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The escapades of my youth with a witchdoctor

Today, I woke up towards noon. Of late, this has become my pattern.

My frail body and age do not allow me the freedom to do the things I did when I was younger. How I miss those years when I was so full of life and in full charge of my own body!

Can you imagine my spirit tells this body what to do, and it simply stares on? My spirit tells my legs to sprint, but my feet sluggishly move like all life has been drained out of them!

It is now that I realize if I had known that my body would get more disobedient with age, then I wouldn’t have pampered it the way I did.

Just the other day when I had gone to the hospital for medical review, I found a bunch of other elderly folks groaning about the discomfort their bodies were subjecting them to.

Even when they were not medically sick, their bodies found every reason to be in pain. I left relieved that at least I was not alone.

This hospital visit reminded me of an incident in my early twenties. After my mother’s death, the family elders decided that my father should take on another woman lest he follows her to the grave before his time.

My father remained resistant. He claimed he needed more time to mourn the woman of his youth. That was the first time I realized my father had actually had an ounce of love for our mother.

Quite often, he battered our mother even in our presence. I remember how mother would be thrown into panic once she heard her husband roaming from across the hill.

Like most men of his days, he usually went for a drink and return home singing at the top of his voice. That is how he always announced his return. As children, we would scamper away and leave mother to deal with her drunken husband. Never at any time did we hear her complain.

I do not know the kind of material such wives in that generation were made of. We agreed with the elders that our father needed a wife since all of us were adults and had left home.

He had been the typical African man who could not even boil water on his own. How then would he survive without a woman in his life? He later gave in.

The elders got a middle-aged spinster from another village. In a few months, she got married to our father. We are not sure why she had refused to marry at a young age, yet willing to move in with this old widower. These are not questions anyone would be comfortable asking their stepmother.

Our stepmother was a tough, mean-looking woman. I pitied my father putting up with such a creature in the house. Maybe God was punishing him for taking my loving, chubby and submissive late mother for granted. Now he had one that matched his highhandedness and brutality.

My father changed. He was no longer the mean, tough-talking man. Then the rumors started emerging around the village that my stepmother had bewitched him.

In a bid to establish the truth, I plotted to visit the village witchdoctor to gauge his powers. One evening, into the shrine I was. The witchdoctor shook himself uncontrollably like a mad spirit was on him.

I wanted him to know my problem without me telling him why I had come. When he asked me to tell the jajjas why I had come, I silently looked on like I was mute.

Then his diagnosis began: “It is your co-wife bewitching and making you a restless being on mother earth.”

I slowly broke into a smile. In a low tone, I whispered to him that he had done the right diagnosis for the wrong person; I was not married!

I went home and told my stepmother to keep doing whatever she was doing to tame my father; at least I was sure it wasn’t witchcraft. Oh, the escapades of my youth!

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