Chapter 3

"Zwile" someone is calling for me I don't have the energy for anyone really I just want to sit here and feel sorry for myself

"Usizwile " the person shouts again then I hear footsteps towards me

"There you are sisi why are you crying " Nosipho says

"Nosi life is unfair " I say still crying

"Usizwile stop this stop crying like this we both know that you are much stronger than this follow your heart sisi " she says

"How " I say wiping my tears

"You know how stop crying and come see My child Zwile she has grown so much " she says smiling you can see the amount of love she has for her daughter. Baby Sithelo is almost 7 months now she's adorable and all but I can't really stand babies especially when they start crying. It took me quite some time to be able to hold her when she was smaller than this.

"So what did he say he hasn't changed his mind? " Nosipho asks

"No he hasn't and I don't think that he will he says I must get married " I say

"He'll come around don't worry Nhlanhla suggested I repeat my Matric " she says She didn't perform well for her matric because well she loved Nhlanhla more than school

"Thats great so are you gonna do it "? I ask

"I don't know hey I'm still thinking about it plus I won't have anyone to look after Sithelo when I go to school you know Nhlanhla’s mother doesn’t even help with her " she says

"Oh I seegive it some thought I really think you should consider it you don't want to be uneducated for the rest of your life and depend on Nhlanhla My mother could look after the baby for you besides baking there is nothing else that keeps her busy" I say

Nosipho Mom and I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up Mom seemed to enjoy having Sithelo around She's an adorable baby girl. It's time for me to go fetch the goats I can't help think about that old man and the conversation we hadI've never seen him around here I'm not surprised though because I'm always at home.

The School holidays went by quite quickly I couldn't be happier to be back at school. The teachers always say I'm a pleasant student to teach because I pay attention in class and I'm hard working I'd like to think of myself as an A Student I perform really well at school that's one of the reasons why I love being at school. I am very happy that I will get to take a break from the goats for a while. I find Londi and Buhle waiting for me at the gate

"Hello Hello it's back to school " I say hugging both of them I have actually missed them I only get to see them in school.

"The holidays were too short " Buhle says I expected that response from her she doesn't quite like school

"Buhle we had 3 weeks of holiday I was getting bored being at home I could even watch TV because apparently I was wasting electricity "Londi says Londi lives with her Grandparents so I can imagine how nagging they were
especially that she was home for 3 weeks

‘’The only thing I did was feed the chickens take the goats to the fields and clean’’ I say

‘’I get you trust me my holidays were worse ‘’ Londi says

"So I met this guy last week in Town " buhle says jumping up and down

"There we go again there are boys in Greytown that catch your eye " I say with so much irritation

"Argh Zwile you are such a bore man which 18 year old doesn't have a boyfriend you are 18 and never had a boyfriend do you even know how to kiss " Buhle says

"Buhle you know that Zwile can get any man she wants she's pretty got a great body and intelligent . She just chooses not to have one " Londi says Londi and I look at each other and do a High five

"Londi My friend thank you " I say laughing Londi always comes through for me when Buhle starts attacking me about being "single" as she puts it. Both of them have boyfriends whom I happen to hate they always say I hate boys which is true to a certain degree.

My friends are right I've never had a boyfriend and this has always been by choice I've had boys ask me out at school some I meet at Ingoma. The Boys I meet at ingoma are the worst I've had quite a few marriage proposals as well of which I hope they haven't reached my Father because I'm not going to be anyone's wife I can't stand being a girlfriend how much more being a wife. The bell rings so we immediately rush to the assembly point a few announcements are made then we are dismissed to our classrooms.
Life science is the first period it's my favorite subject plus Miss Bhele is the one who teaches it and I adore her. The day goes faster than usual with the teachers reminding us every chance they got that the end year exams are close we have study so we can raise the school pass Mark.

My after school walks home are quite refreshing I walk alone and listen to my thoughts. I have to be brave enough to talk to Gatsheni myself about the forms the due date is tomorrow or better yet I'll sign them on his behalf and submit them yes I will do that this has been stalling for a long time now.

