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Hlomu the Wife

Hlomu the wife is essentially a love story that takes its cues from life in a South African township. A young woman named Mahlomu meets Mqhele Zulu and they fall in love. Even though aspects of Mqhele’s personality and past make her uncomfortable, Hlomu is happy. Their love is strong and they stand by each other through good and bad. But Mqhele and his seven brothers have a dark and tumultuous past that involves a dead warlord father, mob justice, and lots of unaccounted-for money. The Zulu brothers are rich, handsome, powerful and dangerous. They eventually become one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Johannesburg – but the inherent danger remains.

They all move at once, walking slowly into the yard with Qhawe stopping now and again to pick some things and throw them back on the ground again.
“Where is this mami?” Lwandle, the ever so curious one, asks.
“It’s daddy’s home,” I say.
“Ewwww it’s ugly,” he says with a frown on his face.
Okay, I don’t have a comeback for this one, so I just keep quiet.
I see Nkosana sitting down on a stump of what used to be a wall. Each follow suit and sit wherever they can find space on the high grass. I don’t think they are talking at all.
Ntsika is the only one still walking around the place, inspecting everything he sees. Perhaps he is looking for a reminder.
I notice that on three houses facing us, groups of people have gathered and are looking this way. I doubt they all live in those houses, I think someone must have called them to ‘come and see’ this.
I’m immediately uncomfortable being here. The story about how they left comes to mind once more. What if this community is still hungry for revenge? What if they weren’t happy that the children got away? Maybe we should go now.
Mqhele walks back to the car, opens the sliding door and signals for the kids to come to him. I let them go. He looks at me and I shake my head. He nods, closes the door and walks back with the kids running ahead of him, jumping like they’re in some kind of Adventure Park.
They continue sitting, now all in one place with their knees up, looking directly at the three houses across where the number of people gathering seems to keep increasing.
At least now they’re talking, I’m getting even more uncomfortable.
It’s about an hour before Nkosana stands up and starts walking back. They all follow him. It’s interesting how he always leads the way for them, it must be a hard responsibility always trying to ensure they don’t stray.

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