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©Simon Chilembo,  09/ 12-2012

©Simon Chilembo, 09/ 12-2012

I can’t forgive. I never forgive. I don’t forgive. If and when I’m maliciously offended and/ or harmed in any way, I cry, I pray, I meditate, I think. If I conclude that I have been by intention and purpose, for any reason treated unfairly and unjustly as a way to thwart my efforts, ambitions, and opportunities at attaining any of my goals, there is no way I can ever forgive. Forgetting is out of the question. I am not vindictive. But when revenge hits back, it’s ever so sweet.

In the absence of apology, repentance, humility, and, in extreme cases, penance, on the part of the offender, I can never forgive, I can never reconcile. In the name of progress, because the world will never stop for us, peace may prevail. But unsolicited forgiveness I can never extend, or offer, overtly or otherwise.

I believe in God. I am God. Even God does not distribute forgiveness for free like it’s some Father Christmas goody for children. God gives only upon request, no matter how genuine or false the request is. Just ask, God (for-) gives. That’s what prayers are for. That’s what prayer rooms, prayer houses, temples, churches and cathedrals, including mosques, are for. That’s what ritual sacrifices of all kinds are made to God for. Even the hungriest, poorest person in the world will sacrifice the last grain of rice, the last penny they have in the name of forgiveness in the face of God. You can absolutely not enter into the Kingdom of God carrying sins in your heart and on your shoulders. The wealthiest and most powerful men and women of God have understood that fact well. Pathological sinners never cease to give them their hard earned tithes, for them (the Pastors, the High Priests, and many others) to negotiate for God’s forgiveness, and, by extension, passport acquisition into heaven. Amen.

I speak to my God directly. She has taught me not how to forgive for free. Forgiveness must effect change, it must enlighten. Forgiveness is, indeed, power; forgiveness liberates all. But psychopaths, groping in the darkness of ignorance, evil, and insensitivity, do not know, and do not care about forgiveness; it’s origin, intention, and purpose. For them, psychopaths, life is about them alone, they are the centres of the universe. We ordinary mortals owe them eternal favours. So, how can they ever do us wrong? How can they ever understand our fragilities, our hurts and our emotional turmoil in times of disappointments, abuse, and betrayals? I do not know how to forgive psychopaths. I’ve been around the world, I’ve looked everywhere, I’ve seen things; but I fail to see how I could ever forgive a psychopath who has messed up my life, no matter how little, no matter how distant.

My revenge is self-driven. My revenge is self-motivated. It comes, and it strikes when it strikes, in life or in death. My revenge is ever so sweet to watch in action. It’s better than many a Hollywood movie, tastes better than vanilla ice cream. Ntate/ Mr Pelompe knows better than any other. Pelo = Heart; Mpe = Bad

I hate Ntate Pelompe more than any other person that’s ever walked the face of the earth in my time. In the 4- 5 years, 1964-69, I was conscious of his presence (it turns out he was already on the scene by the time I was born in 1960), Ntate Pelompe remains the most violent, most cruel, and the most abusive person I’ve ever had anything to do with directly in my life. I’d have loved to see him fight an equal, though. But like many a legendary psychopath, he always took the ever weakest and most vulnerable, women and children. Psychopaths are masters at spreading, and ruling with terror. So, everybody in the village was scared shitlesss of Ntate Pelompe. He was, furthermore, of Royal blood. Where is royalty more feared than in Africa? Only once, though, I saw another man, a cousin on holiday from work in Johannesburg, stand up against Ntate Pelompe.

Both men were lookers, and dressed well. Roughly about same age. Very popular with the ladies, given their urban sophistication influence from Johannesburg and Welkom. Living more permanently in Johannesburg, Ntate Pelompe’s cousin had more class, though. The latter quality was evidently a source of envy and jealousy from Ntate Pelompe. I learnt later that there were inheritance issues involved also.

One Sunday afternoon, the Royal cousins return from a drinking spree. Cousin from Jo’burg is looking real bad, thoroughly drunk. We were like 10 children in the compound, and seeing these two drunken men amused us profusely. Ntate Pelompe then accuses the cousin of being the stupid one who has caused the children to laugh at them. And without warning, Ntate Pelompe physically attacks his cousin so viciously that the man tumbles and falls to the ground, lying dead still. When after several hard kicks to the flanks didn’t get to wake the cousin up, Ntate Pelompe then picked a granitic rock (lejwe la moralla: Sesotho) the size of a buffalo’s head and smashed it with brute force on cousin’s head. Blood spewed, the man’s body convulsed violently, we children got the hell out of there. Fast!

Unfortunately, while the other children ran away to their different homes, I ran to Ntate Pelompe’s. The man was my guardian while I went to school in Lesotho 1965- 69. I was one of several children at this homestead. But I was the most visible, given my big mouth. So, when after a while the man came home, he was still in a rage. He went on to thump the brains out of us, including my grandmother, whom he accused of not bringing us up with good discipline. That was the first time I ever saw the face and body of a small child during, and after, extremely violent physical abuse. I recall this happening not long after I had started going to school for the first time. This means that I was nearly five years old then; and I later was told that the small child I referred to was hardly two years old.

