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Hiding under the veil of religion

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By Francis Tayanjah Phiri:

“Shame! Not the Lord please! You, youngsters of these days, do not feel ashamed hiding under the veil of religion and use your choir-practising time for episodes that have nothing to do with God’s work,” exclaims Happison’s Uncle, irked that one of his nieces has brought shame to his house.

He is lambasting his son, who, we hear, was some sort of custodian to the girl each time went out for choir practices and other religious functions.

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“Where were you when your cousin was getting ‘balooned’? I demand an immediate answer! Do you not know that society and even the church respects me and my wife?” fumes the old man.

“Father, girls are difficult to manage, really, Hlupi did not show any signs of tilting the devil’s way at any point.

“I am even shocked that the very choir master we have always respected is the one behind this pregnancy. We are all ashamed beyond measure,” says the young man, signs of remorse written all over him.

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“Uncle, baukilano wa sono niwazereza, mukwezgenge baka BP (youth of these days are useless, do not waste your time getting angry; otherwise, you run the risk of courting High Blood Pressure),” Happison bodly tells the uncle.

The old man stands up and retreats to his bedroom for some time. As he disappears, Happison laughs the loudest.

“You know what, I have always said that boys and girls of this house are always viewed as saints. I even warned uncle that the stares the girls are subjected to when we have male visitors in the house are not ‘religious’. I have always suspected something sinister in them, yet uncle vows that he has ‘saints’ in the house in the name of these youngsters because they are too religious,” Happison says.

As we are busy talking, the old man comes out of the bedroom, carrying a plastic bag. “Hlupe, uli nkhu? Zakuno lubiro (Hlupe, where are you, come here fast)! Face down, the girl comes where we are seated. Before she sits down, the old man grabs her and gets a syambok from the plastic bag and starts whipping the girl. “Mundikomenge badada, mundikomenge (you will kill me father, please you will kill me)!”

More anger appears to be mounting up in the uncle, he whips harder: “Chindere, chindere chakufikapo…ntchebe, chipiliri, tungwa (stupid girl, real stupid, dog, and scoundrel)!”

Maybe uncle feels cheated because the church leadership seems to be shielding the Choir Master.

“Why, why, hide under the veil of faith and religion when people shield wrong doers?” exclaims the old man as he retires to his bedroom.

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