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The East African : Aug 29th 2015
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE AUGUST 29 - SEPTEMBER 4, 2015 sho≥t sto≥y IX Losing Imelda By DAVID TUMUSIIME corpse. The little girl had been stuffed into a sisal sack. The dogs had fought over her while I dragging her through the muddy road. Nakato, who was walking to school with her baby sister Babirye, was the first to see the corpse. “I thought it was a mannequin’s hand because it only had three fingers. I wanted to take it home so I and my sister chased the dogs away to see what was in the sack,” she would tell the police and then the journalists who arrived at the scene. The girls screamed in horror when they saw what was in the sack and the other children came running to see. The Hormisdallen Primary School boys kept guard as the younger children ran back to get the zone security chairman. The sight of Imelda Ssikola’s corpse sobered up Frederick Amanye, the zone security chairman, although his breath was still laced with last night’s Kitoke gin. He wondered who could have done such a thing. The next day’s newspapers and televi- sion bulletins were filled with stories and headlines questioning what kind of a per- t was the dogs that found her. By the time the children, on their way to school, found her body, the dogs had nibbled away five toes and two fingers from Imelda Ssikola’s son could commit such a heinous act. ****** At the moment when Imelda Ssikola’s corpse was being discovered, her mother was causing an uproar in an Entebbebound taxi. The conductor and other passengers were irritated with her. She was mumbling to herself and kept insisting on sitting next to the door, but was reluctant to get up and let them out of the taxi. She would also take too long to get back into the taxi. A portly, cleanshaven man in the back seat, who was sitting between two women and who had tuned out the noise by listening to music through his earphones, told the conductor to throw her out. “Do you think that drunk has your money? Look at her, she even seems to have soiled herself,” he shouted. “It is no longer just booze with these young people. It is drugs too. They are all on drugs. Boys mostly, but some girls because if he goes, he’ll be gone for good,” Ssenga Edna had often told her. Edna, her mother’s big sister, had raised her after her mother died during childbirth. ‘‘ too. Of course it is worse when a girl is into such behaviour. I pity the fathers of girls today,” said the man in the second seat from the back, next to the window. Nalwadda Zipora could hear all that they were saying, but her mind was focused on ignoring them. “Just ignore them,” she told herself. One day soon, in a few months even, she would no longer have to travel by commuter taxi. Brendon was at Garuga and all she had to do was get there and change his mind. ****** “I love you and I want to be with you. But, your daughter is a problem,” Brendon had told her. They were drinking at Four Points in Entebbe. His friends had expected her to pour a Tusker on him or slap him hard on the face. But, she did not. “Never give a man an excuse to leave you because if he goes, he’ll be gone for good,” Ssenga Edna had often told her. Edna, her mother’s big sister, had raised her after her mother died during childbirth. Nalwadda had never understood what “Never give a man an excuse to leave you Ssenga Edna meant until that Thursday night at Four Points. For much of the evening, Brendon and his friends had been talking excitedly about their Friday ferry trip to Kalangala for the weekend. Brendon had said he would go, even after she had told him she would not be able to because she did not have anyone to leave Imelda with. She told Brendon about Imelda four months into their relationship. Brendon’s first reaction on seeing Imelda had been to ask, “What’s wrong with her head?” “I thought you whites know everything. She suffers from hydrocephalus. She was born like that,” Zipora had said, trying to make light of it. After meeting Imelda, Zipora noticed that Brendon stopped talking about their future. “One day we will go to New Orleans. I think you will love it there. It has a great African-American culture. With your voice you could sing in a club there,” he had often told her before meeting Imelda. Imelda had been a difficult baby to birth. The last time Zipora saw Imelda’s father was on the day she gave birth. By the time the nurses cleaned up Imelda, he was gone. He had called her a few days later full of accusations, “Are you a witch? What have you produced?” Ssenga Edna had wept on seeing Im- elda. “My child, have you been fornicating with other men while pregnant?” Ssenga Edna would only let her stay a month after Imelda’s birth before she told her, “You have to go, my child. I cannot be a part of your bad luck.” No one wanted Imelda. Zipora herself did not want Imelda. “If you take good care of her, one day she could be almost like other children,” the doctor had told her, trying to be kind. A year and a half later, Imelda was still not like other children. She would never be and Zipora was tired of pretending. Brendon was her life and she could not bear to lose him, but she could lose Imelda.
Aug 22nd 2015
Sep 5th 2015