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Chapter 1 ♡ ♡ ♡ Okay. Its a Friday morning. I'm in my car driving all the way to Kwazulu-Natal but I'm still in Pretoria. I've only been driving for a total of 30 minutes. May I add that I'm pissed and no its not something someone I know did to me it's some random ass person who is also driving on the same road I'm on. The driver -which I've established is male- has been overtaking and allowing me to overtake him and then drive in front of me...then slowing down and allowing me to overtake again for heaven's sake it's only been 32 minutes! I step on it. I'm hungry. I pass a sign written 'McDonald's 6km away' and a 'right' symbol underneath it. It's like God has not forsaken me! I turn right after I see the huge yellow 'M'. After finding a parking space i lock my car and walk towards the building. I already know what I want when i step through those doors. After placing my order i go and sit in the far corner and wait while checking my phone for any messages. There's one from Tshidi. She's my bestie by the way. She's a born Pedi but somehow ended up becoming a zulu speaker along the way. She's exactly like me; Short no belly but all butt -but she says mine is bigger which i don't really believe-. Oh the only difference is that she's a bit darker and thinner (a size 32 while I'm a 36) and prettier and richer and gets all the boys and she's pretty much older than me by six months. Okay...now it sounds like we're totally different but we still clique. The text she sent me says :**OMG!!! Bitch I'm going on a date today :D** Oh okay now this is news... This is her third date since this month started and mind you this month only started 13 days ago. I'm excited for her but then again I'm hoping he doesn't turn out like abo Michael and that second guy she went with to her second blind date... what's his name again? Joshua? Joseph? Jordan? I don't care really but all i know is it starts with a J. **Oh wow! I hope he's going to be great!! KEEP ME UPDATED ;)**-I reply That's all I'm going to say to her. The door opens and I look up for some weird reason. A man is standing there with one hand in his pocket and the other on his phone. His conversation seems to be very professional. He looks my way and i immediately look away. Why was I even staring? "Order 134!" Says one of the waiters. I check my slip. That's my number... I'm gulping down the cold coke in the McD's container...it's refreshing really. The man who had me staring is sitting not so far away from where I'm seated now. He's still on his phone and again i don't know why I'm looking. I quickly snap out of it and eat my Big Mac along with the fries. The coke and Mc'Flurry are going to have to go with me. I try tidying and leave they'll clean anyway. I head out to my red 2014 polo GTI. I drive out... I'm back on the highway listening to Metro FM. 6 hours later I enter the sandy and rocky road of my home town. I'm about 15 minutes away. I haven't been here for almost a year now...only because I've gotten used to life in Pretoria. Life here just seems slow all of a sudden. I remember how leaving Estcort was a challenge for me. I was 17 at that time with a national senior certificate to my name but i saw that being useless when some man wanted my hand in marriage but my mom would hear none of it. Lucky for me again I received a bursary which meant I could leave this place to further my studies. I've always wanted to be a nurse and having received such an opportunity it was impossible for me to turn it down. Oh and that guy who wanted to marry me...I've never heard of him again. Another thing is im not the only smart one. My eldest sister Nomonde was a genius with anything business related but she unfortunately couldn't further her studies because some chief married her and moved with her to North West. The dude was apparently here on a visit when he spotted her and demanded to be united with her. My mom of course didn't want to hear any of it but Nomonde didn't want a fight and agreed. It was like she gave up before the fight even started. Her spirit was always like that though. She was calm and loving and only wanted peace everywhere she went. Anyway all i have to say is i haven't heard from her for 9 years now. Needless to say we don't even know how she's doing or how she's living. We once tried searching for this Chief Dipuo guy on google since he should be known but all we found out was that the guy had 8 children and two wives who they failed to mention. Mom didnt take that well though she had an emotional breakdown and she started neglecting us. She eventually accepted the situation and knew she had to do everything in her power to prevent the same from happening to us. And then there's Ntombifuthi who always labels herself as 'a curse to this family'. She was the party girl who drank dated and sometimes didn't return from wherever she would be. Mind you she was only 15 when all this rebellious action started. I felt like she was wasting away her life because there's so much she could've done. God gave her the amazing talent of knowing her numbers. She would always Ace her mathematics and accounting tests. Now mom had to arrange that she has umhlonyane tomorrow because she fears Ntombi will reach 21 and not have umemulo. The preparations have been going on for a whole month now and luckily I was given 3 days off from work starting tomorrow. I drive in the gate. The fence is