Think before you thump

After playing the motivator last week, I chose to preach this week. I base my sermon on the thorny subject of violence against women.

My late friend Stan Mhlongo once told me, tears in his eyes, that the only memory he had of his mother was when a neighbour plunged a knife into her chest killing her.

The neighbour had been engaged in an argument with Stan's father when his mother came between the two men and tried to separate them.

"He just took out a large knife and plunged it into her chest. She fell and died on the spot," he said.

Decades later he had absolutely no recollection of his mother, except for that fateful day.

A few houses from my home, many moons ago, there was this family which sold vegetables.

I remember one day going to the house to buy onions for my mother. I found the lady of the house busy ironing, humming a pleasant tune.

While I waited for her daughter to fetch the onions from an adjoining room, the man of the house came in.

He said something I did not hear, and as the lady turned around to face him, he unleashed a devilish straight right into her face: Dlup!

She flew across the room and landed in an undignified way on her back, her scrawny little legs exposed high above her knees.

She lay still, her eyes wide open and blood pouring from her mouth and nostrils.

I thought she had died and hastily left without the onions.

The irony of it was the man was a known Bible puncher and a man of high moral standards - or so we thought.

He could be dead now, but all I remember of him is that haymaker of a punch and the terror it instilled in me.

After that I could never look him in the eye and avoided him at every opportunity.

I could also not face his wife. Her humiliation in front of me was too much for me to handle.

My mind refuses to remember that this was a man who went to church every Sunday and even held prayer meetings in his house.

Or that he worked himself to the bone, planting the vegetables he sold to feed his family.

Looking back, I can't believe that when I related the incident to my young friends, we all made fun of it and "joked" that he had "fed her beetroot".

If you beat someone until they bled from their mouth, we said you were making them eat beetroot, and we thought it was quite funny.

And then there was this teacher who returned from a school trip drunk out of his mind. As he got off the bus, out of the blue, he approached one teacher and let rip with a moerse punch, flooring him.

He turned around and went for teacher number two . same thing.

When he was done, three of his colleagues, also drunk by the way, were sprawled on the ground, holding their sore, painful jaws.

He became an instant hero among the boys after that.

Problem is afterwards I, perhaps a sissy, could not face the teachers who were humiliated in front of me.

It affected my concentration in class adversely, and thank God, I was forced to change schools soon after that.

Think about this, my sermon, before you bliksem your wife . or husband.