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Courting Story: Author | Albertina | Rosalina | Valentina

Lives of Girls (Rosalina Malungana)
Courting Story


Facazisse, 28 February 1996

R: When [a boy] he sees you, he says "Eh! That girl, I really like her, she's beautiful! I will court her!" Mmm. . . . Well, he'll give you a note, to say that, "I want you." He writes a little note. He sends, maybe he has a sister, he sends her. He'll say that, he'll write your name thus, Rosalina Jorge Malungana. "I am sending you my note. I want to say that, I want you very much! To marry you! Now you, what do you say? . . . " He gives it to his sister. "Go, give this to your friend." Well, we're sitting, playing, she comes, she says, "I've come to play with you." Then, she says, "Come here!" But it's a secret, because you're afraid that your mother, that other people will see. . . . But what is hardest, is to say "yes" right away! Ah! That's hard to say. You don't say it, that day, when he writes you a letter, [saying] that he wants you. You tell her, "Go there, tell your brother," or when you want, you write a little note. "All right, I received your letter. But for now, I don't want to tell you my answer. Yes, or no. You wait for my answer."

Then, she'll bring it to him. Mmm. He sits, he cries, because you don't respond. If you wait too long, he writes another letter. "I want to hear your answer to my letter. What do you say? Because I really want you very much, I want to marry you. When I'm sitting here, I'm shrivelling up from thinking of you! What do you say? Because me, I want you so much!" Well, if you like him, you'll say, "Yes, I accept you—I want to marry you." Mmm. "That's good. But I want to meet with you, in a certain place, so we can talk." Well, you'll look for a time, maybe in the afternoon, maybe at night, when you're going to prayers. Well, you find each other. "What you wrote, is it so?" You say, "Yes, it's so. I want to marry you, that's all! Maybe you'll go to South Africa, to work in the mines, [but] I accept you, to marry you. Even if another [boy] wants me, I'll say no." He goes to South Africa, to work, he finds money. And he tells his parents, "I was accepted by this girl, so-and-so." Well, that money, it's so they can talk together, the parents of the boy and the parents of the girl. . . .

My mother, she was waiting for a boy to appear, whom I liked. She already knew that I had many boys who were running after me, she already knew! Especially the neighbors, because there, there was Silva Muhambo. There was Jaime Massingue. There was Jeremia Muhambo. There was Johane Nhlongo. They were neighbors of the same church, who were always sending me letters. To say that they want to marry me. And there was another one, I was forgetting, that one isn't from the same church, he was a little farther away. He was from the other church, the Methodists there, at the foot of the town, Caniçado.

H: What did the church think about all this letter-writing?
R: Mmm! It was hidden! Eee! Those of the church, they didn't allow that, sending letters, to court each other! But they couldn't stop it, because when a boy likes a girl, he has to send her a letter! But they didn't want it. All they wanted was for a boy to appear, who came from the church. Mmm. Sometimes they are boys who come from another church, come here to [talk with] the ministers here. To say that, "Ah, we've come here to find girls to marry." They sent a letter, the superiors there, for the boys to bring, to deliver to the superiors of this church. Then, they called girls, many girls, to come here to the church, to meet with those boys, so they can choose. Mmm, this happened a lot.

And then, many girls came from the villages, here to the church. "Ah, we've come from there, because we were called, [they said that] young men were arriving, they want girls, to choose. Then, "Eh, the girls, there they are. They've arrived." The girls are here, and the boys. "Ah, [the boys] have come from church so-and-so"—Methodist, maybe Assembly of something. "The girls, here they are. And they, the boys, they're here. You can choose the girls, the laws for you to court [in church] are this way. Isn't it so?" "Eeh, it's so." Well, some of them will sit down, and others, he'll choose, he says, "Ah, me, I want that one." And another one will say, "Eh, I want that one." Well, when they're finished, maybe four of them, then they'll ask the girls. "Well, what do you say? Because that one chose this one. And you, do you want him?" "Eh, I don't want him."

