“Just because you failed at something the first time does not mean you should give up immediately. Always have the confidence to try again and ask for advice on how else you can make it work because pride often prevents you from greatness.” Mike Maphoto
You could hear a pin drop. The girls all went quiet as though they knew I was in trouble. If this was a horror movie this would be the plat where they play that music. We had all not seen or heard them enter. I did not say what I said on purpose. In fact I did not know that he was there so I was not trying to hurt him. He had eavesdropped so no one should say I put my foot in it because it was not for his ears. Even amongst girls we sometimes tease our boyfriends. We tease them on their bad habits but it’s meant to be harmless and that’s about it. It’s funny that what happened is exactly what had happened to Azwindini with the only difference being a better liar than I.
“Did you hear what we were talking about?”
I asked him. I did not want to appear aloof.
“I did not what you all were talking about I heard what Lungi was saying that’s all!”
He corrected me. I guess he was trying to make sure that I don’t blame the group on my words.
“Yes! You were not supposed to hear all that. It was girl talk!”
I started to explain.
“No, you don’t have to explain but I should since clearly it’s a white elephant between us and you have never asked. Ntheteng’s mothers name was Keabetswe, Kea for short…”
He started but I cut him off,
“You don’t have to tell me all this, come on, like I said it was not meant for your ears!”
I told him because really, he did not have to. I was wrong to have spoken like that and it was a mistake that he had heard.
“No please, I want to, this way you will know who I am, please listen!”
Guess I had no choice.
“To say I loved her is an understatement so she was far from being a heifer thank you. We had been high school sweethearts so we had dated forever even right through university. When we got married, we tried to have kids for two years but doctors said that because she had been using the pill contraceptive for three years straight it would be a while before we could. One day after we were married, we went to visit her parents in Boksburg. We were hijacked. It was three men mind you with guns. We didn’t stand a chance. They tied my wife up and took turns raping her then when they were done took pictures of her! They let me watch all that and just left! She managed to untie me and we got help. They did all that they had to do at the hospital for her if you know what a rape kit is. Two months later we discovered she was pregnant. It was obviously not my child but she said that she was not going to get rid of the child!”
These are not the kind of stories you want to hear on a Saturday morning at a braai with your friends. I try and not to think about such things that happen in this country for this reason. I had tears in my eyes.
“Now imagine I had to watch my wife nurse a pregnancy of a child that came from animals. Our therapist reminded me always that it was not about me, I should not make this about me but about her. Do you know how hard that is to see her cry because she was ashamed at what she was carrying but laugh and be happy because she was finally getting what she wanted?”
I wanted to respond but I did not have the words for her. I did not know what the most appropriate thing to say in this situation would be.
“At least you have a beautiful daughter!”
I said. It was not what I wanted to say but it is what came out. How can a child from rape be a beautiful child? Was that what he had been thinking because just stared at me blankly? I should not have said that.
He was not done.
“The pregnancy was painless. She had no complications and it was a breeze. On the day she went into labor, that morning she went out with her sister. She said she was craving chicken feet of all things. They bought them on the street, by those tent ladies. I don’t know if the food was bad or what but it gave her a runny tummy. It was not that bad as most of the food she craved made her sick in any case. That evening she got sick and I mean really sick. It happened so fast. Her water decided it was time to break during this sick phase.”
He posed and I could hear his voice was cracking; his big heart was breaking,
I pleaded with him because I knew where he was going with this.
“There were complications and she died giving birth to Ntheteng.”
He said. This was so painful.
“Now, not only had the love of my life been raped in front of me, she died in front of me from a child that came from those evil men! She was not a heifer!”
He said again. Goodness what had I really said to this man? I felt like the earth should just open up and swallow me.
“So that is my baby mama story next time you think its fine to compare all men and say we are the same. I will not embarrass you in front of your friends because I would like to believe you are a lady. I am going to start the braai now!”
He said and he walked back in leaving me standing there alone thinking of what he had just told me. I had wanted to ask him if they were never caught but I could not, I would not because it would make no difference at all. The harm had been done. I tried to ask myself if I was in his shoes would I have raised Ntheteng.
“Come show us where everything is!”
Zama said popping her head in.
“O sorry! Got lost in my thoughts there for a moment!”
I said with a smile and then I went to the kitchen. All the girls were there marinating the meat and drinking. There was more wine but I could not partake. Mbuso was outside as he said he would be and was starting the fire.
“Is he angry?”
Esihle asked out loud.
“O come on, why you acting like we all don’t want to know what happened.”
They asked me. Girls will gossip about anything.
“He is fine. He told me the saddest story but I can’t tell you about it. I don’t think I will ever be fine again. He was not angry but disappointed. I felt so stupid hey. I was not even referring to him but you know how when we grow up we all have views of other people, mine changed today!”
I did not want to say too much because last time I did I had spoken too much.
“I don’t know what you meant but ok we will not pry. You have an interesting life you know!”
