Mom arrives on Sunday afternoon with Nomxolisi. No this word is so long. Will have to give her a nickname something short like Lisi or Xoli. She is a very shy and polite girl but that will end soon. My assistant should be like Zah. Open active and fun. I must set up a meeting for both of them. I want them to know each other well. Mom is in a hurry because she is fetching dad from the airport so she just drops her off and leaves. Xoli joins me in the patio and Kgomotso brings us drinks. She says goodbye and then leaves.
Nomxolisi: “you have a beautiful house Miss Cele.” Lord bury me now. Only clients and business associates call me Miss Cele.
Me: “Xoli is it okay if I call you Xoli?” she smiles and nods. “Okay. I am more like a big sister to you than an employer. Even employees at DCC call me by my name so please call me Futhy.”
Xoli: “okay sisi Futhy.” That’s better than nothing right?
Me: “did mom tell you what job you will be doing?”
Xoli: “she just said I will be assisting you. I thought maybe with cleaning.”
Me: “you will be my second assistant Xoli. Personal assistant not helper. You will be organizing my life outside work not my house. That’s Kgomotso’s job. She is the housekeeper here. You job is to make sure I have time for myself. In your room you will find a phone laptop and tablet. Those things will make your job a lot easier. How much did mom pay you?”
Me: “okay I will be paying you R8000. Your first task is to search for places where I can branch DCC at. It’s either vacant sites or buildings for sale. Preferably in the CBD. The environment around must be safe and easily accessible to the clients hhay indawo ecashile. You can first look for those places at Johannesburg and Cape Town for now. What you will do is search for the vacant places take contact details for people to contact call them and hear how much they are willing to sell the property for. Sell not rent. I am not looking for a cheaper place but a good place. You will jot down 3 places which meet my requirements in each town then you will come to me with your research.”
Xoli: “okay sisi. Manje where will I be staying because there aren’t cottages here?”
Me: “inside the house downstairs. It’s only me and Kgomotso here so there is enough room for you too. Another task I want you to do is search for restaurant owners here in Durban preferably black women. Mina I am all about women empowerment. Look for about 5 owners and you will submit that list to me. Not to rush you but it will be good if you start with this research as soon as possible.”
Xoli: “okay sisi. Can you please show me to the room I will be using?” I take one of her bags and lead her inside the house to her room. I place the bag on top of the bed.
Me: “there is a closet and an en-suite in this room all yours. If you have any questions or problems you can talk to either me or K. and remember Xoli you are not a helper but my assistant so please stick to your job.”
Xoli: “okay sisi and thank you for this job. I promise I won’t disappoint you.”
Me: “I hope so.”
I leave her room and head to the kitchen. I take a bottle of wine and a glass and Doritos and go to the TV room. I place the wine and glass on the coffee table. I browse through the channels and finally settle for BET Black-ish. Xoli comes to the TV room and I tell her to take a wine glass and any snack in the pantry she comes back with the glass and pringles. She sits next to me and she pours the wine for the both of us.
Me: “so tell me about your family.”
Her: “mom is in the navy and dad is a police officer. I am the only child.”
Me: “yey your parents are heroes.” She laughs.
Her: “yeah they are and I am proud child.”
Me: “how is it like not to have siblings?”
Her: “it can be boring but dad is my best friend so I never felt much of a void.”
Me: “what did you wanna be growing up?”
Her: “I never had any dreams or inspirations but I wanted to be something that won’t require me to study because I am not gifted academically.” She says and looks down.
Me: “hey you don’t have to be ashamed of that. You are not stupid or whatever word anyone has ever called you. Not everyone is supposed to go to university in order to get a job. Look now you are inexperienced and you have a job that will pay you more than 5k. You don’t have to pay bills or rent or send the money to your parents. It’s just for your own enjoyment. Don’t look down upon yourself because you don’t have a degree and don’t be intimidated by graduates. There are people who go to varsity
Her: “thank you sisi.”
Me: “so how old are you and do you have someone in your life?”
Her: “I am 21 and no I don’t have a boyfriend. I dated in high school and when I was doing grade 12 I lost my virginity. But now I am just single and not looking.”
Me: “you and me both sister. Cheers to singleton.” She giggles and raises her glass so that we can toast. We continue chatting and getting to know each other. She is not that shy it’s just that she needs to be comfortable first before she can be free.
The next morning I get ready for work and head downstairs with all my stuff. I find K and Xoli making breakfast together. They seem to get along which is exactly what I need. I can’t have housemates who hate each other. That would make living conditions unbearable. I greet them and sit on the barstool placing my things on the free space in the counter. K hands me a bowl of wheet bix and I start eating.
Xoli: “so sisi will I be going with you to work or will I be working at home?”
Me: “K please fix the pool house and turn it into her office. I will get furniture to make it a complete office or you guys can go shopping today. You just need a desk 2 chairs just staff nje needed in an office.”
K: “you can give us the money Futhy so that we can go shop.” I take out my phone and transfer 15k to K.
Me: “I hope that will be enough. If it ain’t please send me a message so that I can add. Please buy a 4 in 1 printer. Don’t forget A4 papers and ink. You can Google other stuff that is needed in an office.” I stand up and collect my stuff. “See you later.” I head to work.
