Everyone enters your life for a reason and I know it’s something hard to believe when those people end up being bad
for you. Of all the people I had met in my life Rudzani had to be one of them and truth be told we were quite close at some point. I actually remember the first time she walked into the office. She was scared of being fired on the first day as she was so nervous so she asked me if I could stick by her because of it. She had attended school at a traditionally black university so one of the things she exclaimed on was the number of white people she had to work with. I had found it funny because everyone is nervous on their first day but she took it to the next level. Then there was the day she brought mashonja (Mopani worms) because one of the white colleagues wanted to taste. Poor lady vomited after she tasted them. Dramatic much! What stood out was that she had asked me to have her back. I had done this on my part and she had worshipped me for it until I betrayed her. I can never take that back because its true and it had happened. I can call her a fool for committing suicide but to be fair I had contributed in everything wrong in her life. I slept with her man and I sued the company. Her man was her life that was no secret and in the world there are women who love like that. As for her job, at home she was treated like a queen for having such a good job so its importance was paramount. When the company paid me out she was one of the people fired and I am certain it had something to do with her close proximity to me. White people are very vengeful and they don’t forgive, leave that to Mandela!
“Lungile are you still on the line?”
The voice on the other asked as I stood there with my mouth agape like an open fresh would. I was stunned. Sometimes when you hear news it does register but the truth is does not make sense of all.
I asked in vein.
I asked him in complete and utter shock. I could feel the tears stinging on my cheeks already. Love her or hurt Rudzani’s news hurt me.
“Rudzani is dead Lungi and my brother is fighting for his life right now! It’s a mess!”
He said and I could hear he was about to cry.
“Where are you? I am coming there now!”
I told him. My heart was beating so fast I could not even slow it down. He must not have heard me because his response was,
“She shot my brother! I can’t believe she shot my brother. I loved that girl for my brother and she always had so much respect. She was quiet and caring and little did I know she would end him like this!”
He said. It’s the quiet ones you watch out of. They warn us every time but do we listen, nope! We rush to call them the strong silent type pshhhh my ass!
“This is too weird to even comprehend. I saw her yesterday! She came to my house and she sent Azwindini to come fetch me because she needed to talk to us. I refused to go because I was busy!”
I told him even though the last part was obviously a lie. I had refused to go because, well, I am not sure why exactly all I know is that I had refused to do.
“You can’t be thinking of her right now! This lizard shot my brother and tried to kill him. He is in surgery right now and he might not make it! I hate her and had she not killed herself I would have killed her myself.”
He said angrily. I forgot that I had to take his side but there is no doubt that I was mourning her more than his shit brother.
“Sorry, it’s just that I knew her better than I knew him. I was not trying to be insensitive!”
I told him.
“Are you able to come to the hospital?”
He asked me. My initial instinct was to ask him what I could offer there even though initially I had offered to come. The reason for this was because his tone was focused on his brother and not the actual dead person but as I was so central to this story I had no choice.
“I am on my way. Goodness I don’t know what to do I am on my way!”
I told him. He gave me the details of where they were and I found myself driving there. So many thoughts were going through my head right now of Rudzani. I remember the one year it was June 16 to be exact she came her wearing the full Sarafina school uniform and changed her ringtone to that song which says “O safa sapheli sizwe simnyama!” This offended the bosses so much they sent her home early. I guess they could not get the joke. She had her moments that one and oh there was that time she said she was baking biscuits and brought me some to work. They were so terrible yet I ate them so as not offend her. She was so pleased with herself.
I was going down this memory lane when my aunt called me. I had not spoken to her since yesterday so I guess she was updating me on what was next. I was emotional right now but this is what I needed to focus on the road.
I said. I could not even mask a cheerful voice because it really did feel like the world was a cruel place. They tell us not to mourn someone who commits suicide and that for me is absolute rubbish. It’s a whole person, a life, a friend, a sister, a colleague and you say don’t mourn for that person kanjani? Awunyi perhaps?
“What is wrong with you?”
My aunt asked me angrily. I had not expected that tone even and it took me out of my funk.
“What do you mean?”
I asked her.
“I told you, I begged you even not to tell her that you are pregnant! Did I stutter when I told you that?”
