“I don’t think that’s such a good idea” I replied. “Come on, since when is weed a bad idea? Weed will solve your problems, bro. Like, it would literally make them go away” he convinced me, flashing the banky on my face. “But why would I want to be like you?” I asked him. His smile faded away. “What do you mean?” he asked. What did I mean? I meant, why would I want to become a junky, who prioritized on weed and any form of drug. Why would I want to throw my life away like that? But, how was I supposed to tell him all that? I cleared my throat. “I mean like, you are always high. I have a little brother to take care of, so I can’t lose my senses for a second” I replied, hoping my reply wasn’t offensive. “You know, I hate it when people think I’m nothing but a drug addict” he said. I chose to remain silent. “Mandiphumle, I’m human. Just like you and everybody else, I’m human” he added. I felt really bad, the last thing I wanted was to hurt him. “I’m sorry, Wonga. I really didn’t mean to hurt you” I apologized. He put his weed back into his pocket..

“You know, I wasn’t born this way. I was once a normal child, with normal habits” he announced .. “And then what happened? How did you end up here?” I asked. “Drugs were offered to me, by someone who could see that I wasn’t coping with what I was going through” he replied. I nodded, waiting for him to continue. “I was raised by an alcoholic. My mother would take even our last cent in the house and spend it in alcohol, with her friends. My brothers and I would go to bed on empty stomachs, and go to school without eating anything. We didn’t even have school shoes, or school bags. The others kids at school used to laugh at us, like we chose to be in that situation” he narrated. I was listening attentively, looking at him straight in the eye. “My brothers and I decided to quit school, because it was only depressing for us. Even then, our mother was too busy with booze to notice that we decided to quit school. It was a very painful time of my life, Mandy” he continued. “I can’t even begin to imagine how it was lie” I softly said. “What killed me the most is what her friend did to me. That night still gives me hot flashes” he added. “What did her friend do?” I asked. “I was 15 years old then. My mother arrived in midnight, with a friend of hers and they were both very drunk. My brothers were out, so I was home alone. I opened for them, and went back to my matrass, in the living room. About two hours later, I felt someone joining me and pulling the blankets. I turned to look around, and it was the guy. He told me to keep quiet. He.. He..” he paused for a second.. “He raped me. I cried and screamed, but my mother wouldn’t wake up. He raped me, Mandy, that man hurt me so much” he continued. “Oh Wonga, I’m so sorry” I said. “When I told my mother about it, she said I was lying. She said I was just trying to break her up with her friends because I was jealous of her happiness.” he added. “Wow, really?” I was disappointed in her. What kind of a mother would say that to her child? No maan.

“Drugs were offered to me, to help me cope. It the only way I can go to bed without having nightmares of that bastard, violating me. Its only when I’m high that the world becomes a better place for me” he said. “But my friend, the world is still the same. When you sober up, you still have to face it” I said. “Who said I should sober up?” he asked. “Come on, Wonga. You can’t be high all your life” I replied. “But I can. Mandy, I don’t want to think about these things. They hurt to the core” he said. “I know they hurt, but still man. Drugs are not a solution. You’re always throwing your life away” I lectured him. “What life? I don’t have a life man. My life was over the day my mother picked up her first glass of alcohol” he said. Wonga and I talked for a while, and he poured his heart out. For the first time, ever, I saw Wonga for who he really was. I looked beyond the drug addiction and saw a vulnerable boy, who was failed by the universe. I saw a boy, whose dreams and hopes faded before his eyes. It was only then that I realized that not every drug addict chose to use drugs for fun. Before judging them, can we step out of our righteous shoes and step into theirs?

After talking to Wonga, I went home. Wonga and I made a promise to each other to talk some more, the following day. When I got home, there was nobody in the house, so I went to the shop. Mr Nkomo was there, with Enkosi. I greeted, and he greeted back. “How are you feeling now?” he asked. “I’m much better, but they said I should go back tomorrow” I replied. He nodded. “You will be fine. I’m sure that headache is due to stress” he said. We talked about general stuff for a while, while he was behind the counter, selling. “Enkosi must be hungry now, will you please go and make him something to eat?” he asked. “Sure” I said, walking to the house. My phone rang, as I got to the kitchen. “Hello” I picked up. “My angel, how did it go?” he asked. “It’s not easy to talk to strangers about my problems” I told him. “I know, but you should know that this is only for you to heal” he said. He made it sound so easy, to just walk into a stranger’s office and pour my heart out like we were friends. Well, it wasn’t easy for me. He convinced me to be patient with the process and try to cooperate. It was his money that he was wasting, so I agreed. “Anyway, I miss you so much” he said. I smiled to myself, like he was standing right in front of me. “I miss you too, and thank you for everything” I responded. “Its only a pleasure. Your wellbeing is my first priority” he said. I almost felt blessed to have him in my life. Maybe if he wasn’t there, I would have become a drug addict too. The pain was too much to bare and I was struggling to cope. Alex and I talked for a while, then we hung up. I took out small pack of noodles. I knew how much Enkosi loved them. The smell of boiling noodles was to much to take in. They smelt really bad. Maybe it was because my stomach was still upset, but preparing those noodles was torture.

