The Final Hurdle , livre ebook

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THE FINAL HURDLE Is a Novel Book written by: Magasa S. Ledwaba.
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Date de parution

01 janvier 2011

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0

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9781776032815

Langue

English

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1 Mo

TheFinalHurdleMagasa s. Ledwaba.
THE FINAL HURDLE Is a Novel Book written by: Magasa S. Ledwaba.
Sharp Shoot Publishing P. O. Box 2893 POLOKWANE 0700 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced In any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photo-copying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, Without permission in writing from the publishers. First Edition:2011ISBN: 978-1-77603-281-5 Tel : (015) 297 8416 Fax : (015) 297 8415 Email :sharpshootpublishing@gmail.com Book design & layout: Sharp Shoot Publishing Cover Design by Sharp Shoot Publishing
C O HAPTER NE
Mmala Pitso was born in a year which can truly be regarded as a significant one in the history of South Africa. That year is 1961, the year in which South Africa withdrew from the British Commonwealth. In the same year the country introduced its own currency, replacing the Pound Sterling and Pennies of England with the South African Rand and Cents. The National Party government which had come to power in 1948 was busy entrenching its Apartheid policies without bothering much about the outcry from most local and international organizations and individuals. Their withdrawal from the commonwealth was a result of being intolerant to the criticism levelled against the country for its horrendous racial policies. The expulsion of the country from several international organizations did nothing to deter the regime of the day from practising Apartheid which had been declared heresy by none other than the United Nations Organization. In response, the Black political organizations which had hitherto believed in peaceful means of fighting the racist regime formed their own Liberation armies because the regime was not willing to engage them in dialogue. They had been pushed to this position by an intransigent regime. As South Africa had many enemies internationally, these liberation movements received massive support from many counties. Being born at such a crucial time in the history of a country is significant as it meant that one would grow in times of strife and turmoil. Atrocities at the time included 1
events such as forced removals, detention without trial, arrest for having nodompasor for having adompasthat did not entitle one to live in a particular magisterial area and many more. Of cause, growing at such time would definitely have a major impact on an individual’s character. Some would grow up to be fierce activists who would continually challenge the might of the regime by their defiance and mass mobilization. On the other hand you would find the meek who would try by all means to be in the good books of the government. On the extreme end there would be collaborators andmpimpis who helped the minority regime to carry out its human rights abuses. Thempimpisspied for the government and as such the police ended up knowing all the events that took place in the communities and who the leaders were. It was totally impossible during those years to be completely neutral. So being born at such crucial times is significant although it doesn’t mean to say there is a right or a wrong right to be born. For every parent the birth of a child is a blessing regardless of the era during which such birth takes place.
When John Pitso received the news that his wife had been blessed with a baby boy in May of that year, he gave the newborn the name Mmala which means colour. Of course in South Africa at that time colour was such a big thing. Everything was viewed in terms of two colours, black and white. People were classified into the different race groups and each time reference was made to a person, their colour had to be mentioned. Shops had different doors for people of different colours; train coaches were clearly written the colour of the people who were supposed to use them. Toilets, parks, beaches, schools, residential areas and many more were demarcated on the basis of colour. So, at that time, colour was too 2
prominent in the lives of ordinary citizens and old man Pitso found it appropriate to name his last born Mmala, so that he would always remember that he was born at the time when colour was everything. Colour determined whether one would live a good life of enjoyment or the life of poverty, deprivation and struggle. Being born white meant that one was born on the right side of the colour bar and they were assured a happy successful life. On the other hand being born black meant that one was the wrong side of the colour bar which confined one to a life of misery. Colour played a big role in the lives of South Africans and John Pitso. Although he was neither educated and nor politically active, John Pitso was conscious of the significance of colour in the lives of South Africans at that time. That is why he chose the name Mmala for his son.
The young boy, Mmala grew up in a remote village of Mashilabelong. This was a sprawling village, far from any big town or significant place. There were no streets as the dwellings were scattered haphazardly all over the slopes and valleys. All the houses were mud structures; some were round and others were rectangular. Few of the houses had corrugated iron roofs while the rest were thatched with grass. Some people used thorny branches to fence their yards as they could not afford barbed wire. The rest of the households had no fence of any kind and animals and people could pass anywhere in any direction through one’s compound. This proved to be a challenge during summer when people had crops growing in their yards. There was always tension about somebody’s goats or cattle which had strayed into another’s field where they did a huge damage to the crops. There were people who could resolve such issues amicably but others were not so civil and they 3
handled the cases with much noise and violence. Besides some few tensions which arose from time to time, the village of Mashilabelong, like most other rural villages in the sixties, was generally peaceful. Crimes such as murder, theft and rape were virtually unknown. People’s cattle slept in the veld and were brought home in the morning where the lactating cows would be milked. Stock theft simply did not exist and a person’s livestock could spend more than three weeks in the veld without ever coming home. Village life was very simple. The year programme consisted of ploughing and hoeing in summer, harvesting and storing maize and sorghum in winter. These tasks were generally performed by women as most men were in the big urban centres such as Johannesburg where they worked as migrants and stayed in hostels. Men usually came home during the December holidays to enjoy the festive season with their families. Such times were characterised by much feasting and overeating as people were able to afford such luxury food items as tea, rice, vegetables and meat only during the festive season. The only other time which matched the December holidays in terms of festivities and abundant food was the end of the initiation period at the end of winter when young boys graduate from circumcision schools. At such occasions, the parents competed with each other in terms of slaughtering animals and brewing traditional beer. The entire village would then be turned into a big cafeteria where free food and drinks would be available everywhere. Such feasting and festive mood lasted for up to a week. The newly returned “men” were treated like royalty at such functions. The unintended consequence of this red carpet treatment was the stimulation of a very strong urge in younger boys to also