My Mom is in the kitchen baking as always when I get home ‘’Hello Mah ‘’ i say

‘’Yes Hello how was school’’ she asks mom didn’t get the chance to finish her Matric when she was in grade 11 her parents were attacked on their way from work so she had to drop out find work and take care of her younger siblings which now are wealthy as ever but don’t even know where their big sister lives. My sisters mom is overseas well so i have heard she is a nurse and living there with her 2 children.

‘’school was great I am so happy to be back at school ‘’ I say Mom and I spend the rest of the afternoon talking and laughing she is baking while I am cooking steam bread beans and chicken feet. It is always the 2 of us it has always been Gatsheni is hardly home even before Sabelo was arrested he was also hardly home.

It’s the first day of September my final exams are starting exactly two weeks from now Gatsheni still hasn’t agreed to me going to University. I am glad that it is Friday I will get to relax it has been hectic at school this week especially because the final exams are approaching.

‘’So are you coming to the Matric dance ‘’ Buhle asks

‘’No I am not ive told you before that the matric dance is not my scene I rather be at home and prepare for my exams’’ I say the dance is next weekend I hear

‘’I am also not going Mkhulu said he wont have any of that he wants to me pass so I can go to university next year ‘’Londi says Londis Mother abandoned her when she was a month old so her Fathers parents raised her her father is still alive but he is a lost cause.

‘’I have always said that I love Mkhulu ‘’ I say giggling . I remember that I haven’t told Mom about the old man that I have been meeting at the fields.

I remember that I haven’t told Mom about the old man that I have been meeting at the fields. My friends and I say our goodbyes to each other then go our separate ways.

It's Saturday morning Mom and I are doing hectic spring cleaning I don't know what's up with her these days it's either she's baking too many cakes which end up being eaten by my cousins and I or she spends the whole day at the fields. I am supposed to be at school attending extra Maths classes but my Mother wouldn't have any of that she woke up before the sun went up then started cleaning washing curtains Windows everything.

"KaMbovu are you okay " I say that's how Sabelo called her

"I'm fine it's this dirty house that makes me upset " she says still scrubbing the floor . Something is definitely wrong with her

it's this dirty house that makes me upset " she says still scrubbing the floor . Something is definitely wrong with her I'll ignore her till she is okay.

"I'm starting my final exams soon " I say trying to find a way to ask her if Gatsheni has changed his mind sure I signed the forms but how Will I leave home without his approval so that's still a mission. Miss Mbhele told me last week that I've been accepted at UKZN and DUT she is still however waiting for the student funding approval.

" Oh " she says okay I guess she's trying to send out a message to me to shut up and let her clean in peace. Since the school opened I haven't been taking care of the Goats Gatsheni got some boy from the village to look after them. All of a sudden he takes my Matric seriously which is very strange.

After hours of washing scrubbing and cleaning I take a bath make food and head to bed I am honestly too tired to study I'll wake up early in the morning and do my work before my Mother wakes up and start dishing out chores again.

I'm woken up by phone ringing I look at the caller ID it's Nosi

*Nosipho do you ever sleep *

*unfortunately I've got a 7 months old baby and a husband so I can't sleep *

*Whatever what’s up*

* I wanted to ask if you've spoken to Gatsheni and Mamdala( my mom) about University you are writing your exams soon *

* I signed the forms myself*

*Whaaaaaat Are you crazy*

* I didnt have a choice plus I'm turning 18 in 2 months so technically I won't need his signature*

* Gatsheni will be furious if he hears that I'll come by later *

After the phone call with Nosi I decide to wake up although it's early I'll help Skhonza with the goats there's nothing to be done here anyway mom and I did everything yesterday . Skhonza and I always have interesting conversations he is a very intelligent person but because of life and it's other plans he is here looking after goats in order to get money to provide for his Family.
I haven't seen the old man in a while now I kind of miss our strange conversations. We arrive at the fields and it's very full today there's a herd of cows too Many of them there are two boys with the herd Nyanga one of the village boys who also looks after Mkhonzas cows he is with a Boy I've never seen before he clearly wasn't briefed on what to wear to the fields he's wearing a pair of jeans which somewhat look like skinny jeans a white golf T -shirt and Sneakers. Him and Nyanga are talking and laughing we walk until we get to them we exchange greeting then we carry on walking. After finding a good spot we tie them and walk back home Nyanga and his friend are still where we left them the friend is now busy on his big phone while nyanga is eating too many fat cooks. When I get home Mom Is standing at the gate with her hands on her hips

"Where have you been " she asks the minute I get to where she's standing

"At the fields " I say looking down she shouting and I honestly don't understand why

"So what is Skhonza here for if you will wake up and Go to the Fields" she says still shouting I don't understand why I'm being shouted at because I always go to the Fields.

