Sunday, 11 September 2016


I come from a rural set up, both my parents are peasant farmers but they can afford to pay for our fees.

Comparatively speaking, my mother’s side is better in terms of resources. Her sisters and brothers are well up. In our family we are three, I am the oldest and the only son. I am now doing Upper Six but I started staying with mainini, my mother’s sister since O-Level.

My other mainini stays with my sister who comes after me. My parents stay with the last born only. The reason we do not go to our rural school is that the pass rate is not as good as it should be, although things are now gradually improving. My mother thinks that she is very close to her siblings, that is the impression we all had before I started staying with mainini.

My parents do not pay anything towards our upkeep because they take it for granted that her sisters are just as good as her. The reason why I am writing you is I am really heartbroken and I do not know how to break the news to my mother.

I overheard the two maininis complaining about my parents being irresponsible. The one I stay with was saying vanofunga kuti vana vavo vanodyei term yose. I remember the last time my mother came she gave mainini US$100 for upkeep but she refused and said munondiona sani? Haasi mwana wanguwo here?

They used bad language to describe my father, some of it I cannot repeat but loosely translated they said he was worse than an animal inongoita vana isinga chengete. What hurts is the way they pretend to be fine with this arrangement when they see my mother. 

Each holiday they send their children kumusha kwedu and we thought this was mutual.
Sisters bad mouthing one of their own like that. Why can they not tell her? It is unfortunate that I am in an exam class, otherwise I would go back to the rural school. Ndakutonyara kudya nekugara pano. Vana mainini felt so uneasy when I emerged from the other room because they were not sure whether I had heard their conversation or not. Is it wrong if I go and stay with a friend and his family for just this term? His parents said they do not mind when I asked. How do I study kana ndichinzi ndiri kupedza magetsi?

 Thank you for writing in. It is a shame when the children seem to be the bigger people. I always encourage people to let their yes be yes and their no be no. People should also learn to move with the times, there is nothing wrong with helping out with provisions when one is staying with your child. The fact that your son is staying elsewhere does not exempt you from your parental duties. Communication plays a pivotal role in all relationships and it helps people stay away from cheap gossip.

These people are siblings and the worst thing anyone can do is to badmouth one of their very own. I do not see any reason why they do not just call a spade a spade. Mainini says aiwa mukoma when given money by your mother and behind her back she complains, that is very bad. I know it is not easy to break such news to your parents because they will be devastated.

In my view, the best way would be to tell your parents to help with provisions. Tell them in confidence that at times mainini struggles although she tells you not to contribute. In reality this is what your aunt wants because you overheard her say so.

There is nothing malicious about this but you will have done it in such a way that causes no trouble. Remember you are family and you do not want to be the one who ignites the fire. The option of going to your friend’s house is a non starter. You have stayed with mainini for several years and all of a sudden in the final term you decide to go. Remember two wrongs will never make a right. Kana nyaya yemagetsi ichinetsa try and study as much as possible during daytime or during weekends. You are still under your parents’ supervision, you cannot make a choice of going to stay at a friend’s house. Do not forget the adage mangwana ndinhasi.

I know you feel like a burden after what you heard but instead, take a positive stand and excel in school. Education is your future so for now that should be your number one priority. For others out there, please do not accept responsibilities half-heartedly.

Discuss and make arrangements you are comfortable with. Back-biting is evil. Please desist from this practice, it affects other people who are innocent. I would be happy to hear from you again. I am sorry about all this but do not ever lose focus.


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