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Chapter 01

FREEDOM 


(My grandmother locks the door as soon as we walk in. The house was dark) 


Gogo : Oh my God another power cut 


Me : So we are not allowed to see her now? 


Gogo : Keep your voice down Freedom 


Me : Why? 


Gogo : You want Mev Cruywagen to hear you and kick you out? 


Me : Why are we not allowed to see my mother? 


Gogo : The disease is contagious 


Me : Where is it coming from? 


Gogo : Freedom please. I can't do this right now. Are you hungry? 


Me : No I want to go back home 


Gogo : You spent the whole weekend at home. You told me that you want us to come back and now that we are back here you want us to go back? 


Me : What is the name of this disease? 


Gogo : Freedom you are too young to understand. Read your books. Here and here is your phone too 


Me : It's dark here. I can't read. When am I going to school like Sabelo and Ndalo? 


Gogo : I'll go and check on Mrs Cruywagen.. Stay here


(Everytime I raise this topic she leaves. I switch on my flashlight and go through my books. I am the teacher and the student at the same time. If you can't go to school Gogo will bring the school to you) 


Me : Boring boring boring. All these are children's books. I'm not a kid anymore 


(What kind of a disease that separates you from your loved ones? What is it? Where does it come from? I started searching based on the symptoms. Night sweats loss of appetite coughing and mouth sores that come with bad breath.) 


Me : Ew! 


(I look at the pictures. My grandmother walks back in again and lights the candle) 


Gogo : What is that? 


Me : My mother looks like this now? All those sores? 


Gogo : Freedom stop looking at those things! 


Me : They call it Ryblidonia


Gogo : What? 


Me : The disease 


Gogo : What kind of a kid are you? Children your age are learning how to write watching cartoons and here you are doing research. Freedom stop it


Me : Is there a cure for it? 


(She snatched my phone from me) 


Gogo : You don't listen! 


Me : I need to help my mother 


Gogo : You can't! You are just a kid 


Me : If we find the cure we will be able to help my mother and we can see her again 


Gogo : Lord forbid! 


Me : If I go to school I'll be able to learn more about these things. It's time I go to school Gogo 


Gogo : You told me that you are scared of going to school because they will bully you 


Me : I'm not scared anymore. I'm a big girl 


Gogo : Freedom you…. 


Maureen did you 


(Mrs Cruywagen walks in and it's too late for me to hide) 


Mrs Cruywagen : Maureen who is this? 


Gogo : Madam I can explain 


Mrs Cruywagen : You brought a child into my house. 'n Kind!! 


(Mrs Cruywagen is angry) 


Gogo : She is my granddaughter and she had nowhere else to go 


Mrs Cruywagen : I don't care. I want her out of my house! 


Gogo : Madam…. 


Mrs Cruywagen : Now Maureen!! 


(A beautiful black woman married to a successful businessman "John Cruywagen" a white man. Gogo calls her the "wine lover". She is always next to her bottle of wine. Gogo says she is not just drinking but drinking her sorrow away. I've always seen her from a distance and loved her. Everything about her. It's the first time I see her this close and she just kicked me out of her house. I don't know if I still love her anymore. She is the devil. The evil Gogo always tells me about. Her name is "Sihle Cruywagen" I can't believe that I ever wished that she was my mother. I thought she was a nice person but now I see why Gogo has been hiding me away from her. Her eyes are dark like the darkness in this house) 


Me : Take me home Gogo 


Gogo : Shut up Freedom! 


Mrs Cruywagen : No she is right. Take her home. I don't want her here! 


Gogo : Madam I understand that you… 


Mrs Cruywagen : You don't understand a thing. I thought you understood how I felt about these THINGS!. I don't want them anywhere near me. I want IT out of my house if you value your job Maureen 


Gogo : I understand Madam and I'm sorry 


(Mrs Cruywagen walks out. Gogo sighs and takes her phone) 


Me : Gogo where are we going to go at this time? 


Gogo : Keep quiet… Mlungisi where are you? 


(Mlungisi is my uncle. Gogo's son. He drives a taxi sometimes) 


Gogo : They caught her. She needs to come home 


(Gogo looks at me and walks out with her phone. I know these things I know that uncle Mlungisi is fighting with her right now about me. Sometimes I wonder why nobody wants me at home. Family is everything. Isn't it? Gogo comes back and packs the rest of my clothes) 


Gogo : Mlungisi is coming to fetch you 


MAUREEN 


(Tears are filling my eyes right now. I understand that when some people fail to conceive they become cold towards children but Freedom is an innocent child. She is not the reason why Mrs Cruywagen can't have children. I knew that she was going to find Freedom in this house one day but I thought she was going to love her. I was wrong. Freedom is a sweet child

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always wanting to help. Why would anyone hate her? A woman? But if her own mother hated her so much that she left on the side of the road then it's possible for another woman to hate her as much. They say sometimes you grow with this bad blood. I look at her packing her books and my heart is bleeding. I wish she was a pill that I can swallow and keep her inside me.)


Me : It's going to be ok Freedom. Come to Gogo 


(I hug her. I just wish that Mrs Cruywagen can walk back in and tell me that it's ok for her to stay) 


Freedom : When are you going to pack your clothes? 


Gogo : I can't go with you. I need this job 


(She pulled away from me) 


Freedom : I'm going alone? 


Gogo : With Mlungisi. Your uncle 


Freedom : No. They don't like me at home and if you don't come with me they are going to treat me badly 


Gogo : Oh my baby. There is nothing I can do. God will protect you 


Freedom : No! No! 


