‘’I went to see Madlokovu about the old man you have been seeing ‘’ she says
‘’ I dreamt about him ‘’ I say
‘’The old man that you are seeing is my Father’’ she says
‘’How because I thought you said your Father passed on ‘’ I say
‘’Yes he did. When you were born you didn’t cry like how most baby do after they are born the nurses tried everything but you just wouldn’t cry till they concluded that you didn’t make it. Throughout my pregnancy my Father had been appearing in my dreams saying that he needs someone to carry on with his work so when you didn’t cry when you were born I knew it was you he was talking about. Your Father had to rush home to talk to the Ngubane ancestors before the nurses take you to the mortuary at that very moment you made your first loud cry that’s why I named you USIZWILE ‘’ she says
‘’What Job? ’’ I ask
‘’Let me just say you are spiritually gifted you just have to channel it properly ‘’ she says
‘’So why am I only seeing him now” I ask
‘’that’s why I went to see Madlokovu I expected it to be sooner in your life as well but I think it’s because you are about to Enter a new stage in your life ‘’ she says
‘’That’s why he knew so much about me ‘’ I say we chat for a while then she leaves and I fall asleep.
Today I am writing my final exam every child dreams about this day the day they are finally done with 12 years of schooling but this is not the case with me I am not happy at all this day might be the last step I make towards my dreams. The school is buzzing people are happy about finishing matric I walk straight to my classroom and find my seat Miss Mbhele walks to me
‘’Has he changed his mind ‘’ she says
‘’No but the forms are signed I am sure I want to do this regardless of what he says’’ I say
‘’I have a bad feeling about this ‘’ she says
‘’don’t please help me with the student funding if the offer still stands ‘’ I say she nods then walks away and tells us that the exam is starting. 3 hours later people are dancing on top of the desks taking of their ties and shirts stationary is being thrown in the air everyone is having fun besides me I just walk home slowly. I decide to walk through the woods with the hope that I will see Ngubane I walk around for about 30 minutes but there is no sign of him I give up and walk home slowly.
It is Friday morning the day before the memulo aunt’Khosi walks in the rondavel that the girls and I have been staying in the whole week not being allowed to leave unless going to the ladies
‘’Here wear this ‘’ she says handing me a maxi dress and a doek
‘’Put the blanket over your head hurry hurry’’ she says I do as told although I am exhausted this week as been hectic I have not been sleeping plus having to practice the steps for tomorrow. She leads me to the main house and tells me to sit on the floor I oblige this is creepy I can feel that there are people in this room but I cant see them
‘’BoMkhonza this is our lovely Flower we have been talking about Usizwile Ndlovu uMaGatsheni’’ that’s my Father
‘’Ndlovu before we conclude anything we have to see her especially because the man of the moment is here’’ a man says
‘’You know that you have to put something on the table for that ‘’ another man says whom I think is one of my uncles theres movement going on for while then someone removes the blanket from my head my Aunt whispers that I should keep my head bowed down
‘’You see Bafo I told you she’s an African goddess ‘’ one of the men says
‘’Okay you can leave now ‘’ my Father says my aunt and I stand up then walk out. I may be stupid but I know what that was those were lobola negotiations imagine people negotiating your Lobola and you don’t even know tears are already flowing down my face. We walk back to the rondavel but I don’t get in instead I drop the blanket and start running I don’t know where I am running too I hear my aunt shout ‘’SHES RUNNING USIZWILE WAIT SHES RUNNING ‘’ but I don’t look back I run faster. I stop when I get to a river that ive never seen before in Umsinga it looks like the river I dreamt about im running out of breathe so I sit down. I see the old man approaching me so this is where he has been hiding
I see the old man approaching me so this is where he has been hiding
‘’Why are you here’’ he says when he gets to me
‘’I want to be here ‘’ I snap
‘’Mpendulo you have to go back’’ he says no I don’t have to go back I don’t want to go back
‘’I don’t want to go back do you know what happened this morning ‘’ I shout
‘’You have to go back ‘’ he says again
‘’ and I said I can’t go back they want to marry me off to someone that I don’t even know’’ I say I am now sobbing
‘’The only way you will get to use your gift is if you go back’’ he says
‘’what if I don’t want the gift’’ I say sobbing louder
‘’well I am afraid my dear that is not an option‘’ he says at that moment the boys from ingoma appear
‘’uSizwile your Father wants you home’’ one says I turn around to look at Ngubane but he is not behind me anymore. I stand up then we all walk home together talking about meaningless stuff none of them asked me why I ran away and I am happy. We get home and everyone is standing at the gate even the men who were in the main house discussing me I see the boy I saw with nyanga at the fields among them I walk past all of them straight to the rondavel no one asks me anything even my Father which surprised me.
