*Today’s topic is a bit sensitive. We try to keep abreast with current affairs in our storylines. We are not taking sides on this issue as it’s a debate and war that needs to be concluded by better minds than ours. Hope you enjoy.
My mother and I were not that close anymore. I blamed her for a lot of things but your mother is your mother and she is the one who has your best interests at heart even if she does not always get it right. When I woke up my mother was already gone. She always left for work early because Pretoria North in all its architectural genius had one road into town directly and that was the Mabopane highway. With that being the case you don’t want to imagine the traffic congestion there every morning without fail. She therefore had to leave early every day. My sister was off school so it meant it would be day of fights as was typical with us. Annoying brat. Khanyi was still in bed when I went to join her. After yesterdays fight I had to make sure we are cool.
I said when I walked in.
“I didn’t sleep hey, I don’t know what’s stressing me but eish, and it’s going to be a long day!”
She said by way of response.
“I slept like a baby. My mother spoke until we fell asleep. Somehow I feel so refreshed!”
I told her.
“What’s the plan for today?”
She asked me.
“I don’t know but we need to fix that Visa thing. I have money and I don’t want to ask Sam for it because we will seem irresponsible so I think we should do it ourselves!”
I told her sitting on the bed next to her. I knew that the Dubai topic often got her spirits high. She was so excited that we were going probably more than me.
“Yeah I think we should. That will show him that we responsible as well!”
She said. I agreed with her. I am sure at some level every man wants a woman who can take care of themselves.
“I haven’t watched Generations in a long time can we catch it!”
She said coming out of bed. Funny enough I never thought of her as a Generations person. I agreed though and we went to watch. I still don’t get the fascination but oh well, I watched. I don’t what made her change the channel but we found ourselves on the news. We watched in silence and about twenty minutes in Khanyi said,
“I want to go back to campus today but I am not sure if it’s wise!”
Khanyi said looking at the TV. I had been a bit out of touch with what was happening but not so much. Watching the news on TV as a student was beyond scary. It seemed as though there was proper war taking place.
‘I think I will wait until next week!”
I said to her because I had not yet fully recovered. I was not ready to march with other students but I was very much in their corner.
“I think being a policeman in South Africa must be the most stressful job in the world right now!”
A voice said from behind us. It was my sister doing what she does best, eavesdropping in a matter that did not consult her. I had not seen her sneak up behind us. Listen to this shit. She knew she would be on a bursary no matter what so she probably sympathized with the #takewitsback crew.
“Why do you say that?”
Khanyi asked her. I don’t know why she indulged her because she always had answers for everything and when it came to social debates, she always took pleasure in taking the side of the opposition to the majority.
“Well for one the very police you are hitting and throwing stones at have families too. Yes they mean nothing to you because they are not you and there are more of you than them on that campus anyway but he is human. When he goes to work in the morning, his wife and kids kiss him goodbye and pray that he comes home alive. You never ever sympathize with them for doing what they are paid to do plus getting injured for it!”
“But they are firing teargas and rubber bullets at defenceless students!”
Khanyi protested to her!
“Defenceless? Next time a stone hits you tell me that it’s not an attack on you. In some countries they use stones to kill people! That is painful and the students throwing them are adults meaning they have ability to harm by their sheer strength!”
I fought back immediately. I did not even give her a chance to go to her second point. For someone who was so intelligent she was incredibly naïve.
“That’s what the privileged say though is it not? Not everyone can afford university so what happens to those that cannot?”
I asked her. I was passionate about this fees thing so she must not come here sounding like a clever black. She must join this struggle or shut up without opinion.
“Did you know that there were two policemen plus two security guards who were killed in the days leading up to Marikana? Who mourned for them? Not one of you remembers that but you all remember the miners killed later! Stop bullshitting yourselves into pretending your lives are more important than theirs. Blame the person at the top because their job is to follow orders and if they don’t they get fired! Will you give him and his family money when he is fired? No!”
She said annoyed at the thought that I even spoke. How did we even get to Marikana from here? My sister was smart in a way one day those brains would get her in trouble. She was the type to do illegal experiments on people in the name of human development, for the future good.
“You avoided my question on poor people that can’t afford university though? Where is that argument?”
