[box type=”info” align=”aligncenter” ]This is one of the stories that came out of the Writivism 2014, a project of the Centre for African Cultural Excellence, with the assistance of several partner organisations, which identifies, trains and engages readers and writers in public discourse through literature. As part of this years activities, they will have The Writivism Festival from 18 – 22nd June 2014. Like the Facebook page for more updates
Getting past the paparazzi was a chore. I pretty much had to fight them off Chipo and got my suit ruffled in the process. We walked into the courtroom as a family, unfazed, with distant stares and hearts seeking justice. Chipo looked demure in her yellow print dress. Her dark eye bags betrayed her insomnia, made her into some kind of tragic heroine.
Mama looked like a burst of nerves, sweat pouring out from every nook of her body. Her heartbeat was almost audible.
A creak of a door and the courtroom momentarily was as silent as a graveyard.
Then she walked in her black gown, the human figure of justice; ugly, wrinkled and shrivelled like a pigeon in the rain.
She sat in front of our nation’s flag; the judicial crane logo nailed behind grey rock.
A clerk sat to her far left ready to punch in proceedings into a typewriter. We stood until the bent judge sat on her throne.
The tension diffused and voices began to find themselves till the bailiff called us to order.
Chipo walked to the witness stand, calm as a feather falling from a ruffled bird.
‘He got into my sheets. He made me touch his…his naked crotch while he fondled my breasts,’ sounded her voice firm like a handshake.
‘I tried to resist when he took off my panties. But he tied my hands to the bed. I was afraid to cry out. Then he forced my thighs apart,’ she continued, her face as blank as unperturbed waters, her back board stiff.
“You claim that my client drugged you?” the bald defence lawyer quizzed, his visage like a vulture’s.
“Yet you recall with such clarity?” the lawyer asked.
Chipo’s face fell into her hands as if she courted defeat.
“I have a witness!” she suddenly burst out.
Mama stood up, her hands nervously tugging her chiffon dress down.
“I object!” the lawyer cried.
“Overruled, get to the point, ma’am,” said the judge.
‘It is important to note that,” Mama stammered, “I am also a victim of the accused, who in fact is Chipo’s biological father’’
The lawyer froze. He must have gasped. “What?” he asked.
A morose cry rent the courtroom. A gavel thud brought back silence .The Justice ordered Chitumbura to take the stand.
There stood a plump man sporting white collar. He laid his hand on the bible to swear. The pastor shook violently with unease as if fits were about to take a tour.
‘I am sorry,’ he mumbled into a cough, ‘desire took over, I never knew she was my daughter.’
‘Please forgive me, like you I am only human,’ he pleaded.
The Judge raised a finger to stop the prosecutor from starting an interrogation.
‘Surely no sin goes unpunished,’ said Chitumbura as if distant.
His heart gave in before another word.
Jaw slackening pandemonium was what broke out after. The tragedy was too much for Chipo. It seeped down; the pregnancy no one was aware she was carrying. Paramedics rushed in to whisk her away.
I ran out of court frustrated, distancing away from fussy conversations, a witness of yet another broken home and sordid testimony.
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