OUTSIDER LOOKING IN: Lessons in manners and when violence makes some sense
What you need to know:
- Before he could proceed, the old man had stood up grabbed him by the collar and given him a punch in the jaws which had him falling like the proverbial sack of potatoes.
- Before he could get up, the old man, a former welterweight champion in his hometown in his heyday, took his crooked walking stick then proceeded to use the walking stick on him.
I have always hated violence. I believe there are ways to resolve issues without resulting/resorting to getting physical. But twice, I have observed situations where the violence has comical effects that no matter how one feels about it, they cannot resist chuckling.
Many years ago in a Southern African country, a married man who had the habit of going out until late, arrived home in the early hours of the morning as usual. His wife, now fed up, asked her husband where he was coming from. The man is said to have wondered what it is that had sat on his wife. This bully of a man proceeded to reply her with fisticuffs. After he left, his wife crawled to the door, called one of her neighbours and requested that the neighbour call her younger sister working in the same town. The younger sister immediately came through, took her older sister to hospital where she was admitted, and after consultation with her other siblings, sent the battered woman, on recovery to another town to stay with another sibling as she got herself together. If her husband wanted her back, he would have to go through this band of ferocious and protective siblings.
The siblings soon arranged a job for their sister and all went well for a while. Six months later, perhaps after having had all his fun, or maybe because those he had been in revelry with now had other people to see, he finally went to visit his in-laws to ask that his wife return.
It is possible that someone whispered to him but he arrived on a weekend that his mother-in-law and father-in-law were visiting from shags. He entered the living room where his estranged wife, her siblings and his mother and father-in-law sat.
After greeting everyone, he went to the root of the matter. The siblings would all later agree that he did it rather arrogantly.
“Baba,” said the woman-beating guy while looking at his father-in-law, “mama,” he turned to his mother-in-law, “I am glad I found you here. I have come to get my wife.”
The old man looked at him and asked: “Your wife?”
“Yes, my wife.”
He had missed the break in voice from the old man that to the siblings and their children indicated anger in the old man.
The younger man answered by pointing at his estranged wife and adding in case the old man had forgotten: “I paid dowry. You and your children cannot keep my wife from me. She should come …”
GRABBED HIM BY THE COLLAR
Before he could proceed, the old man had stood up grabbed him by the collar and given him a punch in the jaws which had him falling like the proverbial sack of potatoes.
Before he could get up, the old man, a former welterweight champion in his hometown in his heyday, took his crooked walking stick then proceeded to use the walking stick on him.
As the younger man attempted to get up, his mother-in-law was ululating, “beat him. He beats women,” creating much mirth among those who were watching. He finally managed to get up and left running and was next seen after he had sent a delegation to properly apologise to his wife and her family.
I thought of this last week while on a bus to Gulu in Uganda and I laughed with the same mirth I had many years ago in that Southern African country.
A young man of about 24 got on the bus. In front of us sat two old men across the aisle from each other chatting. They were clearly travelling together. The young man went to the older man, who looked to be in his 70s, and demanded that he get up from his seat.
It appeared that the old man stated he would get up just before the bus left as his companion had a problematic leg and needed to stretch it on the other seat.
Instead of making his request, the young man shocked all of us when he grabbed the older man and attempted to lift him from the seat.
The other old man immediately stood up and wielding a walking stick much like that which was used to beat up the abusive son-in-law, he started thrashing the young man. It would take the conductor and two other young men to calm the old man with a walking stick down. And when the bus made its way to Gulu, the young man sat quietly all the way.
The Heir looked at me and whispered, “that was funny, neh mummy? That mkhulu really beat that disrespectful boy.” It reminded me of the way I laughed with my cousin those many years ago when my grandfather used his walking stick on my aunt’s abusive husband.