I asked her. I wanted to hear how Miss I Know It All here would argue this point.
“Well you are right there. There are poor people who can’t afford but how many more are currently under NSFAS, Bursaries and Financial Aid? The very people who want free education are the ones that are saying Social Grants must be done away with and scrapped to create jobs. How selfish is that? There are 16million people receiving social grants if you didn’t know and to satisfy a free education system that will benefit only about 535 000 students it is them that should be sacrificed as the biggest slice of the budget goes to them! So who is protecting the poor better, me or you?”
She asked me! Fuck my sister always argued with facts and the thing is I did not know whether she was telling the truth with these numbers or what. I had to research them.
“It doesn’t matter! The government has money somewhere! If Zuma can build Nkandla then the money is there!”
I argued in desperation for this was a readymade argument which no one could run away from. It was not even a white elephant anymore because Thuli Madonsela had exposed all that and more so we had a good starting point on where to get the money. .
“And where do you suppose that money comes from though? Have you ever read a book other than the books you read at school?”
She asked which made me feel stupid. Even Khanyi knew better than to argue with my sister.
“What’s your point?”
She asked me.
“Its simple really, South Africa loses about r15 billion rand a year to corruption, mismanagement and irregular spending. Even if we were the most perfect country in that respect, mind you not even the most advanced countries are, we would still fall short of the R45 billion a year needed to fund free education every year! That’s the reality so where do you think that your government with the money that you say they have will get the money from?”
She asked me. This girl was irritating. She liked numbers so I could not exactly challenge because I did not know whether she was lying or not.
“You say you are political, let me ask you this, who controls our economy?”
I knew the answer to that.
I responded with confidence. Every black South African knows who the rich people are, who they work for and who to kiss ass to even if their work conditions are not the best.
“Good answer, this means that they know that if the #feesmustfall movement wins they should watch their back because definitely the next fight would be give back our land and resources! With that in mind do you think they want fees to fall? Have you heard any other political party promise free education? Why is that? Every social movement starts with a trigger, if the students win this round that trigger will have been pulled!”
She said. You have to admit my sister is quite though provoking even though she wears blinders as far as I was concerned.
“I don’t get your point on white people and the economy. The ANC has failed to create jobs after us having voted them in for so long.”
I told her rather unnecessarily. I was trying to throw her off her game but she had me.
“Yes of course they were always doomed to fail to create jobs!”
She scoffed at me.
“How so because they are the government?”
Khanyi finally asked a question.
“Palesa here has already said the economy is in the hands of the whites so explain to me how you can create jobs if you do not own, run or manage the very economy you need to do so. It is the most basic need in creating jobs and someone else runs it!”
She said biting into an apple. I felt stupid. Even Khanyi looked stupid.
“All I am saying is don’t be so naïve. The system is set up to fail and will collapse on its head if it’s challenged. If fees fall then great but realistically it’s not sustainable so long as the economy is in the hands of the few. That’s the battle you need to win before you can get all other free things you think you deserve!”
She said and walked out. See why I hated politics. I don’t like talking about it because it makes me emotional. I knew what I wanted, free education, not stories as to why it should not be there. She was irrelevant to me.
“My sister is something else!”
I said to Khanyi as I watched students from Wits running from the rubber bullets. This was the saddest thing ever. These were students like me and this is what they had to do to get an education. They had to be human targets for the police and their rubber bullets. It brought tears to my eyes. Imagine how it felt knowing my sister was taking the side of the police and the oppressive system. What a wasted brain. She had spoiled my morning.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I have always wanted to write to you but never had the courage to do so.
Straight to the point, my mother is cheating on my dad with my uncle who is married to her sister, my aunt. I am very close to my aunt’s children and my mother is all smiles with her sister knowing that she is sleeping with her husband. I know it’s not my business as I am only 17 but I found out last year. I walked in on them kissing and touching. My mother never said a word about the incident to me and I started paying closer attention to them whenever family was around. They always sneak away or end up going to buy drinks or more food together. This is what makes me believe that they are together. My father is still in the picture and has roped my younger brother and me to help him prepare a surprise 15 year wedding anniversary party for my mother. I feel so guilty because of what I know.
What should I do because I hate my mother now for what she is doing? I can’t look at her or take her seriously because she is a bad parent.