Of Blessed Princes: A review

The Blessed Princes: A ReviewBlessed princes book review

The Blessed Princes is a novella by Micheal Mc Portar Mupotaringa and Monalisa Chishato.

This easy read  37 pages long is an intriguing short story that’s next to impossible to give a summary or review of without giving away any spoilers. Blessed Princes explores the whirlwind dynamics of relationships, marriage and cheating.

The book opens with an unlikely chance encounter, a wife meets her husband’s mistress…..thats some real drama right there and of course you will want to know how  the everything gets resolved especially if you throw in that both the the wife and mistress are pregnant and the mistress  is engaged to be married to someone else. You can even tell that from the cover page art… What a tangled web they weave.

The book title is curiously interesting but you will have to read it to for yourself, a book gotta have its mystery…. and of course a cliff hanger at the end…..

Its way too short to totally do justice to the intricate dynamics of relationships, the lies, deception and the secrets entangled and woven into the fabric of our interactions. A few continuity errors which could have been easily fixed by fleshing out the plot also jar the reading experience of an otherwise interesting way to spend a few minutes of your life seeing what the plot unravels.

A link to where you can download the book The Blessed Princes

 

Monalisa Chishato and Mcpotar

In an interesting aside, the co-authors begun working on this project just after they started dating bu the book got published a week after they broke up one would wonder if it were an intricate publicity stunt….They say it was not but of course thats what anyone behind a publicity would say

“No it’s not a publicity stunt but yes it’s an opportunity.”

~Michael Mupotaringa

I guess that means dont hold your breath waiting for a sequel to the cliffhanger ……

~B

PS would you date your co-author?

Day 8 of my blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

Photocredit mcpotar.com

 

 

 

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Of The Mistress Chronicles

Sometimes people scroll past my Twitter timeline and get *mused* by the barely formed story plot ideas I have just floating around on the twitterverse, most times they hardly tell me about it, a rare few do though and an even rarer number still, not only do but also allow me to feature the resultant product on my blog.

Melody read this tweet and was inspired to start writing a guest feature series:

 The Mistress Chronicles by Melody Chingwaru

Prologue

As the bible says man that is born of  a woman is of few days, beloved let us remember that our days are numbered and we should cherish the memories we had with our loved one” the pastor’s voice echoed in my ears. Was he gone for real?

Tears glisten in my eyes as I watch his casket lay on the lowering rails and I feel my heart sink. I will never see his smile, the warmth of his arms and how his voice creaked whenever he called me. My baby, my love, my…. ! I hope Mazvita will allow me to throw some flowers into his grave when the casket is lowered.

The pastor’s voice interrupts my thoughts_

It is now time to say your final goodbyes, may all family members collect some soil from the shovels and as soon as the casket is lowered into the ground please feel free to come over” he says

I watch as his casket is lowered into the ground and his daughters form a line to bid their dad farewell. I glance around in search of Mazvita; I need to know where she is first before I can attempt to do the unthinkable. I dart my eyes to the chairs and our eyes meet, her eyes convey that  pity look. I hold my gaze as a way to seek her approval to advance towards the grave.  Her eyes convey nothing as response but that does not deter me as I soon find my way to the grave to throw my roses.

I hurriedly move through the crowd to the grave and I throw my roses. I mutter a few words silently, “Till we meet again, rest in peace Mhofu”. I did it, I know it sounds so little of a gesture but you will soon understand why! You see life does not prepare you for days like this and in as much as I have read many self help books, I was not ready for this.

 

 

…………………….

This is a series so do stay tuned.

