Secret of Mom’s Death
Sohna Nogoi a woman of faith and calibre, generous, easy going and kind; I call her Mama Africa, our family home being referred to as ‘Kerr Jobot’, ‘Kerr Dohandem’ (Home for the Children, Home for the Homeless). I grew up in such an atmosphere which makes me very accommodating because mom made it quite clear: ‘Niit niit tai garabam su niit di oot alell ootal niit, dinga am niit am alell’ (A human being is the medicine for another, by pursuing humanity one will have people and also wealth.)
My dad was mom’s opposite he married many wives who voluntarily left because of his meanness and cruelty. He batters and imprisons his wives. no friends, relatives are allowed visit, in fact he labels people as witches and wizards and he warned mom to cease her friendship and relationship with his extended family.
Mom hides and gives them assistance. Gossip had it that dad cheated his siblings during the ‘miras’ (inheritance sharing) with the siblings. This greed is responsible for the bad blood in the relationship; mom did not care as she always said.
‘I am a Gaye among the Ceesays, if I cannot sew I’ll not rip.’ The extended family love her and recognize her efforts to build peace. Their response;
‘You are so different from our ‘kaffir’ brother. We have seen your efforts, Allah will bless your only child and make her fruitful, Amen!’
One Fateful Day
She went to market and was given a lift by one of the siblings Uncle Biran and his wife Tanta Kendaka but before doing it she was cautioned;
‘Are you sure it would not be a problem if we drop you at your gate? You know your outlawed husband is erratic (rakaju), we also don’t want to put you into any trouble.’ Uncle Biran asked.
“It is okay, there is nothing I can’t handle, isn’t he my husband, now?” He dropped her and she waved back at them; meanwhile dad stood at the balcony and saw everything.
As soon as mom entered the house he rushed and started to hit her.
“What have I done? Why are you hitting me?”
‘What harlot woman! Who was it that gave you a lift? Are you now flirting right under my nose?’
“How can you wildly accuse me of infidelity? Have I ever cheated on you? Didn’t you find me a maiden? You are the only man I know and you know that; why are you always molesting me and making me your punching bag? Allah will judge you.’
‘Does it matter, your wife can be married a maiden and she later becomes more rotten than others you meet on the street.”
‘You are evil, Allah knows it was Biran and his wife who gave me lift but how can you verify when you have bad blood with all your sibling; how many wives have you married and divorced even before they can conceive? That’s why we have a small family.’
‘You flirt around and now have the guts to stand me in my house? Now, you too will be packing out.’
‘I am packing nowhere we have built this house together.’
He chased her around the house but as mom rushed to climb the stairs her foot slipped and she came crashing upon the first step and cracked her skull she struggled for life but it quickly left her lifeless body. I was there, I stood at the steps and wept bitterly, dad looked at me and also wept bitterly as he tried to undo the impossible.
“You have killed your punching bag! Are you now satisfied?” He continued to weep as I left for my room and locked it behind me.
He later called me to strategize for our ‘family honour’,
“What happened between me and my dear wife was an accident. I did to mean to kill her, how can I do such a thing. Since her death I am shocked to death but I cannot undo what I’ve done. However we can keep it a secret. People hate our family and look for what to gossip. Don’t explain to anybody it is not their business,’ dad emphasized, what do you expect from a girl of 15+ years, I held the secret until when I narrated it to you now. He bought me things and treated me as a princess just to keep my mouth shut, family members from both sides suspected foul play as they did everything to get the information but to no avail, my aunts were angry with me,
Tanta Njombat mom’s youngest sibling their chaat is a ‘panka’ she visited the house and confronted my dad;
‘You schooled your daughter to cover you up but Allah is all knowing, you’ve killed my sister but she has not taken away the shovel you’ll die someday and will meet her there wicked old fool!’ Then she left for her home.
Tanta Njombat changed approach and invited me to her home after school;
‘Don’t tell your dad you visited me but my princess what happen to my sister?’
I wept bitterly and said,
‘I went to school, I don’t know.’ Then she believe me and never bothered me again but deep inside her she strongly believed dad murdered mom.
The guilt overwhelmed him and he pampered me to become a pompous naughty brat which mom struggled against, she always reminded me of a Wolof Sage Kochaa Barma who says in a proverb your child disciplined him/her, your wife spoil her and your servant also spoil him/her. When Kochaa was asked, ‘why do you say so?’
‘If you train your ward/child wherever she/he goes will cope; your wife will never forget you as well as your servant.’
I missed my mom and always reflect on how she departed this world a victim of violence against women and when I grew up I felt the guilt that I was hoodwinked by dad to betray mom. I should have spoken the truth report him to the police to be jailed for killing my mom but I was young and lonely my dad was my pillar I lost a mom and was not ready to also lose a dad. Allah would forgive me for my innocence.
Pa Ambi held her tight to show his solidarity to their common identity, a cruel mom and a cruel dad!
My experience made me bitter and I stereotyped all men and it made me adopt the sexist ideology until I meet you and changed my mindset.
I also tested you by breaking the ‘china’ but instead of slaps I got advice to take it easy as not to hurt myself. I reflected on when mom broke our ‘china’, dad gave her nasty slaps and belittled her and said that the ‘china’ piece is more expensive than her entire family. You’ve passed all the tests which endeared me to you. I love you sweetheart and have promised to live with you in love, peace and fulfillment. They kissed and took their vows again in front of their baby triplets.
Njoms is pregnant again with their last child the scan showed a girl to be named after Mama Nogoi.
A leopard never changes its spots, even though Sagaar has challenges but dad did not show her a better example. Both of them started playing around, the sugar daddy plays with young girls who go after his money, Sagaar also since released from prison lives an I don’t care life, flirting with boys/men of her age.
One fateful day he caught Sagaar on her matrimonial bed flirting with a lover. Dad almost committed murder as he chased the young man with a machete, he came back and divorced Sagaar. The parting was nasty as they exposed their dirty linen in public for everyone to see and gossip about.
Dad ended up without a wife as the young girls and women ate his money without being serious; he later died from food poisoning and gossip blamed some of the rotten girls he was moving out with.
His property was shared according to Sharia and I ensured all his relatives he denied did have some benefits. I rented the mansion and deposited the monies for the triplets and their sister.
End of EPISODE 13