Hanging out: Underwear factor


You may call it the ‘politics of underwear or underpants’but the fact is that this is one of the subjects that can really cause a sensation in families and society. And, this subject can make many a mouth stammer -depending on what context the underwear factor is playing at.

For some minutes I have left my breakfast untouched despite that my hosts at this Zomba home decided to include some local favourite dish of mine, potato futari. What has reduced my huge appetite for this dish is the conservation – if not heated battle of words, going around the table; and by way of extension, in the kitchen.

This is the home of my longtime friend and school mate based in this old capital. One of the things I have always envied my friend is stability in his home plus the aspect that he is blessed with a very beautiful wife and two cute kids – a girl and boy.


My ‘kudos’ to the wife for not taking me and my friend to task for staying the bulk of last night drinking around Matawale, boozing from one bar to another.

But this enviable atmosphere has been spoiled by their housemaid, or whatever has prompted her to shout on top of her voice like that.

Amayi ndimakupatsani ulemu, koma kundinamizila kuba mwandinyanyula (madam I give you respect but I cannot watch in silence when you accuse me of theft),” the maid, which I admit is another beauty in the house, shouts on top of her voice.


The madam of the house looks very irked. She leaves her position on the breakfast table and rushes to the kitchen.

“Since you have started discussing that issue in the presence of our guest here, I will say everything I did not want other ears to hear. The children here saw you wearing my underwear that you stole; don’t ask me how they saw you wearing it, undipatse ulemu (respect me)!” she shouts on top of her voice.

In shock my friend – her husband – just exchanges glances with me as the war of words goes on.

Mayi, I have never stolen and I don’t steal and let alone under wears. Ask Juma the garden boy, he will tell you I don’t put on underwear and the few times I do sindimavala panti wakusitolo koma osoketsa (I don’t put on underwear from shops but cotton ones made locally by tailors)!”

I direct my glance towards where my friend is sitting and see all his face registering real disappointment. But the maid is not yet done.

“If you cannot trust Juma, ask madala, abambo a Jnr., which is your husband, he will confirm my case. He has never seen me wearing any underwear save on Sundays when I put on the tailor cotton kabudula, trust me, I have not put on the lace underwear that Juma the garden boy says you usually wear,” she says.

“Oh God, so you are dating Juma my wife!” my friend exclaims, tears rolling from his eyes before he retires to the bedroom.

The wife shakes her head in anger and looks confused that I have witnessed such a scene and foul talk; she comes and pats me on the shoulder. “Sorry mulamu (brother-in-law), some of these things are too crazy for your palate. However, your friend should not pretend that what I did was worse than we have heard of his bedding the house girl!”

I gather the courage to say: “Sorry, sorry, these things happen, just take it easy!”

But she pours out more dirty linen of their house. “Knowing him he would vow that he did not do it, but let me tell you that just last week, on his way from a drinking spree, the first thing I noticed when he switched on the lights in the bedroom, was that he was wearing a woman’s underwear – to be precise, a g-string.”

My mouth fails to open for any comment, but I am in for more shock.

“When I asked him how come the lady’s underwear was on him, he irked me further as he said it was the work of the devil who exchanged the underpants,” she says, and allegedly quotes the husband: “My wife, I did not do what you think I did, it is just that Satan has sat on my shoulders, it will never happen again!”

I drink a glass of water and say bye!

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