Melody can be found on twitter melching91

Melody Chingwaru Book review Gold Diggers

 

 

 

 

 

Of Love In The Time Of Chocolate Cake

Guest Post

Love in the time of chocolate

Chocolate Cake

The rich chocolatey smell of the cake overwhelms my nostrils, coating the fine hairs with thoughts of warm crushed cocoa beans. I savour the heft of the slice in my hand, marvelling at the glossy, delicate swirls of chocolate butter cream. My mouth is heavy with saliva. I close my eyes and lean in for that first eager bite.
A bright shaft of light pierces my eyelids and a voice drills into my head: vasikana havasweri vakarara. Confused I open my eyes. Where is my cake? Where is the chocolatey goodness that was meant to transport me to confectionery seventh heaven? As my mother continues to bustle around the room, the clouds lift. It was all a dream. A beautiful tantalising dream cruelly snatched away by another person’s intervention. I was too young at the time to know that it would be a recurring theme, though sadly too often it was my dreams being snatched away in real life, with no warm bed to snuggle back into.
As a black girl growing up in Harare, I learnt early on that I did not have the luxury of sleeping in during the school holidays. By 6am my mother would have woken me up to get about my industrious day. Because my training to be the perfect wife could not be left to chance and circumstance and sleeping in after 6am.

Zimbabwean society places a very high value on a woman being married. As a young girl, your waking moments are devoted to furthering the cause of your future marriage. A family does not just raise a daughter, their combined efforts are preparing a wife. A woman who will not only be an excellent cook and homekeeper, but one whose focus is on keeping her husband happy. And if she can issue forth from her loins strong strapping sons to carry on his family life, she has fulfilled her God-given purpose. She has earned her title of A Real Woman. But A Real Woman training takes time and sacrifice. When you are younger, the unfairness of watching your brothers play outside, with their ball made from the brightly-coloured sacks the potatoes you spent hours peeling came in, becomes something of a permanent friend. You don’t yet possess the sophisticated lexis to describe the unfairness, but you feel it deeply. You feel it when you are the one to pluck that live chicken. Smell it when you need to clean and squeeze out its intestines. Bleed it as you cut deftly through the bones to make sure there is enough chicken to go around at dinner time, in the hope that no unexpected visitors drop by as dinner is to be served. Season that tomato and onion chicken stew with a large dollop of unfairness and as you suckle the marrow of those bones and lick the juices dripping down your arms, unfairness cuts off your contented burps because the mountain of dishes still awaits you. To be a good young black girl is to know service and unfairness intimately.

  • Zimbabwean society raises us to be perfect wives for imperfect men

A girl born into a relatively traditional Zimbabwean family is a potential return on investment in the bride price that can be charged for her. For those lucky enough to be blessed with natural good looks and child-bearing hips, their value increases exponentially. As early as when you are a chubby-cheeked toddler, aunts are already exclaiming what a pretty wife you will make one day. Before you even have full command of your own bowels, plans are already underfoot to offload you for a few beasts and healthy wad of cash. Because your beauty is not your own, your beauty belongs to the family to financially maximise on, at hopefully not too distant a point in the future.

So now it’s 6.01am. You have lifted your head off the pillow. And you groan inwardly at the thought of pillows because today is a laundry day and all the sheets need to be washed. Six pairs of sheets and pillowcases that need to be washed by hand, hung out to dry, ironed and then beds remade. All before 3pm because the evening meal needs to be prepared and ready by 6pm. You don’t want to miss the start of wrestling on tv by not getting your timings right. You trudge to the bathroom and complete a cursory ablution. You will bath once the laundry’s done and the house swept and floors polished and breakfast and lunch dishes put away and the meat simmering on the stove. 12 years old and you already have the house running like clockwork.

As you proceed to scrub the kitchen floor on hands and knees, your older brother trudges in from outside, trailing muddy footprints to the fridge. Sadly, you don’t yet know any expletives to tell him what a fucking cunt he is for dirtying your floor. But the anger is real and hot and burns in your throat. For all he knows about clean floors, there is a Floor Elf that whizzes in every afternoon and abracadabraes all the dirt away. You don’t hate your brother exactly, but you swallow the unfairness each time he walks into the house dragging in smells of sunshine and rolling around in the grass and the happy dampness of hosing each other down in water fights.

