Uncle, 60, takes his time to see what women have to offer

Commuting by taxi to work is the only way some of us get to know our fellow men.

Commuting by taxi to work is the only way some of us get to know our fellow men.

My commute is long and arduous and I hardly meet or see my neighbours during the week.

At weekends, funerals, shopping, movies and cleaning take up my time and there is no chance to exchange a few laughs or gossip with anyone.

That is why the taxi has become my lifeline and link to other people. It is also educational since I have an opportunity to learn about other peoples' cultures and the way they interpret the world.

I never had a chance to find out what cultural festival or ritual was to be performed in the Transkei after Easter last week. The queue was long and we had to wait 30 minutes before we could board for Johannesburg.

A voluble Xhosa man boarded with us. He was with two younger men who, perhaps, were his nephews, and he was telling them the facts of life. He kept us entertained until we reached Johannesburg. I will call him Joseph.

Joseph said he was going home to perform an unlikely duty. He was going to his isigodini to marry off his uncle.

His uncle, who had negotiated his amalobolo when he was preparing to marry, was getting hitched for the first time at the age of 60.

He said his uncle was backwards and took his time about making important decisions.

Joseph exuded a strong smell of yesterday's indulgence coupled with the whiff of a regmaker. He told his nephews that he loved everything about women, how they looked, how they dressed and how they walked.

"That is why, mtshana (my nephew), a man must open his eyes to what women have to offer. I married young at the proper time because I had found my woman.

"Uncle was blind to the pleasures a woman can bring to the home."

Joseph said he approved of women who wore skimpy and revealing outfits because some men needed to be bludgeoned between the eyes to wake up.

If they "do not see, they do not do". They have to be coaxed to do the right thing at the right time.

"Ngoku (now), I have to pay amalobolo for my uncle. I bet you the whole village will be laughing because of this. It is embarrassing to marry off a much older uncle when you are a nephew.

"This duty should have been performed by his brothers but they are now with their grandfathers. Even the off colour jokes at the wedding will be cruel."

Uncle was marrying a woman in her 30s and it would be confusing later in life when Joseph's sons called uncle's offspring uncle.

"The whole thing is upside down. Men should fulfil their family obligations when they are young. Some woman should have forced him to wake up a long time ago. Then I would have been spared this ordeal."