For those that don’t believe the world can stop well then they have never lived, it can and it did. Parents love
saying that there is nothing more painful in life than to lose a child but the truth is there is also nothing more painful than to lose a parent. I did not understand and I do not think I will ever understand. She was doing fine, she was happy and she was laughing. My mother was hardly a soft person but the last few days she had really softened up. Was she sick all along and had just stopped complaining because well, I always accused her of lying? Was that it?
“Love what’s wrong? Your face just changed tone is everything ok at home?”
Sfiso asked me but I don’t think even in that moment of silence I heard him. All I could see flash by was my mother’s face, our last moments together. He had to shake me back to life.
“Lungi, you blacked out there for a moment! What’s going on?”
He asked me. I think only then did a tear trickle down my cheeks.
“Please turn around; I have to go back to Johannesburg right now.”
Imagine we were almost a good two hours out of Johannesburg when I made him make that u-turn. I think he could see that whatever it was it was huge because he did not complain. He safely slowed down; we had to wait a good two minutes before he could safely make an illegal u-turn on the N3.
“I need to call my mom!”
I said out loud suddenly. Maybe my sister had lied, it was a mistake, she had wanted to make an ill timed and ill conceived prank. I dialled my mother’s as I had ringed it so many times and the number it rang. See I knew it! Her number still worked and is it not that when a person dies their number stops working. Someone picked up.
“Mommy what’s going on?”
I asked her immediately before she could even say
I thought it was her, relief then only to be disappointed when the voice said,
“Lungi it’s me!”
It was my sister. It was my sister! Why was she picking out mama’s phone?
“Give mom the phone! I am not playing with you!”
I told her curtly. I did not want her jokes she was not funny. I could hear sounds in the background, soft voices and I think a police siren or ambulance but I could not tell.
“Sis, I am not joking, mama is gone. Kante where are you?”
She said choking on tears. I heard in the back ground Miriam’s voice say,
“Is that Lungi, let me talk to her!”
Wait, what was Miriam doing there? Had she known mama was sick? Was that the secret mama wanted to discuss with her? What the hell was going on? I had so many questions. I did not mean to have them but they just kept coming to my head.
“Dear Lord, please don’t make this true. Please make my mother healthy again. I will do whatever you please for this is your will.”
I prayed out loud.
Sfiso was surprised.
“Is your mother sick?”
He asked me with that sudden prayer. When he asked those words I have never wanted so badly for that hypochondriac woman to be sick. I had complained all my life about her always being sick but this once, dear heavens please make her be sick.
“My sister is saying that my mother…”
I could not bring myself to say it. I had forgotten Miriam was on the phone and in a distance I could hear her say,
“Hello, hello, Lungi are you there… Are you sure she is on the phone?”
Sfiso gently prised the phone out of my hands and spoke on the phone,
“Hi this is Sfiso what’s going on?”
I think Miriam must have said who she was because upon recognition of the voice he said,
“Oh Miriam yes it’s me Sfiso what’s wrong, Lungi just went cold on me is something wrong with her mother?”
He asked her.
“Oh God no!”
He said suddenly and then said,
“Its ok, we on our way. We still an hour and a half out of Jhb! Please send me your location because she won’t be in any state to give me directions.”
He told and also asked her thoughtfully. Directions, oh yes, he needed to know how to get to my house.
That’s all he said after hung up the phone and we drove. We drove in silence. He did not say anything to console me or to comfort me because I won’t lie I did not want him to. I was doubting Thomas; I needed to see for myself to believe. Don’t come here telling me nonsense.
“Earlier today my mother asked me to come say bye before I left. I told her I was going out of town for a few days with you and she was actually quite happy for once. I did not go Sfiso, I did not go say bye? I would have seen her; I would have been able to tell if something was wrong. I let her down!”
I cried to him. He was the only one there and he could not even hold me now as I was crying. How could he if he was driving. I crumbled into a ball in that front seat and I think I was going to get mad. So many things flashed through my mind.
“Hang in there love. We will be home soon.”
He said by way of consolation. I could feel the car was going a bit faster than before.
“Everything will be fine. You will be fine.”