You go back to clean up his muddy footprints and look on the floor with a kind of grim satisfaction. You are confident you have done enough to ensure not being made to re-do it as your mother’s opprobrium rains down on you, warning you that uchatinyadzisa wadzoswa. What could be more humiliating than your future husband returning you to your family because you could not scrub a floor properly. How would you ever live down the shame of being a slatternly wife who could not maintain hearth and home? There wouldn’t be enough earth to swallow you whole!

To be an average Zimbabwean woman is to know the fear of never getting married. To be one of those women looked down upon with a certain degree of contempt and pity, with a side of What If She Steals Our Men fear for good measure. So you learn early on to comport yourself in a manner that makes people remark kuti mwana ane tsika iyeye. You sit with your legs tightly closed, and in lax moments where your legs betray you and fall open, one eagle eyed glare from your mother is enough to jam your legs back together, straining your muscles in abject fear of dropping your guard again.

Requests to bring more tea for the guests are a blessing in disguise as you can discreetly wipe away the sweat that has been pouring down your legs in superglued legs exertion. You are young, but the need to be nice in company has been drilled into you. Cautions of not running around like a wild animal chasing each other in your head. The burn marks from the carpet as you greeted each adult on your knees still stinging slightly. You answer questions politely, just enough information so they don’t think you are a bit slow, but not so much that they leave thinking that chimwana chiye chinoganhira. You serve guests with scalding cups of tea and chocolate cake, harnessing both your culinary skills and generosity. You clear cups and saucers quickly and quietly, making sure not to disrupt the adults. You know what it is to be a good girl. How then can you fail to be a good wife?

Through all this, the mud-trailing brother has come in and said a perfunctory hello and gone back to his outdoor games. You are told later on that boys don’t mature as quickly as girls do. You believe it because Mud Trailer can barely wash the skidmarks out of his own underwear, or make himself a decent toasted sandwich. Don’t even think about getting him to get that neat crease in his white long-sleeved school shirt. Somewhere else in Zimbabwe, your co-labourer is perfecting her skills so she can do all those things for him. She knows as well as you do, that a man doesn’t need to be able to not burn a hole in his shirt every time he picks up an iron. All these lessons in cooking and cleaning you have been learning have been for his benefit and for that of his family. Without a husband to validate those skills, really what is the point of having darkened your knees on so many floors and strained your neck hanging up those thick wet winter blankets?

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients

2/3 cup margarine

2 eggs

1 T vanilla

4 T cocoa

2 ½ cups sifted flour

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ¼ t soda

½ t salt

1 ¾ cup ice water

Method

  1. Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla till fluffy for about 5 minutes (electric beater or by hand).
  2. Blend in chocolate (sifted if lumpy).
  3. Sift flour with soda and salt and add to creamed mixture alternately with iced water..
  4. Bake in a round tin in a moderately hot oven until done (approximately 30 mins)

 

Guest Post by Eleanor Madziva

Bio

Eleanor is an itinerant Zimbabwean with a passion for picking lint out of her navel, while trying to find the best ways of not turning into a charred mess in the desert heat. Less a writer, more a person who writes.

Eleanor Madziva

Twitter @Madziva_Eleanor

Of coffee and marriage

If you were having coffee with me, I would greet you at the door and I would ask you if you aren’t glad I’m not the kind of host to insist that you take off your shoes because the floors have been waxed and shined to glass like perfection.

I have decided people who insist this simply want to cheat you into helping them shine their floors with your socks. If you are going to make such an imposition at least use a colourless floor wax and not a vivid red or thick black which has a nasty habit of staining the soles of your feet/socks and the inside of your shoes unless of course you are going to help me with my sock laundry and or a pedicure 😂

If you are having coffee with me and I ever visit your house, and you ask me to remove my shoes I’ll insist on staying outside, I am wearing mismatches socks you see,🙈 actually you can’t see it, that’s why I’ll keep my shoes on.

One minute you have a drawer full of matching pairs of socks, next time you look again and you find only one of each. 😯 I am strongly considering buying a pack of the same colour of socks but you might think I never change them 😂 now stop trying to catch a glimpse of my ankle cleavage to see if my socks match. . …😛

If you were having coffee with me, I’d tell you about how I accompanied my older brother for the lobola (bride price) ceremony for his fiancee. For those not familiar with this traditional custom of ours, this is when the prospective son-in-law gets formally welcomed into the family and introduced to the father of the bride, after negotiations and payment of the bride price of course, and this is also when you get to request for or asked if you intend to have a church wedding…..

