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Excerpt from The Crocodile on the Zambezi
African Writing Online
November 20, 2008

Scene Six

Katrina walks in, parading a new African dress. She passes the table and comes across her speech. She picks it and reads it silently. She smiles, takes a pen and corrects a word. Then she reads aloud.

KATRINA: Ladies of Africa we should be embarrassed by our sense of fashion. We should not be embarrassed by the flesh and curves that define us as African women. There is nothing called extra flesh. There is nothing called ugly. We are all beautiful in our own ways. I love my dark, chocolate skin. I dress to complement my skin. I always try to use my sense of dress to portray the image of a prosperous and democratic country.

Enter Crocodile. He listens a bit and then intervenes.

CROCODILE: Katrina, you look stunning in that dress. Totally African.

KATRINA: You like it?

CROCODILE: I love it. I would have gone crazy for it if my face was on it.

KATRINA: Your face? Don't be silly, I'm your wife. I don't need to parade your face. Everyone knows you are mine.

CROCODILE: (he laughs) You're always wearing these expensive dresses and never a party one.

KATRINA: Is that a complaint?

CROCODILE: You have thousands of dresses and not even one with my face on it.

KATRINA: Not a thousand. Remember I donated more than 500 dresses to charity last year.

CROCODILE: It would make me happy to see my face on your chest.

KATRINA: I'm a role model. When I go out people want to see a star, not an ululating party woman. That is why I dress like this.

CROCODILE: Our country needs a mother and not a supermodel.

KATRINA: I take it you are making a formal complaint now.

CROCODILE: I'm just wondering that I have seen other women wearing my face and not my own wife.

KATRINA: Those that do that worship you. I don't. I love you and I wear you inside my heart. How is my speech? Does it sound like the speech from a first lady of a prosperous African country?

CROCODILE: More like a pan African activist than a first lady.

KATRINA: The fashion congress will be my biggest event to officiate. All first ladies of Africa will be in attendance.

CROCODILE: When the congress happens someone else will be the first lady.

KATRINA: Meaning?

CROCODILE: Katrina, I've made up my mind. Tonight I'm telling the world I'm leaving.

KATRINA: And us? What about us and what we want?

CROCODILE: We've been through this before and my position is clear, Katrina.

Katrina suddenly takes a paper and throws it at him. He stares at the papers, not sure what to do.

CROCODILE: What's this? Surprise divorce papers?

KATRINA: Read them and find out for yourself.

President picks the paper and reads from it. He looks shocked.

CROCODILE: Katrina, you're pregnant!

KATRINA: What do the papers say?

CROCODILE: This is dated three weeks ago. You've been keeping it from me.

KATRINA: I wanted to surprise you tonight. Make it a special night for you.

CROCODILE: This is a pleasant surprise. We must celebrate.

He runs around trying to get drinks.

KATRINA: The doctors say I'm carrying a son. I want him to be born whilst I'm still this country's first lady.


KATRINA: Six more years. That's all we are asking for.

I: Don't listen to her. It's time to leave. Age is not on our side.

CROCODILE: Stay out of it, please!

I: How can I? I'm part of you. Tell her about the insults and the nightmares at night.

CROCODILE: Just stay out. I'll handle her.

I: Can you?

CROCODILE: She is my wife and yes I can handle her.

Suddenly he starts laughing and Katrina is amazed.

KATRINA: You are talking to yourself.

CROCODILE: Welcome to the club, Katrina. You too have tasted the sweet taste of power. You don't want us go.

KATRINA: How many times should I tell you I am doing this for our children? I am not doing it for myself.

CROCODILE: The kids can grow up anywhere. Look at me. Who can believe I grew up in the reserves, deep in poverty?

KATRINA: That was then and this is now. I want my son to be born at state house. That's all.

She turns and storms out. She can be heard screaming from outside.

KATRINA: You're just being selfish. Selfish, selfish and selfish!

The Crocodile reluctantly follows Katrina outside. I grabs his potted plant and follows, laughing and enjoying himself.

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