The memulo went well it was perfect actually I got so many blankets money and gifts besides the fact that my Step Mother has not been here throughout the whole ordeal I thought she would come on the day but she didn’t. It is in the afternoon now the yard is still full I am sitting with the girls from ingoma and my cousins The same guy who was with Nyanga walks towards us everyone stops talking and looks at him until he is standing infront of me
‘’Hi ladies ‘’ he says
‘’Hiiiii ‘’ they all say at once
‘’ I loved your performance it was great. uSizwile can I talk to you for a minute’’ he says I sit still Nosipho nudges me on the shoulder I reluctantly stands up we walk until we are standing next to the kraal
‘’So whats the deal with this thing my Father and your Father are on about ‘’ he says I look at him for a while this guy doesn’t know me I see he hasn’t been briefed
‘’I didn’t get your name ‘’ I say he burst out into laughter
‘’You don’t know who I am ‘’ he says
‘’ I wouldn’t be asking now would I?‘’ I say he keeps quiet so let me continue
‘’Listen whatever your name is im guessing you are the famous Mkhonza boy who I am supposed to marry I don’t know whats the “deal’’ with whats going on but what I know is that I don’t want to marry you or anyone else for that matter so you have to do both of us a favor and tell your Father to stop this madness ‘’ I say and with that I walk away I didn’t even give him a chance to respond I don’t have time for him.
‘’Mxm who does that idiot thinks he is ‘’ I say when I get back to the girls Nosipho looks at me and signals I must follow her
‘’what was that about ‘’ she says
‘’I don’t know Nosi mxm I can’t believe that is the best Gatsheni could do in finding me a husband ‘’ I say I am furious
‘’Maybe he was just trying to get to know you better ‘’ she says calmly
‘’Nosi why does it seem like you support this idea ‘’ I say
‘’NO I am not ‘’she says I don’t respond instead I walk to Sabelos rondavel and get into bed. I refuse to allow this to happen to me.
It’s been 3 weeks after the uMemulo things are bit tense at home my Parents finally sat me down and told me that Mnotho Mkhonza has asked for my hand in marriage the conversation didn’t go well because I said things I shouldn’t have said to my Father. The Lobola negotiations were supposed to start officially last week Saturday but Mnotho refused to come back rumour has it he went to Johannesburg as his way of running away I was so happy to hear that I guess he heard me very well. Since schools closed I’ve been waking up at 6am
‘’Usizwile Mkhonza and I have been talking we have decided that you and his Son Mnotho should get marry’’ he said
‘’is it because we can’t choose our spouses for ourselves or ‘’ I said
‘’I will shut that mouth of yours for you because I can see that you can’t ‘’ he said
‘’Who says we want to marry each other you are probably going to beat me up after this like you always do to people who don’t follow your ‘’rules’’ but I just need you to answer my questions ‘’ I said I honestly won’t tell you where I got the strength from
‘’I am not your friend neither am I your age so you will not talk to me like that you will Marry Mnotho and you will be his wife and bear him children that’s all ‘’ he said
‘’You still haven’t answered my questions but Yebo Gatsheni I will marry Mnotho ‘’ I said after that heated conversation I left him sitting in the lounge with my Mother who kept quiet throughout the whole conversation.
6 months later………..
My heart is heavy my tears are falling non-stop leaving home feels right in my heart and soul but it isn’t right because I am disobeying my father he has never approved of the idea of going to university especially in Durban. My Mother and I tried everything in our power to convince him but nothing worked. When I woke up this morning I made my choice that I am leaving I am doing this for myself my mother and my siblings. I have already wasted half of the year at home I kept thinking that he would change his mind and he would let me follow my dream of being a Pharmacist it doesn’t matter that I will only start in the second semester I am going. Londi and Nobuhle have been in Durban for 6 months they are both studying at the Durban University of Technology Londi is upgrading her marks Buhle is studying Nursing therefore I will be staying with them until I manage to sort out my own accommodation with the Student funding that I got. Sabelo’s girlfriend came to drop off some money to last me a month until NSFAS (student funding) pays off. I am now waiting for Miss Mbhele to take me to Greytown where I will take a taxi to Durban I will then meet up with Londi and Buhle.
“What will you tell him ” I ask mom in between my tears
“I don’t know Usizwile I will tell him you ran away or something. Here take this money I know it is not much but it will help you till I send you more money when I get an order.I want you to know that I am very proud of you being brave I have been secretly hoping that you make this decision but I was too scared to tell you. Am I sure of you leaving? No I am not but I believe in you I know you wont disappoint me I owe it to you to let you do this ive been praying and fasting these past months God will guide you. Be careful and always remember why you are in Durban Mpendulo yami don’t let me down” she says crying
‘’Mah maybe I shouldn’t do this I can’t stand seeing you cry like this ‘’ I say
‘’No no don’t say that Go please go ‘’ she says
‘’Ready ‘’ Nosipho says walking in she leaves the baby with My Mother then we walk to meet Miss Mbhele at the gate My Mother and I hug for the last time. I don’t know what awaits me in Durban but I am ready for the challenges but one thing I am sure about is that I will come back to Msinga with my degree.