Some argue that paying of a bride price objectifies females into possessions that can be bought, and is blamed for some instances of domestic violence, where one feels entitled to certain privileges by virtue of having paid for it.

I had an interesting discussion with an uncle of the bride, who was remarking how the tradition has been warped by folk who simply want to profit from their daughter’s marriage making unreasonable demands on their prospective son-in-law. How would they expect him to look after his
new households if they take all he has saved up.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the main reason for the lobola (bride price) ceremony is not about the money it’s about showing your commitment, being introduced to the family and also an excuse for a family to show off how they raised a proper daughter who leaves home by marriage (culturally having a child out of wedlock is scandalous to say the least) and in the event of your divorce, they would like for you to gather them as you did to tell exactly why you will be parting ways.

The negotiation ceremony is quite the headache if I might confess but this is also part of how it all works out. According to the family elders “One does not appreciate that which comes easily.” So all the challenges you experience are for a reason, and to make you value your commitment.

A wedding is loading watch this space

If you were having coffee with me I’d tell you that as soon as we came back from the ceremony the first question I got asked was … “So Beaton you are next, when are we getting a bride….”

Laugh Out Loud

~B

Of The Muse In You: Dead End

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE: Online Strangers

becoming

The story so far:

I received an email  from a stranger I decided to reply it, after a google search check to verify if email address was implicated in any scams. Now I decided how I should proceed.

The popular opinion “investigate cautiously” as you wait to hear from her

 

Once upon a time I got an email from a princess, her father, a warlord had been executed by rebel forces, leaving her sole heiress to a vast fortune in blood diamonds and prime real estate, worth several hundred six figure digits. All she needed was someone to marry her, then to transfer ownership of the late warlord’s estate to husband, so that the government would be unable to forfeit the assets and fortune. If I married her, she would grant me a quarter of the wealth, which would still be in the six figure region too. The catch though was that I had to wire transfer her plane ticket money and my bank details so she could begin part of the transactions……

Sounds too good to be true right? Yeah, that’s what a typical email scam looks like, you get lured in with a promise for wealth, lottery or a lucrative business investment and then asked to advance cash for something or other suddenly bang all the money in your bank is gone…….

Constant Vigilance” I thought to myself, in the words of Mad Eye Moody teaching a class for Defence Against Dark Arts in the Harry Potter Books. “Well if I knew what to look out for I wouldn’t get scammed, right?”

I opened my Google to do a bit of internet research. It’s strange, how little we know of what happens to world around us, even though the information is right there, if you know where to look. Nya Chiuta’s hometown state was in the area were the nightmarish abductions where being done by the Boko Haram, I had seen it on the news, I might have even tweeted a solidarity message hashtagged #bringbackthegirls. But could a hashtag ever really bring back anyone?

Who or what was the Boko Haram anyway and why did they kidnap people? Well according to Google, they are The Islamic State in West Africa and have gone by various names most popular being Boko Haram, which loosely translates to “western education is forbidden”  or “western influence is a sin” or “Westernization is sacrilege”…..

As I was doing my research, I happened to stalk Nya’s Facebook profile again to check when she was last active and noticed a tagged post. She was tagged in a post where people we people were praying for her safe return………..

A ping indicating new email interrupted my research.

It was an email from the mailer daemon indicating that the email to Nya Chiuta had failed reason unavailable mail server.

Message not delivered

What happens Next?

  1. Dead End: The End
  2. Check Email address and try again
  3. Send Facebook message
  4. Check if Facebook profile has alternative contact number
  5. Go to Tagged Facebook post contact person who tagged her

Of MaRooro: A Traditional Marriage

Marriage has always been the ultimate commitment to any relationship, sometimes unspoken even downright ignored but it’s always there lurking…………..

a ring

In the Zimbabwean culture, the aunts Vatete (your father’s sisters) and their children (vazukuru) are the pillars of a family, they mediate and interpret the wills and wishes of the fathers and uncles….

