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My Father My Monster
Title: My father, my beast
Publisher: Jacana Media
Author: McIntosh Polela
My Father My Beast is a story of pain, child abuse, and murder. This is a true story – the memoirs of South African TV journalist cum spin doctor, McIntosh Polela.
Polela is the only man I know who changed his name three times before he turned 40. He was originally Shezi, his mother’s name. Towards the end of his high school years and as he faced the challenges his father had faced, he decided to use the name Nzimande, his father’s name. A few years ago when his father refused to repent, he dropped the name of Dadi and chose the name of the river…Polela.
The story began when Polela was five years old. Polela and her sister Zinhle were packed in a bus and took a bus to Underberg, a two-hour drive from the east coast of South Africa, a small town at the foot of the great mountains, known as the Drakensberg because of its high mountains. very much. dragon’s back. They settled in a small village called Pevensey. No one told them why they moved and why Delisile Edista Shezi their mother is not with them.
The first sign that things were not right in the new house was the condition of the house. The hut they entered was made of grass and thatch. It smelled of smoke, hay, dried cow dung and dried corn. There was dried excrement on the floor, but unlike their former secretary’s house, it was cracked, dusty and littered with food scraps, discarded bones and fallen grass. This was a far cry from their home in Durban which had comfortable modern furniture, a loving mother and an unsightly lawn. The second surprise was that all their ‘new’ white clothes were distributed to the children of the house. And, before long, Polela was told about the division of labor – tending cows every day was a new job. He had never met a cow before.
Polela’s first day raising cattle was not exactly the welcome he had expected. The boys shouted insults at him. They told him about a special kind of egg called it’s an egg. They said the alien animal dug a small hole and carefully laid an egg in it. However, in order to find the egg, the nest had to be taken quickly before the egg was destroyed as if by magic. They were told to dig in the place where the special egg was laid. To his surprise, he found a new, smelly human fart – and the boy rolled in the grass and laughed for his money.
One day when I was at home with other boys, and the elders were not there, the real problem started. It all started innocently as Polela remembers – she and her sister were told to play a special game – marching like soldiers. It quickly turned ugly. He started beating Zinhle whenever his marching was not enough. The march went on, and so did the beating. It stopped being funny. Tears started for the two. Laughter and beatings ended a very sad scene. Zinhle was told to sit on a large wooden bench. Because his legs were not long enough and his feet were hanging in the air. He instructed her to keep moving her legs up and down so that the bottom of her things would shake on the bench with every movement. He had to keep going until the skin of his material turned deep red, but he still wouldn’t let him stop. Polela was forced to watch as her younger sister was abused. The bullies quickly raised the game; he pushed Zinhle to the red stove that had burning wood. From harassment to psychological warfare. “When he wasn’t torturing us, he used to tell us scary stories,” Polela tells us.
When the whole drama unfolded, no one mentioned anything about his mother and father. However, when he grew up, he learned that his father had actually killed his mother. So my mother never came back. He began to plan his revenge; he learned how to make homemade guns. He sold some to the ANC which had a bitter conflict with the IFP in the 1990s. However, he only kept one – to use to shoot his father. The young man was very hated by the anger that affected many areas of his life.
It wasn’t until we met a nun named Sister Von Ohr. Meanwhile the young Polela had dropped out of school. He was a wanderer. This meeting changed Polela’s life. The sister talked him into going back to school, and from there many angels of mercy raised him to become a real man. Zinhle had been given a way to escape by other nuns who took her.
After many years of counseling and discussion, Polela met her father. The man refused to admit what he had done. Because he raised everything, he told many people about him and his wife.
This book is a sad story of a boy whose childhood was stolen by a monster, his own father. The story is like a horror movie except that it has a happy ending for Polela and her sister. It is a fascinating and fast-paced account of details, dreams, prayers for survival told so dryly and so vividly that it brings to mind the words of JM Coetzee, the theme of redemption by Alan Paton and more. It brings to bear the human capacity for pain, survival and forgiveness. It is an important book in a country still searching for its place in the sun after years of apartheid. They say, it is possible, if you can dream it, you can achieve it.
Polela is now the spokesman for South Africa’s top police force, the Hawks. He holds a Master Degree from the London School of Economics. Zinhle completed his studies and is now happily married. Taakwe Polela is still living in a dream that shakes his new life; he has arrived without returning.
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