Thursday 13 August 2015
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An African Tale chapter seven

Aunt Matilda, his father’s sister, had grown up in Lesedi’s village of Jao, although this was something she didn’t like to broadcast. She was terribly, terribly posh and spoke with an affected accent using long English words. Sometimes she didn’t put the words in the right places but that didn’t seem to bother her. Matilda decided at an early age to leave Jao and go to the big city to find herself a rich husband. She wheedled as much money as she could out of her father and left for Gaborone, vowing never to return. When she got there she took English lessons and studied fashion magazines, kitting herself out in the latest designs. Not being unattractive she soon managed to find the man she wanted in the form of a chairman of one of the big mining companies. Before he had time to think about it she had moved into his mansion of a home and taken over. Because of his position he couldn’t afford to create a scandal, so he married her and she was set. Matilda produced two rather obnoxious children who refused to go anywhere near Jao, regarding their mother’s side of the family as backward and of no consequence.

The last time Lesedi had seen Aunt Matilda was at a relative’s funeral in the village about six months earlier. She arrived at the last moment in a very expensive outfit, her hair smartly done, and made such a fuss you would have thought the funeral had been especially arranged for her to show off. She went on about Lesedi’s bare feet and how scruffy he looked and then proceeded to pull the rest of the family to pieces in a similar manner. Lesedi tried to keep well clear of her but just before the end of the proceedings she grabbed hold of him and sat him down next to her. He was terrified and sat there rigidly looking down at his feet. Matilda herself didn’t relish having this grubby child next to her but she put on a false smile, gingerly taking his hand. She had painted her lips with red stuff and Lesedi thought she looked like a hyena with blood around its mouth.

“How would you like to come and live with your clever cousins, Diana and Charles” (she had named them after you know who) “and go to a proper school?” she said, baring her teeth at him in what she regarded as a charming smile and what he thought looked like a snarl.

“NO!” said Lesedi rather quicker and more emphatically than he had meant to.

“What do you mean, NO? You ungrateful child!” she snapped and then quickly, trying not to show her irritation too much, smiled her hyena smile again. “Don’t be silly. I’ll talk to your grandfather and your father and make the arrangements.”

With that he was dismissed and he ran off horrified at what she had said. He couldn’t go to the city now. He was just starting to learn all sorts of useful things from his grandfather, things he would never be able to learn in the city.

“Father, I need to converse with you,” Matilda shouted over to the old man sitting quietly in the shade. Lorato tapped the sand next to him with his stick without looking up at her. Matilda had no intention of sitting in the sand next to him as she had as a child, so she grabbed a chair and popped it down in front of him. Kilo, her uncle, had told her that they needed to get Lesedi to the city before he got too old and was influenced by Lorato. He had plans for him and his grandson Lotobo. Matilda was pretty sure that this meant power and money and she wanted to be in on the act. So she was going to use all her powers of persuasion with her father and brother, and if this didn’t work she would just come and fetch him.

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