By Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.
Professor of Sociology
My chipesha mano (one who kills a man’s brain), my chipha dzula (sun killer), my momma (University of Zambia students lingo), and the prospects of seeing and being with my brown sugar Linda Jitanda again haunted me night and day. What haunted me was knowing something earth shakingly good was going to happen to me but not knowing when. I woke up every day just thinking of the moment and going back to my deep wild overwhelming feelings of passion during that memorable night at Sinjonjo Bar in Mongu. I went to the Lusaka Intercity Bus Terminal for several days checking for the buses from the Copperbelt. She was not on any of the buses. I began to give up. May be she was just playing games with me. But what a cruel game? May be she did not have transport money to catch a bus. May be she met someone else and was now happily married.
It was late morning just before noon at my NAMBOARD office. I was sitting at my desk in the office large room which other workmates busy working. The sounds and furious clacking of the big typewriters were as loud as ever. I was working on paper work for the Staff Training Workshop for Provincial Agricultural Officers at Mount Makulu Research Station the next week. Mr. Mbewe walked in and beckoned me to come out of the office. I quietly went into the corridor.
“There are two women looking for you,” Mr. Mbewe said in a whisper. “Come with me. They are waiting for you down stairs.”
“Who could they be? Were they speaking my mother tongue Tumbuka lnguage? Because I have so many relatives here in Lusaka from Lundazi.”
“I don’t know,” Mr. Mbewe replied. “I didn’t talk to them.”
When the lift or elevator stopped on the ground floor, I rushed out. I emerged out of the large front door to see 2 women standing on the right side of the entrance. The first slightly taller woman was my beautiful and stunning Linda Jitanda just standing there in a radiant glow. Time stopped.
Her face brightened, and her eyes lit up when our eyes met. My heart melted, and my surging passion irresistibly drew me to her as her tender full bosom pressed against my chest in a very unZambian broad daylight public embrace between a young woman and a man. I shook and held on to her right hand. Our palms were sweating and hands trembling. We stared into each other’s eyes and deep into each other’s souls of intimacy. We were at that moment engulfed in our own private secret world only lovers know. I was oblivious to throngs of people walking past us in and out of the Kwacha House building.
“F-le – nd Anna,” Linda uttered. “Mzanga (friend)” she added pointing to the other woman with her.
“Eh!! Ndine Anna,” Anna said as I shook her hand in the Zambian greeting while Linda and I were still holding hands. “Nakumana naye Jitanda ku Kamwala Market. Anifunsa kuti nimpelekeze ku zaona imwe. Cifukwa nizibako Chi Kaounde pang’ono.(I met Jitanda at Kamwala market. She asked me to escort her because she wanted to see you. I know a bit of Kaonde)
Linda tagged my hand and pulled me toward the side of the quiet, tall and isolated 6 floor NAMBOARD building. There were broken bricks, short scraggly grass and pieces of plastic and torn bits of papers blowing about. The short wire fence had a big hole in it through which people slipped to walk along the railway tracks as a short cut to and from Cairo Road. A big goods train thundered by drowning our voices bellowing its loud sirens at the Great East Road railway crossing. Linda had been saying something that I could not hear when the loud train was thundering by. The radiant smile was gone. Suddenly Linda’s face had a contorted face of anguish and pain.
“What’s wrong baby chiphadzuwa?” I asked as I rubbed her forehead with my right palm as she tightly gripped on to my left hand with both her trembling hands.
“P-leg-nanti!!!” she blurted pointing to her stomach.
“What!!” I shouted screwed my face furrowing my fore head. “What is she saying?” I asked as I turned to Anna who was 2 meters away.
“Ana Mimba uyu Linda.(She is pregnant.)”
I felt an arrow pierce right through my heart. The shock drained the energy from my head, my arms, knees, legs all the way to my feet as I collapsed on to my knees with my hands still desperately holding on to my Linda Jitanda’s hips. I sobbed as my forehead rested just below her belly button. I sobbed uncontrollably as Linda softly rubbed the hair on top of my head.”
“Why! Why! Why did you have to get pregnant!! Why! Why! When did it happen!!” I moaned. When I paused, I heard her soft sobs.
I looked up at her as she reached for the side of my head with her soft tender hands. She tried to lift me up as her tear drops landed on my head. I slowly crouched up from my shaking knees and a reached for her face. I wiped hot tears from her smooth soft cheeks.
“No, no, don’t cry baby,” I soothed her. “It’s going to be alright.”
“Something something in Kaonde. Something something 3 months Wilson” Linda said between sobs as she wiped her tears with the back of her hand.
“Imwe Ba Tembo uyu mkazi a mukonandi maningi.(Ba Tembo, this woman loves you very much.)” Anna said translating her Kaonde language. “Ana Mimba ya 3 months ya aWilsoni amene anaba forcing’a ma parents babo kuti ankhale mkazi wawo. (She is 3 months pregnant from Wilson the man her parents forced her to marry in the village. This is why she did not want to come and see you after she sent you that letter.)
**If you loved this story, this author published “The Bridge” a highly acclaimed romantic thriller novel in 2005 that reflects deep aspects of our Zambian culture. The Ministry of Education Curriculum Development CDC) in April 2015 approved or accepted the book to be used as a supplementary reader for grades 10 – 12 in the Zambian Secondary School Literature syllabus. An application was filed with the Zambia Examinations Council for the book to be adopted by Secondary School in June 2016. Please kindly contact Zambia Examinations Council to urge them to adopt the book.