still made out of wire and tree stumps. The yard has no grass but only the far corners are evaded with grass. The house still looks the same. It's huge with 3 rondelle huts on the left. Those were our rooms basically. At the far left is my father's kraal...it grew shem. He takes well care of his cows that man. The front door bursts open and out they come running like they've seen Santa clause . All 9 of them. My little brother Siyabonga is leading the pact. He definitely looks older now. He's followed by Gugu aged 7 Londeka and Thandeka (twins) aged 9 Mandla aged 8 Njabulo aged 5 and Monde who is only 4 I think. Qhamukile aged 6 and Zinhle aged 3 Siya is the same age as Mandla. They're already surrounding the car. I feel like a celebrity right now. I finally park near the house and stop the engine. One of them manages to open the door and questions come flooding in. "Sisi usphatheleni!?" "Oh my gosh uyadrive(e)!" "Khanyisile ngeyakho?" I dont know what to say now...I step out and they're all over me. They're dirty. All of them. They finally quiet down giving me an opportunity to speak "Ukuphi umama (Where's mom)?"-me "Ungaphakathi (She's inside)" they all say at the same time. I nod and reach for my handbag and search for something I can give these kids. R10 note is what I find I figure they can go and buy some candy with it . I give it to one of the twins...I don't know who's who yet but they're the oldest and hopefully they'll devide the sweets equally... There she is looking more beautiful than ever. She's wearing a dress that's covering what we call 'legs'. Her apron has evidence of all the cooking she's clearly been doing. She smiles broadly and opens her arms wide open. I go and hug her tightly. I've missed her sweet rose scent. "Mtwanam"-mom "Mama!"-me "You made it...I'm sooo happy to see you!"-mom "Same here I've missed you so much mama."-me She breaks the hug and holds me at arms length inspecting me from head to toe. "You've grown into such a beautiful young woman Khanyi...aii let's go inside and I'll prepare something for you to eat." I just smile and nod following her inside. It's been 2 hours since I've been here at home and let me just say I already know half of this villages' news. This place is huge and beautiful but news travels faster than anything. I'm still in stitches with all the laughing I've been doing. "Can you believe Musa is still chasing after me a 46 year old woman with 4 kids shuu aii angsazi ngithini!" She says. I laugh even more thinking about how Bab'Musa used to come here when dad wasnt around and ask me to give mama something. Those things would range from sweets to chocolates to money. Mom would always return them to him or give those things to us. "Now you see that you're still a firecracker even at your age mama."-me. That's true though. This woman has hips for decades and a booty to brag about. That's not all...Her mother was Coloured and she married a zulu man-my grandfather. That's why we all have hazel eyes and semi silky hair. Ntombi took our father's darkish skin colour while the rest of us took my mother's light skin. So you can imagine how people around here would want her as a wife but I guess she's never wanted anyone else other than our father. "They're here" mom says looking out of the window. By here she's talking about all three of my uncles and two of my aunts. My one uncle Jack...he's the rich one and he basically married a village diva Aunt Sphelele. Then there's uncle Vusumuzi who married two women. One is your typical traditional zulu woman who is reserved the other one is your spoilt over-the-top pedi bride who sometimes creeps you out. I don't know how they met but they did and uncle Muzi looks happy so who are we to judge. Oh and then there's uncle Sipho aka Skroef he's the drunkard uncle most of us have. He's not married but has tons of girlfriends and a son

Mandla. I rush outside. The last time I saw them was on my memulo about 1 year ago. They haven't changed a bit. Uncle Muzi only bought Aunt Busi the reserved one and Uncle Jack came with his wife. "Yohh Khanyisile I expected you to come tomorrow" -Sphelele "I figured it's best to come today"-me "Good...now you can assist your mother and aunts in cooking"-Skroef I look at him and roll my eyes. He needs to get married ASAP. We unload all the grocery they bought from the back of the Van. It's a lot of food but hey this is a village and most people will show up without invites so you have to prepare yourself. I haven't seen Ntombifuthi since I've arrived here but only because I know her girls are preparing her for tomorrow's ceremony. We're chopping grating laughing and peeling in the kitchen. All for tomorrow. It's 23:16...way past 'our' bedtime. The spoilt Pedi Refilwe arrived later today carrying a newborn baby boy named Mondli. I could see aunt Sphelele wasn't okay with this but she put on a brave face. Mondli was a new addition to the family who i didn't know about until today. He's a month and half old apparently. "Heeeeh...Khanyisile when are you having kids?" Refilwe asks giving me an expression I can't read. "Uhmmm..."