I said nothing. I don’t think anything will ever be fine again. From the top of the road I could see the blue lights of the police van. They guided us in from the top of the street and the closer we got to them it dawned on me that this really was happening… People had gathered. Where is their decency really? What did they want to see? When a person dies in the house it is not an ambulance that takes the body out, it’s the police.
I got to the house as the police were about to take her body out. I was grateful that it had taken this long because imagine if I had already found her gone.
I screamed as I ran to clutch her lifeless but still warm body. This was unreal; it felt like a living nightmare. Someone was playing a joke, a cruel joke at that. How could they?
“Maam please step away!”
One of the police officers asked me politely without actually pulling me away.
“This is my mum, get away from her! Please mum, I am here; it’s me your baby Lungile ngiyacela bandla, ngiyakuncenga Jesu bring her back to me!”
I cried but she did not stir, she did not wake up. Why was she not waking up?
My sister said from somewhere. How can I even start to describe the pain I felt when I saw my beautiful sister’s tears? I had never noticed before how much she looked like mum until now. How come I had never seen this before?
“Sis what happened? Where is my mother? Where is she? I want my mum, where is she?”
I cried to her as she ran to me.
“I don’t know what to say, I don’t what to say, I did not even see that something was wrong? I messed up Lungi, I messed up!”
She cried as she gave me a huge hug which almost knocked me over. I don’t think I will ever forget the way my sister cried for our mother.
“Lungi… She is gone!”
It was now just the two of us left and for the first time in my life I realized how small I was and how big and scary the world was without my mother. She had always been there and I never fully appreciated it.
“Oh my girls, I am so sorry!”
I heard the familiar caring voice of Mam’Dolly as she wrapped her hands around us.
“She is not serious. We still need her here!”
She said talking to us. I could see the pain in her face she was just as shocked as we where. The police officers moved her body sombrely to the van. They were taking her to the mortuary I think I don’t know but I was not going to let them take her away without me. I needed to protect her. I got in the car with my sister and Sfiso, whilst Mam’Dolly was in her son in laws car with Miriam.
“This is not happening!”
My sister said with a hoarse voice to no one in particular. I just stared at her even though through all the tears I could not really see her. I was trying to remember the exact last words my mother had said to me. I did not want to forget them.
“We need to plan a funeral!”
I heard Mam’Dolly say to Miriam. You know how in the neighbourhood there is the master of funerals; she was it so in part we were in good hands.
“Not now mum, we will worry about all that tomorrow!”
Miriam told her as she held me whilst the police took my mother’s body away. I don’t remember much about what happened in the next hour but when we eventually stepped outside my whole body felt numb.
“You need to rest, you both do!”
Sfiso said wisely to my sister and me. I know I don’t value men much but having that support structure reassuring me and holding me up felt like a relief.
“He is right girls!”
Mam’ Dolly chirped in. She was technically our mother now or wait, I had spoken too soon. In the parking lot a car I was unfamiliar with arrived to join us. A man was driving and behind him was my aunt.
“Did you call her here?”
I asked my sister and she nodded.
“Yes I did!”
“Why would you do that though?’
I asked her angrily.
“She is her sister. No matter what differences they have between them she is still her sister!”
My sister told me frankly. She was not even going to entertain me on this one.
“What are you doing here?”
I said moving angrily towards her. Sfiso moved in front of me and blocked my path.
“Not here not now!”
He warned me.
“This is your entire fault! Ever since this calling nonsense started bad shit has been happening in my life. I should never have listened to you.”
I think this was the first time I felt she had brought evil into my life. She was not listening to me though as she knelt to the ground and started crying.
She had lost a sister.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
Hello Bra Mike
Thank you for reading my email and let me start by saying, you are truly blessed. Your work is so amazing and I have been following you from Diary of a Zulu Girl. I pray God will bless your work and bless you abundantly.
So here goes my story, its quite long so please bear with me.
5years ago I got into a relationship with a zulu guy. I am coloured. Initially we both agreed that it was just an “arrangement” as we had both just come out of long term relationships. Basically it was suppose to be a friends with benefit thing as I had know him for about 4years prior to this agreement starting. We had been friends for those 4 years but just hi hi. Then when we were both single we started chatting alot. Plus i knew this guy as a player in those 4 year so i didnt want anything serious with him.