Someone knocked on the kitchen door, “come in” I shouted. The door swung open and Lindani walked in. She greeted and I greeted back. “Mr Nkomo told me you were here. How are you holding up?” she asked, pulling a chair and sitting down. “I’m getting there hey” I responded. “I heard what happened to your father. People are so cold hearted out there” she said. “He got what he deserved.” I said. She looked at me. “No, don’t look at me like that. That man killed my mother. What happened to him serves him right” i said. “This must be hard for you. Having to deal with all this and still have to worry about your brother” she almost felt pity for me. “Its really not easy, but i press on. I just wish my mother was here” i said. Really, life would have been better if she was around. Lindani said a couple of encouraging words, to keep me going. When I was done preparing Enkosi’s food, I dished up for him and took his food to the shop, with Lindani.

“Have you eaten anything today?” Mr Nkomo asked, as I forced myself to feed Enkosi. I shook my head. “I’m still unable to keep anything down” I said. “You will be fine, don’t worry” he assured me and I nodded. When I was done feeding the baby, Lindani and I went back to the kitchen to chat some more.

Later, Lindani left and I started preparing dinner. Sibusiso walked in, while I was still peeling the veggies, humming a happy song. I stopped humming and looked at him. He walked in, like there was nobody in the room. “Damn, who took my noodles here?” he asked. I ignored him. There was no way he could be talking to me. “Hey, hey!! I’m talking to you!” he yelled. “Leave me alone, okay?” I responded. “Don’t give me that. I’m sick of you. Ever since you got here, things have changed. We can’t even leave our food around” he lashed out. “You can just go to the shop and get yourself another packet and leave me the hell alone” I suggested. “If you think I can just walk into the shop and take them, then you’re more stupid than I thought” he said. I looked at him. “This isn’t even about the noodles, right?” I asked. He remained silent. “You know, you need to man up and quit these stupid games that you’re playing. Enkosi and I are here to stay, deal with it” I said. “Oh, no you’re not. I will not share my house with you two. Soon, you will be out in the streets, where you belong.” he said. That was it. I was sick of listening to his bitchiness. I got up from my chair. “What did you just say?” I asked. He looked at me and laughed. “What? Are you going to stab me now?” he jokingly asked. Yes, I was still carrying the knife I was using to peel the veggies, and yes, I was going to stab him. Without a word, I rushed up to him. When he saw the rage in my eyes, he knew I was serious. “What the fuck do you want from me? Haven’t you messed my life up already?” I asked. He stepped back. “Whoa! Mandiphumle, what is going on?” he asked. I don’t know what was going on. I was just so angry. I was screaming and I wanted to stab him to death. I was tired of him and his petty personality. He held my hand and we fought over the knife. He won, obviously, and held the knife against my throat. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he asked. Before I could say anything, “Mandy, what’s going on? Phila says she heard screams coming from the house” Mr Nkomo asked as he walked in from the front door. Sibusiso removed the knife from my throat and stepped away from me. Mr Nkomo walked into the kitchen. He looked at us both. “What’s going on here?” he asked. “Dad, hey” Sibusiso greeted nervously .. “Mandy and I were just talking” he said. “Just talking? Phila says she heard screams” Mr Nkomo said. “Yeah.. Uhm, Mandy was telling me how the incident with her father happened” Sibusiso replied. I was just standing there and Sibusiso was standing a few feet away from me, carrying a knife. “It was a very bad experience dad, that man died like an animal” he added. “Oh, will you knock it off already?” I said. Sibusiso looked at me. “What do you mean?” he asked. “These lies stop today” I said. “What lies? Mandy, don’t let your confusion get the better of you” he tried to stop me. “Confusion? What confusion?” I asked. He giggled nervously. I looked at Mr Nkomo, who was standing by the kitchen entrance, confused to the max. “Sir, I want to tell you something. Please, sit down” I said, sitting down. “What is it?” he asked as he sat down.