"Go inside your Father is waiting for you " she says I didn't know that Gatsheni is home

"Sit” my Father says I oblige and sit next to my Mother

"Go inside your Father is waiting for you " she says I didn't know that Gatsheni is home

"Sit” my Father says I oblige and sit next to my Mother

"We have to start planning your uMemulo there's not much planning needed because I'll get the cow from the kraal the girls from ingoma will be there to accompany you" he says

Umemulo is a traditional Zulu coming of age ceremony for women.My Father will slaughter a cow for me and there will be traditional Zulu dancing. A woman's Umemulo ceremony signifies that she is ready for marriage. I know all this too well after uMemulo will be lobola negotiations after that there will be a wedding it happened with Nosipho as well.

"Umemulo baba" I say looking down and playing with my fingers

‘’Yes it is about time you are more than ready for it although your Mothers and aunt suggested we wait until you finish your exams ‘’ he say I am not being asked or is a suggestion required from me I am being told.

I think this is the reason my Mother has been acting funny no doubt that I am growing up but I am definitely not grown enough for marriage. The sad thing about all of this is that my life has been decide for me and I don’t have a say as much as I feel trapped here I can’t leave where will I go to? my home is the only home I know and have. After being dismissed by Gatsheni I boil water to bath while cleaning my room My mom hasn’t said anything she can’t even look me in the eye.

Nosipho is becoming a regular now im surprised that her inlaws allow her to be here most of the time especially because Sithelo is still young. We are sitting at our favourite spot which is in the middle of my Mothers vegetable garden eating 50c chips it is so refreshing here the smell of the soil is everything.

“Please don’t get upset but I thought you deserve to know this I overheard a conversation between Gatsheni and my Father he says that Mkhonza asked to see them this weekend regarding you and his son “ she says

“What about his son and I who is his son anyway “I ask stuffing my face with chips these are the kind the chips that leave your fingers red.

“Sizwile Mkhonza wants you to marry his son “ she says looking down I don’t respond I am totally shocked by this even though I knew that this conversation is going towards that direction I didn’t want to believe it I knew the uMemulo conversation I just had with my parents is because of this because of this.

“Nosipho I am 18 for crying out loud 18 does Gatsheni even know this “ I scream

“Listen sisi there is not much that you can do So they say this son is studying to become a doctor “ she says giggling

“Nosipho really ? he can be an astronaut for all I care I don’t want to marry Mkhonza’s son actually I don’t want to marry anyone I just want to study build my Mother a beautiful house is that too much to ask for “ I say with tears already flowing down my eyes

“Don’t cry sisi im sorry “ she says hugging me tightly

“ I must just forget about my University dream I can never convince Gatsheni otherwise he is going to marry be off to Mkhonza’s son” I say sobbing she doesn’t say anything instead she hold me tighly and keeps brushing my back. Apart of me wants to quit school since my dream of going to university is no more what’s the point of going to school working hard to pass if I’m going to be a village house wife.

“I have to go now Nhlanhla is on his way to pick us up I will visit again next week are you performing on saturday “ she says

“ The group is but I won’t be part of it “ I say

“Why ? “ she asks with her eyes open wide

“Maybe that’s where Mkhonza and his son saw me now they want me to Marry into their family “ I say I feel stupid just by saying this but maybe it’s the truth Zandile our previous leader is now married to chief Dlamini was picked from one of our performances.

She bursts out in laughter and looks at me “Being part of ingoma or not Mkhonza was still going to pick you” she says I click my tongue and walk away

“ I love you too “ she screams as I walk to my room

I want to drift off to sleep go to my other world and just forget about my life. The minute I fall asleep I hear a knock at the door I remember that I had locked at first I ignore the knock but the person is not giving up I wake up drag myself to the door and I open

“Ntombi “ I say im shocked to see her here I last saw her 4 years ago shortly after my brother was arrested


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