BEFORE IT VISITED
My cousin Daluxolo often warned us but no one took it seriously. Mother would laugh every time, wrinkle her nose and say it was all false. And everyone called this ‘Jealousy’; they would say every so often that she was still bitter that her nephew had become a doctor at such a young age and I hadn’t because I was so dumb.
But that actually wasn’t the reason, and Daluxolo wasn’t particularly her Nephew—he was my father’s sister’s son. Mother had never liked Daluxolo’s mother because she had never been in support of my father’s getting married to a black woman. Mother despised her and never really liked anything that came from her and so she never took anything Daluxolo said seriously. Even as a professional doctor, whenever he said anything serious, she would stare at him as though he was a ‘Merry Andrew’, an oh-so ridiculous one.
WHEN IT VISITED
The morning it took my little sister Cebisa wasn’t that morning Daluxolo came to warn us yet again; it wasn’t that morning Mother said Cebisa was just having Malaria Fever or that morning she called it Typhoid Fever and went to fetch her herbs. It also wasn’t that morning Mother argued over the phone with my father and insisted that her African herbs worked signs and wonders.
It was that morning I and Cebisa were home alone and I did all I could to cheer her up because she was in such a terrible state. It was that morning I finally decided that joy doesn’t come every morning. The same morning Mother wailed and paced about in anguish as though she had bathed in Ipelepele(Pepper). She had returned to see me kneeling next to my 8-year-old sister who was lying so still as though glued to her pink bed. Nobody needed to inform her that her daughter had breathed her last.
AFTER IT VISITED
Later, we would find out who was next and that this thing didn’t come to play; that it was no respecter of anyone. Later, Mother would wish she hadn’t mocked Daluxolo and said he should show us those people this thing had killed. Later, I would wish we had followed the preventative measures that Daluxolo gave, and that I had taken a break from being Mama’s boy.
They call it ‘Corona’ but Mother prefers ‘the plunderer’ because it stole her only daughter—especially the manner in which it did.