Magwinya Woman

Written by: Ndaba Sibanda

She wakes up before dawn. Mounts 
her cardbox cubicle on the pavement
at a street corner. It is chilly and windy.

Without delay she pours cooking oil 
into the aluminum container perched 
on a three-legged stand under which
there are popping flames of fire.  

In the yellow bowl she stirs the flour
with vigour . The fire is warming her up.
With her hands she squeezes the flour 
into fist-sized lumps and drowns
them into the blistering oil .

Over a short space of time the blazing 
oil turns the floury swellings into brown 
round buns commonly known as magwinyas. 
With her fork she pierces each baked brown
roll and shrugs it off into another vessel. 

She yawns. The heat is soothing. It is coaxing.
She has to sell these chignons to eke out a living.
A single parent with four dependents. Like a thief 
something sweeps her away. Siesta says sister let us go…  

Her mouth is agape, there is a cascade of saliva   
going down her chin , down where lies her vessel. The 
sun’s rays are peeping. Her customers of school children
and factory workers halt and scream, “wow!”…and proceed.