H: So the girls could refuse?
R: Eeh. But another one, if she wants, she says, "Yes, and me, I want him." . . . Eee! Me, I really despised all that! Hah! To be courted [that way]—I refused! Hoh! Heh-heh! [laughs] Me, courted when I don't know him? I meet him in the church, he says, "I want Rosalina, I want that one?" Yee! Some girls, they accepted. . . .

But me, I don't want it! There's a teacher, called Filimão, when I was at the Internato. He always passed by the Internato. We were twenty-three. Sometimes he came inside the house, it seemed that he came to greet Misse Randin. . . . He was a teacher at Rikatla. 1 Mmm. And he had a friend here near the hospital, called Simião, he worked in the hospital. When he came from Rikatla, he always had to go to the house of that boy. But he passed by here, at the Internato. It turns out, he was pursuing me! Of the twenty-three girls who were there, he only liked me. But he didn't say anything to Misse Randin. . . . But later, when I went, during vacation, I went home, he sent a letter to my uncle, that Dane. "Receive my letter, I don't know, maybe I'm annoying you, excuse me, it's because I want your niece. I want to marry her—I really want that girl! I didn't say anything to Misse Randin, that I like that girl. I had to write a letter first, to you. . . . " When they received that letter—it came by post, [my uncle] opened it, he read that letter, he said, "Ah! It's the teacher from Rikatla."

There was Arturo, the brother of my father, who is the son of N'waMagweva. 2 . . . There was Gabriel, who wanted to marry the sister of Arturo's wife. There was my uncle, that Dane. They called me, when they read that letter. "Eh, Racelina!" . . . "Papa?" "Come here." Eee! "Sit on the mat." I arrive, I sit down. "Eh! Here, I find a letter, it comes from Rikatla, over there. Do you know the teacher at Rikatla? Filimone Nyankale." He was Filimone Nyankale. His father was Zamboke, he was a MuChopi, from over there in Zavala. "This one who writes the letter, he says he wants you." "Yee! He wants me?! Eee! I know him, because he's always coming to Misse Randin's, to visit her. . . . But he never said anything to me." "Ah! He couldn't court you, because here there is no kugangisa, we don't want these things! We want that, this one who wants you, he takes his parents, he talks with your parents. Isn't that what you want?" I say, "Eee!" "That business of kugangisa, ah! It's the work of the heathens!" "Oh! Eh! Me, I don't want him." "But you know him?" I say, "I know him. That he, he wants to pressure me, eh! I don't want him." "Eh! Heh, you." It's Dane, this one [who speaks]. "Eh, Racelina." "Papa?" "Here. João Mabunda. He bothered me with a letter, for you. Jeremia Muhambe, there in Joni [i.e., Johannesburg]. I sit here, I receive letters—didn't you see that day I was crying? Because he'll look for a n'anga, they'll kill me, if you don't want him." "Mmm." "Eee! Jaime Massingue, you don't want him. There's Silva Muhambo, you don't want him either. Well, daughter. You want to be married by whom?!" I say, "Eh, when I have [the right] age."

Indeed, here I'm sixteen, seventeen years old. Because Agosto, he married me when I was eighteen. "Me, I still have time, I still have years, until I'm twenty! [Until] he can choose me, this one I want, me. To [let] any boy who wants me—I say 'Eee [yes]' to him? Hah!" "Heh, indeed, Racelina, you're troubling us! Maybe you want a white man?" I say, "I didn't say that I want a white man!" "And yet valungu, they're coming to me, because they long for you." "Me, I don't have anything to do with valungu! Me, I said that, Filimone, I know him, and I don't want him!" Mmm. I say, "This one, whom I can marry, he'll appear. And me, I want him, and he, he wants me. I don't want anyone yet!" Mmm. "I'm still studying. When I've finished the fourth class, I'll come out and I'll sit at home, this way." . . . Gabriel, he says, "Hoh, you, Racelina! These things you trouble us with! Many boys want you, but you don't want them, you want to sit and mistreat men, you!" I say, "I don't mistreat men! Because me, I'm not sold, truly!" Well, I begin to cry, indeed. "Because my father, my father died! You want to force me that, they say they want me, those men, they'll marry me! Because my father, if he was living, he wouldn't sell me! Yaah-aah-aah! You want to sell me!" . . . [Dane] says, "We're not selling you, daughter." "I don't want him!" "Don't cry, don't cry. Because if you cry, we'll think—," especially Arturo, he said, "Ah, Racelina, don't cry, we're not selling you. It's that, what we want is for you to be married by a person of the church. . . . So that you'll live a good life. Don't cry, don't cry, because if you cry, I think of your father, who really loved me. . . . "

