Short Stories, Tale Africa

Rebabedi (7)


By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa

The Motaung family is gathered around a table under the tree. There is a slight cold breeze but it didn’t stop them from having their family lunch outside as planned. Initially it was meant to be a picnic but the grass is still wet from last night’s rain. Thabi is feeling cold as she didn’t bring any warm clothing to put ontop of her dress. She had assumed the lunch will be indoors. Kagiso cames outside to join the rest of the family to eat.

“Borrow the poor girl a jacket Asanda, where are you manners?” Ayanda (his mother) says as soon as Kagiso sits down. She is the only one that uses their Zulu names.

He quickly stands without answering, takes off his jacket and hands it to Thabi before sitting down.

“Thabisile you look like someone I know,” Ayanda says studying Thabi’s face, making her uncomfortable in the process. “You look like Sibonisile.”

Thabi smiles as she says; “That’s my mother”

“Goodness! You look exactly like her. Is she still this beautiful?”

Thabi looks down and nods.

Kagiso; “Where do you know her from?”

“Pretoria, we used to go to the same church.” Ayanda responds while passing a salad bowl to her husband Kefiloe who has been glued to his phone the whole time. He puts the phone on the table, dishes the salad on his plate and then pass it to Kwena who also has been on his phone.

“Sibonisile from methodist central?” Kefiloe asks. He is only catching the conversation now.

“Yes” Ayanda says passing another bowl.

This excites Kagiso and he says; “Maybe you know her father as well. He goes to that same church right baby?”

Thabi nods. She feels a little better now that she realizes how free Kagiso’s parents are. They are both so open, you wouldn’t even suspect there is an outsider in the table. She is not sure about the twin though because he hasn’t said anything since he joined the family.

Kefiloe asks; “Who is your father?”

“Thabo Mvelase” Thabi says as she passes the bowl to Kagiso seated next to her.

Ayanda and Kefiloe exchange glances before the twins’ father asks; “Thabo Mvelase from where?”

“We live in Mamelodi but dad is originally from Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal.”

Kwena noticed how tense his parents have become so he asks; “Do you know him?”

Their mother seems lost for words so Kefiloe responds; “Your mother used to go to that church before we moved this side.”

“That is super!” Kagiso exclaims. “That means the lobola process will be a breeze.” He adds.

Kwena is studying everybody’s expression after his twin’s indirect announcement. He knew how serious Kagiso is about Thabi before the lunch so he is the only person who is not surprised. He watches as his mother drops a knife due to her hands shaking. His father wipes non-existing sweat on his forehead with the back his left hand and asks;

“Kagiso what lobola are you talking about now? You’re a child and how long have you known each other? Ai man!”

Kagiso looks at his father with a surprised expression as he says; “But dad you just know when you meet the one…”

“What one? Yerrr Asanda!” Ayanda says as she stands from her chair and marches inside the house followed by her husband. The twins share blank expressions; they are both shocked by their parents’ reaction.

“This can’t be happening…” Ayanda is saying the minute they walk into the house. “… of all girls he had to pick Thabo’s daughter. Why?”

“What if Kagi is Thabo’s…”

“Please Hlalele don’t say that.” Ayanda interrupts her husband.

“We should make sure they break up before things get out of hand.” Kefiloe says softly.

Ayanda gives him a hopeless look with tears shimmering in her eyes.

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