(Her loud cry cuts me deeper) 


Gogo : Hush now. I'll come home every weekend I promise you. 


Freedom : I won't survive without you 


Gogo : Freedom… 


(I cannot fight back my tears anymore) 


Freedom : Tell uncle Mlungisi to take me to my parent's house. My mother loves me 


Gogo : And your father doesn't…. Khululiwe is sick. She can't take care of you 


Freedom : Mothers always take care of their children 


(Khululiwe is not your mother and she is sick. I am her mother but I can't even touch her anymore. I can't take care of her. I just hope that monster of her husband is treating her well.) 


Gogo : Come. Mlungisi is here 


Freedom : I don't want to go 


Gogo : Go Freedom. Go! 


(I follow her with her bags. I cry as she kicks and screams while Mlungisi pushes her to get inside the taxi.) 


Gogo : I will see you soon 


(She cries while banging the window calling my name . I watch the light of the taxi fading away with my FREEDOM) 


Gogo : Please take care of her Mlungisi 


(I whisper to myself) 


PRESENT DAY


FREEDOM 


Freedom : Gogo I made it!!! 


Gogo : Yes my baby! 


(I throw away the newspaper and hug my grandmother. Yes I passed my matric. With all the ups and downs in my life. Losing my mother finishing my matric at the age of 21 because I started late at school. Going to school hungry and sleeping hungry sometimes. Studying for my exams under the streets lights because I was chased out of the house every time I tried to study not forgetting being bullied because of my skin at school being called all sorts of names. Growing up without friends but I looked at the bigger picture and passed my matric. I owe Gogo my life. ) 


Gogo : I found this letter and it's for you 


(I open it quickly. The smile on my vanishes) 


Gogo : What's wrong? 


Me : I didn't get the bursary 


Gogo : Oh no 


Mlungisi : Forget about the bursary and go out there to look for a job. My mother needs to stop working now and be taken care of. She is too old to be working Freedom! 


(He is right. I need a job but I want to study) 


Gogo : No Mlungisi. 


Mlungisi : I'm serious Mah. You've been taking care of this monkey ever since she was young. It's time for her to return the favor 


Gogo : Mlungisi!!! 


Me : He is right Gogo. I owe you 


Gogo : You are my child Freedom. My responsibility 


Mlungisi : You are old Mah. You can't be working for those Boers your entire life 


Gogo : Mrs Cruywagen is good to me and her husband 


Mlungisi : They will find somebody younger to work for them soon. What are you going to do then? 


Gogo : That won't happen 


(I walked out and I saw Ndondoyethu on the street. He is one guy who is kind to me) 


Me : Ndondo 


Ndondoyethu : Freedom congratulations 


Me : Yes we made it. 


(He hugged me) 


Ndondoyethu : We did but I didn't get the bursary  and with my mom sick it's bad


(His mother was suffering from Ryblidonia. The same disease that killed my mother 4 years ago) 


Me : Same here 


Ndondoyethu : So what do we do now? 


Me : Go out there and look for a job 


Ndondoyethu : What? No. Look at this 


(I took his phone and looked at it) 


Me : New Mutual? 


Ndondoyethu : Yes. They are giving away bursaries. All we have to do is to go there for the presentation 


Me : Presentation? 


Ndondoyethu : Like an interview you… 


Me : I know what it is but why? 


Ndondoyethu : You give them the reason why they should give you the bursary and if they like your presentation you get the bursary 


Me : Really? 


Ndondoyethu : It's easy. Isn't it? 


Me : It sounds easy. When can we go there? 


Ndondoyethu : Tomorrow 09h00 am 


Me : Shit! I don't have money for transport 


Ndondoyethu : Ask your grandmother or your father 


Me : My father? Forget it. That man hates me. One would swear that he is not my father 


(Ndondo looked at me and shook his head) 


Me : What? 


Ndondoyethu : You need to get out of here Freedom. They are going to kill you 


Me : Kill me? 


Ndondoyethu : You don't know? They are killing foreigners 


Me : What? Ndondo do I look like a foreigner? Ndondo you know my parents. They are Zulu's


Ndondoyethu : You don't look like anyone in your family 


Me : I know but I'm not a foreigner 


Ndondoyethu : They say you are from Mozambique and people from Mozambique take our jobs 


(I chuckled) 


Me : That is crazy 


Ndondoyethu : Freedom you need to kill that presentation and go far away from here 


Me : Are you serious? 


Ndondoyethu : You don't get it. Go home Freedom and stay inside. You need to go out if you really have to.


(I laughed) 


Me : Ndondo that is crazy 


(If looks could kill I was going to be dead. The way Ndondo looked at me) 


Me : Are you serious? 


Ndondoyethu : They burned down the supermarket. You know why? Because the owner is from Zimbabwe 


Me : This needs to stop 


Ndondoyethu : It's wrong but you can't stop it Freedom. No one can stop it. Go back inside 


Me : I am a South African 


Ndondoyethu : Go Freedom. I'll see you tomorrow 


Me : Oook 


( I went back home. What is Freedom? Is this what they call Freedom? Running away because of the color of your skin? Because you don't look like the rest of them? Living in fear because you look different? Sleeping with one eye closed and one open because you have no idea when they are going break in and kill you because you look like a foreigner? I am a South African. I was born in South Africa. South Africa raised me fed me and took me to school. How do I get rid of these hair and this skin so that I could be free? Free from hate. Free from violence. Free from fear. What is Freedom? My Name is Freedom Blue Nene and this is my story) 




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Siphindile 2021-11-15 16:02:16

Oh my god please dont leave us hanging