- I start off but mom chips in. "And what does it matter to you Refilwe? Khanyisile will have children the day she sees fit besides...we're not all designed to be baby making machines like you." She says. Yoh! I can see both of my aunts holding in their laughs. Believe me I'm also suppressing my laugh. Her face turns sour. She stands up looking everyone in the eye and stops at me. "Nxa!" She clicks her tongue and storms away with her baby. We all look at each other before bursting with laughter... We're in bed by 23:55. Almost enough time to kind of rest our bodies before tomorrow's hectic day. I'm not asleep yet though. Tshidi is busy updating me about the date she went to earlier today. "Tjo friend the guy was soooo full of himself like the whole hour and a half was just filled with 'me this me thatme there me me me me...I couldn't deal!" I can't help but laugh "Come on...it couldn't have been that bad Chommie"-me "That was only the beginning friend he was short on cash and I ended up paying for him friend Me!"-Tshidi "...ai okay now that's not good"-me "You think...yaz I cried the moment I got home."-her "Eh. Why? Did he..."-me "No no no he didn't do anything it's just that he is just a handsome waste."-her "...handsome waste??"-me "Eya...the dude was such a turn on friend he had everything-the beard the eyes the lips even the voice...but his personality was just dry and he clearly can't afford me"-her I sigh...I don't know what to say. "Tshidi...like I always say to you I think it's best you wait and let the guy come to you."-me "Just like you've BEEN waiting for your guy for 4 years?"-her Ouch! "Khanyisile look...I know you're being a friend neh but come on...how many guys have actually approached you and you just blow them off?"-her I keep quiet. She's right I've been turning guys down every time they 'shela' me. "Okay fine...maybe you shouldn't be taking my advice but I guess I'm trying to say don't rush into things okay whatever you decide on make sure you're considering your feelings aswell."-me Lol. I really suck at giving advice... ----------- I wake up at 5am. I have to make my bed bath go and Cook the chicken and help out with the salads before Ntombi and her girls come back from the river. They're going to leave anytime soon to go wash off the white nhlabathi (sand) mixture which is applied on their whole body. Time is flying by and we're already done with the cooking. My dad has already slaughtered a goat for Ntombi and they were already coming back from the river. We can tell by the songs that we're hearing that they are. "USBARI uyatelebela simbonile izolo nesfebe sakhe..."-them Lol let me not continue because those lyrics alone translated mean "the groom is a hoe and we saw him last night walking with his bitch..." ------------ They're in the yard and she's looking amazing in her white beaded skirt and her neck piece. She's also wearing a white head piece and all of those things signify her purity which I kinda doubt still exists. We eat laugh drink-well apart from me-dance sing and pin money on her head and umbrella. All in all the day fades but our yard is still filled with men finishing the umqombothi. "Sisi" I turn to find my little brother Siya standing there. The last time I saw him was when the goat was being slaughtered and he went MIA on us. "Siya wami"-me "Someone is calling for you outside by Sis 'Ntombi's hut "-him. I look at him confused. He runs off before I can ask him who wants to see me. I head out anyway. I'm sure it's not mom who wants to see me because Siya would've said so. There's a male figure standing by the huts wall with his arms folded and one leg to the wall. I think i know who it is. It's darkish but i can still see him "Themba?" I say as I reach him. I've met him a couple of times by mistake and every encounter was never pleasant. That's why I've never liked him. Even the thought of being his wife was and is disgusting. And he's still a bastard I can tell. "Ah Khanyisile...it's good to know that you still remember my name"-him I roll my eyes and give a 'really now' look. "Ufunani?"-me "Wena." He says biting his bottom lip. It makes me want to vomit. I've never been interested in him or even had feelings for him. "Really now...Themba please stop wanting things you'll never get."-me His face turns cold. "How sure are you I won't get you?" Something tells me i should go before something bad happens. I turn to walk away but he grabs my arm. Too tight. I panic. I look back and he's not the Themba he was a minute ago. This one looks like he can kill. "Let go of me..." my voice is trembling as i say this. "Baby girl you're mi..." "Let me go Themba!" I say in a higher tone. I'm already trying to pull my hand away from his grip but it doesn't feel like I'm doing anything. He pulls me to him in one go and I slam onto his chest. Oh God. "Themba please let me go!" He doesn't respond but holds me tighter. I already know that area is going to turn blue soon. I feel one hand travelling up my thigh lifting the red summer dress I was wearing today. "Khanyisile I would've married you a long time ago but your stupid mother decided you should go and study and be smart or whatever she embarrassed me and made me feel less like a man...but you know what- i told myself that i will get you and i will make you mine!" -him Okay that's it. I'm pissed now. No one insults my mother like that and no one is going to pretend they own me when they don't. My inner strength kicks in and I spit on his face. "What the fu-!"him Before he could finish that my knee goes full force to his crotch. "Aaagggghhhh!!" He yells through clenched teeth letting go of my hand to soothe his aching baby sacks. "Nxa!" I click my tongue and storm off not looking back...

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