I knew what he was saying, but I pretended otherwise.
You see, this wasn’t the first man in the village who had taken an interest in me. As the only white lady, let alone young and American, I was easily the most eligible bachelorette in Kudunkgwane. Unusual for me, I was a hot commodity in the village.
Just recently, I had an interesting conversation with a construction worker along the roadside in the next village, Tlakgameng, as I waited for transport to Kudunkgwane. It went something like this:
“You know, you should be my woman. I smoke and I drink because I don’t have a woman. If you were my woman, I wouldn’t smoke and drink,” said the young man.
“Well, thanks. But I’m not looking for a husband right now,” I said, hoping transport would show up soon.
“Well, it’s your fault that I smoke and drink then,” he said.
“If you stopped smoking and drinking, you might find it easier to find a woman…” I said, attempting to end the conversation.
Yeah, that really happened.
And now, not long after that incident, a different man started following me to the school, babbling on in Afrikaans. I spouted off my one phrase of Afrikaans, “Ek kan nie Afrikaans praat nie!” I don’t speak Afrikaans. He looked puzzled, then switched to Setswana.
I recognized enough words to know exactly what he was saying. I knew it, but I pretended otherwise. It was the easiest way to deal with it, and I knew this post-retirement age man wouldn’t likely speak English. So rather than speaking Setswana, which I would normally do, I flat out hollered at him that I spoke English.
After a moment of silence, he spouted off the one English word he could think of to relay his adoration. “LOVE!”
I turned around and walked away, pretending I was utterly confused. I knew how much he wanted me to marry him. But despite the three language proposal, I wasn’t swayed.
Just one of many proposals I received in Africa. By the end of my time there, I knew very quickly where the conversation would head. And now, it all just makes me laugh!
After all, it’s not often that you are proposed to left and right, is it?