Mmm, they say, "All right, leave it. Go and think about it. Well, when you've thought well, you will give us your response." I say, "Eee." I'm not thinking anything, because I don't want him. Well, when I go outside—[laughs]. There was Heidi, Dane's daughter, my cousin. There was Prescida, who is the daughter of my aunt, Guqeyana . . . And there was the niece of [Dane's] wife, who is Zelina. She lived here, in her aunt's house, she came to go to school. . . . And then, there was Joana, that Joana who was my friend, but was from another family. When they heard that a letter came, to court Rosalina, "The minister said that he wants Rosalina, that teacher from Rikatla!" There were four girls. I went out, eh! Full of tears. "You've come out." I say, "Mmm, I've come out. Hee! These problems! Ah! It comes from the teacher, at Rikatla, that Filimone. You know him, Heidi?" She says, "Eee, I know him. He's ugly, right? Eee! He's really ugly!" I say, "Eee! He's ugly, that boy!" "Well, does he want you?" I say, "Eee!" [laughs] "He wants me. Hah!" "Well, what did you say?" I say, "Ha! Ha! Ha! Me, I don't want that thing!" "Hee! Teacher Filimone!"—they see that I might marry him because, so I would be the mother of the church, "She'll be the yefro [minister's wife]!" "Hah! I don't want him. They said, 'Go and think about it.' I say, 'Eee.' And yet I'm not thinking anything, me!" I sit.

A week passed. Then on Sunday, we went to church. Then, when we were leaving, they called me. . . . It was the mufundhisi [Dane], it was Gabriel, it was Arturo. To know if I, during that whole week, if I had [decided] something. Mmm. I went in, I sat down. . . . "Ah, we were the ones who called you," it's this mufundhisi [who speaks]. "It's me who called you, my daughter. Maybe you've thought about it, decided a little something? That you want to be married by this teacher?" "Eee! Uncle. Didn't I say that day, I say 'You won't sell me'? Because my father died? My father, if he were living, he wouldn't insist this way, on things I don't want. Me, I don't want him! I don't want to be married by someone ugly!" "Oh! An ugly husband, my daughter? He might be ugly, in his face, but he has a good heart." I say, "Ah, that's with him!" I refuse. "I don't want him." "Racelina!" This one who is insisting, it's Gabriel. "My daughter! You, you'll be the mother of the church, heh! You'll be the yefro of the church! Because this one, he's a teacher today, but he will [later] be a mufundhisi. Now you say, 'Ah! I don't want to be married by this one!,' indeed." "Why doesn't he look for girls at Rikatla, or there in Lourenço Marques, the church there? There are many pretty girls there! . . . Me, I don't want him, I don't want him, truly. I don't want you to insist when I don't want him! Because my father, if he were living, he wouldn't do this to me." Mmm. I hid behind my father! [R chuckles] Mmm. Then Arturo says, "All right, I understand. Today, she speaks of her father, the one who died. She says that [we] want to sell her to that teacher. Me, I see that, I say thus. Let's leave her alone, she'll be married by the one she wants."


22 October 1995, Facazissse

R: The Portuguese, they were very used to the women here. They gave lovolo for a lot of girls from here. They saw pretty girls, they went to talk to their parents. Mmm. The parents, [they say], "I can't say no, since you want my daughter. If she wants you—," eh, they gave lovolo, truly. Mmm. They took out money, those who had cattle, they even took cattle. Eight, eight head of cattle. They gave it to the man, they took the girl home. Mmm. . . .
H: You told me before that you had a husband, Agosto?
R: Mmm, he's my husband, Agosto, Agosto Capela. He was a mulungu. The one who took my virginity, he was white. Mmm, the first man.
H: You never mentioned before that Agosto was white.
R: [laughs] I've never sat down with you to tell you my whole life, to tell you everything! Never. And therefore, if sometimes you meet up with other people who—who else can tell you my life? Because am I not the only one who knows my life? My life, to tell it—I haven't yet told everything. I—I don't know what I had, my star. I can say that, it's been my luck, that only white men wanted me, since I was a child. Mmm. I don't know, if God when I was born had already—well, I don't know! He'd already given me this luck, 3 that my whole life would be the life of the whites.