I told him everything that happened between Sibusiso and I. Every time Sibusiso tried to hop in, his father ordered him to shut up. When I was done talking, Mr Nkomo looked at Sibusiso, who was standing by the sink. “What do you have to say for yourself?” he asked him. “Dad, this child is lying. I don’t even know this child personally. What I’ve noticed about her was that she didn’t like having me around. No matter how hard I tried to reach out to her, she just didn’t like me” he said. “Mandiphumle, when was this?” Mr Nkomo asked. “A few weeks ago, when you were away for a while” I replied. Mr Nkomo looked at Sibusiso. “Dad, this child is lying. The whole community knows when you’re away, so what she’s saying doesn’t make her story believable” he said. “She is only trying to break us up, dad. This child is jealous of me. She wants us to fight” he said. “Why would I want you to fight? What will I gain from that?” I asked. “I don’t know, you tell us. You’ve been openly cold towards me, for no reason at all” he said. “No reason? So you call what you did to me no reason?” I asked. “Mandiphumle, why are you telling me today?” Mr Nkomo asked. “Because I didn’t know how to. I was scared you wouldn’t believe me” I replied.

“Why would he believe lies?” Sibusiso asked. “Mandiphumle, your plan will not work. You can never come between my father and I” he said. “I don’t want to come between you and your father” I said. “Dad, I’m even starting to think that she lied when she said her father killed her mother. I think she was trying to take him down, like he’s doing to me now” he said. “Now it all makes sense” Mr Nkomo said. We both looked at him. “Thabo never killed your mother. Like he said, she disappeared and left you behind. You lied about Thabo, like you’re lying about my son now” he concluded. I couldn’t believe my ears..

“Mr Nkomo, please. I am not lying. I never lied about uncle Thabo as well.” I begged.. “You got the poor man killed, and I will never let you do that to my son” he said, getting up. “You’re a little snake. I want you to pack your bags and leave my house with immediate effect. One day, you will lie about me too. Leave, before I throw you out”..

1 hour ago · Sent from Mobile

Cinga Dyala

Chapter 29
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea” I replied. “Come on, since when is weed a bad idea? Weed will solve your problems, bro. Like, it would literally make them go away” he convinced me, flashing the banky on my face. “But why would I want to be like you?” I asked him. His smile faded away. “What do you mean?” he asked. What did I mean? I meant, why would I want to become a junky, who prioritized on weed and any form of drug. Why would I want to throw my life away like that? But, how was I supposed to tell him all that? I cleared my throat. “I mean like, you are always high. I have a little brother to take care of, so I can’t lose my senses for a second” I replied, hoping my reply wasn’t offensive. “You know, I hate it when people think I’m nothing but a drug addict” he said. I chose to remain silent. “Mandiphumle, I’m human. Just like you and everybody else, I’m human” he added. I felt really bad, the last thing I wanted was to hurt him. “I’m sorry, Wonga. I really didn’t mean to hurt you” I apologized. He put his weed back into his pocket..

“You know, I wasn’t born this way. I was once a normal child, with normal habits” he announced .. “And then what happened? How did you end up here?” I asked. “Drugs were offered to me, by someone who could see that I wasn’t coping with what I was going through” he replied. I nodded, waiting for him to continue. “I was raised by an alcoholic. My mother would take even our last cent in the house and spend it in alcohol, with her friends. My brothers and I would go to bed on empty stomachs, and go to school without eating anything. We didn’t even have school shoes, or school bags. The others kids at school used to laugh at us, like we chose to be in that situation” he narrated. I was listening attentively, looking at him straight in the eye. “My brothers and I decided to quit school, because it was only depressing for us. Even then, our mother was too busy with booze to notice that we decided to quit school. It was a very painful time of my life, Mandy” he continued. “I can’t even begin to imagine how it was lie” I softly said. “What killed me the most is what her friend did to me. That night still gives me hot flashes” he added. “What did her friend do?” I asked. “I was 15 years old then. My mother arrived in midnight, with a friend of hers and they were both very drunk. My brothers were out, so I was home alone. I opened for them, and went back to my matrass, in the living room. About two hours later, I felt someone joining me and pulling the blankets. I turned to look around, and it was the guy. He told me to keep quiet. He.. He..” he paused for a second.. “He raped me. I cried and screamed, but my mother wouldn’t wake up. He raped me, Mandy, that man hurt me so much” he continued. “Oh Wonga, I’m so sorry” I said. “When I told my mother about it, she said I was lying. She said I was just trying to break her up with her friends because I was jealous of her happiness.” he added. “Wow, really?” I was disappointed in her. What kind of a mother would say that to her child? No maan.

