When I was young, about 7 or 8, there about, my brother and I followed my cousin Richard to wherever he was going (I don’t even remember) because I wanted to walk somewhere. We were walking down the Zomba Mental Hospital road, and I happened to cross the road, and a bicycle ran into me.
I still remember that I was wearing a red skirt, and it tore from my hip down during the whole ordeal. I was bleeding on my knee, and crying on top of my lungs, “chonde asakandibaye!!!” (“Please don’t let them give me an injection!!!“) as we made our way to the hospital (yes, I’ve always been afraid of needles). When the accident happened, so many people gathered in so little time. I remember there was ootcha chips (a man that sold chips/fries) nearby, they ditched their chiwaya (chips/fries), and came to the scene. So many other people came and surrounded us. Some of the men grabbed the cyclist by the shirt, and shouted at him. They wanted justice to be served. They were so angry! The young man kept apologizing, and he was frightened. He kept saying, “I didn’t see her approaching” but the people wouldn’t have it. He followed us to the hospital and was by my side the whole time. He was genuinely concerned. To be honest, all I wanted was to get the blood off of me and go home. He gave me MK100 (a lot of money back then), and my cousin told him he can go, and that it was an accident and that these things happen.


Today was a happy day for us. My cousin Hope, who had been admitted for about 5 days, was finally being discharged. After the long process of receiving medication and getting a medical report, we were finally happy to be going home. I was driving, my aunt was in the front seat, my mum and Hope sat in the passenger seat.
As I was driving into the main road from Zomba Central Hospital, I didn’t see a cyclist approaching, and I froze as he came crashing on the drivers door. He had blood on his mouth. I quickly hit the hazard lights. Somebody helped him up, and I reversed, away from the main road. I was in shock. I felt my legs shake.
Then all of a sudden, loads of people surrounded the car. They said, “you must help him.” Another said, “you can’t just drive away, he’s hurt.” I tried to get back inside the gate, but there were people behind, and the gate was too close behind. I thought, “let me drive forward a bit so I can reverse properly, get back inside and meet the cyclist.”
Big mistake.
All the witnesses thought me driving forward meant I was driving away and running away from picking up the pieces of the accident. They screamed. They shouted. Some people hit the car. I tried to explain, “no, I just want to get back inside the gate, I’m not driving away. I can’t reverse without driving forward.”
They wouldn’t have it. “Akuthawa!!” (“She’s running away!!”) somebody shouted.
Someone came and tried to grab the keys from the ignition. I grabbed them first. Then there was commotion. All those witnesses suddenly became a mob, ready to fight me so I could face justice. My aunt, my mum, and Hope, all tried to explain that we weren’t running away. Some lady said, “umadziwa kupweteka Kwa kubeleka iwe?? Ndi moyotu umenewo!” (“do you know the pain of childbirth? This is someone’s life!”). Someone else, “police case imeneyi!” (“this is a police case!”). Another person said, “akufuna athawe chifukwa alibe license. Si mwana ameneyu?” (“She wants to run away because she doesn’t have a driver’s license. Isn’t she underage?”). Just so we are clear, I have a license. I renewed it two days ago. I’ve been a driver for over 5 years.
Unfortunately, my window was rolled down. People came and were trying to grab me, some took a hold of the seat belt, and a lot of hands were fighting with me, trying to get ahold of the keys so ‘I wouldn’t run away’. It was chaotic.
Then I saw my mum trying to fight off the people who were trying to drag me out of the car. I don’t even know what time she got out to stand beside my door. My aunt was outside on one corner, trying to explain to angry people that we weren’t going anywhere. Hope was on another corner, saying I don’t know what, with so much energy, you wouldn’t believe it was the same patient that had just been discharged lol. Thinking about it now, it’s making me laugh. But it was very scary at the moment.
Eventually, mum managed to get into the drivers seat, and she told me to move to the other seat. I literally hopped to the other seat because if I went out, God knows I would have been on the news, “Mob Justice: Girl Burnt Alive at ZCH” lol, OK maybe that’s too far, but I’m sure I would have been beaten up. Then mum drove back inside the gate, where she parked on the main car park as we went in search of the cyclist.

While we waited for the doctor, people still came to check the injured man. A lady followed us everywhere (we actually thought they were related, but she said she was just there, following us). Three men from the gate hung around. They said the bicycle was so broken and the man was injured and that he could be bleeding internally. They made everything worse. Mum said, “Fai, zimachitika. Usadandaule.” (“Fai, it happens. Don’t worry.”)

I recognised one of the men who followed us, he was in a blue golf shirt. He was one of the people that wanted to grab the keys from the ignition. Him and two other men went behind a building and talked for some minutes. When they came back, man in blue said to my mother, “tikambilane” (“let’s discuss”). I followed them. Blue shirt had the audacity to tell us that “ineyo ndiimilila ngati mbale wake wa wanjingayu kuti ku police zikayende bwino chifukwa nde zikakuvutanitu.” (“let me pretend to be a relative to the cyclist so it goes well at the police station because it will be too difficult for you”). Like, are you serious? You want to make money out of this incident?? We said NO. We will sort it out ourselves. Thank God mum called dad, and he was there as these three men tried to give us their dubious plan. Dad said he would sort everything out, and that we should go home. I apologized to the cyclist (I learnt that his name is Yohane, 27 years old. He came to buy goods for his shop and that he had no relative nearby and knew no phone number we could call). He said he wasn’t hurt, just his lips were bleeding. I felt so relieved, although a huge part of me felt terrible. I told him that I was going home, but my parents would be there with him. He said that was ok.

People pointed at me as I walked to the car. I was still coming to terms with what had just happened. I couldn’t believe THAT just happened to us. I wanted to cry, but I told myself, “not now”. I went to see the bicycle, it was fine. The goods he bought were OK too. I couldn’t believe how people exaggerated everything. Then something told me, this has happened before. Only I was the injured one then, when I was young. But they also almost beat up the cyclist. This time, I was on the other end, being accused. And these were all ‘concerned witnesses.’ I will never forget that I was wearing a blue skirt today.

Posted in Random Ramblings.


  1. Faith,you got a sharp memory. I wouldn’t have explained it any better like this though I was two decades older than you.
    Sorry that you’ve been a victim on both sides of the story & I guess you know how bad each side is even if you were to choose.But never again risk yourself to convince an angry mob of your innocence. It just provokes them more.

    • Yes, I remember this too well because I still have a scar on my left knee lol.
      Never again Cous, never again. Those people don’t listen to reason. All they want is justice, by any means. Thank you so much.

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