(The following day Ndondoyethu and I were waiting at some reception. We've been here from 07h00am and the time now is 10h00am)
Me : Didn't you say the presentation will start at 09h00am?
Ndondoyethu : That's what they said in that email.
Me : I'm hungry now
(Ndondo opens his backpack and gives me an apple)
Me : Thanks but what about you?
Ndondoyethu : I'm a man Freedom
Me : Ok MAN
(I eat the apple and Ndondo is busy cracking his fingers next to me. The lady comes to us)
Lady : Your names
Ndondoyethu : What?
Lady : I need your names
(She is so full of attitude. She is chewing her bubblegum like nobody's business)
Me : Freedom Blue Nene
Lady : You really look blue
Me : I beg your pardon
Lady : Nothing darling. And you are?
(Ndondo shakes his head and chuckles)
Ndondoyethu : Ndondoyethu Ngcobo
Lady : Beautiful name Ndondoyethu. Please follow me
(We follow her into a big boardroom. Here there are 10 more people who look like students and in the front is a male and a female.)
Lady : Please take a seat. This is our CEO Mrs Sihle Cruywagen and our Director Mr Ceejay Peterson
(There could only be one Mrs Cruywagen. God I can't believe this. This is my grandmother's boss.)
Ceejay : Hello darlings
(Ok Ceejay is gay. He is so cute with his hair style)
Me : Hi
Sihle : Let's begin we don't have all day ladies and gentlemen.
(Now I'm sure that this is Mrs Cruywagen. The devil wine lover who chased me out of her house because she hated kids. Wait. I'm going to do my presentation in front of all these people? I'm not ready)
Sihle : Who wants to go first?
Ceejay : Going once going twice. Ok nobody wants to go first
Sihle : It seems like they have no idea why they are here… Who is Ndondoyethu Ngcobo?
Ndondo : Here
Sihle : Tell us why you consider yourself as the best student to get this bursary my good sir.
(Ndondo clears his throat and stands up)
Ndondoyethu : Thank you and Good Morning to everyone who is here. My name is Ndondoyethu Ngcobo. As I stand here today I have a mother who is sick back home. We can't see her and we can't touch her because she suffers from a contagious disease Ryblidonia. We have traveled this road before. Disease after disease. Funeral after funeral. No one is doing anything about it and if you go to the hospital they only give you treatment. How can you treat something that you don't know where it comes from? New Mutual I'm begging you to please give me this opportunity to go and study. I want to save my community I want to save my country. My country needs a cure. Not only a cure for these diseases but a cure to save them from hate and violence too. I want to save people like Freedom who are…..
(Ndondo broke down in tears. I heard applause. I had no idea that I meant so much to Ndondo. I was still digesting what Ndondo just said when I heard Ceejay say:)
Ceejay : Blue Hello? Are you still with us? Are you going to do it now? later? Wanna call a friend?
(Oh God it's my turn. Why didn't I hear them? I stand up and look around)
Me : Good Morning ladies and gentlemen. Firstly I would like to thank this incredible space and people for having me here today. My name is Freedom Blue Nene from a small rusty - dusty township called Lindelani….Why is your name Freedom? It's a boy's name. Why is your skin so dark? You look like a foreigner. Why are your hair like this? You don't look like anyone in your family. Why are you still at school? You are too old. All those questions were my daily bread. Eventually they defined who I am. I woke up every day and went to school knowing what was in store for me. When I sacrificed my life and went to study for my exams under the street light in the middle of the night I knew that the future wasn't promising. I knew that even if I studied as hard as I did the possibility was I might not make it to the university but also I knew how hard my grandmother was working to ensure that I go to school because I come from a country where no education is free except in prisons (I swallow). When I grew up I wasn't allowed to go to school for some reasons that I rather not mention. I used to sit online and learn. Studying online needded data data that is very expensive and when my grandmother finally bought me that expensive data with money she didn't have power cut happened but I soldiered on in the dark at the small back room of her employers. Why am I here today? The answer is very simple I don't have money to go to school. I deserve this bursary because I am a black child who wants to go to school but she can't because education is not free. If New Mutual gives me this bursary they won't be giving it to Freedom but to every black child in this country. I cannot promise you that once I've completed my studies I will get a job right away because I come from a community that is full of unemployed graduates. Some of them are too qualified to get a good job and some of them are unable to get jobs because they don't have experience. Where are we going to get experience when no one is willing to give us jobs!!?
Ceejay : Freedom? Breathe
Me : My promise to New Mutual is that if they give me this opportunity I will come back and help more black children as they helped me. I promise that I will grow New Mutual and ensure that New Mutual is the new big thing in this country
Ceejay : Freedom? Breathe
Me : My promise to New Mutual is that if they give me this opportunity I will come back and help more black children as they helped me. I promise that I will grow New Mutual and ensure that New Mutual is the new big thing in this country A company that puts the life of a black child first before anything else. I thank you
(My body is shaking as I sit down. I feel angry and emotional but I don't understand why. Everyone had an opportunity to do a presentation.)
