Teko had a major fall-out with Xaba...
Teko had a major fall-out with Xaba.
Teko was in high spirits that afternoon. Nothing could get him down.
His sister, Flo, had come over to the bush and paid him a long visit.
They spoke about everything, especially Aunt Blessing.
Teko convinced his sister that all was well, and she needed her to tell their Aunt that too.
Florence was pleased to see her brother laughing and joking.
Everything was really okay.
The only thing she hadn’t agreed on was to call him, Bhuti. There was no way she’d call him ‘Sir.’
Teko hadn’t taken any offense.
Moments later, as Flo left - Fati arrived.
It felt like Christmas for the initiate.
The bush could often feel like prison.
Fati had travelled all the way from Fort Beauford to come see her man. It was a three hour drive, and another fifteen minute walk.
They sat behind his hut, catching up.
Without admitting it - Fati didn't like seeing him in such a state. He had a white-paint like ointment all over him, and hadn't washed or brushed his teeth in weeks.
It didn't feel fell like chatting to her boo, Teko. If felt foreign and barbaric. She couldn't wait till he returned to the real world.
"So, is everything still working properly, down there?" Fati teased, pointing down at his groin area. It was a joke, but not really.
He chuckled a tad. “Yeah it is. I'm good, love. But not right now. I’m not a hundred percent yet. But I'll be fine, within a day or two."
Fati's facial expression changed. "What do you mean, not right now? Are you okay, baby?"
"I'm fine, really. We'll, I'm getting there."
"I'm worried now."
"Don't be. I'm good. Don’t stress, please. By the time I get back to school, we'll be back at it, like bunnies." He winked, smiling wide.
"Good. I miss you, terribly."
"I miss you too, angel."
She’d hug him, but it … NO! He’d have to spend hours in the shower first. "Yeah right, whatever. If you missed me so bad, how come you didn't call me? Liar!"
"It's one of the rules here. We aren’t allowed to chat or bring our mothers or girlfriends.”
“Seriously. The last thing I need is to think about you, here. It'd injured me - if you know what I mean. I gotta concentrate on the tradition, the cows, the rules, the advice we get from elders and stuff. I can’t be thinking of our sessions in bed. I’d never heal, down there."
“Still, you could’ve sent me a text or Whatsapp.”
“I did, when I went in. Plus, I don’t have a phone … stop crying, babes. I’ll make it up to you – whatever you want.”
“Whatever I want?”
“Yeah. I’ll have a bit of cash when I get out of here, on Saturday. They’ll give me furniture, clothes and money, and all that.”
“I actually wanted to ask you about that. Should I come with my dad, and bring a present?”
“It’s up to you. That’d be nice, in fact. Your dad could also give me a bit of advice.”
Fati laughed. “My dad will probably shake your hand, roll you a big joint, and tell you to behave yourself – that’s it. I can’t picture him being all serious and traditional.”
“You’d be surprised. Xhosa men take initiation seriously. The biggest jokester or prankster turns into a warrior out here. They say it’s ancestral spirits.”
“And you believe in this?”
He paused, pondering. “Well, I don’t know, actually. There is something spiritual about this place, yeah.”
“Just hurry up and come home, babe.”
“I’m coming, no worries. How’s the little champ, Cwenga?”
“Good. He’s walking comfortably now. I’m so proud.”
Teko giggled. “That’s awesome. I miss the little guy.”
“Bloody Soso came around the other day, to see him.” Fati spat on the ground, shaking her head.
“Nothing. I don’t think he’s cool with you being a man, and him still a boy.”
Teko sat up, curious. “What did the lightie say?”
“Nothing really. He mentioned something about ‘manhood is about taking care of your kids. If you don’t have kids you’re not a man,’ blah blah blah. I wasn’t even listening.”
“So I’m not a man because I don’t have a child? The nerve of that boy! I’m gonna make him call me ‘Bhuti’. It’s gonna be war - watch. It’s either he calls me ‘Bhuti’, or we don’t speak.”
“Good. Force it out of him – the wanker. It’s like the big meeting with his mom didn’t happen at all. He’s still the same arrogant bastard he’s always been – maybe even worse.”
“Let’s not talk about him, love. Let’s rather talk about us.”
Fati’s phone rang.
She didn’t recognize the number. “Who the hell is this?” She enquired, looking at Teko and answering. "Hello."
Teko gave her a look. Who was it?
"Oh, okay. Please hold on, Aunty," Fati said on the phone, respectfully, and handing it to Teko.
"Who is it?" He sounded annoyed.
"Just take it."
"I'm not taking calls, here, Fati. What's gotten into you?"
"Take the call, it's Aunt Blessing."
"It's your Aunt, take it."
"How did she get your number?"
"Dude, stop asking me stupid questions. She could've gotten it from Flo or something - just take the call."
It was forbidden. All parties knew this. A reluctant Teko, froze for a second. He cleared his throat and took the call. "Hello."
"Hello my boy, how are you doing?"
A wave of peace and joy hit Teko.
It was wrong, but it felt very right. "I'm doing well Aunty. I'm glad to hear your voice." He smiled wide.
Blessing sat outside at her home, by the small garden. She'd just water a few of her plants. "I'm glad to hear yours too," she told him, getting choked up. "I know I shouldn't be calling you. I just wanted to know if you're well. Florence tells me you are, but I had to hear it, myself."
"I'm okay Aunt Bless, everything is perfect. I've even gained weight,” he joked. You'll see me over the weekend. Are you good?"
"I'm happy, my boy. Oops, my little man." She chuckled softly. "Let me not keep you. I'm sure you have a lot to catch up on, with Fatima."
"True. I'm so glad you called me, Aunty, even though we aren't allowed."
"Aaagghh ...what they don't know won't hurt them."
"Oh, speaking of they,” Teko remembered. “I had a bit of drama with Xaba. I don't know if uncle Vusumzi told you?”
"Drama? What kind of drama. What did you do, boy?"
"Nothing Aunty. He just wasn't coming around. So I let him have it. I told him he was irresponsible, that’s all. Okay, we'll chat later, okay?"
"Is this serious, Teko?"
He bit his lip, squinting. "Yeah, it kinda is, because he swore not to come back here, to finish the job. Please tell uncle Vusumzi. But don't say you heard from me. He can't know that we spoke. Say Thando told you."
"Teko, you can't be scolding your elders. Why did you do that, you silly child?"
"We'll get into that later, Aunt Bless. I love you. Bye."
"Love you too. Okay, bye-bye."
Teko gave Fati back her phone. He wore a big smile, happy to have spoken to his other favourite girl.
"Is everything cool?" Fati asked him, genuinely concerned.
"Yeah. Everything's fine. I think."
"You didn't tell me about your beef with Bawu' Xaba. So, how're you gonna handle it? He has to release you from here, and declare you 'a man', right?
"Uh huh!" He responded, worried. "You know way too much, for a girl, by the way."
He stared at a distance, troubled now. How would he tackle this problem? Xaba had sworn never to return there again. There'd been an authoritative totality in his voice.
What would Teko do?
Can Teko find a way to bring his initiator back?