When he stepped at the entrance, his mother was looking in the
direction of the door. Smiling. This made him wonder. Has she finally made up her mind to go to the party tomorrow? What
could be the cause for this broad smile that almost covers her face?
His thoughts were in the next few seconds marred by a ‘Greet your
aunt, Musiime’ from aunt. He was so disappointed. He could not manage to fully
hide his thoughts.
“Alright, if you say…” he stopped after a realisation that
his mouth had given him away already.
The two greeted each other. Aunt Musiime fully introduced herself as
his mother’s young sister. No wonder she
has failed to convince mother to go for the kuhingira. ‘Young sister… Young
sister… Young sister…! The words echoed in his ears as aunt saw her sister
off. He didn’t move. He stood there, leaning against the door to his room, just
staring at the two figures as they disappeared in the dark. Night was beginning
Mugisha did not sleep till long past mid night. His mind raced with
very many thoughts; first, how he would get the transport to Nyarushebeya, and
how he would escape from his mother who wanted him to go with her to
Mugarutsya, how he would ensure that his uncle doesn’t tell her that he was at
the party, whether the excuse he and Mwine had come up with would be excuse
enough to give for being away without permission. It was a real muddled plan.
I think my dear cousin’s head ran out of creativity for he did not
keep awake till morning.
“Why did you sleep on top of the beddings?” I asked laughing fondly.
Man, I don’t know how I fell asleep! Thank God this place is never so cold as
to make one badly need a blanket on.” He said stepping out of the room and that
was the last he surfaced at aunt’s house that day. Aunt even went to her
relations alone after she had searched and failed to tress him.
Two day’s later he returned with two policemen. One held him by the
hip, dragging him along to aunt’s house. His face was bruised up and dirty. He
staggered as he walked despite the little support of the policeman’s tight
grip. The other policeman followed watchfully at a distance. As they got
closer, I wondered how many thoughts were on my dear cousin’s mind. He really
Just a few meters from aunt’s house, Mugisha deliberately refused to
How will I explain to mother that I had done such a terrible thing
after being away from home for two days without permission? He wondered, beads
of sweat forming on and falling from his face.
The soldier who was walking behind the pair was the first to act.
With his face revealing the bitterness in his heart and his chest heaving, he
rushed to him and continuously kicked him so hard in the ribs.
This son of a bitch has killed…” before he could finish the statement, the
soldier whose face had now darkened and looked as fierce as that of a
hungry lion kicked him even harder.
He gave a very loud screech that startled aunt who had been resting
When aunt got to the scene, she could not believe her eyes; his son
was down. He had rags for clothes, his face was so bruised up and he looked
like someone who had spent a week without eating anything. Even now, the
policeman still kicked at him!
“You! What do you
think you are doing? Is this what every other person calls keeping peace?!” Aunt shouted at the policemen. “Leave my son. Stop! Stop tha…..t!!!” She pulled the policeman’s hand off her
son and attempted to lift the son from the ground.
dead! DEAD!” aunt shouted hitting one of the policeman’s face hard with the back of her hands. It was only then that the policemen stopped
Aunt’s skirt slid off. I think the zip too had let go. She took long
before pulling it up again as if she hadn’t noticed that it had fallen.
“He is not dead ma’am.
Just pretending or wishing to be.” One policeman said a little unconcerned.
pretending because we have given him a treat, I think. It serves him right,
this filthy idiot!” his friend cut in.
Aunt looked at the policemen, then at the son. It was evident that
she was extremely angry. Her face had become red. But it was not clear who she
was angry with; was it the police for beating up her son that badly or it was
his son for sleeping out for two nights without permission and doing that that
had earned him the most severe beating ever?
“What has he done to
deserve this?” aunt finally found the breath to ask. She paced from one
policeman to the other, looked each in the eyes and shook her head every now
and then. They both kept mute. Each policeman just looked
down at her when she paced to them. Then as if a button to make him
speak had been suddenly pressed, one of the policemen shouted;
“Why don’t you
stop bothering us and you ask your son? He should tell you what he did
Staring at the half dead, half alive young man on the ground, he
spoke in a voice full of sarcasm, “Or perhaps you are still holding on to your
security blanket; denying that it wasn’t you?”.
I could almost feel the weakness in aunt’s knees. She swayed like a
feeble tree in a storm before keeling over in the bedlam.
doing everything wrong here, I think. This woman should be told why we have
treated her son this way” the policeman who had come
holding Mugisha suggested.
The two men carried these two half dead and half alive people to the
house. They hoped that someone else would be there to help but there was no
One of them went to the Kitchen but only returned with food stuffed
in his mouth.
no piece of cloth, no nothing!” the friend wondered.
The other just nodded his head and pointed at his cheeks to imply
that there was something which was stopping him from
The friend was angry. “Are we going to stay here for the whole day
doing nothing?” He pushed his friend as he walked past him to the kitchen.
When he returned, he had a small piece of cloth and a small jerry
can of water. The woman was seated; conscious again but the young man wasn’t.
He cleaned the young man’s face while the other policeman stared on.
Aunt too stared on for some time and then asked; “What have you done to my
sorry Ma’am. We ought to have told you what your son did when you asked” he said with his right hand caressing his chest and the
left in his pocket. Mugisha stirred a little but didn’t move.
was caught stealing a cow from someone’s kraal in Nyarushebeya” one of the
policemen said. “He had two other young men but they ran away” he explained.
Aunt was dumbfounded. She could not believe that Mugisha could do
such a thing. The policemen left before he was conscious enough to speak.
He slept but aunt did not. She kept wondering what had influenced
her son to do such a thing without thinking about how much trouble he would put
her in. She was going through enough trouble already to ensure he was fine but
this was what he was paying her.
When morning came, Mugisha stepped out of bed. He was so weak but
conscious at least. Aunt could not wait to pronounce her punishment to him;
your face quickly and you come and explain to me clearly why you did what you
did. Every part of him visibly shook but he told aunt the whole adventure and
asked for forgiveness.
Aunt was meaning to be serious for she did not allow Mugisha to go
to school for the next two weeks. He stayed home doing all the house work as aunt went for work. The house girl was told
not to help him as he did his chore which aunt had given him as part of his
punishment; “Probably that will teach him to behave himself” aunt said. Mugisha
toiled with house chores till the end of his two weeks.
When he went back to school after the two weeks, every one at school
knew him as a bad boy. His friends were not friends with him any more and life
at school became so hard. He tried making new friends whom he later damped for
he realised they had a click that would lead him into more trouble. These bad
boys and girls were the only one that could associate with him after the bad
name he had earned himself!
*Kuhingira: This is a give away
ceremony at the bride’s parents’ home.