Now I know why the flock do the Bazalwane hug

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
Two people hugging.
Two people hugging.
Image: 123RF/Konstantin Kamenetskiy

It is only this past Wednesday that I finally understood the science behind the bazalwane hug; where they embrace with great discomfort, at least a foot away and with only their hands making physical contact. I get it now. It is a necessary contraceptive for misdeeds - however innocent.

I pulled into the laundromat for my quarterly coat cleansing and parked right next to a Hummer. An inordinate machine, and a rare sight in our small rural town. I was keen to see who the gentleman alighting was and busied my mind with colourful contrivances about their character.

A middle-aged man dressed like an additional member of the Isley brothers descended as if he had just commanded St Peter to roll out the red carpet. An aura about him instantly announced that he was no ordinary folk. He carried a basket load of suits and some whites. He was confident and seemed to know that he is known. Indeed, the staff at the cleaners greeted him with familiarity and started on registering his apparel.

A long white silky scarf caught my attention. It had beautiful embroidery of a church name along his neck as he demonstrated to the young man serving him how he wears it.

My suspicion of his Christian agency was confirmed by another older man who walked in and greeted him as "Bishop." Now I could complete the potboiler in my head with ease.

'There is a church donation especially dedicated for the care of his suits and his Sunday garb. That monster he drives does not run on anointed oil; the tithes must be substantial at this institution. His car registration was not local, so he came from afar to heed his calling. And from his dress sense, he was a wild youngling before the holy ghost saved him."

As I am busy creating drawing from my prejudices to create unsolicited falsities about this man, the young man asks him about the stain on his white cassock.

"Juice? I don't know. It must be some food," he says.

"It looks like a rouge Sir." countered the guy innocently.

This man denied the possibility of it being a lipstick stain so much that my friend and I were drawn into the debate to confirm it seeing that we wore some lip-colour ourselves.

I had never realised how offensive a lipstick stain could be. I mean, I was more towards the armpit for krissake! A couple of lip prints. Red. Satin. But the bishop would not have it. Forget Peter's three denials. The bishop denied a lipstick stain a whole of seven times!

Where would he be hugging red lipped knaves, he asked?

"It's not a rouge bantu beNKosi!" he prayed, as I vibrated with restrained giggles.

I eventually comforted him by conceding to that being a stain from Oros. He desperately needed the redemption. It felt like he was being accused of a cardinal sin. Red lipstick on a cassock. God forbid!

Many a man may never see eternity because of red lips.

The bishop must have unwittingly overstepped hugging boundaries. Thank God for dry cleaners!

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