It happened this way. When I was about ten or eleven years old, sometimes I went to Mazimhlopes, to the house of my uncle, Patapata. And there, sometimes I stayed with my mother's oldest sister, Xintomanyana. Mmm. Sometimes we would go to the shop, with . . . Carolina, Sofia, Domeyana—we were all in the same family. We used to go to the shop to sell piri piri [hot peppers], so we could buy salt. And there, a Portuguese man named Cartaxana used to come to that shop. Albino Cartaxana, that was his name. . . . And then, there was one day, when I went to the shop with those sisters of my mother. Tenda, the one who had spirits. And Mapfuxana. . . . Later, when I went into the shop [R raises her voice], there was that white man, always going around and spying on me, because he wanted to buy me! So that when I grew up, I could be his wife. Because there were some [whites] who bought girls, so that when they grew up they could be their wives.

H: When you say "buy," what do you mean?
R: Buy, I mean give lovolo for them. Later, another day when I went there, with my aunts, my mother's sisters, that one, Tenda, and Mapfuxana, there he was, sitting there and writing his business, and when I went in with my aunts, he began to look at me! And he did this, with his eye! [R winks] He did that! And I didn't understand! I said, "Heh! So that mulungu, he's doing that, he's insulting me!!" Because since I was a small child, sometimes when you were annoyed with another child, you would do that. That thing, that's an insult! Eee!! . . . Ah! He's insulting me! And me, I'll say 'eee' to him!" [R demonstrates winking back] . . . That mulungu, when he did that, closed his eye, it was to tell me that he liked me. And I said, "Hmm! Mm-mm! Eh! Hah, he's insulting me! Mama, mama," I said to Tenda. 'Do you see him? Do you see that mulungu, how he's insulting me? He says 'eee' [i.e., winks], so I'm saying 'eee' right back to him!" [R winks both eyes, squeezing them tight] . . . Because I wanted to show him, "I'm insulting you too!" [laughs] Ah! And then, my aunts, they began to laugh, saying "Heh! You, Cartaxana! You're insulting our daughter, what are you insulting her for?" "I'm not insulting her at all!" But then, "Mmm!" [i.e. he winks at her again] So I said, "Mmm!!" [R winks both eyes] "Eh, Buxeni!" [Tenda says.] "Truly, that mulungu, he wants you, that's why he's doing that." "He wants me, what does he want? He's insulting me! So I'm doing it back to him!"

And she began to laugh, because she knew that I, poor thing, I didn't know that he was courting me! Well. I went home, because I had to go to school. . . . Later, I went back to the shop with Xintomanyana. And when he saw me, he said, "Heh!! That girl has already grown big! Isn't that Patapata's granddaughter?" It was him, that Cartaxana. . . . So he said, "Mmm. I'm going to talk to Patapata, to see if he'll let me give lovolo for her." Another day, Patapata went to the shop, to drink wine, because he always used to go there, to sell animal skins. Mmm. . . . So he said, "Heh, Patapata! I saw your niece—she's already big, and so pretty! Eh! Won't you let me buy her? . . . " And Patapata said, "Eh! I don't have a daughter for you to buy, to give bridewealth for. Because that girl is my sister's child. Only if you speak to her uncle, her father's brother, the one who is the minister. . . . "

Well, that passed. When I was already fourteen or fifteen—I was fourteen when I started at the Internato. . . . That's when it started with Eduardo Capela. . . . That Eduardo, he was Agosto's boss. He had a shop, up there in Chibuto. And later he called his cousins to come work with him, in the shop—he was the first one [in his family] to come here from Portugal. And his truck, Eduardo's truck, it was that truck that always picked us up from home, to drop us off at Xinavane, so we could catch the train to Lourenço Marques. This was in '28, '29, '30. That's when he began to talk with my uncle, to tell him he wanted me. Listen well, Heidi! This is what he said to Dane. "Eh, mufundhisi. I want your niece, the one who is at the Internato." . . .

