Through the eyes of my brother
Blessie Ace Ncube, who died a lonely
Death, in the broken hills of Kabwe
There is nothing more pleasant that the
Atmosphere of the Embakwe area after a
storm followed by Sunshine in the afternoon
The vicksy odour of the ubiquitous Pani Trees fill the
atmosphere with natural fragrants.
Frogs and crabs in the Ebakwe River go on stage
to produce agreeable disharmony.
The (Nyeza) Beatles among Pani Trees also get determined
Not to be outdone by the aquatic choir and stage their own
arboreal concert. The cumulative results being
a tolerable concoction of sound all over the area.
The murky water of the river move slowly filling the
side pools and ponds oblivious of its own journey
to the sea.
It was on such a day, when all the younger children of our village
who were not yet school-goers, nor cattle, ship and goats
shepherds, needed to loose themselves in Mother Nature’s refreshing moments.
The afternoon simple triggered a spontaneous response
to take-off for a hunting mood filled the atmosphere
with pleasurable echoes of laughter and screaming,
we were very excited jumping and running
like young calves enjoying the summer season
(sisashakadula nje ngamathole ejabulele ihlobo)
In the midst of such a joyous afternoon, where
We all enjoyed ourselves to Mother Nature’s gift
Of peaceful day, the unexpected and unforeseen plans
Of taking an innocent life in a most horrifying, vicious,
brutal, barbaric and inhumane way was executed.
The victim of this merciless act was my eight (8) years
Old brother, William, born in Johannesburg in 1939-03-09
Sharing the month and day of this birth with his brother
Blessie, sister Nekie and Gloria.
The reason why my brother could not keep-up
With the rest of the happy group, was that he had
Developed a growth or lump on his right hip, that
made his walking pace lumber, due to the pain that
seemed to have no cure. All this however did not worry
My sister, because Willy had established a retained but
steady pace of walking or running and would eventually join
The group even if it meant meeting us at home. This time my
sister had made a miscalculation of the events that would end the day.
When the evening descended on our village, and the sunset casting
Its last sunray across our village valley, sending long dark shadows
That quickly spread over the area bidding farewell to the passing day
to welcome the nightfall. Families got-together in their kitchen-hut,
which had a fire-place at the centre for mothers to cook meals
for their children.
Suddenly my mother’s voice called my sister asking her
where Willy was. She dropped the bundle of wood that
She carried in her hands. My mother’s question seemed
To engage her mind like a sudden attack that rendered her
Recollection of my brother’s whereabouts to a dumb
My mother’s strong intuitive thinking grabbed sister’s hand
pulling her to show there where the day’s playing activities took place
the day’s joyous and pleasure route had turned to be a nightmare route
My brother’s absence was definitely a cause for concern.
On the way mum was crying and calling but to no avail
The villagers alarmed by my mother and family
wearily cries of utter desperation and despair come out to assist
in the search for my missing brother.
Eventually my aunt called his name and a faint sound barely
perceptible came under a thorny push called (Tswana Moku),
It has very sharp-pointed white thorn girls used as needles to saw pieces
of cloth for their dolls. The question that I have had no answer
to it is; how did my brother get under that thorny bush?
I suppose it will remain unanswered.
His body had deep cuts, bruises and scratches. The first
suspicion was that my brother might have been attacked
By will animals, but then, why leave him alive.
When he was brought home, my uncle Clever as he was called
Fixed his bicycle to carry Willy to the Mission hospital, where
Mama was told of the ritual murder and that his/her assailants
got some of his body parts via his anus.
All in all they had done a job of unrivalled brutality on him
Even in pains the undaunted William could however still speak
To my mother, tying to console her and telling her not to cry
One of the last words when my mother tried to offer him
sweets, he said quickly, “you give them to Blessie”.
The sweets my brother said, I would remain eating have
become bitter up to this day.
I have veritably come to think that he merely meant that
He was then passing the burdens of life on to me.
He received his viaticum quietly and left at the Amen
of the ceremony.
Messages of his death were sent to other villagers,
Carpenters made his last domicile. His grave was dug
under a mimosa tree. I sat in the shadow when villagers
were throwing soil in his grave. No legal proceedings
were made on his assailants.
The only manifestation of protest was from a few
small birds above his grave.
It could not be immediately clear as to whether the
Protest was staged because of fear in the nest or was
a mere quarrel or territorial sovereign among the birds.
My grandfather could not take the death of Willie. He sat
With his head bowed between his bed and wept almost
uncontrollably. His own health deteriorated fast. He was
rarely seen outside and barely spoke to anybody.
Exactly a week after Willie’s departure the old man
followed suit. He was wrapped up in his skin blankets
And laid to rest under a big Pani tree on top of which the
Nyeza wailed continuously. The dual deaths brought an
atmosphere of gloom in the village.