Just a Call
A place we call HOME
IN the village of The Villager, no house is complete without three places. Every man (man because traditionally. till further notice, no women can set up a fully constituted house). No matter how big or fancy it can be, a house put up by a woman shall always be referred to as “okagumbo” (a structure). Why? The heart of every house is “oshinyanga sha mutyakemo” (private lounge). Any women of substance grew up respecting the norm.
The first point of calling is known as “ehale” (arrival place). There you find omatindi lined up sometimes ga lamba ongandjo with or without okatala (hut). That is where omitala dhaamati are hosted. Aamati (a boy or man before marriage) would play a role of being a watchman or security in any homestead.
“Oshinyanga sha mutyakemo” is the only place where you as a guest can determine as to how much you are valued by your host. If, for example, you are sent to deliver a message from your father to the neighbour, the host will first inquire whether the message is serious “ngele opu na oonkundwa”. If not, you would simply be told ondu uva ko.
Traditionally, since it’s the first point of calling, if you come looking for Tate, you are told that “okwa fa a tile ota zi mo, andiya ndi ka tale Ngele omo eli” (he had earlier indicated that he was going to go out, let me go and make sure). Whether you will be received or not depends on the particular mood the Tate is in. The wife would come back and say, “okwa za mo ngaa ndele ita kala ko”. If the messenger suspects that you have “omishengwa dhe” (carrying gifts) or good intentions and he or she does not know you, the Tate will go around the house “ta pitile kokantu” (back door) and come as if he was out. Equally if the one visited suspects you have bad intentions, he would escape through “okantu” and vanish into thin air. You would then politely be told that, “tate nani okwa meneka mo ta yi kohambo katu shi kutya ota galuka uunake” (he went to the cattle post and we have no idea when he will be back). That is despite the fact that you just parted with your friend a while ago. Sometimes that norm is pre-arranged to test the messenger (especially if it’s newly-weds) and to see if you are “cultured”, and how far you could be trusted. A lot of comical events are known to have taken place around this phenomenon.
If the message is of serious nature, you would then be invited “koshinyanga shamutyakemo”. Once back at home, your father would first...
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