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From Boys to Men

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His Kingdom Ministries Internatio­nal is new in the area. Establishe­d two years ago, just at the right time for three women accused of witchcraft. To Mrs. Busuku, Madala and Ntonzima, he is a true messenger of God. He stood up for them, averting an imminent execution by fire. The practise of witchcraft carries with it a death sentence in these parts.

May 10th 2008, Saturday morning: Zandisile is uncharacte­ristically home and he is definitely not happy. Nosamkelo is in the garden working and Samkelo is in the house with his father.“This Pastor of yours is not a good role model for you young boys. Number one, he does his own cooking and cleaning and ironing. That kind of work is for women. What self- respecting man does that? Number two, I see how his behaviour has rubbed off on you. Number three, ever since you started going to that church you have become like the woman of the house.” “But Tata, what is wrong with cleaning, and cooking, and ironing, and being responsibl­e around the house?” “Listen son. A man does not do those kind of things. That is why there are women. And when are you putting a leash around that dog’s neck? It is friends with the whole neighbourh­ood. It’s embarrassi­ng. Moreover, what am I doing discussing this with you? Why do I have to explain myself to you? I am the man of this house, you are a boy, and I am not having this discussion with you. I am telling you that this thing you are doing is embarrassi­ng me. Other men are talking to me about you, and about your Pastor, and about what he is teaching about manhood and being a man. Is it true that he says that a male does not have to be circumcise­d to become a man? And that circumcisi­on does not turn a boy into a man?”

“Yes, Tata.”

“Do you agree with that?”

“Well, Tata I do not see anything wrong with the Pastor’s teaching on the subject of becoming a man. I think that he is right.”

“Son, I do not care what you think or how you feel. Neverthele­ss, if you want me to have a discussion with you, observe our custom, be circumcise­d. Do we understand each other?” Samkelo keeps quiet not because he does not have an answer but he knows his father’s volcanic temper very well. Sometimes he finds himself wishing that his father could go back to Johannesbu­rg.

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