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The Science of Sleepwalking - YouTube:
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I know this phenomenon very intimately. I was a serious sleep-walker as a child; my younger brother was a sleepwalker too. My worst incidents of sleep-walking were firstly at age 11 when I walked out of a hospital bed in Ermelo (Mpumalanga Province, where I was hospitalized for a haemorrhoids operation). I only came to when I stood at the main entrance of the hospital. And the next most memorable incident was when on some third floor of a building where I slept in Johannesburg, I came to standing on the balcony. My first girl friend when I was aged 22 complained bitterly one shared early morning how I nearly broke her arm in my sleep. Hilarious, huh?? But that is mad me!
There is another element of madness in my family: the experience as a child where you sometimes, if for no reason, suddenly see everything miniaturized. In that regard, I have personally on occasions seen humans in a room sized like the heads of matchsticks.
My younger sister, the late Grace Phiri-Mangonde reported the same experience too ('Brother! Father would sometimes suddenly turn the size of an ant while chatting with me while I was still a child'), although the only sleepwalker I know shared the experience with me is my younger brother Robert, now 50.
The real reason why I write this post is this: Far too many elderly people are murdered in South Africa accused of witchcraft because this elderly lady or gentleman is suddenly found in the middle of the night (if in the middle of a neighbours yard or premises) stark-naked and us ignorant South Africans will accuse him or her of comitting wizardry against the said neighbour when in fact the poor old person is deep in sleep-walking.
I read somewhere that what you did along sleepwalking as a child will probably return to you when you get aged.
Please stop accusing neighbours of witchraft, my fellow-South Africans particularly from the northern provinces of the country inclusive of Vendaland. WITCHCRAFT DOES NOT EXIST!
Of course, the other persisting superstition for South Africa is the belief in ghosts. Not even comedians succeed in disabusing just too many South Africans black and white in this occult but asinine belief in ghosts and the coming back of dead people to meddle in the affairs of the living!
Maybe this post post is already one day late but on a Tuesday, October 21st in 1958, my mother-to-be, then aged 27, gave birth to the first-ever male child to my would-be father, Bright.
Would-be elder brother to me was given the name "Vusumuzi" (“he who resurrects the [Phiri] Father’s House”). And maybe of course, I who was born some three years after he (my mother had a miscarriage before I was born hence my to-be-elder brother superseded me with three rather than two years which was to seem as the norm for my parents’ child-birth patterns) came to be known as Gcinumuzi Phiri which my Malawian father came to translate into Goodman Phiri. A goodman is in the Zulu Language a “gcinumuzi”.
I am 52 this year, but my brothr never lived beyond 29. He succumbed to asome weed poisoning called Amylase.
The assumption (false or true) is that his then lover of seven previous years (a Xhosa-speaking Nonceba who was a housemaid to some white family in Hendrina South Africa) poisoned him to death together with herself.
I would seem from this version that Nonceba had been angered by the fact that my elder brother had taken for his wife a younger woman of Zulu stock (nee Macy Mntambo) of Hendrina while treating her as second fiddle despite the fact that she had been around with him for much much earlier even through thick and thin.
The proud Xhosawoman then, version goes, chose death (with her almost hustband-to-be) rather than to be humiliated.
Before I go any much further with this story I need to say that I query this version of my brother’s demise. My take is: anybody could have murdered the couple.
I mean, they ingested the poison, both of them, in the house of some other people (where Nonceba was working as housemaid).
I hope Nonceba was a good woman who never laid eyes on her male employer. But suppose Nonceba and her male employers was, to the chagrin of the employers’s wife, a sexual item?
Suppose the wife of Nonceba’s employer was looking for some revenge and means of getting rid of a housemaid after her husband.
WHAT BETTER OPPORTUNITY EXISTS OF REMOVING NONCEBA BY MEANS OF POISONING JUST AT THE MOMENT OF THE VISIT BY HER BOYFRIEND VUSUMUZI PHIRI (by that time already the husband to former Miss Macy Mtambo)?
I asked my Tanzanian aunt about my version and she rejected me with scorn particularly where I queried just how a suicidal woman, even if she be of proud Xhosa stock, could enjoy a self-poisoned meal in order to get rid of an oversexed boyfriend and ipso facto spite the competitor, former Macy Mntambo.
“Us women are very very tough, My boy” my Tanzania aunt said in Kiswahili.
“Tunaweza tu!” (which translates to “We do it with ease”).
I sit here today on my late brother’s would-be 55th birthday and ask: what the heck has the Phiri extended family left me for a heritage?