Ntate Pelompe used to brag about his property and his royal lineage. All this made no sense to me. So, I didn’t care. I cared only about his orchard, and vegetable garden, including the flower garden. The latter was a little on the periphery, though, because the man preferred to tend it himself. The few occasions I saw my grandmother working the flower garden was under strict supervision, with a stick in hand, by the man. We children were made to work the vegetable garden and orchard under as tough regimentation, driven and guided by the man, with a long whip; the kind you use for cattle, cowboy style. That thing hurts when it hits you; peels off skin upon contact. Some children went around with permanent scars on the bodies as a result of this. What went on inside their hearts and souls can we only guess. There wasn’t any talk of child slave labour, and/ or abuse those days. Children were there to use as you do animals to work. They resist, whip them. And starve them. Simple.

By the time I was 7-8 years old I had already gotten it instilled in me that I mustn’t just stand and receive unfair and unjust treatment passively; I must fight back, and I only have myself to fight for me primarily. It was most frustrating for me to find that I couldn’t fight back against the much bigger and older Ntate Pelompe. Having been subjected to, and having seen the extent of his cruelty and brutality so many times before, I was also scared shitless of this man.

I guess it was the developing defiant young rebel in me working when one morning in 1968, I decided to wake up and pee on Ntate Pelompe’s flower garden. I didn’t care the consequences, I just felt like peeing on the flower garden. He saw me. Removing his thick leather belt, he struck and whipped me viciously, at the same time spewing from his vile mouth the most uncomplimentary things about my commoner heritage. I felt a slash on my right leg. Looking down I noticed a deep cut, flesh and bone exposed, blood gushing profusely a few seconds later. In a moment of shock for both of us, I stood up, and looked hard up at the man. I stopped crying, wiping off my tears defiantly, silently anticipating the next strike. It never came. The man scornfully said something about me thinking I had become a man then. He went on to, for the first time, threaten to kill me because, I had then become big enough for it at last, he said. At that particular moment my then extreme fear for the man turned into lasting, profound hate for him, and everything he stood for. The ugly cut on my leg symbolized my hatred for Ntate Pelompe. Infection due to lack of medical attention meant that the subsequent sore would take a very long time to heal. I still carry the ugly scar, clearly visible even close to 50 years later. No doubt this scar will be on my leg to my dying day. Ntate Pelompe died a long time ago. But the physical scar he inflicted upon me, it being a small external manifestation of the massive emotional and psychological anguish he caused others and me, lingers on. I couldn’t forgive this man even if I knew how to.

Vengeance finally came through a few weeks leading on to Christmas, 2013.

.It would be a ludicrous banality to compare Ntate Pelompe’s old royal Real Estate with mine, I, a Ruler commoner. My estate is larger by far by magnitude, as well as by presentation. However, mine is a real money estate. My estate is 100% built from my own sweat and toil, started from ground zero by myself alone; no royal family inheritances, no handouts, and the like. Just me.

Confronted by the size, and the possibilities of my new house, I in July/ August 2013 embarked on a ambitious first time project of designing and single-handedly landscaping an entirely new vegetable garden.


This was an awesome personal challenge full of strong emotions, given my not so charming personal history of gardening in my formative years. I started by naming the garden after my maternal grandmother: Auma Veg Soul Garden. Then I planted the season’s most often grown vegetables, which was also in par with what I recalled from that time so long ago: Spinach, carrots, beetroot, broccoli, tomato, and lettuce. I also planted the hardy and prolific pumpkin, including beans, and groundnuts. At the same time I worked to develop further the front lawn/ flower garden, planting more roses, and other trees. The flower garden is beautiful, and the vegetable garden has produced more than I had ever envisaged it would. The quality, texture, and size of the produce beat by far anything I have ever seen close-range in gardening before. 

IMG_2453One of the two peach trees I planted even bore two very delicious peaches, the constant daily observation and subsequent consumption of which put the final nail on Ntate Pelompe’s coffin.


Checking out my gardens everyday, harvesting the various vegetables for own consumption, as well sharing with others, including my proud mother, fills me with a previously unknown kind of sense of joy and pride. It’s a kind of nice and giddy feeling of making the emphatic statement: I’M HERE, I LIVE; I LOVE! 


The roses not only light up the yard, and exude delicious aromas day and night; they fire up my head for my eyes to see beauty everywhere around me. I am free. This is how my vengeance works.




Simon Chilembo
South Africa
Tel: +27 717 454 115
December 31, 2013




  1. […] my life is the xenophobic man of hate mentioned above, making what I then considered to be a serious threat to kill me. It seems he didn’t have the guts to see things through because he attempted to kill himself […]

  2. […] in the way we just did. There were all sorts of people, from those simply out to look for work, lovers such as my grandmother was, to politicians and freedom […]

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