Home » General » How Kapitawo Was Taught a Lesson [column]

Back in the village, in the land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, it was that time of plenty — the time when crops flourished and life moved at supersonic speed.

The time of cucumbers, roasted or boiled maize, pumpkins, milk, sweet potatoes and every little good else from the fields.

Save for herding cattle and tethering goats, many people were relaxed and only worried about whose cattle strayed into whose field. It was indeed time of plenty.

Along Dande River, many gardens flourished with vegetables. The February incessant rains were the only obstacle, but in most cases the rains came soft as small cotton tufts, and villagers enjoyed the rains from the comfort of their homes, roasting green mealies, groundnuts and sweet potatoes.

Across the river the compound at Dande Farm was teeming with farm labourers, where a hodgepodge of silly stories occurred. Real stories but stranger than fiction.

This time around, the story of Kapitawo did the rounds. It spread like veld fire. It licked the ears of all and sundry — from the young to the old. It was the story at the water holes, beer drinking binges, in the homesteads, in the blankets, cooking women and indeed to cattle herders. It was the story.

Kapitawo was of Mozambican origin and was notorious for bedding neighbours’ wives. His defence was always that he was being neighbourly. Yes, neighbourly!

This particular day, one Banda, a huge man of Malawian extraction, left the compound to visit a friend three farms away. His wife prepared for his departure at supersonic speed. And then he left. She took him a few metres out of the compound and returned home. Kapiwato, who had arranged a date, was watching closely from the densely populated maize field, drooling. On the far side was a pole-and-grass thatched bathing room. That was the venue. Kapitawo entered first and a few minutes later Banda’s wife followed, a waist cloth that became the mattress. Thereafter, it was 10 out of 10.

But Banda had long smelt a rat. Banda had been tipped by neighbours and had actually teamed up with many men. Kapitawo was caught red-handed. They dragged him out in the nude and thrashed him silly. An irate Banda had to be restrained from severing Kapitawo’s dangling bits. While the neighbours allowed Banda to beat Kapitawo, they ensured that he did not kill him.

The wife stood in shock, mobbed by many men and children and a handful of women. Many other women, who had flirted with Kapitawo before, stood aloof, watching carefully from a safe distance. They feared Kapitawo would spill the beans under duress.

The farm manager, Kabutsu, was later to intervene and save a bruised Kaptawo from further punishment. By the time the farm manager came, Kapiwato and the woman were paraded in the compound ground, naked and ashamed. Kabutsu restored order, telling Banda to make an official report. Being a Sunday, the case would be dealt with the following Sunday, which was not a working day. Kabutsu made sure that the aggrieved did not attack Kapitawo until trial was over.

When there is an interesting case, days do not run, they fly, one after the other! Soon Sunday arrived and after hearing heads of arguments in pre-trial, Kabustu decided not to handle the case. Instead he referred it to the local chief’s court. Chief Chipuriro was a nice and humorous man. He was a good listener, educated and witty. He was fair and believed to be incorruptible. His court was held under a Muchakata tree, the huge tree that had stood the test of time. It had seen and heard many cases, week in week out. It had fairly provided shed to the complainants, defendants, arbitrators and the public at large. It was good at that. In the evening it had seen many courtships between village boys and girls. At night it had witnessed witches meeting before take-off for their various victims. But it was very silent. It never spoke. Its biggest speech was the whistling of its leaves and branches when caressed by wind. Nothing more! One-by-one the villagers came and indeed one-by-one the farm labourers came. At about mid-morning the chief arrived with his counsel and there was a standing ovation. Soon he sat on his chair, elegant, intimidating and authoritative as ever. The charges were read and Kapitawo sat on the ground listening to every word. He admitted committing adultery. Asked for mitigation, Kapitawo stood up and asked the chief to be lenient with him.

“I know this kind of crime normally ends up with the convict paying a beast. I appeal to this court to be lenient with me because I was caught while I had just started, your worship. Honestly, I had just started, and it would be unfair to make me pay a full beast . . .” There was commotion, kicking and shoving. Kicking, biting, kneeing and shoving. Shoving! Punching!

Source : The Herald

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