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This and that with Mal'phosa - Emadlodlo 22

09 Jun 2013 at 07:15hrs | Views
The two race horses are still literally sweating it out 45 minutes later. Phela ingoma zabazawethu are close to a hundred kilometres long each. One of them has taken off his tattered and torn shirt, revealing a tsheketshas torso, marked with scars and old, grayish mdlopha. He has tied his yellowish jacket to his thin waist, and it flutters like a stiff wide pendulum as he heads for the crescendo. The other is using his faded Dynamos t-shirt to wipe away the pools of smelly sweat swathing his face and chest. His big toes, which peep out of his torn sneakers like heads of two tortoises intent on mating, kiss the ground and scrub away the dust, leaving the floor shiny. And the beat goes on!

Nothing has changed in the way they are sashaying with their toes and heels, ankles twisted visibly, and toes scraping the dusty floor. The forward foot clomps the floor with the toes, making a soft rasping sound, like a dog's paw on hard ground. It is one foot up forward and the other foot backwards. Both hands are still pawing away at an imaginary track in the air, like the hooves of a drugged and highly energetic mule. A number of guys are shaking their heads rhythmically; some in disbelief, others in enjoyment, and yet others bayadlela nje. There are some of course, who are indifferent,  like this man who is so drunk his face looks like it just suffered a stroke. He goes around casually, asking anyone who cares to listen if they liked country music. When he gets to Godlwayo, Godlwayo retorts, "Which country?"    
Until someone who looks too sober for the occasion, calls him, "Sandariyapore, come, let's go home. Banokuvisa mazinyo panapa ukapusa." He obliges without asking any questions. And another one who is more disgusted shouts in passing, "Nxa licabanga ukuthi sizaliholela imali, mahole, litshaye phansi! You second-hand-water." The two horses don't give him any attention, either because they do not get what he said or they are two scared to answer back. He stands there, shaking unsteadily and making faces as his whole body succumbs to alcoholic ataxia. "Ung'khangelani wena?" He addresses no one in particular. "Blali bhatshi. You sanamabitshi." He mutters some more inaudibles as he squints into the sunlight and wobbles out of the hall. He disappears outside with his mug of beer.    
Another one has an announcement to make; "All those who want to dance like old dogs ferreting for old rusty bones, go to Harare." He has by his side two other young men who carry Highlanders regalia, including the rare vuvuzela. Highlanders has just beaten Black Rhinos at BF. A certain man had brought a wireless to the beer-hall, in order to follow the game live. Rhinos scored first, and the guy increased the volume of his radio. Highlanders equalised some ten minutes before half time, and the man switched off his radio. When he decided to switch it on again, as fate would have it, Highlanders scored their second goal. The man switched off his radio, plucked it off the concrete table and scurried into the crowd outside. We laughed in muffled voices as he walked stiffly and angrily, muttering and swearing to himself.
There is the sound of drums outside- and an experienced ear would recognise this as amabhiza beat. Wow!! We hurry out to watch this exciting dance. There is one particular man – tall, thin, and gifted. He has his favourite step – looks up into the cloudless sky while his feet take turns to prob and prod the scant grass below, points his tshoba up there as if there is an alien he intends to cast a spell on and freeze in mid-air. His shoulders jolt rhythmically as his head turns from side to side. His tshoba describes an imaginary circle, then a vertical line in front of his chest; goes round his back as he also turns his head and torso to follow the tshoba. He gently prances round, pivoting on one foot and then the other. He continues to describe a circle, like an agitated dog trying to scratch his tick-infested tail with his teeth. There is a lot of clapping and ululating.
Kumnandi la. There is another short man they call Tondo. His feet are wide apart, with the left one bent 90 degrees at the knee, and the other stretched far behind him. He moves backwards in this position, his right foot drawing a broad, clumsy, continuous line backwards, until he is so far he can no longer hear the sound of the drum. He rushes back to the dance-floor, highly active like super-sub in a high-charged soccer match, to re-start the process all over again. Godlwayo is moved – he dives into the dance floor, and the crowd loves it. He is a very poor version of John Travolta! You cannot dance to Njelimana, or Salibon'ijuba lemvula, like Travolta. But I find a number of sons quite humorous: "Njelimana ohh njelimana; ubaba wazal'ilema njelimana wo-o njelima!"

 Then from the Eastern gate, there is a noise of a different kind; there is singing and pounding of feet, drum beats, ululating and whistling so loud it practically drowns the beer garden hullabaloo. We rush out side to find an inspired and energetic multitude congregated by the gate, waving placards and scarves and flags inscribed with the black bull! This is the new Zapu symbol; our teacher told us when we closed school. He advised that we should look for the big bull with sharp horns and balls so large they sweep the ground on which the bull walks. They are singing; "Szohlangana ephalamende." There are some, though, who are waving Highlanders flags and scarves. Who said politics and sports do not mix! We find ourselves joining celebrations, and now we can dance and enjoy ourselves. Godlwayo gives me a nudge in the ribs and points at Makuramiti who is making a surreptitious and hurried exit from the grounds. His wind-filled jacket is the last we see of him as he turns the corner sharply like a dove dodging uhelwane.

The singing gets louder and louder and we realize we have been joined by one of the aspiring candidates of Zapu. The MC wants him to talk √¢‚Ǩ‚Äú and he does, in the fewest words possible. " "Ungalobola umfazi ngeqhude?' "Hayi!" We shout back in confidence. "Ungathethela idlozi ngeqhude?" We shout a NO that is mixed with giggling. "Ungacola abakhwenyana ngeqhude?" Indirectly this man is attacking the qhude that is a symbol of another party contesting the elections. Last time around we were beaten by the Qhude but that was a mistake, we know it. This time we go for the jugular and finish the cock off! That is the message when we leave the EMadlodlo 22.  And when we live, we both are complaining of tinnitus because of the noise we exposed our ears to the whole day. 

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Source - Clerk Ndlovu
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