She asked me. My aunt is similar to my mother when she was angry. Her voice got all sharp and she spoke like she was struggling to breathe even.
“Oh my word Aunty I totally forgot when she came. I got excited and it just came out! I am so sorry!”
I told her which was the truth. It just slipped out. I had not intended to sabotage my aunts planning or thinking. She had every right therefore to admonish me.
“No you are not sorry! You really are not! There was a reason why I chose her and you threw that in my face!”
She shouted at me without brakes.
“Aunty I am sorry but I am sure whoever else you find will do a good job!”
I told her. Shem she had warned me and she is right I had not given her much thought.
“There is none like her. If you had a chance to go do your Medicine at University of Pretoria or at Walter Sisulu University which one would you take?”
She asked me. Was that a trick question because I knew she knew what my answer would be? She was setting me up on this one so I chose not to respond not that she was going to relent anyway.
“I will answer for you since you are too dumb to notice what’s good for you! You will take Tuks any day because of their knowledge, experience and access. This woman is the best of the best and if you are going to do this right she is the one you would but oh no you just had to fuck that up too!”
She told me and I almost laughed because you can’t exactly picture your aunt let alone a sangoma use the word fuck. I must say my aunt acknowledging that there were people better than her out there is something that lacks in black people. When we think we know something we will block anyone else from getting better because you don’t want their skill to surpass yours. It’s a bad thing but it is something that we do.
“I am disappointed in myself aunty how do I fix this?”
I asked her because she was right about Walter Sisulu the university of strikes, I would never choose it before anyone else shem! I wanted the best.
“I don’t know how you can do that but we will have to come up with something fast. Can you come see me?”
She asked me at the end.
“Not now, I am going to the hospital. Mbilahelo called me saying that Azwindini has been shot by his girlfriend before she killed herself!”
I told her.
“Ah no wonder why his mother is not picking up my calls. I honestly thought it was because she mad at me for this fiasco! How is Azwindini?”
“I don’t know how he is I will only find out once I am there. What scares me aunty is that this girl wanted me to come with him to see her and I refused. It just did not feel right and what if she had shot me too!”
I told her and she did not immediately respond. Instead she paused for a second and then out of the blue she laughed.
“You don’t get it do you?”
She asked me.
“I don’t get the joke aunty this is serious!”
I told her actually annoyed that she had laughed at such a moment. This was no laughing moment.
“For the last year you have been having bad luck every time and guess what, your luck has turned because you accepted your calling!”
She told me.
“That instinct which you had not to go was someone protecting you. I keep telling you that this was not a bad thing.”
She added. I had not seen it that way until now that he was saying it. I have had bad luck galore yet here I was right now alive. A few weeks ago with my luck this person was me.
“I am going to come see you as soon as I am done here and aunty I am sorry again for what I did!”
I told her. I was not far from the hospital now and in ten minutes I was parking. I called Mbilahelo to ask him where he was and I went to him. When I saw him he was pacing and I went to him. I hugged him as was instinct but he did not hug me back. He instead pushed me away and took out his phone and thrust it into my face!
“I took this picture of the suicide note myself!”
He said angrily.
“Read it and tell me what this is!”
He said. As soon as he said that I knew Rudzani had left a Christmas present with my name on it.
Did he know?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Mr. Writer extraordinaire thank you for reading my letter and greetings to all your readers.
I am a 25 year old student from Johannesburg originally from Mafikeng. I have been in university since I was 19 so you can see that I have failed doing things record time. When I first started I was doing medicine and even though I came from high school with good results it just refused to make sense to me. I changed degrees after I failed my second year to Accounting and that’s where my problems started. I underestimated the sense of pride it gave my mother especially telling everyone her daughter will be a doctor. When I changed my degree I did not have a choice it was either get kicked out of school or change academic programme. My mother and I were close but to her it was like I had betrayed her. My father tried talking to her about this several times but he was told he was weak for accepting second best. It really hurt him so he stopped intervening. My mother and I are almost enemies now and the fact that I keep failing some courses does not help either. I don’t party or drink but I am always stressed. I haven’t gone home in over a year even though my father keeps asking. I am now feeling like I have let them all down including myself. How can I mend bridges? It can’t go on like this and guys I miss my mother so much!