Author: Kagiso Setena

Poverty made me

Part 1 Poverty made me

It was early in the morningLukhanya could see the sun rising just above the horizon.She sometimes wished she was the sunI mean all it had to do was just shine it darkened the skin yet it was so yellow and bright.She guessed what you see is not always what you getshe didn't feel like going to school that day.She wished she could just go back to sleep but the heat that was starting to embrace her four roomed shack couldn't allow her to. "Sisi we are done preparing for schoolyour water is ready"that was Simphiwe aka phiwe He was doing Grade 7 at EDEN RIDGE primarya very bright and well mannered young boy.What bothered Lukhanya about him was how he looked at Ndaloenhle and other older girls around their neighbourhood. "Oh okay have you eaten?"Lukhanya frowned "Don't worry sister we ate last nightwe are not that hungry"Phiwe replied trying to remove the frown on Lukhanya's face Lukhanya saw no need to ask further questions she got upand made the bed she shared with her last born sister NompiloShe was very energetic she enjoyed doing things by herself.doing the 2nd grade didn't stop her from knowing how to prepare herself for school. In a few minutes Lukhanya was ready to goand then she heard a snoring and whistling sound coming from behind the curtain that separated the kitchenPhiwe and njabulo's bedroom.She wasn't suprised a bit she knew exactly who that sound belonged to. "Enough njabulowake up!"Lukhanya yelled as she moved the curtain and literally dragged him out of bedNjabulo was so stubborn he wouldn't open his eyes even if she poured water on himhe would just grin and pretend to be fast asleep. "Is okay sister you can leave for schoolI'll take care of njabulo"phiwe felt like he had to take care of everything since he was the eldest boy in the family. The last thing Lukhanya wanted was to be scolded by Mrs Maseko againso she took phiwe's idea to heart.Lukhanya drank starch water for breakfast then took off runningwhen she arrived at school she found Ndaloenhle waiting for her outside their classroom.Ndaloenhle was one of the most beautiful girls at schoolshe was so kind also.Only Lukhanya knew her secretsand being HIV positive was one of them.They loved and trusted each other with their lives. "Hey friend"Lukhanya hurried for a hugthen all of sudden she could feel her friend begin to trembleshe knew exactly what made her friend that wayshe let go of the hug and turned her head to see if someone was coming their way.And yes as she predicted it was Ndaloenhle's crush the president of the LRC collin aka CJ.There was nothing shady about CJ expect that there has been a rumour of him selling drugs for his weird father. "Hey ladies"Collin greeted them with his husky charming voiceon his way to the Seniors classrooms.Lukhanya could see Ndaloenhle literally melting "I think you should tell him"Lukhanya suggested "Thats a waste of timeanyway how has it been at home?"Ndaloenhle asked with concern written all over her face "Agh nothing has changedI think we should get into class"Ndaloenhle could tell the situation was very bad by Lukhanya's response "Oh I almost forgottake this"Ndaloenhle handed Lukhanya a R200 bank note as they pulled their chairs into their desk. "What!?no I can't take thatthats alot of money where did you get it from?"Lukhanya asked "I've been saving so I can help you"Ndaloenhle replied "No I can't take thatwe are doing fine I have found enough piece jobs for this weekend" "Take it friendaccept it as a gift from me" Lukhanya knew how much she needed the money

accept it as a gift from me" Lukhanya knew how much she needed the moneyto buy a school jersey for Njabuloan exercise book for Phiweher sanitary pads and food.So she went ahead and grabbed it then stashed it in her socks.After school they both rushed to the mall just next to their school. ......... "Sister the English teacher chased me out of her class today for not havingthe new exercise book"Phiwe looked very sadhe was suprised to see Lukhanya smiling down on him "Suprise!"Lukhanya revealed the plastic bags she hid behind her.The shock on Phiwe's face was priceless. "Wow another piece job?I thought you went to school"Phiwe said as him and Njabulo began paging through the plastics. "Where's my school jersey?"Njabulo asked "Its price went up I'll by it this weekend"Lukhanya replied "Okay"Njabulo couldn't care less the grocery was enough to inject a smile on his face. That night Lukhanya cooked their favourite meal on their one plate prima stove.She prepared spicy rice and fried chicken bonesshe had bought a pack of candles so she was able to do her homework that night.The following morning Lukhanya got a shock of her life at school. "Lukhanya Mzimela"Mrs Maseko called out "Yes mam"Lukhanya replied with the tiniest voice ever "I see you have started datingadolescent has gotten the better of you huh?"Mrs Maseko lowered her spectacles as she held Lukhanya's previous math test "Uhm..."Other learners were already giggling before she could answer. "If I was you Ndalo I would stay away from this stupid girlshe might rub it off on you"Mrs Maseko was so insensitive "Im sorry mam I'll try harder next time" "Thats what you said about the test before this and the other onesyou have dropped drastically in the past few weeks" "Im sorry"Lukhanya saidonly if Mrs Maseko knew what she was going through maybe she'd be more sensetive with her. "I know you lost your mom few months agobut that shouldn't be the reason for your down fall"Mrs maseko repliedLukhanya couldn't take it anymore Mrs Maseko shouldn't have mentioned her mom.She just felt her cheeks getting coldsimply because the heat in eyes was too much she could feel her tears battling to roll down her cheeks. "Come follow me"Mrs Maseko ordered hershe gave a sigh of relief crying in front of her classmates was the last thing to doshe didn't want anyone's pity. "Where are we going mam?"Lukhanya asked while listening to the damning sound made by Mrs Maseko's heels "To get you help" Lukhanya felt a slight happiness knowing that at lasta grown up was willing to help her with her situation at homehopefully she doesn't involve social workers.But she wouldn't do thatwait...what if Mrs Maseko wanted to adopt her and her siblingsOMG!she wondered if Anita would like herAnita was Mrs Maseko's daughter. "Morning class!"Mrs Maseko raised her voice in demand for attentionwhat were they doing in the Grade 10s classroom?was she going to let Anita know about adopting herin front of everyone? "Tell them how you have been performing lately"Mrs Maseko ordered "Ma'am?" "Don't ma'am me tell them" "Uhm I...h..hy" "Hy!"the learners responded intermediating her even more "I've been performing badly in math"Lukhanya managed to speak fluentlyhow could Mrs Maseko do this to her?surely she wasn't the only one failing mathhow can she be so cruel to her?alot of thoughts going through her mind remained unanswered.She was brought back to Earth by a thunder of laughter feeling the classroom.She felt like running awayshe wanted to but her legs locked that instant. "Quite!any volunteer to help her with math?"Mrs Maseko "Excuse me but doesn't she need a therapist or something?"Anita asked rolling her eyes "Hahaha"Anita's friend "sugar" pretended to laugh.leaving Lukhanya in complete confusionMrs Maseko was one of the most respected teachers at school due to discipline.And yet her daughter was behaving in such a way? "I will help her" Everyone turned and to their supriseit was the LRC president of the school himselfCollins Jack. "Come again"Mrs Maseko tried breaking the silence. "I will help her"He repeated himself as he looked directly into Mrs Maseko's eyes with his brown eyes. "Are you sure?you are a busy person"Anita was worked up "Whats her name again Mrs Maseko?"CJ asked while pointing at Lukhanya and ignoring Anita's question "Lukhanya" "Would you let me help you Lukhanya?" "Uhm...I" "Oh no she has know choice"Mrs Maseko jumped in.Lukhanya felt like hot water was being poured on her backhow would Ndaloenhle take this news?her best friend having extra classes with her biggest crush. ......................

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