happen at any given time with anybody, death is a certainty and we have to accept that it can come at anytime, illness or no illness. And here I am still taking each step like a baby trying to walk and holding on to life. The purpose, for me is my children, the fear of leaving them alone in this world, just sends me shivering on my spin. I managed to forgive God and I have wings to fly now. Forgiveness is the most empowering thing. It liberates you. Prayer without forgiveness makes you a caged bird. I can drink Mahewu and swallow sitting under the shade of a tree
God - You getting back to deep thinking Bongiwe, some of those thoughts leave them to me, I am capable of handling how your emotions get distorted. Have faith and forgive. I say to you Always you can't keep a beautiful bird with colourful feathers caged and from flying it will find a way to fly and colour the world.