Nthabiseng said and they all laughed. I could not laugh anymore because I was tense, that story was too hectic. Is this the life of South African women? I wanted to go outside to him but I could not. He needed space from me. Why had he not just left?
“Have you taken your pills?”
Esihle said when I sat down. She left the girls in the kitchen and sat down next to me.
“Not yet. Too much has been going down!”
I reminded her.
“You should otherwise you will relapse sooner than you think.”
She stood up and went outside to Mbuso. I watched her walk away. This girl was not even my friend; she was my doctor and someone I had met yesterday. I looked at Zama and again there was a person I had only met this week. What was going on with me? When you are single you are everyone’s friend. There is no one to tell you that they don’t want certain people in your life. It’s funny how when you single you are proud of the fact that you can do whatever you want yet reality is you want someone to protect you from some of these bad decision.
I went and took my medicines.
“The food will be ready in about an hour. Don’t worry we did not use anything from the house so you won’t wake up and suddenly discover that there is no food!”
Nthabiseng said to me seeing how much food was on the table, not that I minded. When you stay alone at times it’s nice to have company. I was feeling a bit drowsy.
“I am going to take a 30 minute nap please wake me up then. I just took my meds!”
I told her. She said she would do so. It didn’t take me a long time to fall asleep. I woke up in a strange but familiar place. I think I was dreaming.
I was at the river fetching water back in my village. It had just rained and the grass was long. It was early evening and I was late. I could see my cousin with her boyfriend a few meters away and she was not even paying attention to me. There was a woman standing there and when I got closer she turned around and I recognized her immediately. It was my grandmother.
“Gogo what are you doing here? I said I will bring the water. You can’t be carrying it yourself you are too old!”
I said and she laughed at me,
“I might be old but I am still very strong. That’s why I am here to help you. The grass is too long and you might step on a snake. You know you town girls cannot tell the difference between a snake and a stick!”
We both laughed.
“Before you fetch that water, do you see that white stone over there?”
She pointed it out for me. I could see it. It was not bigger than my fist!
“Yes, what about it?”
I asked her but she did not answer.
“Do you want me to get it for you?”
I offered already walking into the river for her. The water was cold and clear.
“I forget they teach you how to swim in your town schools!”
She said again opening her mouth. The closer I got to the stone the further it seemed to me.
“Gogo why can’t I reach it?”
I asked her.
“Don’t worry you can just reach out for it!”
She said encouragingly but it was getting late now and the darn thing wouldn’t sit still…
As sudden as it was the dream stopped. Someone was shaking me. I woke up to find Nthabiseng over me.
“I gave you an extra 15 minutes to the 30 you asked for. The food took longer than we thought!”
She said. It took me a few seconds to remember where I was and what was going on.
“I must have blacked out there hey! Thought it would just be a nap but clearly I was tired!”
I told her. She helped me up.
“You were mumbling in your sleep something about your grandmother and stones! Didn’t quite hear you!”
She said with a smile.
“I think I just miss her. Both my grandmothers died when I was young and I don’t remember what they look like!”
I told her as I rubbed my eyes. Mumbling in my sleep? I don’t talk in my sleep! That’s embarrassing. I totally could not remember what it was I had been dreaming about so for all I care she could have been making it up.
I walked backed into the lounge then outside.
Esihle had her hands around Mbuso’s waist.
Time for them to leave!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Please forward your letters to Mike@diaryofazulugirl.co.za.
Dear Mike, lovely team and all the readers
I want to get straight to the point as this is a very long letter. I am a 27 year old mother of 2.i met this wonderful man (lets call him S) back in 2012 (was still mother of one)when we met we were both in relationships he chased me for a whole year and I made it clear I had a man and would never cheat. This Mans baby mama is a girl I knew back in high school as we used to travel in the same bus but were in different schools. In 2012 September I broke up with my boyfriend(Let call him K) the breakup had nothing to do with the S. S persisted in asking me out of which I told him to leave his baby mama if he was serious about me I thought that would make him stop but he eventually left her and in Feb. 2013 we started dating he is the most faithful guy i have ever known ok fast-forward 2015 I fell pregnant and he was there for me in every way…rewind a bit S does not have matric and he has tried 3 times to write but fails. he has a small tuckshop selling fruits and fast-food it was very successful (i say this because through it he was able to buy his mother land and build a house for her and bought a site for himself along with a new container with the hope to open the same business in another spot) that was all before he met his first baby Mother whom took everything he made for herself and her family. His container was also stolen when i started dating him he basically had nothing and ive tried so much to help him go back to what he used to be and im failing. The problem now is that he just want to give up on everything he even tried killing himself because he felt as though he was failing his family and his children. This man loves his children and i think not being able to provide for them kills him. all he does now is sleep, he had started heavy drinking and when i threatened to leave him he stopped please help me guys i love this man with all that i have and watching him so helpless is so painful. he has so many thoughtful ideas the problem is where do we go to ask for funding so he can expand his business and regain his confidence.
I am sorry if i was everywhere with my letter but please help where can we go for help with a business plan and funding.
Thank you in advance