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A happy ending

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By Innocent Maphalala - SWAZI TIMES-25-Jul-2009

This one goes to all our brothers in jail. Gentlemen, our hearts, thoughts and prayers are always with you.

We know you sometimes get to read this page and reminisce about the good old days, when you were still with us outside.

You listen to the radio from booming speakers inside your cells and try to smile as the deejay plays your favourite music. We understand how hard it is to wake up at 4.30 am, especially in these cold winter days and take equally cold showers, stark naked in front of everybody within a dirty and slippery shower-room.

We just cannot bring ourselves to comprehend how one could wear the same colour (brown) everyday. You do this without any complaints or grumbles, every day of the week, including Sundays. Brown is good but not for everyday use.

Half-cooked Neither is black-and-white, even if you are a Mbabane Highlanders fan. Our hearts also break when we think of how you are forced to eat supper at 4pm and then locked up for the rest of the day. You are expected to say, ‘goodnight’ to your buddies at this early hour, just when most folks outside are about to start enjoying themselves – free from work or school. The supper itself is not so palatable.

Half-cooked beans have always been known to cause flatulence. We can imagine the smell when every inmate starts farting, as each stomach reacts angrily to the half-cooked legumes. We understand how difficult it is to be allocated a square metre to rest, sleep and basically live in every day of your incarcerated life. It is a sad state of affairs. Just as it is a sad scenario that the only currency in use inside jail is cigarette. We have heard that money is as good as useless in there. Relatives and friends who check on you have to bring cigarettes, even if you, our brothers, do not smoke. We have heard that you use the cigarettes to keep at bay, sadistic sodomites who practise homosexual acts on weaker inmates willy-nilly. We hear that cigarettes also come in handy if you want at least two pieces of meat with your meal. You give one ‘stick’ to an inmate and a chicken thigh is yours. Such is the power of the cigarette where you are – and we shall endeavour to bring you more ‘sticks’ while you are inside.

Hacked Of course, the term ‘brothers’ should not be misconstrued to mean the marauding rascals known everywhere as the ‘Kamdodi’ (dumpsite) crew. We want nothing to do with these thugs. They are better off in jail. They have stolen far too many ‘home theatres’ at bushknife-point for us to have any sympathy for them.

They have hacked too many innocent people with their home-made pangas and machetes in their irrational bid to dispossess us of wallets containing amounts like E33, E82 or at most E151.17. Those rogues belong in jail. They are not our brothers.

In fact, we hope they are not anybody’s brothers at all. The term should also not be understood to include serial killers; armed robbers who killed their victims before making off with valuables; rapists who force themselves on innocent women and babies; callous car thieves who steal from poor folks who were still struggling to repay bank loans through which the vehicles were purchased and outlaws who go around flashing knives and unlicenced 9mm pistols at everybody.

The term ‘brothers’ should be read to mean only the good men serving long jail terms for crimes they did not commit. This, especially refers to our brothers who were falsely accused by cunning, conniving and usually ugly women, of rape. I am not just saying this. A 25-year-old woman who lied about being raped is herself in jail today.

She has been sentenced to three years – without the option of a fine – for perjury. This is lying under oath. The man she accused spent eight months in jail before his accuser told the truth.

Unfolded Angry as anybody could be, the magistrate said to the woman; “You should be ashamed of yourself and the only sentence I can think of, for you is a jail term.” The lying lady will now wake up at 4.30 am, have supper at 4 pm and shower in icy cold water, together with the rest of her criminal girlfriends. Good for them.

But seriously...shouldn’t this happy ending to this otherwise sad tale be an eye-opener to the police and judiciary officers who preside over rape cases? The debacle unfolded in Atteridgeville, South Africa but we have many such cases in the beautiful kingdom of Eswatini. Women cry, “rape” to get back at men for various reasons. The man could have impregnated another woman; dumped the ‘victim’ unceremoniously; married a pretty young thing or simply had a minor tiff with the liar.

Sparks and I overheard a courting couple fighting inside their one-room flat recently. The mean-mannered man slapped the wanton woman around (which we discourage) and the woman laughed out loud. Yes, she burst out giggling. “Heh, heh...yah! You are going straight to jail. I’m going to the police station right now. I won’t say you slapped me. I will say you raped me!” Awucabange-nje!

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