“Stop! Stop this car!!”

I yelled.

“Oh, grow up man. Are you seriously going to cause drama now?”

The trashy Sibusiso asked.

“Yes! Yes, I’m going to cause drama. You can’t take me away without my permission”

Mr Nkomo turned to look at me as he was sitting on the front seat.

“We’re doing this for you. One day, you will understand”

“No, screw that! I will never understand what you’re doing to me. I will never understand the pain you’re putting me through!”

I was so angry, I was spitting flames.

“Are the doors locked?”

Mr Nkomo asked.

“Are the doors locked? What? Am I some crazy lunatic that might throw herself out of moving vehicle now?”

“No, that’s not what we meant. What I meant-”

I cut him short.

“Whatever man, I don’t care what you meant. Just leave me alone! Please leave me alone. I need to get home!”

“We are taking you home. You belong with us”

I hated Mr Nkomo so much. We arrived. There were so many cars parked outside. Sibusiso parked, and then turned to face me.

“Look, you will get out of this car and silently walk into the house. Okay? You will not cause a scene and make a mockery of yourself”

“Or what?”

“Mandy please”

Mr Nkomo begged..

“Please what? So you want me to do as he says? I am not his child, he can’t tell me what to do”

“Can we get into the house? Please”

Sibusiso stepped out of the car, and his puppet of a father followed..

“Mandiphumle, get the hell out of my car”

Sibusiso spoke through his teeth.

“I don’t want to”

I folded my arms.

“Stop being childish man. Get out of the damn car”

I felt like I was losing power and control over myself. I hated being told what to do, like I was some clueless dummy. Maybe I was some clueless dummy, but I didn’t want to be treated as one.

“Don’t make a spectacle of yourself. These twins you’re carrying are already doing a good job at that”

He spoke through his teeth again. I got out of the car and went to stand in front of him..

“What did you just say?”

“I said-”

I slapped him across the face.

“Whoa! Mandy, what are you doing?”

Mr Nkomo came to hold me and moved me away from Sibusiso .

“Let go of me. Leave me alone!”

I struggled out of his arms and he let go of me.

“Let’s get into the house, please”

“Dad, did you see that? This rascal just slapped me”

“Say something crappy again and I will kill you”

The threat I just passed scared me too. Mr Nkomo held my hand.. People were already starting to stare, so I agreed to walk in with him, with Sibusiso following us.. We walked into the house, and Mr Nkomo’s sitting room was full to the brim. I’m sure everyone wanted to see this pregnant eighteen year old who was carrying her cousin brother’s babies. Everyone wanted to see the miracle of a woman, falling pregnant. I’m sure none of them has ever seen a pregnant woman before..

“Wow, she is so beautiful”

“She looks like aunt Dorothy”

“No, she looks like aunt Anne”

“But look at that nose, isn’t that aunt Dorothy’s nose”

“And the hair, look at her hair”

I was in that house for less than a minute, and already everyone had something to say about me. Three gentlemen gave up their seats for the three of us.

“Settle down everyone!”

Mr Nkomo spoke louder and everyone paid attention..

“Uuh, this is Mandiphumle. Her whole life, I’ve known her as Mandiphumle Soldati, and it was only revealed to me a couple of weeks ago that she is actually one of us. I’m sure some of you have already heard, but I will explain this anyway. Mandy, as she is rather called, is Desmond’s daughter. Desmond had her a couple of years ago, in his extra marital affair. They haven’t been in contact as father and daughter, but that’s between them. What really brought us here today is the fact that she is pregnant, by my son, Sibusiso”

You should have seen the look on people’s faces. If I hadn’t heard what he said, I’d assume he accused me of being a serial killer.

“Wow! Isn’t she a bit too young to be sexually active?”

“Instead of focusing on her school work, she just had to focus on boys”

Two old ladies mumbled.

“Hey, you don’t know me. Don’t talk about things you know nothing of”

I said..

“Mandy, please”

I hated how Mr Nkomo always calmed me down when I try to stand up for myself.

“What? So you’re going to let these people say these things about me and expect me to suck my thumb?”

I raised my voice.