H: He spoke Shangaan?
R: Mmm!! He spoke Shangaan. That whole family spoke Shangaan, perfectly! . . . And then that Dane, he said, "Eh, Capela! You're married! Yet you still want my niece!" 4 . . . He was the first one to ask my uncle, to tell my uncle he loved me. Agosto already wanted me, but he was still afraid, because I was the daughter of the mufundhisi. . . . Meanwhile Eduardo had already spoken to my uncle. But my uncle said, "Eh, Capela. You have Sofia at the shop. In Lourenço Marques, you have Lucia, and Maluissia. And now you want my niece? Why? Eh! No. I don't want to have a white man in my house, taking my daughters. I want them to marry men of their own race. That's what I want." . . . And later, we were coming home for the vacation. That Agosto, he was very quiet, very shy. It was hard for him even to tell me, "Look Rosalina, I want you." All he did, he sent me a little letter. He gave it to his assistant . . . "Go, to the home of the Malunganas, but in secret, you know? I don't want the mufundhisi to see you. He'll want to know what you want there at his house. . . . You must hide, do you understand?" And he came, in the dark, with his bicycle. . . . He came from Chibuto, in Capela's truck. Because, when Eduardo married Sofia, then her brother Agosto came [to Mozambique], to be his driver. . . . And at that time, Agosto, he wasn't well, because of Eduardo.

He went around wondering, "How will I ever get that girl? I love that girl, I don't know what I'm going to do!" And on the holidays, when we got off [the train] at Xinavane, we met Agosto, who was there with his truck, waiting for migrant workers, because we always went home on Saturdays. . . . We always met him there, in his car, it was the car that we always rode in! Well. Capela [Eduardo] was already going around to my father [Dane]. And later, Agosto also began to come after me. Sending letters. . . . And me, when I found those letters, I had to send them back, saying, "Look. I don't want to go around with a white man. Because I want to get married, I want to put the veil over my head, to see many people behind me singing. No, I won't marry you, you're a mulungu, and I'm black, I'll find a black man to marry."

Well. It was '30, when he started to insist, and began to write me letters. '30, '31, he kept it up. '32, that's when I left the Internato. And he was already, you know, with my uncle, because he had already said, "I want Rosalina." And my uncle said, "Eh! What will I do?! Capela also is beginning to threaten me about Rosalina! Now you too!" Look, there at home, I had that Patrício, . . . the brother of João Leão, who has a shop in Caniçado. . . . And he too was coming after me, so I'd be with him! And Raul Emílio, who was coming after me, he was a misto. And there was Ismael Panishandi. He was a misto, his father was Indian, from India. He had a black wife, who had six children with him! . . . And my uncle was going around like this, eh! I don't know, he was so upset. But what am I going to do? Sometimes he called me, "Call Rosalina, to come to me!" And I went into the house. "Sit down. Rosalina." Or, sometimes he called me Buxeni, or Racelina . . . "Uncle?" "But what am I going to do with you? So many valungu are coming to threaten me—one of these days I'll get shot! What am I going to do with you? I mean, here at home there are many girls, but you—I'm not very pleased with you! Because there are all these white men and mistos who want you!"

