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The lion’s share was reserved for whites.) The extreme concentration of citizens trying to pursue subsistence farming here has perforated the landscape with divots, caused by rampant soil erosion.In 2015, only 31 percent of the local working-age population was employed.
Now we’ve returned from California and moved into a construction site. One night, I come home and am bewildered to see what looks like a pile of car parts in the living room. For the first time, I see my husband truly furious. To Aiden, I’ve realized at last, my efforts feel like an attack on the core of his being.
I wished so much that I could have met Ruth, my mother in law. The front door opens into the living room — an ironic name for such an uninhabitable place. There are LPs, stained mattresses, mountains of canned food, ripped cushions, dog crates, and hundreds upon hundreds of boxes. Each stratum we uncover reveals more of the woman who raised my husband — a woman whom I will otherwise never know. ” “There could be something important buried here,” he says. As I start sifting, I try to think of something to say. In the Xhosa culture, the transition into manhood is marked by a month of instruction from elders, who teach the teens how to be a father, a husband.
The day Ruth died, her family just locked up the house and walked away. I only know that Ruth’s house feels like a map of a disturbed mind. The box is full of dead palm fronds from the yard outside, carefully folded and packed. Dakwa is a community volunteer who spends a lot of time trying to make circumcisions safer, running seminars near the Eastern Cape town of Flagstaff, teaching traditional surgeons how to safely dress wounds.
here’s a snapshot Aiden took of me a few days after our wedding on Christmas Eve, 2009. I knew she was a bright, adventurous woman who never found work to suit her lively intelligence. No one, I think, should have to clear out a parent’s house alone. I haven’t yet heard of obsessive-compulsive hoarding. Back in the den I find Aiden crouched down, frowning at the heaps of crud that we’ve hacked out of the floor. The Xhosa boys are also circumcised during this time, and most years these schools make headlines because dozens of the boys die during the process. It is customary for the patriarch in a family to send a boy off, but Nkqinqa’s father has not been a part of his life for several years, and three of his uncles are dead.
I’m standing outside his mother’s house wearing disposable coveralls, gloves, and a particulate mask. She was a 1960’s housewife fascinated by history and art and ideas. She suffered from untreated depression and agoraphobia. I have no idea that there’s a clinical name for what I’m looking at. “We need to go through all this by hand,” he says earnestly. So a neighbor named Patrick Dakwa has agreed to take responsibility for him.
When Dakwa returns later for an inspection of all the boys’ progress, he observes that Nkqinqa is faint and unresponsive. Urine no longer is discharged from his urethra, seeping instead out of other parts of the shaft.