A-man! a-man! a man!” some were saluting god’s sex. some differed with these. what with god a father, a son and a spirit all at once triple faceted, triple faced. they mouthed their own disbelief in the male of the species. “ah-men! ah-men!” like the first syllable of an acute stammerer’s speech. still others showed how long they’d been willingly subjected to porn in unlikely places. “a lay loo yeah! a lay loo yeah!” bavino went behind the tent to moisten the ground there. religion was in refrains there too. “jesus! jesus!” she had her legs spread wide as the fallen walls of jericho for the second coming. he was feeding her the holy spirit in solid form. “fucking hell!” bavino stepped hard on the man’s pumping to heaven buttocks. “ah men!” the gathering inside the tent ejected in wonder. bavino went back inside. the chants continued. they could do no less. not when lord enter was handling the proceedings. lord enter was a man who raised various reactions wherever he went. he was on the one hand a major source of entertainment to the township children fed mickey mouse and donald duck of a good morning south africa. whenever he went by they would shout “lord enter with us lord enter with us!” trying to get at their insides in the grip of laughter. all the god fearing old ladies however found him a great source of inspiration. he drank dozens of cups of tea on his rounds, whatever the denomination dominant in the house he entered. god was one. although he had this habit of wearing different masks at times. in some quarters lord enter was a great help to lovers in short supply of issues to discuss. in short, lord enter was a phenomenon of sorts. he got his name as a logical result of invariably reciting “lord enter with us this house of the lord” whenever and wherever he entered any house. he was a wood merchant. he never used any form of transport on his crusade except his own feet. god gave him those and those he’d use. it’s sinful how people abuse god. not wanting to use anything he gave them. no. lord enter was a man of god. he would walk. and most houses in the township (except those whose owners were the devil’s children who were so lazy as to resort to electric this and electric that as though the world were not so electrified already) had a coal stove or a brazier. and most houses had turned into multi-structure sites what with the housing shortage and the shacks erupting out of the ground in backyards. the people shall have houses. smart men those who wrote that. probably had their own interests to protect. shack-dwellers pay loads in house-owner’s-pocket-going rent. this it was hardly surprising that everybody but the unholy should know by heart lord enter’s entrée. with its plea to god. “lord enter with us this house of the lord.” he was a preacher of some standing in the community and first preference to families like this one of the deceased’s who were too poor to afford the services of any holy one else. or too unchurchgoing. these days he spent sleepless nights though. what with the hell-fire-hot-headed youth of today who always trespassed on sacred soil with their devilish hayi hayis and vivas whenever one had a departed soul to pave the way to heaven for. but this night he was in his element. though he could see quite a number of dubious t-shirts laughing at him before his very eyes! lord have mercy. he could feel, as he sweated, the lord’s spirit oozed from his pores. burst from him into that mournage. and he told them so. and some went into writhings and wrigglings and body pumpings as they embraced the holy presence. eye rolling. rump thumping. they were climaxing. ah ha! praise be to the power of the lord. earthquaking throes heralding the lord’s coming. the holy ghost took him by the hand around the heart and squeezed him and he told them so in as choked a voice as he could manage without sounding like a mouse. and their refrains could be heard in heaven, in hell even. a number fell about moaning and groaning. two woman had to be carried out in a dead faint from all the righteous heat. fierceness of the holy attack he was transmitting. the lord could hear high above in heaven and lord enter raised his antenna hand and invited him to come down and the great spirit came through by way of lord enter’s hand and he told them so. that boy so cold and unmoving in the grip of death in his box was holding the lord by the hand and marching with him trumpeting the holy chorus all the way to heaven never mind the fact that he couldn’t sing a note to save his life while still alive no he was marching now and chanting with the angels thanking lord enter in his heart so stone cold but oozing heat at this moment of our lord. lord enter heard his words of gratitude so blessed and echoed them to the congregation. and that boy so cold and unmoving in his box marched in the light of heaven to his chosen place on jesus’ right hand side and jesus offered him his blood in a chalice and that boy so cold and unmoving in his box drank deep. and his thirst was slaked and lord enter said so. and they a manned and ah menned and ah lay loo yeahed until a post behind lord enter’s head sagged and enveloped him in tarpaulin and it was the hand of god demonstrating his power and lord enter surfaced saying so. but shock waves drowned the good lord’s voice and the boat of ungodliness was afloat. “ke dibatabata hayi tsa tambo hayi hayi!!!” that became a “silindele wena yoo baba tambo sinigez’ibazooka!!!” all the fire of hell! all the unholy communism! all the blood sea! all the waves of terror! this was the end of the world! this was the golgotha they were nailing lord enter to! this was the armageddon! lord enter was fuming to the point of martyrdom. then mamoloi, but mamoloi! the witch. the daughter of darkness, the mistress of evil, the wife of pharaoh, the… hei! look how she was grinding her groin, i mean shaking her buttocks! no, um… well what does it matter. she was dancing alone and he was glowering at her. and, no, not radebe too, oh lord, that good men should be dragged down the path of evil! look, that broom of a beard sweeping the dust. it was a mop already, what with the sweat running down it in such torrents. and ntate moramang. yeah , the bastard would do that. what do you expect of a mongrel that couldn’t even point let alone fart at its own pedigree. the name said it well. father forgive them anyway. lord enter this house of the… he was virtually hoeing the earth with his grey head. this was too trying for words. or the word even. lord enter deflated in a whoosh of a giant fart. hei! fuck… he caught himself mid curse. but no one seemed to have heard so he repeated to himself. yeah fuck all the holy virgins! fuck them all. fuck mamoloi. yeah. not bad that prospect. come to think of it. look at how her buttocks… hei the spirit of the devil is upon me. well what the hell. hei stop it! hm hm hm he hummed along in the end. twiddling his toes inside the shabby nazi boots. raising a small dust billow of his own. then his baritone voice joined in and surprised itself. ag, the lord loved song man. baba tambo hm hm! and lord enter wondered when the tea would be coming in now that his throat was frying in a bit of hell with all this devilish, i mean, godly singing.
Subscribe to the M&G
These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.
The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.