Ceejay : Darlings thank you all for coming today. After today's presentation we need some time to meditate about it and get back to you. Ok darlings? So you guys are free to go home now and pray! pray! pray! If your prayers are answered you will receive a call from mwah regarding the next step. You guys can go. Chao!!
Sihle : Just a moment please. Can Ndondoyethu Ngcobo and Freedom Blue Nene stay behind?
(I look at Ndondo and smile. Ok I think we made it!. Everyone else walks out except us.)
Sihle : Guys do you understand what New Mutual is all about? Its vision and purpose? Do you understand the reason behind this program? Because to me it seems like you don't.
(Sihle stands up from her chair.)
Sihle : New Mutual is not here to nurse anyone's feelings. You two have anger issues. You are angry at the government and everyone else. En dit is nie oulik nie. You two don't have what it takes to be part of this program. You don't have… What do you call it Ceejay?
Ceejay : They don't have that THING
Sihle : Exactly! With you guys I just see children who are just angry for no reason. What I'm trying to say here is that you don't have what I need and I don't want to waste anymore of your time. You two are not through to the next round. Ongelukkig
Me : Oh my God
Sihle : Yo may be excused….Ceejay I'm going out for breakfast.
Me : Mrs Cruywagen please. You know my grandmother. You know my home situation. I'm Maureen's granddaughter please help me. I need to go to school. I need this bursary
Ceejay : Mrs C do you know her?
Sihle : No I don't.
Me : Dammit!
(Sihle shakes her head in disgust before she walks out. Ndondoyethu was no longer there. I took my bag and followed Ndondo)
Me : What a waste of time
Ndondoyethu : I hate that Sihle woman
Me : She is my grandmother's boss. I didn't know that she is the owner of New Mutual
Ndondoyethu : You killed that presentation Freedom and I was so sure that you were going to bag this bursary
Me : What do we do now?
Ndondoyethu : I don't know about you but I'm going to Gauteng
Ndondoyethu : I don't have a choice. My mother is sick Freedom I need a job.
Me : That's not what you said yesterday
Ndondoyethu : Yesterday was Yesterday. Today is Today. Nobody cares about school and books Blue except you and I. We will never go to the university School is bullshit!!
Me : Don't let what Sihle said to you get to you. Ndondo we have dreams and nothing is going to stand in our way
Ndondoyethu : When are those dreams going to put food on the table? Screw those dreams Blue!
Me : What happened to you?
Ndondoyethu : Life happened. I'm leaving tomorrow
Me : Ok
(We walk to the taxi rank and get into the taxi home. Oh it's going to be a long drive with this taxi driver playing baba u Mbongeni Ngema songs. The songs are not a problem but the volume is. Ndondoyethu is leaning on the window looking outside. He is really not looking good if only we knew we wouldn't have bothered ourselves going to that presentation. Finally we are in the street of Lindelani. There is smoke and chaos all around. People are burning tyres)
Taxi driver : Yes they need to go. We don't want them here
(Ndondo looks at me)
Ndondoyethu : We are not getting out of this taxi. Not here
Me : Why?
Ndondoyethu : Shut up Freedom!
(The taxi passes home and our house is on fire. People are outside my house carrying sticks and knobkerries. My heart stops when I see my uncle Mlungisi on the floor. They are kicking him)
Me : Ndondo they are beating up Mlungisi!! They are going to kill him
(Ndondo looks around the taxi and covers my mouth with his hand. What is going on? The car passes a few houses away from home)
Ndondoyethu : At the Cell C container driver
(The taxi stops next to the Cell C container. Ndondo is holding my hand as we get out of the taxi)
Ndondoyethu : Come Freedom let's run before they see you
(I run without asking any questions. We finally enter inside an old building)
Me : Did you see that? My home is on fire
It's pointless wiping these tears anymore
Ndondoyethu : I did
Me : Why Ndondoyethu?
Ndondoyethu : Because of you Freedom. They are looking for you
Me : What have I done wrong?
Ndondoyethu : It doesn't matter now. We need to get out of here
Me : What?
Ndondoyethu : Do you want to die?
Me : No
Ndondoyethu : We are going to Gauteng. I don't care how we will get there but you and I are leaving!
Me : Ndondo we can't just go. With what money?
Ndondoyethu : Shut up Blue!! I'm trying to think!
(What is he thinking? Ndondoyethu Ngcobo a 24 year old young man. He would do anything to protect me. He is like a brother I never had)
Sihle is a she devil, the way she's acting its like she knows Blue is her daughter