I confess to losing my cool on a woman once. Up until that point I had considered myself cool, calm and rational. I have no cogent defence for my repugnant action. My toxic masculinity upbringing had a lot to do with a way we viewed women in the old apartheid South Africa. The woman at the receiving end of my misogynistic fuelled anger was Busi*. We were in a romantic relationship, in spite of the fact that Busi* was a terrible kisser. But, that’s not the reason she got on wrong side of my anger.
Busi* was – for lack of a better description a, “big-boned voluptuous feline woman.” (Coetzee, 2004)”. Even though we were in a romantic relationship with Busi*, I wouldn’t go as far as saying I loved her. She came to my life at the time when it was fashionable to have multiple partners so as “to fit in.” My diary entry records the actual onset of our loveless relationship as 21st April 1992.
Here is what irked me about Busi* that resulted in our needless altercation. We had made a plan with Busi* to see each other on one mundane Friday night. She was meant to spend the night at my place. On Friday, at around 09:30 pm, I arrived at our mutually agreed location, but there was no sign of Busi*. I waited in vain. On my way back home, I took a decision that I would come to regret for the rest of my life. I decided that Busi*’s non-appearance was a serious transgression that required stern action. Strangely, the misogynistic voice in my head believed quiet wrongly that I was kind enough as I gave her four days to come up with a plausible excuse – she didn’t.
How not to treat Girlfriend
The following week on Friday afternoon, I met up with Busi* with a sole intention of sharply raising the issue of her failure to honour our late Friday night appointment. The meeting place was at our high school. I found her waiting for me behind the Standard Six block of classes – this spot offered more privacy. By the time I approached her, I was already seething with anger that had been building over the last six days. I bombarded her with a series of questions. There was really no time for her to answer the barrage of questions posed by an angry monster. In the heat of the moment and without any further thought I raised not only my voice but my hand too. She cried. At that moment, I was immediately feeling so ashamed and full of remorse.
Despite this, “the school big boys’ tradition” decreed that I had to leave at once leaving no trace of my existence or actions. According to what was a generally known tradition – a girl after having had an altercation with her boyfriend, she was not allowed to report to the teachers or parents. If for whatever reason a girl dared to report such an incident and the boy got into trouble, and then more trouble would befall the girl.
After the Busi* episode, I made a vow that I have kept to this day never to raise a hand against a woman. Needless to say after our altercation our “love affair” continued stumbling along as though nothing had happened. I never apologised for my actions. She never asked for an apology. I did expect her to. This is my only chance to say I am sorry.
Phantom Pregnancy and Abortion?
Our affair came to a came to a screeching halt in early 1993 because of “phantom pregnancy”. Yes, Busi* was rumoured to be pregnant by the village folks. I asked her about it, but she flatly denied it. Our relationship became strained and died what I thought was a natural death. She never delivered any baby. Nonetheless, rumour-mongers accused her of having committed an abortion. The truth is still unknown to this day.
Fast forward to 1996, somehow we had rekindled our “love affair.” And, guess what Busi* hadn’t yet learned to kiss. If truth be told, she remained my girlfriend for one reason and one reason only – she had the money to throw around. She visited me every month-end and she would leave behind a whooping R1000.00
She is Now Pregnant for Real
However things took a nasty turn again later the same year. Busi* telephoned me – she was in a state. I invited her to come and see me. At the time I was living at the Technikon Natal (Durban University of Technology) Corlo Court residence in Durban. She lived out of town. She came to see me the very next day. At night she broke down and cried. Me: “What’s wrong Babes? In between sobs, Busi* blurted out the words that would change our relationship forever: “Bheki, I am pregnant”. I was shocked, in fact stunned.
Firstly, since we had rekindled our so-called “love affair”, we always used protection. I had become wary of girlfriends so condom use had become standard. What with always getting sexually transmitted diseases? I explained to Busi* that I was very sceptical about accepting responsibility as we both knew we had used protection. At some stage I fell asleep. At the crack of dawn when I woke up – Busi* was still crying. This time her big rolling eyes were red. Seeing the gravity of the situation, I said to Busi* if the child was mine – “well you know my family”. It is now history that Busi* never reported that pregnancy to my family. In fact, in December the same year I learned from my friends who were Busi*’s neighbours that she was seeing someone else and it was no secret. At the time of this saga, Busi* was a private (under- qualified) teacher somewhere in Ulundi. Sadly, Busi*’s child died before the age of five.
Ancestors on Speed Dial
In 2012, in my routine consultation with my faith healer, Dora, she claimed that I had a child who had died and no proper burial rituals had been performed for him. I probed Dora to give me a picture of the woman in question. Dora insisted I knew exactly which woman hinting that the event dates back to 1992. Using the skills of elimination, I zeroed-in on Busi*. After some enquiries to my old e-Habeni village friends, I got Busi*’s number. I phoned her at once. I insisted I wanted to see her as there was something huge that we had to discuss. She wouldn’t budge. Later on in the conversation I learnt that she was getting married that very weekend.
Nonetheless, I told her what my faith healer had told me. She dismissed my faith healer’s message as that one of a day-dreamer – claiming for the second time that she was being defamed. She said Dora must go back to school where she learned the art of interceding with the ancestors. Needless to say the 1992 riddle of whether Busi* was ever pregnant remains unsolved. The issue of my mysterious child who demands burial rituals has not been taken any further. It is one of those things that haunt me in my sleep.
On the eve of her marriage, Busi* confided in me that she still had feelings for me. She recounted all the epic moments of my life since we broke up as though she had me followed. I told her she was mad. All I wanted to know is whether she ever had an abortion in her life. And, whether that foetus that died a terrible death was going to be my first-born. I would never know the truth. For all what’s worth, we still owe each other an honest chat with Busi*.