I mean: I do not know where Jackson Phiri’s grave is as all of my younger relatives claim not only to be born-again Christians (an influence form some auntie I wrote about in a previous post and an apparent rape victim at the hands or more nether-organ of my my father) THEY RELIGIOUSLY BELIEVE THAT ONCE DEAD IT IS DEMONIC TO WORRY WHERE YOU ARE BURIED.
Jackson Phiri is survived by his wife, Mrs Macy Phiri (ex-Mntambo) a woman who was by my siblings stripped of all her material possessions for refusing to go into automatic remarriage with the next male Phiri available (my younger brother, Robert), she claims.
They even took her two babies away from her and thereafter showed her the door out of the Phiri homestead.
Of course, on my arrival back from exile in 1994, I advised my sister-in-law to make a legal claim over both her children and her property essentially stolen from her by my clan the Phiris. The poor woman (under-education never to be discounted) failed to get my drift as she drifted herself more and more away from my clan.
I get occasional messages from her. The last I saw her daughter was some 8 years ago, a Phiri maiden angry and exasperated by my younger brother, Robert (according to her claim) for putting her on some educational scheme she had no intention of pursuing. (Of course I sided with Brother Robert on the principle that ‘any education is better than none’ but my niece would hear nothing of it and went into oblivion together with her mother).
My niece’s sibling is her elder brother. I saw him last week (aged around 30 now).
I hear he is married with 2 kids. He does not give me any hope as he looks down and away whenever I talk to him. But maybe I am wrong: he may well be the guy to keep the Phiri boat floating when I am dead. I need to say though that my biggest trouble with him is his character which can be summed up as follows: drinks, book-phobia, and blissful ignorance of family traditions. For that matter, I recall an angry comment by my father after a fight with this particular grandchild of his and my father said:
“I know you are not my son’s child. I know I accept you as a Phiri just because my son married your mother who had been impreganated by by this Xhosa-speaking fellow; but please don’t push your luck too far with me or I will expose you!”
I asked my younger brother Robert about these paternal comments and he dismissed them to Father’s confusion.
“You see, Brother.” said Robert. Papa is confusing the ethnicity of the Xhosawoman who poisoned Jackson to death with whatever frustration he has with this boy. But I believe this boy is a Phiri through and through.
I must confess on this writing even as I approach its conclusion: I lived my entire child life with my elder brother, Jackson.
Yes I knew, hated and loved him like no other bigger boy.
Yes he was a very intelligent boy and combined with me in any school we attended together (Ithole Primary in Amsterdam, Embhuleni/Elukwatini High School, and Thembeka Senior Secondary School in Nelspruit-Mbombela-Kanyamazane) WE WOULD HAVE THAT SCHOOL RENDERED INTELLECTUAL SUBJECTS OF THE PHIRI BROTHERS.
Yes, he had a near unimaginable depravity towards sex and I watched it as we grew up and reported it in vain with my father who has of late been blamed by an aunt of mine as ‘a rapist’. My elder brother then aged 11 saw nothing wrong in having sex with (or raping) one hen whose protesting cackles still ring in my ear as my brother and age-mate one Mr Justin Maseko got busy with the bird on some day around 1969 at some place between Amsterdam and neighbouring Tweepoort Farm where Brother and I attended our early primary school!
Yes I knew my late brother’s features very well, not so dissimilar to mine (although I have been known by family to be ‘more handsome than Jackson and probably the most handsome male in the entire extended family’)…
BUT HIS MALE CHILD BEARS NEITHER A TINGE OF LOOKS FROM THE FATHER, NOR AN IOTA OF HIS INTELLECT! And he is plainly obtuse, methinks!
This bothers me a lot, and I wonder if my father had a point when he, albeit in anger, disowned his own grandson.
I further wonder if this suggested illegitimacy of my nephew is the reason why my sister-in-law backed off when I pledged my support for her in any future law-suit against my younger brother Robert who is supposed to have grabbed all property that had belonged to my late brother for himself, stuff like a near-brand-new car, furtniture and money in the bank of the deceased.
Did my brother Robert know too much of his sister-in-law’s supposed infidelity?
Was he justified to claim for the Phiri household everything that my brother had materially achieved at the expense of the widow who would ‘otherwise go spend the Phiri inheritance with her Xhosa-speaking boyfriend and biological father to Goodman’s nephew’?
