MBALULA STANDS TALL
Fikile Mbalula's homecoming on Saturday was a colourful affair with hundreds of guests.
Outside the Mbalula household, in the humble suburb of Lorry Park about 10km from Bloemfontein, luxurious cars were parked and young women stepped out dressed to the nines.
They waited patiently to catch a glimpse of their hero and friend who had just returned from the mountain.
Among his friends were Tony Yengeni, Lunga Ncwana, Songezo Mjongile, ANC Youth League deputy secretary Vuyiswa Tulelo and Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini, Free State chairman Ace Magashule and Ace Ngcobo.
With his traditional nurse, Thembile Sulani, wiping his tears every now and then Mbalulacried like a baby as his mother imparted words of wisdom.
"When you disappeared we were worried that something bad might have happened to you," she said. "We are thankful to the Jola ancestors for protecting you. You did an honourable thing."
The event was not without drama. A Xhosa "boy" in his late 30s was beaten up by men after lying about his manhood.
The men became suspicious when he started taking pictures of Mbalula with his cellphone.
When they discovered that he was an inkwenkwe they took his phone, beat him up and threw him out of the tent. He later returned with the police but they arrested him for trespassing.
Tongues began wagging when a cow destined to be slaughtered for the ritual died outside Mbalula's home.
The animal's death in this manner means that something was not done right. But his uncle Mnyamezeli Klaas said it was nothing to worry about.
"The cow suffocated. Let's not make an issue where none ought to be," said Klaas.