Friday, November 5, 2010

Portrait of a Gogo

A Gogo is an old woman.  But not just any ordinary elderly lady.  To be a Gogo you must be over 1,000 years old.  950 won’t cut it.  At least 1,000 and you must look every day of it.  (The ability to be 1000 is easier than you think, there being virtually know records of birth in Swaziland.  Everyone’s birthday, officially, is January 1st because that’s what he or she filled out on the forms on the rare chance that they sought documentation of any kind).

I spotted my first Gogo on the roadside as our khumbi pulled up.  She had two backs, one on her head, of course.  And she finished a conversation with someone and hustled to the car.  She almost ran.  Well, it looked like she was running, for at 1000 if you are not going backwards, you are flying ahead.  She popped into the khumbi and immediately started cracking jokes (I’m sure they were dirty too) with everyone.  She pinched Kate a bunch of times and I’m sure would have done something suggestive to me if I wasn’t crammed in the back with three especially voluptuous and fertile women with there children.  (Note:  my only proposal for marriage came from a near Gogo, but not Gogo proper.)

Gogo’s continually pop up in the paper.  (No, not in the obituaries.)

I got The Times of Swaziland everyday I could to see what was happening.  There was some seriously big deal politics going down. 

For example, there was a e5000 lawsuit (maybe $900) regarding a failed exorcism of demons from a hut by a reputable witchdoctor.  Litigation is still be processed, but, hell, if those people still have demons haunting their hut, that is surely a case of doctor mal practice if I’ve ever seen one!

And Swazis sometimes get rowdy.  Usually involving alcohol.  Unfortunately, large bush knifes are in great abundance.  No one is shot (unless by a police officer).  But there are stabbings daily.  For example a girlfriend went all Bobbitt on a fellow for some infidelities.  And fights over money are common enough. 

It is when these conflicts occur on the homestead is when Gogo plays a part.  Once or twice a week a bush knife wield Gogo chases someone off or shuts up a belligerent family member by offering to filet them.

So let this be a lesson to American, pushing aside our aged parents.  I say all senior citizens should get their pensions, social security, and machetes to enforce their wisdom.

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