And I said, "Eh! Uncle. I don't know, uncle. There was that man, Jaime Massingue, who wanted to marry me. You didn't accept him. He was black. You said you didn't like him because he belonged to that race of people from Beira. Then came Jeremia. He wanted to marry me. You said, 'I don't want him, he's a heathen, he just joined the church a short time ago, and certainly he came into the church because he wanted you! Because as soon as he started coming to church, he sent me a letter asking to marry you!' And then came Silva Mohambe. He wanted to marry me. And you said that he was no good because his mother is a heathen, his father is a heathen. He was black. That's already four! Because there was another, called João Mabunda. From over near Caniçado. But it's always the same thing! Now I too, I don't know what my uncle wants! Because those men, for sure, among those four, I could have married one of them, I could have loved one of them! But you, you didn't let me. Now, if these white men are coming, threatening you that they want to give lovolo for me, whatever they want—I'm not to blame for that!" And he said, "Yes. I see, for sure, I see that one of these days I'll be shot to death. I'm afraid of these Portuguese men! . . . They'll kill me. I don't know, but one day you're going to disappear from here, from my home, so that I can live in peace! Just because you're the prettiest one in the house!" And I said, "Look, I don't know, that is my luck." He said, "Uh! One day soon, I'll decide what I'm going to do with you."

Later, I went to tell my mother. "Mama. Uncle called me, to tell me that one of these days, I'm going to disappear from this house, because he's unhappy with me, because all the time—first it was Capela. And now it's Agosto. Now it's Patrício, and Raul, and Ismael Panishandi. All of them, they're all white, or misto. But it wasn't me who invited them! They're the ones who want me. . . . Now he's saying that I'm going to disappear one of these days!" And then my mother, she said, "All right. This is what I see. One of these days, for sure, I know that you'll go to get firewood, and he'll go and kill you himself, so that he can be at peace, and he won't have to see those valungu in his home. It's better for you to go to Mazimhlopes, to my brother's house. There's a church there, you can go to church, and for sure you will find some boys who will want to marry you. . . . " I said, "All right. I see that I must do as you say." But there was a girl, the niece of my uncle's wife, called Virgínia. She heard everything, and then she went to complain to my uncle. She said, "Rosalina said this and this and this . . . " And later, Dane came to make trouble with my mother. "If you want to disappear, disappear—I don't care. Because my brother, when he died, I took you in to live with me, to look after you and your children. And now, I see that you want to take your daughter away." Mama said to him, "No, that's not what I said. She is suffering! And those four boys, why don't you let her choose one of them, to marry him? What fault does she have? She's a girl here in your home! And with her luck, she's pretty—it wasn't she who invited those men!" . . .

And later, there was one day, I got up in the morning and I packed my things. So that I could get the boat, António's boat, that crossed [the river] to go to the shop, so I could catch the train to Mazimhlopes. And later, I don't know who told him . . . he got on his bicycle and came after me. Dane. He found me in the street. I was just about to reach the boat, to cross the river. He took the bundle I was carrying on my head. Mmm. And he said, "Look. I know that you're going to those Capelas, or somewhere. In my house, you will never again enter my house." And he took the clothing that I had on my head. . . . And I was already near the house of Ismael Rigonanti, who was with my cousin, Joana. He had two wives, Rosana and Joana, who was my cousin. 5 . . . When my uncle took my clothing, he went home. I was left with just the clothing that I was wearing. . . . I went to Joana's house, crying. . . . Joana and Rosana, they told me, "It would be better, since you weren't able to get away, and he took all your clothing, we have to go and tell Agosto."

Luck, Heidi!! That day, Agosto was leaving from Chibuto, from the Capelas' place. With his truck full of sacks of corn, to distribute to [Eduardo's] shops at Xibabela, and Javanyani, and Ngomane. And when he heard what had happened, eee!! That the mufundhisi went by, carrying all of Rosalina's things, saying that Rosalina was going to [Agosto's] house. That he [Dane] ran after her because of him. And he said, "Ah, I see. But I just came from there, I didn't see her." Later, there was another boy, who was in the shop, buying things. He said, "Eh, it's true. I know that she's at Ismael's house now. Without her clothing! She has only the clothing she is wearing, he even took the scarf from her head!" Eh! This story! But God exists in this world—God exists in this world, in the heavens! God saw everything that my uncle had done!

