I’ve never met anyone so strong like my mother. She is the true definition of imbokodo the rock. Life has knocked her out but she remains still. I wish I can be strong just like her. She lost a part of her but she’s still standing strong. Besides these moments when she gets lost in thoughts she is strong.

When Mbuso died it was a shock to everyone. He died right in front of us we watched him die. 

It was Saturday the last weekend of the month. Mama had taken money in her supermarket because she didn’t want to leave it there. She carried a lot of money with her because people usually take groceries at the supermarket and pay month end. She has a book where she writes the debts people run out of groceries even at the beginning of the month so she allows people to take groceries on loan. It still beats me even today why she took the money and came back home with it there is a security guard at the supermarket no one could have stolen the money there. She usually leaves the money but on that day she went home with it.

Just after nine pm we heard a knock on the door. It was only me Mbuso and mama. Luckily Fez was fast asleep in her bedroom. Mbuso went to get the door and when he returned inside he was followed by two boys carrying a knife and an axe. They looked like Mbuso's age or a little bit older now imagine being robbed by boys half your age. Well not really half my age but they were young. 

They demanded that we give them money mama gave them money and instead of leaving they wanted more. I refused I told them that we don’t have money. They kept shouting and unfortunately Fez appeared and asked if they took ‘the money on the bedroom'. She gave them the code to mama's safe because only her and mama know it.

They went to the safe where we kept money for emergency no; scratch that. It’s the safe where mama keeps her money I don’t know why she keeps money on the house while there are banks. When they dissapeared to the bedroom I took the chance and got the sjambok that mama keeps behind the door. I waited for them to get out then come from behind as soon as they got out from the bedroom I bashed one boy on the back putting all my energy. Stupidly the other boy ran to Mbuso and stabbed him on his chest. I don’t know maybe he thought I was going to stop beating his friend if he did that.

That drove me over the edge I whipped the poor boy badly that he couldn’t escape when his friend did. The neighbors might have heard the noise the house was soon crowded with the whole neighborhood. Arrests were made and Mbuso lost his life right at that moment I don’t know the purpose of death but I know that we’ve had enough deaths to last us a lifetime at the Khumalo residence. Why do we die vele? It might be better if only the elders die because they have had their fair share in life and others are even tired of living.

Sometimes I would blame myself for Mbuso's death. Thinking that maybe if I didn’t start beating the other boy his friend would not have stabbed Mbuso. I felt guilty and almost didn’t grieve with my mother. As time went by I realized that I’m only stressing myself because no one blamed me. If they did they were good at hiding it.

“How long has she been sleeping?” I ask pointing at Fez with my eyes. I settle on the opposite couch. Next to Fez.

“About an hour ago she was waiting for you” mama says and flashes her weak smile. 

Some days are better and some days she blames herself for her son's death. I don’t see how it was her fault though yes she came back home with the money but those boys were going to come rob us whether she came back with the money or not. I think they were just taking their chances and they came on a good day. 

Today is one of the days where she just shuts down and blames herself. She sits on her couch and watches TV.

“I should’ve protected my baby Nobuhle he was young and innocent. You know sometimes I sit and wonder why God didn’t take me instead. He took your babies

they were innocent souls. He then took my last born Mbuso an angel with a heart of gold. I’m old and I’ve made sins why do I get to live while innocent people die?” mama says she looks at me like she’s expecting answers from me. 

She was left traumatized. Why again have I not sought professional help for her? Maybe a phycologist or a therapist or whatever she needs. I’m stupid sometimes I should have thought about this sooner. 

“It’s not your fault mama you always tell me that God does everything for a reason. There’s also a reason for Mbuso's death. God loves you mama He loves all of us” I say. She doesn’t respond. I think I’m going to use God now just like she always uses Him when something goes wrong with us.

“This is just a test God will show himself you’ll see. He knows that you’re strong and you’ll beat this. Remember Exodus chapter 15 verse 13? His word says that ‘in your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling'. God loves you mama. He will give you strength again and bring your power back keep believing and praying. Everything will go in the right order” I say. I hope I got that verse well I don’t trust my biblical memory. I'm also not sure if it’s relevant at least I tried. 

Going to church is coming handy now at least I get to use those scriptures I learn at church. I’m surprised that I even remember this one. It was sent to me by Linda a brother from church who has being eyeing me for the past five years. I go to church maybe once a month. That’s something it proves that I still believe in God even though he keeps on disappointing me and taking my children. 

I preach and try to convince mama to see someone. We go back and forth but by the end of our conversation she has agreed to see ‘someone’. She has a condition though that ‘someone’ must not ask her about the events of that tragic day. As if that will happen surely that’s where they will start or they will start at the very beginning of her sadness when my father left I don’t really know. I’m only glad that she agreed.

After our talk I take a shower and grab something to eat. I take Fez to my bedroom because that’s where we’re sleeping tonight. I hate her snores but she loves sleeping with me so I have no choice. I put her in bed and take a drink on my bar fridge. Yep I keep a bar fridge in my bedroom. 

I take sip on my blackcurrant flavored Hootch Fox spirit cooler my now favorite drink. Mimi says I’m addicted but I don’t think so I just love the taste. At least I drink with a straw unlike her. She drinks straight from the bottle her excuse is ‘it tastes better when you drink it straight from the source’. The drink has a low volume of alcohol so I don’t get drunk that easily. Another advantage is that it’s cheap.

“Can I have a sip?” Fez startles me I almost choke on my drink. I thought she was asleep!

“No! It’s not for children you will get sick and you know how your grandmother whines. I don’t want trouble” I say. 

“But mommy it tastes so good!” she says licking her lips. What? 

“Fezeka! You stole my alcohol!?” I shout and stand next to her on the bed. She giggles and covers her face.

“And now you agree that it’s alcohol! I thought it was a strawberry juice as you always say. So yesterday I found an opened but full bottle so I drank it but after I finished it I started feeling funny” she says and shakes her head. This child! 

Yesterday morning I opened a bottle of my hootch it’s the only thing on my fridge anyway. So I opened the bottle but I was late so I left without drinking it and this little Missy here had the decency to steal it. 

“You were drunk! Don’t you know what alcohol does to people? Don’t drink alcohol ever again it’s not good for a beautiful girl like you” I say.

“But you and Mimi drink!” she says.

“That’s because we’re old enough! No never mind that. You should never drink alcohol even if you’re old enough it messes up with your brain and you become stupid” I say and hope we put the matter to rest.

“So that means you and Mimi are stupid?” she asks and folds her arms. How to I answer that? 

“No. Sleep now before your guardian angel leaves with your blessings” I say and she quickly pulls the blanket. Children! They are adorable creatures I tell her everyday that her guardian angel brings blessings at night when she’s asleep. If she doesn’t sleep the guardian angel doesn’t come because it doesn’t want to be seen. it should come when she’s asleep so that it can give her her blessings. Once you see it it leaves and never comes back. It prefers being anonymous. 

After two bottles I’m ready to sleep. I call Mimi just to make sure that she’s fine and it’s getting down. She can barely speak but one thing for sure is tomorrow morning she will be here and we will all go to church as a family. 


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