“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do and then do it.”– Henry Ford
Four months later...
It had been a blissful few months. I was back at school and I had fallen into a routine as if I never dropped out. I was studying until late at night instead of coming home late and burnt by the sun. I even managed to get my complexion back thanks to my facial products. Life had gotten almost back to normal and my mother was working full time with the Van Tonders. She was staying there so we would see her only on weekends. Koko was not happy about me leaving the vegetable business so she tried to open her own little veggie stall right there in the yard but that didn't last long because she ended up spending all the profit and eventually had no money to stock up. Malome Joel used to take me to school and fetch me so I'd always take Selaelo with so that it wouldn't be too awkward. He didn't show any signs of trying to make me his second side piece so I was safe. I had neared the end of my Grade 11 year and my results were fantastic. My mother was ecstatic about that. She looked a bit frail and had lost a bit of weight but she came home with some good news. Mr. van Tonder and his wife gave her double her salary for Christmas so that she could enjoy her money with us her children. So we were so happy that life was favouring us for a change.
With it being December holidays Lesiba and Matome could finally focus on going to Grade 11 the coming year while I was looking forward to being in Matric. My Tenderpreneur uncle Malome Frans had invited us to his house for the holidays. We'd be there for two weeks and also spend Christmas and New Year's at his house. He lived in Woodhill Estate just near Mall of the North. We never went to his house unless he invited us so we didn't waste time debating. It was a free holiday where we'd swim and eat for days and then come back home. I knew that I'd find my cousins there although my aunt Celia one of my mother's younger sisters had no children. My grandmother would always say bad things about her most probably because she wasn't so giving when it came to money and would call her “nyopa” (barren) whenever it suited her but she'd never insult her in her face. We packed our bags and Malome Joel being Malome Frans' best friend from back in the day he offered to take us there. We all got in and off we went. My brothers never rested when it came to road trips because they enjoyed watching all the beautiful cars pass us by. My mother was enjoying the gospel music being played by Malome Joel while Koko decided to sit in the front and have a few beers as we were driving. I kept myself busy on WhatsApp talking to the only friend I had and I browsed through some Facebook.
When we arrived we already saw a few cars in the driveway and that was an indication that Aunt Salome had arrived along with Aunt Celia. My mother was actually happy to see them which wasn't something that happened quite often. She had this mysterious smile on her face while Koko was already drunk when we got there.
Koko: (shouting) “Lesiba! Matome! Tla le nthuseng ke fologe (Come help me get off here)!”
As much as they were annoyed they helped her out of the taxi. He had recently upgraded his taxi to a Quantum all thanks to Malome (Uncle) Frans. It is always amazing how some people would rather raise the bar for friends instead of family. It is what it is I guess. We got into the house and my fake cousins were so happy to see me. I mean they hardly had real friends so all they wanted to do was to just brag to me about their fabulous lives. Vanessa was Uncle Frans' First born and only child while Aunt Salome had three daughters. She was still married while Malome Frans was then living with his second wife who was not Vanessa's birth mother. Aunt Celia was unmarried and childless. As we entered of course she was the one to come out first.
Celia: (smiling) “Oh family! Frans weh! Ba fihlile (They have arrived)! Hehe sesi (sister) wa ba botse so le gono (you look so good today). What happened?”
My mother's smile slowly faded away while she left a sour taste in my mouth.
Celia: (laughing) “Kea te tshamekela fela (I'm just joking) man. Why are you so serious?”
I hated people who made such jokes – they low key always mean every word and disguise it as jokes.
Celia: “Hmm Bina o tsamaya ka iPhone (you have an iPhone)? Ngwanesho o go zamile neh (my brother tried his best with you hey)?”
Mama: (firmly) “Celia that is enough.”
Celia: “Ai you're always so serious.”
Salome also came out to greet us at least she was fake but nice to us.
Salome: (smiling) “Sesi (sister) le sa emetse eng ka ntle (what are you still waiting for outside)? Tsenang (Come in) hao (goodness). Frans is braaing us meat. Lona (You) go put the bags in the bedrooms upstairs and go take a swim. Lea kgona go swimmer akere (you can swim
Lesiba: “Ba re rutile kwa skolong (They taught us at school).”
