A Chapter by Ntandoyenkosi Ngcobo

“We are no longer going to discuss this ‘Rato, wait till your dad gets here. Imihlolo!! The audacity to tell me you going on a date. Ngiyavelelwa yini!”Mam’Sithole gave her daughter the meanest glare after shouting at her for wanting to leave the house to go see a friend. Bonginkosi, the eldest son walked into the kitchen with an astonished look on his face,”Kodwa Ma, just come down. Lerato is 25 years old now I’m sure she can make her own decisions and protect herself at all times, just let her go.” Mam’Sithole sat for a while pondering to herself, at last she said “Hamba, don’t come back late.” Lerato was excited, took her bag and left just in case her mother would change her mind.

Lerato was a young ambitious woman who was a doer and tolerated no nonsense. She worked at one of the most prestigious law firms in the country as an advocate. Rich, humble and intelligent as she was, her boyfriend Sihle Kunene a soccer player for the national team made everyone think she was settling for second best. Her mother, who was obsessed in protecting her little daughter regardless of her age was one of the reasons why things didn’t work out the way she wanted in life. When one of her ex boyfriends proposed to her, the family strongly rejected him with her mother taking the front on how she couldn’t get married to an upcoming rapper/musician. This left Lerato devastated, but she moved on away from her true love.

As she stepped out of the car after having a hard time parking her car accordingly in the garage, Sihle gave her one long hug. “I have truly missed you, so, how was the training camp?”said Lerato. “Can’t complain, work is work. Woza. I have a surprise for you inside”said Sihle. They walked into Sihle’s house, Lerato being killed by curiosity on what it could have been. “So nguye lona” said an old lady with a smile on her face, who was sitting on the sofa as they walked in. Lerato slowly walked over, not sure how to react. “Sawbona Ma”she said as she gave her a handshake. Sifiso then introduced the two women to each other “Rato, this is mom. Ma, nguye uRato lona.” Sifiso’s mom stared at Rato for a while and eventually said, “A beautiful young lady she is, she’s definitely the one.” Sihle then made his way to the kitchen and Lerato followed, the minute they entered into the kitchen she closed the sliding door behind her and burst out on Sihle. “How dare you, you should have told me before bringing me here, what is she even going to think about me, look at what I’m wearing Sihle!! You want to make a joke out of me to your family now!?”

Mam’Sithole made herself a cup of tea, sat on the steps leading upstairs and wondered where was Andile her youngest son at this time of the night. She took out her phone and made a call to him, it went straight to voicemail, she tried several more times until she gave up. She let out a loud sight, “Lord why me? Why?”. Her self-pitying was interrupted by Bonginkosi who came down from upstairs and sat next to her. “Worried about Andile?” he asked. Her mother just looked at him and tears swelled in her eyes. “What if I went to look for him? Will it make you feel better?”he asked his unresponsive mom. “Bonginkosi, Andile is not your child. Don’t worry yourself like this. He’ll come back when he feels like it. Don’t you have documents to work on and stuff?” she said. Bonginkosi held his mother’s hand “Ma, I can’t stand seeing you like this. I’ll go look for Andile and bring him home.” He stood up immediately after saying this and walked out the door not even waiting for his mother to respond.

“Shhhh, you’ll wake mom” said Bonginkosi and he tried to support his younger brother up the stairs safely. “Awkahle mfwethu, I didn’t ask for your help, who said I can’t walk up the stairs on my own?” as Andile said this, he jerked his hand away from Bonginkosi resulting in him falling down the stairs and screaming in agony. “Yabonake, I told you to leave me alone, you’ve now pushed me down” Andile said loudly. Mam’Sithole and Lerato stood at the top of the stairs as Bonginkosi turned around. Andile complained of how Bonginkosi hurt him, the complain turned into a conversation between them then into a full blown argument. “Stop, just stop!!”said Mam’Sithole. “Nonke, go to sleep. Manje.” Everyone started walking up to their rooms, “Andile woza la”she said. She signaled him to his father’s home office, the closed the door behind her and sat on the sofa facing Andile. “Yindaba kodwa mtanami?”she asked. Andile merely just gave his mom a look without giving a response. They both submerged into the moment of silence. Mam’Sithole stood up, let out a loud sigh and said “hamba keh Vaselina bayokukhopa phambili” then she walked out of the study room.

Andile remained seated, millions of thoughts going through his mind. The first and greatest of his worries was him wondering how he’d tell his mother that she was to be a grandmother in 7 months. Everything became a mess just two months ago when Zihle called him one evening when he was drunk to the max to give him the news. He lost it ever since, he knew at that point that he couldn’t let Zihle terminate the pregnancy, it was his own flesh and blood. The sanest choice he had made since then was to keep the baby. He tapped out of all these thoughts and stood up and tried walking to his room without making a noise. When he got to his room he immediately passed out on the bed without even changing his clothes.

The time was 23:49, Mam’Sithole was awoken by her phone which she had tried to ignore several times since she went to her room. She picked up the call. “Sawbona” she said, “Mrs Sithole, I am Angela Chirumbu calling from the Life Cosmos Private Hospital, I regret to inform you that your spouse was involved in a car accident almost an hour ago, we’d like to have his next of kin come through as soon as possible. Your husband is currently in ICU and we are trying as best as we can to…….” Mam’Sithole dropped the call, felt her world spin about, they surely had the wrong person, wasn’t uBaba only coming back the next day she asked herself. She attempted to calling him but the call failed. She then resorted to sending him a message to only realize that uBaba had sent a text her way at 21:37 saying, “Sthandwa, got a flight today and I’ll be back tonight, Ukhonze kubantwana.” Reality struck her, possibility was that it was him. She got up from her bed and stumbled all the way to Bonginkosi’s room in shock.

© 2017 Ntandoyenkosi Ngcobo

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Added on April 22, 2017
Last Updated on April 22, 2017


Ntandoyenkosi Ngcobo
Ntandoyenkosi Ngcobo

Piet Retief, South Africa

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