The drive to Greytown is silent everyone is with their thoughts Nosipho is becoming teary I think it is only now that it is sinking in that I am leaving.
‘’Nosipho I will be gone only for a few years I promise you that you will be there when I graduate’’ I say
‘’I am very scared Usizwile Mamdala and I would never forgive ourselves if anything happened to you’’ she says
‘’Nothing will happen Londi and Buhle will be there’’ I say Miss Mbhele parks the car next to the Taxi rank .
‘’Do you Still remember what we spoke about ? If anything happens to you I will be just as guilty please please study Durban is a very big city with a lot of things going on. Here this is your registration letter since we registered you online yesterday the only thing you need to do is start your classes “ she says handing me the letter and hugging me for the last time
‘’Thank you I will make you and my Family proud I can never thank you enough for everything that you have done ‘’ I say I hug her and Nosipho again then I get into the Taxi. As soon as the Taxi leaves I call Londi she picks on the first ring
*Londi the taxi just left Greytown they said it takes 2 hours to get to Durban where should I get off *
*Tell the driver you are getting off at the Engen Garage I will be waiting you there*
The drive to Durban is actually very long I am exhausted already but I’ve heard a lady next to me make a call to tell someone that she is 20 minutes ago so I decide to call Londi to tell her im almost there she says she is already waiting for me. 20 minutes later the stop stops at the Garage then I get off but I cant see Londi I don’t want to start panicking yet I stand on the side near the door just to be safe she calls 5 minutes later to say I must come to the black car therefore I walk to the black then she gets out when she sees me standing by the door
‘’Londi ‘’ I say in a low voice who is this ? she is wearing a black dress which is just below the bum gold heels she has a long weave on and long nails she is wearing so much make up that at first I couldn’t recognize her
‘’My girl ‘’ she says she attempts to hug me but I move back I don’t know who this person the Londi I know wouldn’t even wear a dress above her knees. If this is what Durban can turn someone into in a matter of 6 months I can’t live here. I don’t mean to be judgmental but I would have expected this from Buhle she has always loved the lavish life style not Londi.
‘’Get in ‘’ she says I don’t have a choice really therefore I oblige
‘’Baby this my friend I told you about from back home ‘’ she says to the man in the driver’s seat “baby”? so I’m a friend from back home?
‘’Nice to meet you ‘’ he says
“Likewise ‘’ I say
‘’Baby we are going to leave her at res neh then go to that event “ Londi says
The rest of the drive is silent I am deep in thought actually I am trying to figure out what is going on here who is this man what happened to Londi. The car is beautiful theres no doubt about that cream leather seats and everything classic. We drive for about 10 minutes then drive a driveway with a block of flats the guy goes out to talk to the security guard.
‘’Mngani this is where you will stay until you are sorted you can stay as long as you I am hardly here though so you have the room to yourself. I was lucky to get a single room being a first year student. I have to go somewhere now I will come back tomorrow morning I will ask Thukz to take us to Westville so you can see your campus before you start attending on Monday ‘’ she says with that she’s gone I didn’t even ask her where Buhle is her phone has been off since last week I’ve been talking to only Londi.
The room is quite small and cozy there’s a small bed next to the window a small study desk chair and a wardrobe. She showed me the kitchen and bathroom down the passage when we were coming to the room
Let me call my mother and tell her I got to Durban safely
*Usizwile Thank you I’ve been worried sick how is everything ? how are the girls ?*
*Sorry I should have called sooner everything is well they are fine Londi will take me to the campus tomorrow so I can see it before I start attending on Monday*
*He isn’t back yet I thought he would be here by now I will call you when I can don’t call I don’t want him to suspect anything*
We talk on the phone for a while until
her airtime runs out I look at the time it is just after 6 pm
luckily I am not hungry so I wear my night dress and get into the bed.
By looking around here you can see that no one has been here in a while
Londi probably stays with that Baby of hers now I doubt I’ll get any
sleep tonight plus the people in the room next door are making so much
noise but let me try maybe I might fall asleep.
I’m woken up by my phone ringing I don’t look at the caller ID
*Please open the door for me*
Its Londi so I quickly wake up and rush to the door I open it for her she gets in looking horrible looks like she was beaten
Ahh bathong what happened to the book, good story can't wait for the continuation