Every family feud, we know that, it’s not even a black thing because white people do it too. Often it’s about money
or some responsibility someone was supposed to do and did not do. The one constant however is that it’s about old people not young people. When a young person is fighting with elders it’s simply considered as rude no matter how you look at it. What Khanyi had said honestly was beyond reproach? I could not forgive her for saying such a thing. My mother for example had her ways but I would never speak to her like that. Le bona de step mothers are a problem. Why do they have to be young and beautiful nowadays? Don’t marry these older men just date them!
“Ladies we are not going to stop until we get there?”
Her father declared. What was he on about? Women need to pee on the road and to this effect we stopped at every second garage much to his annoyance. Men don’t understand that for women, when you have to go, well you have to go! There is no going around it.
“That’s not going to happen, we will never survive!”
His wife said coming to the rescue. He was probably doing this to punish Khanyi. Needless to say we stopped at every garage, that’s the power of a wife! He would moan about it but we did not care I guess. Khanyi had been sour the whole time. At the last garage I asked her,
“Why do you hate Yolanda so much?”
I thought she would probably snap back at me but she did not. She answered immediately meaning it was something close to her heart.
“The truth is that it’s not that I do not hate her. I feel like she is trying to take the place of my mother and this did not start when she was already dead but even before. When my mother was sick this woman was already there. I remember walking in on my mother fighting with my father saying that what he was doing with her was not right. My father promised my mother that he was not seeing yet barely a year later he married her! She was not even ashamed to move into the same house my mother had died and if I had not caused a scene they would have used the same bed my mother used to share with my father!”
She explained. Khanyi with her all her brains was one of those people that spoke about parties, moneys, cars and alcohol. All those fun things. Don’t be fooled once upon a time going to university meant you were mature and academically astute but nowadays with everyone passing, that standard has not been maintained. For her to therefore open up at a deeper level like this I won’t lie I was taken by surprise. It definitely was not the her I was used to.
“I didn’t know that and in a way I get your anger but for the sake of peace, you guys when you get home you must sit down and discuss it. She can never take your mothers place and you know it but much as your father might be an idiot don’t lose him too over her!”
I advised her. We were friends enough for me to be able to tell her that. She said it was ok she will behave.
When we got there I noted that all her cousins were already there. In Pretoria to be honest when there is a funeral most of your cousins rock up into two the day before or the day of the funeral. If your family is from in and around Pretoria some drop in on the bereaved family but it’s almost at a distance as no one wants to contribute. When the time for contribution comes there are always those that will find every excuse under the sun to give as little as possible.
“These are my cousins Nobuhle and Buhle, the twins! They attend at Zululand in Empangeni!”
Khanyi said as she introduced me to pretty girls who looked alike but not identical.
“Hey! Thanks for coming! We are tired there is so much work to do!”
Nobuhle said. Khanyi’s face went purple!
“I didn’t come here to work!”
She said defiantly.
“We just joking! We know how lazy you are. There are people here helping. They even hired a caterer for the cooking so we don’t have to do much. If you see my mum though run because she wants us to be doing something and not sitting around!”
She explained. Looking at them and Khanyi they really were different people. Where Khanyi had the shiny lip-gloss, weave and clothes that were a tad bit too tight, they were well manner, cultured and well dressed. They almost looked rural but they were not.
“We all grew up together, are the same age and some point even attended the same schools!”
“Yeah that’s till you decided to Jhb and become a pastor!”
They said and the three of them laughed. Guess it was a family joke that’s why I didn’t get it.
“So you Khanyi’s friend that’s going to Dubai!”
Buhle asked me and there was an immediate,
From the sister. Guess Khanyi had already spread the rumour.
“Yes I am.”
I said and Khanyi came in and said,
“I am going to!”
I told her.
“I wish I had a blesser! I joined that website and ah dololo, they just want you to send your picture so they can embarrass you!”
She said and we all laughed. This blesser obsession thing is not only a Jhb thing or a big city thing like they try make us believe. It’s everywhere!
“Where do you get blessers? The rich men in this area when they think overseas they think Deben!”
I spelt that Deben deliberately as opposed to Durban because that’s how she pronounced it. She was mocking their backwardness I guess. Everyone laughed.
“It is because whilst in Jhb they are giving free Wi-Fi and tablets in schools we have virginity testing to get bursaries!”
Somehow it was not funny but it made sense to laugh. This was one country with such opposing views of things.
“I don’t think I went looking for one though, Khanyi was there! He came to us I guess!”
I explained to them. I could not be shy now because the secret was out. Khanyi I will deal with later exposing my secrets like this.
“If I had anyone take me on a plane, not even to Dubai, I am sure they will name all the hair salons…”
Buhle said but Nobuhle cut in.
