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SIHLE


I wear my sandals and follow my mother. I stand by the door for a moment and look at each of them. Even my father is here. When was the last time I saw him? Oh Last night he was drunk again as always. His name is Themba. I wonder what they were hoping for when they named him. Nobody calls him Themba anymore his new name is Madlakadlaka. Stupid right? He stands on top of the tables in shebeens and everyone shouts "Dlala Madlakadlaka" as he dances for them. In the corner there is my aunt Nomalungelo. Yes she holds every right about our lives. She is a decision maker. When she says jump everyone asks how high? "I feed all of you here so why not?" Her words not mine. 


Nomalungelo : We don't have all day Sihle come and sit down. 


I sit down and play with my fingers. All eyes are on me. They are not expecting me to say anything. Are they? 


Nomalungelo : You are going to abort that baby. 


I feel my world going upside down. I saw this one coming. 


Me : Do I really have to? Ike promised to take care of his baby 


Nomalungelo : Ike? Where is Ike right now? He is at the taxi rank selling washing baskets. Ike can't even take care of himself so how is he going to take care of a baby? 


Me : Aunty Noma please. 


Nomalungelo : Do you want me to remind you that Ike is from Mozambique? Ike is a foreigner. People like Ike are getting killed in this community. You can't bring Ike's baby into our family!! You will put our lives in danger!!


Me : What do you mean people like Ike? 


(Silence) 


Nomalungelo : Abortion is free in South Africa and it's for people like you 


People like me? People who fall pregnant at a young age and fail to take care of their children? Is that what she meant or she meant people who sleep with foreigners? I look at my mother. Her head is bowed down. Her sister has spoken and that is finally. I move my gaze to my father who was already sleeping. Why did he come here in the first place ?


Me : And there is social grant for children who have mothers like us 


Nomalungelo laughs and claps her hands 


Nomalungelo : How much is it now? R600? 


Me : R390


Nomalungelo : You are going to take care of that baby with R390? Sihle this is not up for discussion. I did not call you here to ask you if you want to terminate that pregnancy. I called you here to tell you that you are going to do it. How far are you? 


Me : 6 months 


They look at each other 


Nomalungelo : I know someone who can take care of it. 


(All that happened 3 months ago and I ran away from home after that meeting. I went to Ike's house but no one knew his whereabouts. I waited for hours weeks and a full 2 months but he never came back. Luthandomy best friend she had been very supportive and she took me in but this is too much. I thought it was going to be easy but not anymore. I look at my baby girl and kiss her tiny hand. She is only one week but I know that I won't manage. I covered her with a blanket and put her down on the side of the road. This is not a busy street but I'm hoping that someone will find her before she freezes to death) 


Me : I'm sorry nana 


I walk on and on without even looking back at her. 


11 YEARS LATER 


FREEDOM 


This is what I do stand by this window and look outside. These streets are always empty and clean. Fresh breeze blowing up in my face tall green trees. If only I could go outside. I would run to that green grass and lie down on my back and watch the sunset but I can't. My grandmother walks in and slams the door 


Gogo : Freedom

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tall green trees. If only I could go outside. I would run to that green grass and lie down on my back and watch the sunset but I can't. My grandmother walks in and slams the door 


Gogo : Freedom close that curtain and go hide in the bathroom madam is coming. 


I run to the bathroom and lock myself in there. I can hear them talking 


Gogo : Madam Cruywagen I was just fixing a few things here and I'll just feed the dogs in a few minutes 


Mrs Cruywagen : Moenie jou daaroor bekommer nie Maureen. You can rest now. I'm going out with my friends please just ensure that the windows are closed. We don't want those cats to bother my neighbors 


Gogo : Thank you madam. I will do that 


Mrs Cruywagen : Geniet die res van jou dag (Enjoy the rest of your day ) 


Gogo : Bye Madam 


There is silent. Gogo's madam is gone. 


Me : Can I come out now? 


Gogo : Yes 


I walk out 


Me : Gogo why am I always stuck in this house? 


Gogo : Oh my baby we live in a cruel world. This is a white community baby girl and black people like us get in trouble when they are spotted outside 


Me : Why Gogo? Apartheid is over now. We are a rainbow nation. That's what you told me. Remember? 


Gogo : Apartheid still exists in this house baby girl 


Me : But Madam Cruywagen is… 


Gogo : Don't say it. Freedom stop! 


Me : Ek's jammer 


Gogo : Baby girl I'm just trying to protect you from all the evil. All of this will make sense one day 


Me : I want to go back to Mama 


Gogo : Mama is sick and she can't take care of you anymore 


Gogo says while she plays with my hair.


*MAUREEN (GOGO)*


It still feels like yesterday when my daughter Khululiwe walked in with a newborn baby in the middle of the night. She said mama I think God has answered my prayers. I found her on the side of the road and I'm going to make her mine. Khululiwe wasn't blessed to have children of her own but her and her husband were blessed with this beautiful baby girl. They named her FREEDOM. Things changed when Freedom grew up. Freedom is.. different she is not like any other kid in my community. From her hair to her skin she is different. Her skin is dark. Very dark. She is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen with her curly afro and her big eyes. Khululiwe's husband started treating her differently and calling her all sorts of names. Khululiwe decided enough was enough when he found her husband naked in Freedom's room. She wanted to take her back where she found her. Khululiwe is sick and she felt that she wasn't going to be able to look after Freedom or to protect her any more. I took Freedom. We have nothing in my family. Khululiwe used to take care of us but not anymore since she is sick. My family depends on me. I've been working for Mev Cruywagen for the past 9 years. She is good to me but to other black people? Not so good. I know she will fire me if she finds out about Freedom or worse kill her. Mev Cruywagen is… I'd rather not say it. I have a husband back home he is on a wheelchair and I have 2 sons and 7 grandchildren 8 including Freedom but Freedom is like my baby. I love her so much and I will die protecting her. 



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Siphindile 2021-11-11 04:02:01

Please write more, a nice introduction

Siphindile 2021-11-11 04:01:55

Please write more, a nice introduction