I suspect I will go with these questions to my own grave. But even as I move to that grave I wish on this day 21 October 2013 to say HAPPY WOULD BE 55TH BIRTHDAY, Mr VUSUMUZI JACKSON PHIRI! YOU LEFT ME A VERY ONEROUS TASK, MY BROTHER, IN ALL EFFORTS I MIGHT MAKE IN UNRAVELLING YOUR DEMISE AND THE AFTER-EFFECTS THAT I HAVE HAD TO INHERIT. Here is a piece of advice from your younger brother who was in any case in political exile with the ANC and the PAC when you died from poisoning: IN YOUR NEXT LIFE, PLEASE TRY TO BE MORE CIRCUMSPECT (IF NOT RESPONSIBLE) WITH WOMEN, FOR THEY ARE THE MAKERS AND BREAKERS OF ALL HUMANITY.
I have an aunt who was apparently raped by my father probably at around age 11 for her and maybe 25 for my father.
She never reported the issue and if alive she would be around 70 as of today and my father could maybe ruling the eighty-somethings.
My aunt never reported the incident and she blames Apartheid for it (...I am writing here as if my aunt is still alive or dead already...does it matter?).
If you want to know what it is the Apartheid alluded to, well Apartheid was South Africa's political system which treated Africans as subhumans wherein they enjoyed next to no rights and no protection to write about from the state.
I was not yet born when my aunt got raped by my father; but my father did confess to me he 'had eyed my aunt for a wife' (whatever that meant where wives and husbands have the only divinely-legalized act of coitus). In that respect it is my aunt that 'hit the nail on the head' for me when I was already 40-years-old and she said this: "Mr Goodman Manyanya Phiri: Phiri your father, Mr Bright Manyanya Phiri: forced sex on me and he must say thanks it was the Apartheid era for otherwise Mr Nelson Mandela would have put him behind bars for years had he committed the act post-1994"
My auntie is not only destructive to my life now (and that of my siblings where she is sowing discord among us particularly boychildren in order to get at my father who has since died) MY AUNT IS BEING GREATLY DISHONEST.
My little understanding (she even knows I went out to fight Apartheid gun-in-hand) is that they probably hanged you during Apartheid in South Africa if you were found guilty of raping. IN that respect, it is our post-1994 dispensation that is being in comparison lenient to rapists.
I cannot deny a crime that my father most probably committed against my Aunt. My father is dead now, though.
And so, I Goodman Manyanya Phiri am pleading to you Auntie (if you are still alive in this or the next world) GO SEEK OUT PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT BUT STOP WREAKING HAVOC IN MY FATHER'S HOMESTEAD BY DIVIDING US CHILDREN OF YOUR CULPRIT MR BRIGHT MANYANYA PHIRI AND MY FATHER FROM MALAWI!
Both I and my younger siblings you are putting at loggerheads were not born when you that man raped you (if indeed he did rape you)!
My late younger brother (Peter) whom you gossiped to an early grave never raped you: he had not been born, My Dame!
My younger brother, Robert, whom you influenced into disrespecting me did not rape you: he was not yet born IF I HIS ELDER BROTHER HAD NOT BEEN BORN....and that is logic!!
My nephew Mr Kenneth Phiri of whom you convinced some family idiots to disown right deep into an early grave did not rape you: not only was Kenneth as yet unborn when you were supposedly raped by my father but EVEN KENNETH'S FATHER WAS NOT BORN. However Kenneth has now died because of your illegal gossips where you were suggesting my nephew does not have any Phiri paternity. What a daring! Or let me ask you: how many kids of your own that you ever bore that were not of the same household into which you married? Several, right? So what right did you have to revenge on my 'rapist' father (Bright) by leading a "disownment" process and an early grave to probably the most intelligent nephew I have ever had in the late Mr Kenneth Phiri?
Auntie, if you are alive somewhere and you happen to read this, PLEASE GO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP FROM A PSYCHIATRIST and stop tearing apart the extended Phiri household that I head.
If you do not stop your vendetta against all male children of the Phiri clan all because or the rape you say you suffered at the hands of my father, rest assured I will seek, find and destroy you in this life or the next for the bad blood and fights that you are busy fomenting and causing between me and my younger siblings.
Be further warned: I make good enemies and I will give you a run for your money now and forevermore!
I talk to you as if you are still alive (if dead) because, Auntie, I hear scientists suggesting nobody actually gets time to be born, nobody actually gets to have time for dying as the passage of time is a mere illusion, according to them. Talking science and the postulations by scientist, I deeply wonder what is left of our existence on Mothr Earth: these scientific explosions simply serve to boggle our brains! I further wonder what will remain of your miserable life, Auntie-Rape-Victim, if you continue to set my own younger siblings against me. I guess I will be left with no option but to destroy you, Woman (hate it though I do to destroy the one and only means I came to populate this planet)....
I WILL PULVERIZE YOU TOGETHER WITH YOUR MISERABLE SEX LIFE