“Drugs were offered to me, to help me cope. It the only way I can go to bed without having nightmares of that bastard, violating me. Its only when I’m high that the world becomes a better place for me” he said. “But my friend, the world is still the same. When you sober up, you still have to face it” I said. “Who said I should sober up?” he asked. “Come on, Wonga. You can’t be high all your life” I replied. “But I can. Mandy, I don’t want to think about these things. They hurt to the core” he said. “I know they hurt, but still man. Drugs are not a solution. You’re always throwing your life away” I lectured him. “What life? I don’t have a life man. My life was over the day my mother picked up her first glass of alcohol” he said. Wonga and I talked for a while, and he poured his heart out. For the first time, ever, I saw Wonga for who he really was. I looked beyond the drug addiction and saw a vulnerable boy, who was failed by the universe. I saw a boy, whose dreams and hopes faded before his eyes. It was only then that I realized that not every drug addict chose to use drugs for fun. Before judging them, can we step out of our righteous shoes and step into theirs?

After talking to Wonga, I went home. Wonga and I made a promise to each other to talk some more, the following day. When I got home, there was nobody in the house, so I went to the shop. Mr Nkomo was there, with Enkosi. I greeted, and he greeted back. “How are you feeling now?” he asked. “I’m much better, but they said I should go back tomorrow” I replied. He nodded. “You will be fine. I’m sure that headache is due to stress” he said. We talked about general stuff for a while, while he was behind the counter, selling. “Enkosi must be hungry now, will you please go and make him something to eat?” he asked. “Sure” I said, walking to the house. My phone rang, as I got to the kitchen. “Hello” I picked up. “My angel, how did it go?” he asked. “It’s not easy to talk to strangers about my problems” I told him. “I know, but you should know that this is only for you to heal” he said. He made it sound so easy, to just walk into a stranger’s office and pour my heart out like we were friends. Well, it wasn’t easy for me. He convinced me to be patient with the process and try to cooperate. It was his money that he was wasting, so I agreed. “Anyway, I miss you so much” he said. I smiled to myself, like he was standing right in front of me. “I miss you too, and thank you for everything” I responded. “Its only a pleasure. Your wellbeing is my first priority” he said. I almost felt blessed to have him in my life. Maybe if he wasn’t there, I would have become a drug addict too. The pain was too much to bare and I was struggling to cope. Alex and I talked for a while, then we hung up. I took out small pack of noodles. I knew how much Enkosi loved them. The smell of boiling noodles was to much to take in. They smelt really bad. Maybe it was because my stomach was still upset, but preparing those noodles was torture.

Someone knocked on the kitchen door, “come in” I shouted. The door swung open and Lindani walked in. She greeted and I greeted back. “Mr Nkomo told me you were here. How are you holding up?” she asked, pulling a chair and sitting down. “I’m getting there hey” I responded. “I heard what happened to your father. People are so cold hearted out there” she said. “He got what he deserved.” I said. She looked at me. “No, don’t look at me like that. That man killed my mother. What happened to him serves him right” i said. “This must be hard for you. Having to deal with all this and still have to worry about your brother” she almost felt pity for me. “Its really not easy, but i press on. I just wish my mother was here” i said. Really, life would have been better if she was around. Lindani said a couple of encouraging words, to keep me going. When I was done preparing Enkosi’s food, I dished up for him and took his food to the shop, with Lindani.

“Have you eaten anything today?” Mr Nkomo asked, as I forced myself to feed Enkosi. I shook my head. “I’m still unable to keep anything down” I said. “You will be fine, don’t worry” he assured me and I nodded. When I was done feeding the baby, Lindani and I went back to the kitchen to chat some more.

