About the author:
Filemon Liyambo is a Namibian writer and former newspaper columnist for the Namibian Sun Newspaper. He has also contributed social commentary articles for the New Era Newspaper.
A qualified geologist, he is now an educator. His work was included in Erotic Africa, an anthology of short stories published by Brittle Paper in December 2018. He is currently working on a novel.
Episodes / sub-episodes
December is a story about a girl named December, unconventionally, by her father, Silas Shikongo. The story is set in a town in Namibia.
December has a younger brother named September. According to their grandfather, Ezekiel, there are traces of idiotism in September, his grandson, for he takes after his youngest brother, Josef.
December nurses September when he is young, but there is a mishap in which she injures the boy accidentally with hoe, and the boy bleeds. Flhe old man then forbids her to eat chicken, saying that is how things are. September suspects that his grandfather is hiding something because he cannot explain the reason clearly. However, the two siblings are academic geniuses.
Suddenly, just before joining a Teachers Training College, December develops a psychiatric condition and her grandfather, Ezekiel, insists that she is bewitched and there are dark forces behind it. He takes her to the hospital and dumps her there.
September, who now studies in the U.K., visits his sister at the hospital, but the nurse intercepts him for being late. However, Tshuuveni, a supervisor, and a familiar face appears and begins talking with him. This light chat makes the nurse calm, and the guards are sent away to allow him some time. The nurse softens when she learns that September is December's brother who studies abroad.
September finds his sister in a horrible condition, but they have a warm moment, and he hands her the gifts: a jersey, a pen and a book full of puzzles, a t-shirt, and yummy chips from KFC.
Meanwhile, Tatekulu, their grandfather Ezekiel, has dreamed of a pond where leopards drink and Josef is seated on the edge, eating. A search party is sent, and Josef is found at the exact place in Ezekiel's dream.
The next day, September buries his grandfather, with his secret, next to his father in the village graveyard.
Questions for reflection on 'Title' of the story and themes
Consequences of superstition on mental illness
December, the story's title, is also the central character's name. The name is given to her by her father against his own father's wishes, who calls it idiotism. Conventional or not, this naming creates confusion and distortion of facts simultaneously. (p85-86).
Their life of hope begins when September arrives at the hospital from the U.K. December, who is at the hospital probably being discharged to start her life free of her grandfather's superstitious interference. (p87).
Remember when September comes from Europe, he brings December a T-shirt with an imprint of the Union Jack, representing modernity or a form of enlightenment. But still, this is confusion on ideologies: between
colonialism and civilization.
The T-shirt is precisely the same as the one December had ripped up all those years before to stem September's bleeding. This implies that her ordinary life is restored by her brother's hope and concern for her well-being. (p89).
The two reminisce their puberty days when September got himself a puppy named Kali to keep off boys who pursued December when she was younger. Tshuuveni enquires whether September is bringing home an oshitenya from overseas, but he says he still hasn't found the right girl. (p87).
Professional medical practice should be relied on to guarantee the quality of life, control and treatment of diseases, and complications is not a secret to anyone.
The medical fraternity should fight these superstitious thoughts to lower their adverse consequences. will bring hope. Hope is also symbolized when it rains after Ezekiel Shikongo's burial. Then Josef is also found. (p89, 90)
Style and Language use
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