This tale begins at the end; McPhineas Lata, the perennial bachelor who made a vocation of troubling married women, is dead. Th e air above Nokanyana village quivers with grief and rage, and not a small amount of joy because the troubling of married women, by its very definition, involved a lot of trouble. But, maybe because of his slippery personality, or an inordinate amount of blind luck, McPhineas Lata seemed to dodge the bulk of the trouble created by his behaviour, and left it for others to carry on, on his behalf. He had after all, admitted to Bongo and Cliff, his left and right side kicks, that troubling married women was a perfect past-time which was ‘all sweet and no sweat’.
Women in the village of Nokanyana, named after a small river that no one had yet been able to discover, were notoriously greedy, and, without exception, surly. Husbands in the village were all small and thin with tight muscles worked into knots because they spent all of their lives either working to please their wives or withstanding barrages of insults and criticisms for failing to do it up to the very high expectation of Nokanyana women. For Nokanyana men, it was a lose-lose situation and, as a result, each and every one of them despised McPhineas Lata merely for remaining single – he had made the right decision and they had not.
McPhineas Lata, though thus despised by most husbands, was adored by most wives. His funeral was full of dramatic fainting and howls of grief echoing as far as the Ditlhako Hills. Tears fell by the bucketful and nearly succeeded in creating the village’s missing namesake. The husbands stood at the back of the gathering wearing variations on the theme ‘stern face’ while… read more.