Later, Lindani left and I started preparing dinner. Sibusiso walked in, while I was still peeling the veggies, humming a happy song. I stopped humming and looked at him. He walked in, like there was nobody in the room. “Damn, who took my noodles here?” he asked. I ignored him. There was no way he could be talking to me. “Hey, hey!! I’m talking to you!” he yelled. “Leave me alone, okay?” I responded. “Don’t give me that. I’m sick of you. Ever since you got here, things have changed. We can’t even leave our food around” he lashed out. “You can just go to the shop and get yourself another packet and leave me the hell alone” I suggested. “If you think I can just walk into the shop and take them, then you’re more stupid than I thought” he said. I looked at him. “This isn’t even about the noodles, right?” I asked. He remained silent. “You know, you need to man up and quit these stupid games that you’re playing. Enkosi and I are here to stay, deal with it” I said. “Oh, no you’re not. I will not share my house with you two. Soon, you will be out in the streets, where you belong.” he said. That was it. I was sick of listening to his bitchiness. I got up from my chair. “What did you just say?” I asked. He looked at me and laughed. “What? Are you going to stab me now?” he jokingly asked. Yes, I was still carrying the knife I was using to peel the veggies, and yes, I was going to stab him. Without a word, I rushed up to him. When he saw the rage in my eyes, he knew I was serious. “What the fuck do you want from me? Haven’t you messed my life up already?” I asked. He stepped back. “Whoa! Mandiphumle, what is going on?” he asked. I don’t know what was going on. I was just so angry. I was screaming and I wanted to stab him to death. I was tired of him and his petty personality. He held my hand and we fought over the knife. He won, obviously, and held the knife against my throat. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he asked. Before I could say anything, “Mandy, what’s going on? Phila says she heard screams coming from the house” Mr Nkomo asked as he walked in from the front door. Sibusiso removed the knife from my throat and stepped away from me. Mr Nkomo walked into the kitchen. He looked at us both. “What’s going on here?” he asked. “Dad, hey” Sibusiso greeted nervously .. “Mandy and I were just talking” he said. “Just talking? Phila says she heard screams” Mr Nkomo said. “Yeah.. Uhm, Mandy was telling me how the incident with her father happened” Sibusiso replied. I was just standing there and Sibusiso was standing a few feet away from me, carrying a knife. “It was a very bad experience dad, that man died like an animal” he added. “Oh, will you knock it off already?” I said. Sibusiso looked at me. “What do you mean?” he asked. “These lies stop today” I said. “What lies? Mandy, don’t let your confusion get the better of you” he tried to stop me. “Confusion? What confusion?” I asked. He giggled nervously. I looked at Mr Nkomo, who was standing by the kitchen entrance, confused to the max. “Sir, I want to tell you something. Please, sit down” I said, sitting down. “What is it?” he asked as he sat down.

I told him everything that happened between Sibusiso and I. Every time Sibusiso tried to hop in, his father ordered him to shut up. When I was done talking, Mr Nkomo looked at Sibusiso, who was standing by the sink. “What do you have to say for yourself?” he asked him. “Dad, this child is lying. I don’t even know this child personally. What I’ve noticed about her was that she didn’t like having me around. No matter how hard I tried to reach out to her, she just didn’t like me” he said. “Mandiphumle, when was this?” Mr Nkomo asked. “A few weeks ago, when you were away for a while” I replied. Mr Nkomo looked at Sibusiso. “Dad, this child is lying. The whole community knows when you’re away, so what she’s saying doesn’t make her story believable” he said. “She is only trying to break us up, dad. This child is jealous of me. She wants us to fight” he said. “Why would I want you to fight? What will I gain from that?” I asked. “I don’t know, you tell us. You’ve been openly cold towards me, for no reason at all” he said. “No reason? So you call what you did to me no reason?” I asked. “Mandiphumle, why are you telling me today?” Mr Nkomo asked. “Because I didn’t know how to. I was scared you wouldn’t believe me” I replied.

“Why would he believe lies?” Sibusiso asked. “Mandiphumle, your plan will not work. You can never come between my father and I” he said. “I don’t want to come between you and your father” I said. “Dad, I’m even starting to think that she lied when she said her father killed her mother. I think she was trying to take him down, like he’s doing to me now” he said. “Now it all makes sense” Mr Nkomo said. We both looked at him. “Thabo never killed your mother. Like he said, she disappeared and left you behind. You lied about Thabo, like you’re lying about my son now” he concluded. I couldn’t believe my ears..

“Mr Nkomo, please. I am not lying. I never lied about uncle Thabo as well.” I begged.. “You got the poor man killed, and I will never let you do that to my son” he said, getting up. “You’re a little snake. I want you to pack your bags and leave my house with immediate effect. One day, you will lie about me too. Leave, before I throw you out”..