I just get into my private elevator to avoid noisy employees who will be asking me about the scandals that happened over the weekend with Mvelo. I get to my office and Zah follows soon after. We exchange greetings and she sits down. I hand her the sketches of the Nongoma palace which I finished last night. I slept around 2 am because today I wanted to start on Kuhle’s secret house. It won’t be a hassle because there isn’t much detail when drawing it. His expensive features will be done by the builders. Zah heads to the 3D department and I start with the secret house project. It’s just about lunch time when the door opens and my brother Gcino walks in. I last saw him last month and I have missed him. I stand up and attack him with a hug.
Him: “good to know I have been missed.” I giggle and hit his shoulder playfully. I lead him to the couch and we both sit down.
Me: “to what do I owe this pleasant surprise visit?”
Him: “I figured you’re busy so I just wanted to stop by and say hi because I was in the neighborhood.”
Me: “neighborhood yani? Awuzenzi mdala.” We both laugh.
Him: “and I also wanted you to take me out for lunch at this restaurant downstairs.”
Me: “you and food.” I laugh before taking my phone and wallet. We head to the restaurant. We order and wait while chatting. “So besides free food what else brought you here?” he laughs.
Him: “there is a meeting at home on Friday. So I wanted to inform you about it face to face so that you don’t forget. Also the rents want you to spend the weekend with them.” I exhale loudly. A whole weekend? That’s too much.
Me: “what is the meeting about?”
Him: “umemulo ka Nothando with is 29th this month.”
Me: “umemulo how kubanda kanjena? Bafuna ukugodolisa izingane zabantu?”
Him: “she was born in August so she wants everything that concerns her to happen in her month.” The waitress brings our food and we start eating. “Busi and Lele are also going to be there.” I sigh. I just hope there won’t be any fights this time around. Busi is so childish sometimes she acts like a last born. I mean who wouldn’t accept and love their siblings because they are plus size? She is the one who is supposed to be more accepting of us as the first child so that Nothando can take notes from her. Instead she acts like being chubby is a disease sometimes. That’s why I prefer Lee and Noma over my own sisters.
Me: “so how much money do you want?” he gives me an innocent look. “I know you Gcino. You could have sent a voice note or let mom tell me this. The fact that you came all the way here just to inform me means you also want money or something.”
Him: “fine. It’s not that expensive. I will only need R2000 for it.”
Me: “what is it?”
Him: “a Bathu Moja Edition brown sneaker. It’s not R2000 but I also need change sisi.” I roll my eyes and transfer the money he wants. He jumps from his seat and hugs me. After the excitement has died down he returns to his seat.
Me: “just so you know I won’t be buying you the outfit that you will be wearing ememulweni.”
Him: “sisi the devil is a liar. Don’t make him use you. Don’t allow him in. fire! Fire! Fire!” I laugh hysterically.
Me: “you’re asking for money now while you still want me to buy you clothes again this month. You are abusing me.”
Him: “I am pretty sure 2k is nothing to you sisi. 2k to you is like unwele ekhanda. Noma luwa olulodwa akubonakali nokuthi liwephi futh akunamehluko. Wena you’re the black Bill Gates. You are not in the making but you have already made it. You got into the Forbes 30 under 30 last year. You own 6 cars. Why uzokhaliswa zimpahlana nje?” I laugh. All this praise just for clothes. Hhay bakwethu lastborn exploitation is real.
Me: “thula Gcino thula.”
Him: “you know I am right.” We finish eating and we go our separate ways of course after promising that I will find an outfit for him.
I get back to my work and finish the secret house sketches. I already had a picture of it in mind so it was so much easier to put it into paper. I take the sketch and head to the 3D department. Its 5:30 pm so most of the staff have left but I find the new girl Melody still working.
Me: “why are you still here?”
Her: “I had a family emergency this morning so I came in late. I just want to finish today’s work first before rushing home.” I place the sketches in her desk.
Me: “I need those done by tomorrow 10 am. Please don’t show it to anyone else and you must submit them to my office personally.”
Her: “okay boss.” She nods several times.
Me: “and next time don’t work so late. Rather arrive earlier than usual the next morning than working your butt off so late and alone.” I turn on my heels and head out.
I arrive at home take a shower and head to the dining room to join the ladies for supper. K cooked rice and lamb stew with salads. She is a good cook she deserves to be a chef. We all sit around the table and eat. After eating K brings desert and we munch on it. After that she takes the dishes to the kitchen and Xoli asks if we can go to the pool house so I can see her new office. She seems excited and nervous at the same time.
We enter the pool house and it looks so beautiful and cozy. Honestly if I knew it had this much potential I would have made it my office.
Me: “you guys outdid yourselves. This looks beautiful. Yazi after building and settling in at Jozi and Cape Town I was thinking of renovating my house.”
Xoli: “why would you do that sisi? This house is beautiful and the fact that you designed it from scratch makes it have a significant meaning to you. If you wanna design another house I’d suggest you buy another site.”
Me: “I will think about it. So any research you did today?”
Xoli: “yes but it’s not enough to present it to you now but by tomorrow evening I’d be done.”
Me: “don’t rush yourself. You might end up getting me something I may not like. Take your time.” I say as we are heading back inside the house. “Good night.”
Xoli: “good night sisi.”
Me: “K my brother is coming this week I don’t know which day but please prepare his room in case he shows up earlier than expected.” She nods. “Good night.”
K: “night boss.”
I head to my room and get under covers. There is no need for me to sleep past midnight today. I am dreading Friday because the relationship I have with my sisters doesn’t allow us to be in the same space for a longer period. But I am doing this for my parents and brothers. And I also wanna be the bigger person. Honestly their beef with me is absurd. And I think me becoming more successful than Busi may have added petrol to the already burning fire.