They rushed upstairs along with our bags while Malome Frans's wife approached us. She was a darling to be honest. I had met her once or twice and she was never mean to us at all. Her name was Constance but they called her Connie.
Connie: (smiling) “Hao family. Ke kgale le fihlile (have you been here for long)?”
Koko: “Re tla reng Celia a re emisitse (What can we say when Celia has been making us stand out here)?”
Connie: (frowning) “Celia why did you do that?”
Celia: “We were just talking ai le wena (gosh).”
She hugged Mama and then me and greeted Hunadi and Masalesa. She too like Portia adored children but never had any of her own. I still think that Malome Frans married her deliberately and ensured that they had no children together. She respected Mama being the eldest of the siblings and I admired that. Malome Joel walked alongside Koko and helped her in. As we walked in Koko just had to start.
Koko: (praising) “Yoh (Oh)! Ntlo ya ngwanaka e botsana lona (my son's house is so beautiful guys)! Ai (oh) Badimo ba nratile (My ancestors love me).”
I just tried so hard not to roll my eyes at that statement.
Connie: “Bina you can go meet up with your cousins in Vanessa's room. I'll keep your mother company.”
Bina: “Are you sure?”
Mama: “Bina go and enjoy yourself. I'll be fine.”
I smiled and walked up towards Vanesssa's room. I just had to mix with them because we were going to be there for two whole weeks straight. I could not possibly hide in one of the bedrooms for the entire stay. That just wouldn't have been appropriate. I took a deep breath as I prepared myself for the plastics. I called them that. I knocked on the door and opened slowly. Vanessa smiled and jumped right on top of me as soon as she saw me while the other three were not so excited. Vanessa was a spoilt brat but she had her moments. She had her limits too. Just like her father she didn't tolerate disrespect towards anyone – especially family. She hated fights and she just loved to brag about her rich life.
Vanessa: (smiling) “Come in. Wow you have grown so much and look at you. Bona o mo yellow bone jwang (look how light you are). Gosh I wish I had your skin. O berekisa eng (what do you use)?”
She was also a chatterbox and hardly gave anyone a chance to speak.
Bina: (nervously) “Oh Vaseline le (and) green Sunlight bar.”
She chuckled while the other three were less pleased to see me. I was very happy that she was at least trying to accommodate me.
My name is Dimakatso Makwetla I am the daughter of Stephina Makwetla. I have six children the eldest being Bina. I have failed my daughter so much that I am about to leave this earth and fail her even worse than I already have. The world can be so cruel and your family can even be more cruel. I had to learn that the hard way. When my husband was still alive everything was just amazing and I had found solace in the man of my dreams yet someone very close to me chose to cut his life short and ensure that I suffer even more than I already had. I practically raised my siblings and I ensured that they got the chances I never had. My younger sisters were fortunate enough to live a life I had always wanted a life of being a Nurse a caregiver and healing lives but I never got to be that. I let that all go when I found my husband.
My life was in tatters once again and I had to go back to poverty – except this time I had been offered no assistance by my siblings. The very siblings that I helped my mother to raise. You know in life we always strive to do our best for our family and once they make it big and you remind them of what you had done for them they'll tell you that they didn't ask you to do that. Of which is true yes. Some of us here on earth suffer more than others to get what we really want. We go through so much for those we love only for them to stab us and break our spirit with their words and actions.
The sad thing is that those who treat us like we are nothing don't ever succeed because God sees everything. In the end the very same people who see you as nothing see you as the only person who can save them when they lose everything. Money is not everything truly but others love money with every fibre in their being. I decided to spend my last Christmas with my family – no matter how hard they always made every moment with them. I wanted to have a good holiday with them and I only hoped and prayed that God would spare me long enough to see my daughter succeed but I knew that wasn't possible.
I found out months prior to Christmas that I have Breast cancer and unfortunately it had already spread to my liver and my ovaries. With each day that went by I was getting worse and much closer to my maker. All I wanted was to remind my siblings of the hard times we had to endure but we made it through. I wanted to remind and show them the brittleness of life. Life is so easily created and even easier to lose. Each day we live here on earth is a day lend to us. We all live according to God's plan so basically we sign a contract with Him the moment we are born. Some contracts last longer than others but at the end of the day we are all just temporary residents here on this earth. Romans 14:8 says; “For if we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. So then whether we live or whether we die we are the Lord's.”