“… And the Spaza’s too sisi!”
“Yes those too after me! They will give me free hairdos for free as I will be the first in my community to go to Dubai!”
She said and much as we laughed at the joke it was weird how I was actually admired for having a sugardaddy, sorry, I mean blesser. Sugardaddy you are shamed for blesser you are a hero!
My phone rang and it was my mother. I stepped aside from them so I could pick it up. I had forgotten to tell her I had arrived safely.
“Where are you? I am at res I wanted to talk to you?”
My mother said.
“I told you I am going to KZN for a funeral. Remember I told you that Khanyi lost her grandmother!”
I reminded her.
“No you never told me! I was with you last night and you did not say it either!”
She said. I could hear by the tone of her voice that she was actually starting to get angry! Had I not told her though? Impossible!
“Mum, I told you this. On Monday when I got back to school I told you this!”
I tried again but she would hear none of it.
“We are not sending you to school to go gallivanting across South Africa. I want you back latest tomorrow morning or there will be consequences!”
She threatened. I was stunned. Ka nnete what was going on here?
“Mum I have no way of coming back from here! I am not doing anything wrong. I can take a video of everything even the funeral for you to see I am…”
I explained but she cut me off!
“Listen here! I told you, you at UJ to get a degree not to make friends. Ever since you and Khanyi got close you always up and down!”
She said. Where was all this coming from? This morning we were fine and now this?
“Ok mum you tell me how I am supposed to be back tomorrow morning? How do I do that?”
I asked her also starting to lose my temper. This was very unlike my mother!
“I don’t care! You come home tomorrow or I swear you will not be in residence anymore!”
She said and dropped the phone just like that.
“Is everything ok?”
Khanyi asked me when she saw the ghostlike expression I had on my face. I was totally blank with disbelief at this stage.
“No! My mother says I must come home tomorrow!”
I told her.
“But you have only just arrived!”
She said in disbelief!
“I know! She was in a bad mood yesterday but this morning we were cool. It’s weird because my mum never just shows up!”
‘Well I don’t know anyone who is going in that direction so you will have to catch a taxi there!”
She told me! I could not believe this was happened. Imagine, I had just arrived, how do I take my leave from this family. I now had to find a lie to tell her father.
“I am sorry friend!”
I told her. I had barely finished talking to her when my phone rang. It was Sam.
“Did you get there ok?”
He asked me. I told him about the trip but this new curveball my mother had just thrown in.
“You were wrong to go without her permission. Do you have you I.D with you?”
He asked me. I had not come with it.
“No I have my student card only!”
I told him.
‘Too bad, I was going to book you a flight from Richards Bay or something!”
He said with a concerned voice. I think Khanyi had said Richards Bay was about 200km from where we were I can’t remember now and for me that would not have made much of a difference as I still had to get there! I had to do the taxi thing but that thought.
No can do!
My mother will just have to be strong!
I texted her!
“Mum I am not coming tomorrow! My friend needs me! I told you and you said yes now you want to embarrass me!”
I texted. Stupid me!
There would be consequences indeed!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Life has not always been fair to some of us. I come from a very poor family. My father died when I was 7 and according to my mother he worked in the mines. I am 17 now and I have two siblings. My mother did all she could to get money on the table including sleep with men for money. I am not ashamed of her. There were tough times. Everyone says get a job but they don’t tell you where to get these jobs. Last year she died. She was hit by a taxi of all things. I am in matric. I work hard, study all the time but my grades were not improving until I decided to do what my mother did. I slept with some man from Fourways (I am from Diepsloot) and he gave me money. He is not married but has kids older than me. I used that money to pay for extra lessons and the results are actually showing. With me I can’t afford to pass matric without distinctions if I am going to get a bursary. With the same money I have been getting from sleeping with this man I have managed to feed my little sisters now and make sure things are moving. I never stay out late so he picks me from school and we do our thing, I go home. My sister the one who is 15 is the problem. Now she is running around with a local gangster. The other day he slept over in her room. I had to ask the community to chase him away. They told him they will beat him up if they ever see him around her again. He seems to have listened but who am I to judge when I am sleeping with someone for money to feed them. I am a child myself and I want to be a child and enjoy life like other people my age. I have a new problem now where the man I have been sleeping with now wants us to not use condoms. We got tested together and we both negative but I am not sure I am ready for that. I can’t stop being with him because people can say what they want about grants spoiling people but it’s not enough. The money is so little it doesn’t even cover rent alone. I need his money for the extra lessons and for my sisters. I am trapped and I am depressed all the time. My only happy point is my grades which are way better but the price I have to pay to achieve them. I wish God can tell me why my family was created to suffer like this. It’s not fair and it’s hard. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep just so I don’t have to think about all this.
I just wanted to share my story.