Well. . . . Later, Agosto said, "All right. She's at her cousin's house. He [Dane] ran after her because of me. All right. That's fine, that he did so. I wanted that girl, so much, and now he's done this! Well. The clothing that he took, I don't care about that." And I was [at Joana's house], crying. But Joana said, "Look. If Agosto knew, that he had done this, taken your clothing, because of him, and said that you were Agosto's wife. . . . If this were Patrício, no. But Agosto, that's a different matter! Because . . . Agosto Capela, '30, '31, even '32 he's still coming after you!" And later, when [Agosto] returned from Ngomane, he came to the house of Ismael Rigonanti. On that same day, when he had finished distributing the corn. . . . We saw the truck, pulling in. Everyone said, "Shee!! Here comes Capela's truck! Did someone already tell Capela, or what's going on?". . . . Agosto came in, he met the owner of the house, Ismael Rigonanti. They greeted each other [in Shangaan], "Hey, ho, mulungu!" "Heh, welcome, Capela! Welcome, Capela!" Well! . . . "When I passed through Javanyani, I heard about this. In Ngomane too, I heard it. That Dane ran after Rosalina, because of me. There was a boy, he said 'Yes, I saw that girl, she was even crying, she went into Ismael Rigonanti's place, crying. He took all the clothing that she had.'" . . .

Well. [Agosto said], "What I'm going to do—it's already been many years that I've wanted that girl, now she can't be with any other man. Not white, not black. Because everyone knows now that she's my wife. Her uncle abandoned her—he ran after her because of me. Not because of the others. I have been pleading since '30 until now, '32, going after that girl, because she's the one I want." And later, I said, "No. I'm going to [Patapata's] house." He said, "No. I know that if you go to Patapata's house, I'll never be able to be with you, and I love you. Don't you love me?" I said, "Mmm! Even if I love you, I'm preparing to marry, to find someone of my race, to marry. It's not because I don't want you! What I'm worried about, the thing that bothers me, is that you could leave me!" And he said, "Look. I promised you that I wouldn't leave you. I want you to be my wife! It's already been four years that I've come after you, Rosalina. So many years! And do I have a wife at home? No! There you are. It's because long ago I promised that you would be my wife. Many Portuguese men here have black girls, living with them, but not me. But you think that you, Rosalina, you can run to your uncle's house, and I'll see you with another man? No, better I kill myself! Because [Dane], he insulted me too. Saying that you're already my wife, when you're not my wife, not yet. No, it can't be. You are here, you're coming to my house." And Rigonanti, Ishmael, he said "Yes, for sure. Rosalina, there's no alternative, except for you to go with Agosto." . . .

And so, he took me there, to his house. And I was crying, Heidi. Because what I wanted, was to marry in the church! Like I'd seen other girls marry, that way. I wanted that. But I had to go with him. And I was afraid, ah! . . . Because I knew he would want [to sleep with me], and I had never been with a man before. And they say that, it hurts, the first time!

H: But how did you feel about him then? Did you love him?
R: Mmm, eee. I loved him. But I was afraid, I was afraid that he would leave me. But I loved him, I loved him. Much more than any of the others. . . . And so, I went to live with Agosto. Ah!! Heidi. This story!


Courting Story: Author | Albertina | Rosalina | Valentina


Note 1: Rikatla was the Swiss Mission station, and later seminary, about 15 kilometers north of the capital city.  Back.

Note 2: N'waMagweva, a junior wife of Rosalina's paternal grandfather, "became angry" with her husband and fled her vukatini when her only child, Arturo, was very young. Arturo was raised by his father's other wives and was especially close to his elder brother Jorge, Rosalina's father.  Back.

Note 3: Here Rosalina was speaking Portuguese and used the word sorte, which can mean good luck, fate, destiny, fortune, chance (but not bad luck). At other times she used dyombo, a Shangaan word that principally means good fortune rather than fate or destiny.  Back.

Note 4: Here, as an aside, Rosalina told the story of Eduardo Capela, who had two African wives in Lourenço Marques but had to marry his Portuguese cousin (Agosto Capela's sister, Sofia), because she was pregnant with his child, and bring her to Mozambique.  Back.

Note 5: Rosalina considered Joana a cousin (Portuguese: prima) because Joana's mother and Rosalina's mother had the same xivongo, Tivane.  Back.


Binding Memories: Women as Makers and Tellers of History in Magude, Mozambique