Chandeliers are flowers – Wazi M. Kunene

…Both Ntate Mohare and his son Kagiso quickly got up. Ntate Mohare got his ladder and Kagiso carried his father’s tool box, they pulled down the house main switch and turned on their torches. This time Ntate Mohare was convinced there was something to fix in the house. With his son Kagiso, he went around every room of the house removing chandeliers but when they got to Ntate and Mme Mohare’s room, holding the door handle, Ntate Mohare was not sure if it would be too late to remove the chandelier. Two hearts beating fast and loud, slowly Ntate Mohare pulled the door handle but when he pushed the door, it would not open…

It was as though Ntate Mohare’s heart fell to his knees, his palms clinging to the door handle and Kagiso, his desire to scream was a mouthful his throat could never swallow, so he began to wail. Kagiso beating the door with his fists and feet while his father was still holding the door handle, he tried to open the door again but this time MmeMohare began shouting, “You cannot come in, you cannot come in, there is too much blood on the floor.”

We will get the bandages” responded Ntate Mohare. Kagiso in a panic but glad to hear his mother’s voice, followed his father, both running with torches on their hands, down to the kitchen. They began searching for bandages and after a while not finding them, they gave up. Ntate Mohare decided to go up to his wife alone. He still did not want the lights on in the house, he begged his wife to open the door and when he entered the room he switched off his torch. “What if you drown from all this blood, don’t you want to see where it’s coming from” Asked Mme Mohare. An expected answer from Ntate Mohare “Wrap yourself with a blanket, let the blood go to sleep.”


So Mme Mohare, laid in bed, wrapped in a blanket. Ntate Mohare placed more blankets on the floor, still not knowing where the blood came from or whether there was blood to begin with. He had the whole bedroom floor covered in blankets. Kagiso alone downstairs, he was now afraid and curious as to what was happening in his parent’s room. He decided to go against his father and walk to their room with his torch. Coming with light to his parents room was as like the sun falling on to the night before the night could yawn and rest.

Kagiso directed his torch to his mother on the bed, he walked closer to her, wrapped in a blanket. He called out “Mma, are you afraid of the light”. His mother pulled the blanket away from her face and exposed her deeply wounded and bleeding shaved head. Kagiso was shaking with tears glittering his cheeks. Ntate Mohare’s heart beat was now racing for his palms, his shoulders and arms looked more helpless then his eyes that took a quick glance at his wife’s bleeding scalp and ran to where he dropped his tool box. He wondered could there be a tool to fix his wife. Could he find a needle somewhere, could a needle fix this?!

We couldn’t find bandages, Mma” explained Kagiso.

I will get warm water and a towel” said Ntate Mohare determined to let the blood sleep.

Moments later, Father and son were mending the wounds of the only woman they loved dearly and yet afraid to ask why? And with no warning Mme Mohare began to cry, she was weeping like a babbling toddler, “It was your Grandmother, your Grandmother last year when she shaved Nthabiseng’s hair off again, I told her it was the last time, she bruised my daughter, she killed my daughter with her rotten chest.”

She looked at her son, ran her hand on his head, squinting her eyes like an old woman reading without her glasses, “You do not carry this sadness, only those who are gone can look at your foot sole and they have no questions but answers.”

Mme Mohare then got up to her dresser and returned with a diary, Nthabiseng’s diary. With her bruised head now covered with a towel, the room still lit by her son’s torch, the three sat closer to each other and she read Nthabiseng’s last diary entry

My head is recovering and my hair is growing back

I remember Grandma

She always looked at my hair and saw a skeleton forming a mouth

It coughed out the peach tree roots, it spoke

My grandmother did not want anyone looking at her garden

She told me young girls must shave their hair

I remember she lined up yellow roses on her waist

She said we count before we die

She used to beat the orange tree with a knife on her hand

Looking for its neck

Then she washed its wounds by lighting a candle and

Feeding it my hair

The mourning period will never come to an end in this home

Then there were silent tears, Mme Mohare looked to her husband and said “We do cry for Nthabiseng, My mother killed us with her rotten chest” and then Kagiso’s torch began to flicker


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s