Uma usenkingeni, uhlekwa nayizinyoni when things are falling apart, even the birds laugh at you. I wish I could take back the fight right now. I could not fix this. Girls like me are not that lucky. Her mother was a lawyer or something powerful like that. They would never agree with me. That’s how the system works. This was Animal Farm all over again but we choose to pretend that we don’t see it. Katlego would be on my side for sure but what if Zamo’s rich mother came and paid her off. What then? It’s a fact any parent would fight to keep their child in school so I was on my own. Imagine telling my father all this. He would probably find me a job as a cleaner if I was expelled. I could not afford an apartment. It felt as though the world was caving in all around me. Definitely, no good deed goes unpunished. My mother always told me to stay in my own lane because there will always be someone to try and cut you down to size.
“What am I going to do?”
I asked myself as I sat on the floor in front of my bed. It genuinely felt as though the world was crashing in around me and for what, I defended myself from a bully. Some might think it was too early to panic but the reality is if I did not panic I did not care. A person like me cannot afford to make mistakes. I don’t have parents who can take care of me if I fail. I can’t run home empty-handed. I was first in my family to go to university and that meant something.
“And then wena? Why are you on the floor?”
Katlego said as she walked into the room some two hours later. That’s how long I had sat there.
“Look at this?”
I told her as the tears ran down my cheeks.
“I suspected she would do something like this. She has been mad at me too since you left saying I took your side. I just left her alone because she needed to cool off. After the knife thing, I didn’t want her near me in any case!”
She told me to come to sit on my bed next to me. She breathed in deep and released before she said,
“This is messed up. Someone needs to stop her!”
I did not even know what to think at this moment as we sat there. Wednesday was just a blur for me as I walked around like a zombie. Katlego had tried to find Zamo only to find out that she had gone home. This was bad. Ada had made a mess for me. This was his fault and here I was left to fend for myself. Thursday morning Zethu came to see me on campus. I found her standing outside my lecture room.
“Did we fight or something?”
She asked me a bit aggressively but i think she was smiling as she did not look mad at all.
“Why is that?”
I asked her back.
“Well you haven’t said a word since you left. I had to skip chemistry to come and find out go atsakalang!”
She said using Tswana and her hand gestures just made me laugh.
“I am sorry I got distracted. I have a disciplinary hearing this evening. Zamo went and reported me so I am in panic mode right now!”
I told her and she just shook her head in disbelief.
“Wow she really is on a witch hunt. I pray it goes well for you.”
She said giving me a hug. I was not going to cry even though the tears were still close to coming out.
“Do you have a defensive strategy?”
She asked me but all I had was the truth and Katlego on my side. That was it. I know I had to take it seriously but with what resources. I ended bunking all my classes and hanging out with Zethu all day. She could not come back to res with me because she had to catch up on the day so I went back alone. Katlego told me that she had been summoned too but i assumed it was because she was a witness. She reassured me that I should not worry because she had my back. When we got to the matron’s office where the hearing was being held Zamo was already there and as I predicted was with her mother. There were three people on the panel, our House Mother in the middle of two house committee students. Zamo had a hand brace ok her hand as though her arm was broken. She had no bruises on her face a least. What was the brace for?
“This is a serious matter we have here. As you know we have a zero tolerance to bullying and worse ladies we do not commit physical violence in this building or anywhere else for that matter. Samkelisiwe you are accused of beating up Zamokuhle on Sunday the 24th,”
She started of which i wanted to object but did not even know what the protocol was.
“Is this true?”
She asked me.
“Yes it is but…”
I could not finish the sentence because immediately her mother went berserk,
“Who the hell do you think you are to beat up my daughter? I don’t even hit my daughter and you dare!”
She started screaming and they even had to hold her back. A family that stands together clearly always wins.
“Mrs. Masondo you are here as a courtesy please allow us to go through the processes!”
Our house mother pleaded with the dramatic woman.
“I want her expelled or else i will open a lawsuit i swear!”