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want to go to the mountain. They too wanted to be fêted like their brothers.
Young Mmala Pitso grew up in this sleepy village where life was slow. All people knew each other and young people respected their elders. A child regarded every man as his father and every woman as his mother. When people grow up in such circumstances they generally become humble, obedient and peaceful. Mmala fitted this environment well as he was naturally shy and timid. He had two sisters who, like him, were humble and quiet. When he was born his big sister was sixteen and the second born was nine. His sisters took good care of their younger sibling and ensured that he grew up to be respectful. Normally, boys who are cared for by elder sisters become spoiled as they (the sisters) tend to do everything for them and consequently these boys end up not being able to do most basic chores. On the plus side, such boys become independent very early and can stand up to bullies on the street as they have no big brother to offer them protection.
Mmala Pitso was light in complexion just like his mother, Agnes Pitso. His head was big and his eyes looked as if they were protruding from his broad forehead. His nose was broad and he had a ready smile that revealed his shyness. When he smiled his nose seemed to expand to follow his lips sideways. As a young child Mmala was quiet and seldom cried like other babies. It can be said that he was boring as people normally expect a household that has a baby to be noisy. His mother, Agnes Pitso, enjoyed her baby as he only worried them when he was not feeling well or was hungry. Luckily for his parents Mmala was a healthy child who was seldom
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sick. His good health ensured that he grew up faster than other children of the same age.
At the age of seven, Mmala was taken to Mahlasedi Amalgamated School to begin schooling. Like all beginners, Mmala was nervous on the first day and this led to him joining the crying chorus of other tense children who felt that their parents were abandoning them. In those years the black rural areas had no pre-schools which would prepare toddlers for a huge transition in their lives such as starting school. Nevertheless, parents left their crying children in the care of teachers, knowing fully well that these children will get used to the school environment in no time. Amalgamated School was a typical rural institution of the early sixties. It was a mud structure with a thatched roof. It consisted of three blocks of three classrooms each. One of the blocks had a small head-like extension which served as an office. Like most primary schools at that time Amalgamated had no staff-room. Each teacher used his/her classroom as a staffroom. All the blocks making up the school were similar in almost all respects. The doors were of a lightweight wood and all of them had wooden frames. Locking was done by means of padlocks. The windows were extremely small. They also consisted of wooden frame and all had four window panes each. Because of the small size of the windows, the classrooms got so dark on overcast days that some children struggled to see what was written on the blackboard or in their exercise books. The schoolyard had no fence and domestic animals such as cattle and goats regularly grazed between the buildings. Goats, because of their naughty nature, would from time to time venture into the classrooms just to greet the learners and to spy on them. The floors of the classrooms were made of mud and occasionally the bigger 6
girls used cow dung to polish the floor. Sweeping the classroom when the cow dung had been there for a long time posed a serious health hazard. Much dust emanated from the floor when it was swept. To minimise the problem, the girls sprinkled the floor with water prior to sweeping. This was the school which people had and they had no choice. The neighbouring school was situated more than forty kilometres away and was not better than Mahlasedi in any way. Complaining about inferior facilities would not have helped anybody. They had to make do with what they had. One had to attend this school or not attend at all. The parents, on the other hand, were proud of the school as they had built it with their own hands with no help whatsoever from the government. The older women struggled to pronounce the name Amalgamated. They called itMalakamatete.They really liked their school and the name MalakamateteEventually the school was just referred to as stuck. Malakamateteand the young folk did not even know the origin of the name. Neither did they bother to find out what the name meant or where it came from. For themMalakamatete was justMalakamatete, period.
At school Mmala soon made new friends as he got used to the new environment. Because of his humble nature, the teachers liked him. They always sent him on errands. Some of his peers became envious as they saw that Mmala was the favourite learner. One day during break, a bigger boy by the name of Montsho started to tease him. He insulted Mmala and manhandled him. All this time there was a crowd which was cheering the bully. Mmala did not cry but he was very angry. The bully was definitely enjoying himself. Without warning, Mmala unleashed a right fist which caught the bully by surprise. As he was not expecting this, Montsho fell. 7
Suddenly the crowd that was on his side started laughing at him. He picked himself up, dusted himself and invited Mmala to a fight. Mmala accepted the challenge. The fight was intense as if it was a fight between adults. There was much punching, pushing and pulling. The bully tried every trick that he knew but Mmala stood his ground. Mmala’s punches were more forceful and the bully’s face was becoming swollen. The bully started to bite Mmala. At that time Mmala connected with a leftpunch on Montsho’s right ear. Montsho started crying just as two teachers arrived. Although they were angry at the boys for fighting on the school premises, both of them were secretly happy that the bully had been beaten to a pulp. The boys were taken to the principal’s office where they were punished for their misdemeanour. The fight defined the character of Mmala for everybody atMalakamatete. Everybody started to respect the shy, quiet boy who was able to stand up to the bully. Throughout his stay atMalakamatete,Mmala would enjoy this status.
His victory at school resulted in Mmala being a hero even at home. His playmates respected him. To his credit, Mmala never allowed his newfound status to go to his head. He remained shy and quiet. He still respected everybody. After hearing about the fight from other children, Agnes Pitso called her son to her side and reprimanded him. She strongly warned her son to refrain from fighting even if he had been provoked. Mmala listened to his mother and promised that he would never fight again. Fortunately for him, his fight with Montsho ensured that all the children left him (Mmala) alone. He grew with a certain amount of prestige and dignity and commanded some respect.
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