Quest to find her father
Quest to find her father
People had always wondered how she could have fallen in love with a man twice her age. Lindiwe (which translates to the awaited one in Zulu/Ndebele) had clung onto Mvelo (which translates to history in Ndebele/Zulu), a much older, pot-bellied, South African immigrant.
Lindiwe had been born to a South African father and a French mother in the early eighties. He had fled the apartheid regime and studied journalism at the Sorbonne. Her parents had never been formally married but they had lived together as a couple for several years during which time Lindiwe and her younger sister- Dudizile (the one who brings comfort to the grieving-in Ndebele/Zulu).
The love affair was motivated by lust and curiosity. Once the dust had settled and they had gotten into a routine, frustration settled in. Lindiwe’s father did not bring in a steady income as, apart from articles that he wrote in journals and magazines that were sympathetic to the cause that he stood for, there was little work for him to do. His spoken French was very good but he was unable to write journalistic articles for a francophone audience. He then became a perpetual student, doing doctoral studies that never seemed to end. His French wife fended for the family and she developed a growing resentment towards him. This was not helped by the fact that he had developed a strong affinity for alcohol that led to, sometimes violent, altercations. It is this love for alcohol that was to force her to kick him out of the house and into the cold streets of Paris. Young as his daughters were, at the time, they missed him. Lindiwe, in particular, who was about 7 years old at the time, loved to sit on his lap and play with his goatee as he regaled her with stories about his childhood, growing up in Soweto, South Africa. She loved the scent of his cologne. Naturally, she was distraught when he moved out but she found solace in knowing that she would still be able to see him from time to time.
He made friends with the dregs of society and had a few brushes with the law. Depression set in and his drinking habit worsened. He eventually disappeared into the ether, never to heard of or seen again. Tales were told about how he had thrown himself into the icy waters of the river Seine in a drunken stupor. Some said he had fallen asleep on the streets of Paris and succumbed to hypothermia.
And so it was that Lindiwe and her sister had been raised by a single mom in the suburbs of Paris. As they grew older, they had a growing awareness of the fact that, although they were French, they were different from the majority of the Parisians in their community. They had caramel skin and kinky hair for which they were often complimented.
“Oh, qu’est-ce que vous etes jolies les filles”, people would often say.
Lindiwe longed to travel to South Africa to meet her father’s side of the family. She also still hoped that he was still alive. Perhaps he had quietly returned to South Africa?
When the time came for her to go to university, she decided to take up African studies at the Sorbonne
He was a tall, imposing black man, with a distended belly that hung over his waist, making it impossible to see whether or not he was wearing a belt. He held a doctorate in African history and, to Lindiwe’s amazement, spoke flawless French, amongst other languages. He was the bookish type. Had never been married. He had tried to get hitched several times. His efforts had come to nought. He had thus resigned himself to bachelorhood, although, he still had an appreciation for beautiful young women. As such when he first met Lindiwe, an 18 year old student at the time, he was very impressed but he thought she was out of reach.
She too was most fascinated by him. He was not a good-looking fellow, by any stretch of the imagination but he was very bright. What intrigued her the most were the similarities between him and her father. At her request, she had started spending time with him outside of the lecture theatre and he often regaled her with stories about his childhood that were very similar to the stories that her father had recounted when she was much younger. As a result, she became very attached to him. She was ridiculed for dating an older man but she was deaf to all ridicule. She had found a man who would help to fill the void that she had felt for so many years. He had found the one that he had been waiting for so long, Lindiwe, the awaited. Definitely worth the wait. And she was now getting acquainted with her history (umvelo).
She may not have found her father but she had found peace and happiness