She said as she sat down. Zamo sat there smugly and had a slight smile on her face. She was enjoying this and i was not surprised because like i said this girl was evil.
“This will not work if we have no order. Maam you said you were a lawyer when you got here so please behave like one. I understand you are a parent too but i will not allow any further disturbances.”
The House Mother asked her mother to behave essentially.
“But maam its not true what you have said because i was there. Zamo came to our room and…”
Katlego too did not get to finish as she was cut off by the matron.
“Please wait, I am not done with the charges. Katlego Zamo has also accused of bullying and taking joining in her assault!”
You know in life there are things you can’t make up even if you tried. The shock on my face was nothing compared to the shock on Katlego’s.
“I beg your pardon?”
She blurted out loud.
“Yes you too are here for the same reasons as Samkelisiwe! As it was just the three of you it means there are no witnesses.”
The matron said.
“Zamo you can’t be serious? Who cleaned you up after you got the beatdown? I washed your blood off with my own hands! Why would I do that if I was the one who did this to you?”
Katlego asked her ignoring the House Mother’s request for her to shut up. Zamo looked down and started sobbing silently. It was amazing how all this was working against me. All they had heard I am sure was that I had beaten her up so much there was even blood. Katlego had unwittingly buried me.
“See this is the problem. These two girls lack discipline…”
The mother starter but this time it was Katlego who silenced her,
“Shut up you useless woman! Trying to bully students. You think I don’t know that your daughter tried to kill herself because you slept with her university boyfriend when she was in grade 11. Do you want me to go on? What about the affair you are having with your sister’s husband? Yeah, Zamo knows, she is the one who told me all about it so don’t come here and pretend you know your daughter wena o tswana le trolley ya Pick n Pay anyone can use it even!”
I had never heard Katlego sound so crass but what she had said so funny even the two house committee members laughed. The thing with girls is that we tell each other even family secrets. Much as we hate our fathers the truth is the secrets that involve the mother are always the juiciest. I don’t know if it’s because of stereotyping or what but women know how to be scandalous.
“I can’t believe you Katlego! I told you that in confidence. I suffer from depression and now you are mocking me with it!”
I won’t lie I only discovered depression when I got to varsity. It’s like going to Limpopo you actually discover that sinus is a thing. Depression back home was someone spoilt with too much time or tricks to try and avoid doing chores. Back home people don’t commit suicide because but here ay university amongst these woke kids people were actually dying and it as a crisis.
“Boo woo Zamo you don’t have depression you just crave being the centre of attention. You came to beat up Samke because a guy you liked blocked you and you blamed Zamo who has never ever even said more than three words to him. You know this very well but you still came and attacked her now you are trying to her kicked out!”
Katlego went on. Zamo’s mother thoroughly humiliated by that trolley line stood up and literally walked out leaving her daughter to fend for herself.
“He did not like you too get over it. You practically begged him to sleep with you even when his friends asked you to leave. I was there. We were all there. Next thing you will be opening a case of sexual assault against him because vele you are that type. Must i tell them about the guy you falsely accused and bragged about you lying bitch. Fake feminist.”
Eh moghel was going for the jugular and that story I did not know about.
“Katlego no stop, this is not what the hearing is about!”
The House Mother who had clearly lost control of the situation said trying to intervene.
“No, it is because you need to understand the manipulative personality of the so-called victim. Ask her why she is wearing that ridiculous bandage over her shoulder because I was with her even yesterday morning and she was fine! Are you ok with her trying to ruin our futures?”
Katlego challenged her. Katlego might be friendly but you know these kids that speak English better than abo Jan Van Riebeek can defend themselves. imagine if this had been were would be right now?
“I can’t do this!”
Zamo said standing up and she ran out probably to go find her mother. They needed to hold each out izifebe za seMajuba.
“Ladies we will reconvene this later!”
Our House Mother said and just like that the hearing was done. I was in shock. Had I just dodged a bullet? Had Katlego just saved my ass?
Three hours later there was an ambulance outside our residence.
A girl had tried to commit suicide.
It was Zamokuhle.