Thula-thula | General Fiction
On a winter's afternoon Gertruida returns to Kiepersolkloof after her mother and father’s funeral in town. Her heart rejoices. They were not her mother and father. They were Abel and Susarah. People who walked with God. At the same time walking arm in arm with Satan.
She was never their precious little crowned plover. When she still wished to run after dragonflies in her mummy’s garden, Abel had brutally stolen her innocence and threatened her with the fork-tongued leguan that walked by night. Child-woman who danced naked in front of the window in the moonlight while Susarah slept behind drawn curtains. Or was she awake?
She closes and locks the gate to the farm-yard. In years to come she will have to pilot her own life. But she only knows how to hate; love has no meaning to her. Her boundaries were destroyed. The only place of solace and dignity that ever belonged to her was the hidden stone house she had built in a secluded kloof.
In the house on the ridge Mama Thandeka sits with a sorrowful heart. For fifty three years she had watched a black blanket slowly descending upon Kiepersolkloof. At night she is deeply troubled because there are many things that she regrets. Years ago she was little Abel's black mama, and when she should have spoken up, she thula-ed. Now the time for speaking up has gone by. All that remains is to call the spirits of the papas and mamas to come closer so that she can speak to them: Sit down, listen carefully. Then, with iNkosi as her witness, the truth will flow from her tongue.
And on Monday she hopes to shuffle down to the farm-yard with her notsung kierie to cherish Gertruida against her soft mama-bosom for a while. Even though Gertruida does not want to be held by anyone.
*Listen to a reading from Thula-thula by Johann Nel here (link leads to YouTube).