So we started our thing and about 8months down the line the guy tells me his in love and wants to get married. But i felt his reasons at the time were wrong and so i declined. His reasons were he doesnt have someone to look after him and he doesnt want to die without a wife lol. So anyway i said no but realised i was also in love with him so should i say i thought i was in love.
We spent all our time together like after work or on weekends going to the mall all day long etc. His family knew about me and his mum liked me. To me he had changed his ways. He however refused for me to tell my parents that we were together. He said because once i tell my parents he can no longer visit me at home because thats how black people are. By this time we had moved from friends with benefits to being in a proper relationship. I then told him i was ready for marriage now. He said he was no longer ready and had no money at the time. He started working late and sometimes on weekends claiming he is making money for us but if he was not working on weekends he was with friends. Things changed drastically when i was no longer allowed to see him on weekends unless i made an appointment with him in advance. Crazy right but i still put up with it thinking im being a good girlfriend and not troubling the guy. Plus im not into this detective thing because i believe if a man wants to cheat he will do so nomatter what.
So when things were still good and he was promising his doing things for us and our future. Even going back to study so he can get promoted he had asked me to buy him a car on my name and he would deposit the money in my account. At the time i didnt mind as i thought and believed he is the ONE. His reason for not being able to buy it on his name was because he was blacklisted. Blacklisted due to taking countless loans to look after his family as he is the 1st born son. He raised his siblings and sent them to varsity but when they qualified they got jobs and bought cars and still expected him to look after them. So i agreed also because he said after 3 months the car would go on his name but that didnt happen. He initially chose a car for R7000 pm excluding insurance. I had my own car at the time that i could afford. I have always cared about my name and getting blacklisted. My car was R5800pm.
So guys he payed well and on time but paid me late one month and i forgave him. After a year he says he needs to change the car as this 1 is giving him problems and the dealer does not mind changing it as its a factory fault or something. He then chooses a car that costs R9900 a month.
I realised i was being taken for a ride and ended things with him like end of 2015 but we ramained friends and also there were financial commitments he had to stick to.
Besides this i took a loan for him for R60000 so he can consolidate his bills and only pay 1 amount being me. As i said guys i thought we were building a life together. He had borrowed money from me personally to the value of about R6000. I was playing stokvel at work and he would borrow money on my name. He borrowed about R30000 capital and owed about R6000 interest. This was last year. He would say he is buying tyres for the car blah blah blah just lying nje.
From august last year he starts paying me late every month and i was suffering from stress because i didnt know if he would pay me the money or not. I stopped eating properly and i could not sleep because these are huge amounts of money. Eventually i asked my sister to communicate with him as i was so frustrated and constantly being admitted in hospital. This guy promised that nomatter what happened between us he would always honour his commitments because i helped him alot. My sister begged him to put the car on his name and he was claiming his still blacklisted he even threatened to write the car off. So i decided to go on and collect the car and keep it in my yard for safe keeping until he put it on his name. He had asked for 2weeks to do this. His mother even agreed with me. When i went to collect the car the mother changed her tune infront of her son. Mind you he had accumulated about +/- R10000 worth of fines.
I took the car anyways. After i took the car. He stopped taking my calls and stopped making payments for the loan the car the stokvel and the money he owed me. He also said he no longer wanted the car. I struggled december last year. I was now stuck with a R9900 car i could not afford and a loan of R60000 and stokvel money for R36000 forget about the money he owes me personally.
I tried to sell his car only to find out there is a R300000 shortfall. Then i had to sell my car which had a R60000 shortfall and keep his. Mind you my car instalments were R5800 and now i had to pay an additional R4100 which i did not have. I took another loan to settle the 1 i took for him and also to pay in the R60000 shortfall on the sale of my car. I had to use all my bonus and most of my salary to pay the stokvel people. I had no money for pads as a working woman. Things were bad. I tried to call him and text him. I tried to text his mother she would read my messages and not reply.
I actually wanted to kill myself. My family have been supportive emotionally but financially i am screwed and will be for a long time. The car might even be taken away from me.
What do i do guys? I wanted to get people to beat him up and hurt him but he owns a firearm so i was scared he would know its me then kill me. What do i do. Am so frustrated and hurt and angry and i cry most days when i think of how i got here. I thought i was helping him and us and our future. I am so stupid.
Thank you bra Mike