There is a Shona saying:

Muzukuru mudonzvo

Meaning the nephew is an uncle’s walking stick.

When you plan to get married and also honour the traditional way, you first inform your aunt and she helps break it to your family and father(s) that you are now grown up and wish to marry. You contact the aunts of your fiancée’s family and they consult with their family and a date is set up when the in-laws can come to be seen, to ask for the daughter’s hand in marriage and pay the bride price (roora/lobola)

It’s a big to do, the day the in-laws come, marooro, the whole family gathers. A lot of cooking goes down and some will miss out (usually the daughters-in-law) as they will be stuck behind the scenes cutting vegetables, cooking and cleaning making sure everything is perfect….

When everyone is assembled and ready a message is sent out to the suitors that they can send in their go-between/mediator (munyayi). Sometimes the aunts can help you arrange for a mediator who understands the fathers to help swing things in your favour as cultural differences can cause misunderstandings, before the formalities are done one cannot be directly address wife’s uncles, hence the need for a go-between.

The mediators arrives and the fun begins.

First the mediator cannot sit on the sofas, even if invited to do so must decline politely and sit on the floor. The lobola (bride price) negotiation ceremony is delicate balance between a very somber affair and a light hearted occasion, and the mediator must walk this fine line navigating through the proposed figures and what they are willing to pay/afford to pay. Sometimes these talks have been known to break down so irrevocably that they get cancelled and the suitors are told to come back better prepared or when they are more serious….

Generally a list such as the one below will be presented with the proposed figures and the mediator takes the list to back to agree with the suitors and item by item they make a counter offer. The mediator will do a lot of back and forth as the suitors will be waiting a distance away or at a family friend’s house.

lobola list

Ndiro –is money for the plate the money will be put into, and no you wont get a discount even if you bring your own plate.

ndiro yeroora

ndiro

Vhuramuromo – which translates to Open Mouth is money so that the uncles can start talking otherwise they stay quiet even if you greet them. #FunFact A bribe is known as vharamuromo meaning close mouth (hush money)

Mauchiro ana baba – Round of applause to welcome and greet the fathers

Mauchiro ana mai – Round of applause to welcome and greet the mothers

Makandinzwa nani – how did you hear about us? That we had a beautiful daughter

Matekenya ndebvu – Tickling beard for the times growing up the daughter was playing with her father’s beard

Mafukudza dumbu – For the mother, for indignities suffered during child birth

Pwanyaruzhoafence breaking, this is a charge for the times their daughter snuck out of the house to come see you.

Rusambo– the actual bride price

Danga- the cows which can be delivered as actual cows or a cash representation

All of these items on the list are paid for with individual sums ranging from $1 to even an outrageous $20 000 depending with families.

No one is ever supposed to pay the whole amount and it’s a bit of scandal when suitor pays everything down to last cent, they say you are showing off, that you are trying to buy their daughter and take her far away and have no reason to ever come back and also be unaccountable should you harm or abuse your wife.

The change you leave behind that debt which you promise to finish is never really paid it’s a way for one to come back and meet the family and say I have brought a little of that amount that I never finished, also for the family to be able to ask favours of you. The elders say one takes better care of something you are still paying for. There is a Shona saying:

“Mukwasha muonde haapere kudyiwa”

Translation the son-in-law is a fruit tree one never stops eating from.

When the mediator is done with these formalities and payment negotiations finally the suitors are ushered into the house and welcomed and introduced into the family Kupinda mumusha.

Now they greet with their father in laws and they are now family.

 

If the are plans of a church wedding, this is when you inform and make a request of your intentions……

It seems easy enough, but it is all quite an emotionally taxing event, tempers will get tested, nerves will be frayed it seems like the negotiations go on for ever…….

 

What has your experience at such an event been like I am curious any different items on The Lobola list

~B

 

day 11 blog everyday challenge