“Just calm down. Okay? This is a formal meeting”

Formal meeting my foot. There was nothing formal about that meeting. He pulled a firm voice. I kept quiet.

“Thank you. Now everyone, please keep your comments to yourselves. This is a very sensitive matter. We didn’t call you here to judge these children, but we called you here because we believed that you could help us come up with a solution for this problem. As I was saying, these children are now expecting twins. The ancestors can’t be happy about that. We then need to perform a cleansing ceremony for them”

“How can we cleanse her before introducing her to the ancestors?”

Desmond asked as he stood by the front door. We all looked at him, and I could feel my stomach turning.

“As long as that introduction has nothing to do with forgiving you”

I looked away.

“Hey, that’s my husband you’re talking to. What kind of a child are you?”

The Mrs stood up for her hubby. I looked at her, the woman who hated me even before I set foot on planet earth.

“I’m a troubled child. The one you made sure that grows up without a father. Remember me?”

“Mandy, please. Please just.. just keep quiet”

Mr Nkomo stopped me from protecting myself, again.. Desmond walked in and someone gave up a seat for him too. He sat down..

“I support Desmond on this one. This child needs to be introduced to the ancestors, before anything else”

An old lady suggested.

“She has made it clear that she will never forgive her father. That means she doesn’t see herself as a Nkomo”

Mr Nkomo replied.

“But why would she be cleansed if she is not one of us?”

An old man asked.

“Good question”

Desmond mumbled..

“Mandiphumle is a child. Why would we listen to what a child has to say? Since do we let our guard down and allow children to bully us?”

Another emotional trash of a man raised a very crappy point.

Many people seemed to agree with him..

“So if I have no say in this, why did you invite me to this meeting? It seems like you are more than capable of handling this without me”

Mr Nkomo looked at me and I gave him a “don’t you dare stop me” look. He looked away.

“We called you here because you have to hear everything that’s being said here”

My phone rang. I didn’t care whether I was allowed to answer it or not. I got up and went to answer Phila’s call.

“My friend”

“Little Miss Sunshine, where are you? Esona and I are at the gate”

“I’m attending that meeting that I told you about. They literally grabbed me and dragged me to the car without my consent”

“What? That’s hectic hey. So you left with the key?”

“Yeah, the key is here, with me”

“Don’t worry, Esona and I will go and chill at Bazukile’s until you come back”

I cleared my throat..

“I don’t think I’m coming back”

“What do you mean?”

The shakiness in her voice broke my heart.

“They are accusing me of being reckless, and they say they want to keep an eye on me”

A tear escaped my eye..

“Phila, please help me. I need to get out of here. I can’t stay here”

“What can I do to help? Should I call the police?”

I sniffed.

“They won’t help me with anything. I need an escape plan. Please go to Bazukile’s and plan it with him. We have to plan it carefully”

“Okay, I’ll do that. Look, just stay strong, okay? For the sake of the kids, soldier on. I love you and I am here for you. Please, hang in there”

At that time, I was crying and sniffing..

“Mandy, don’t do that. Don’t cry now. We will get you out of that place. Hang in there a little longer”

“Okay, I promise I will hang in there. Thank you”

We hung up. I wiped my tears with the back of my hand and went back into the house.. I silently went to sit on my seat.

“Mandy, we have all decided that this coming Saturday, your father will slaughter a cow and introduce you to the ancestors, then on Sunday, you will be cleansed”

Mr Nkomo filled me in. I ignored him.

After that, they wrapped their meeting up and had it adjourned. My phone rang, it was Bazukile.

“Hello”

“Hey, I heard what happened. Mandy, I asked if you were sure that I should leave. Look at what they’ve done now”

“I didn’t know they were going to do this”

“Its okay, that’s really not important right now. I want you to be strong. I will get you out of that place and bring you home. They can’t just force you to stay with them. You’re not a child anymore”

Bazukile was so emotional, the “I’m drunk” type of emotional. I wrapped the call up and quickly hung up.
Another lady came to sit next to me, because people were now scattered around the house and yard at large. I was sitting there, all by myself.

“Hi”

I looked at her. I was looking for a disgusted, judgemental look, but I was confronted by kindness and warmth. She wore spectacles with a very ugly Red frame.

“Hi”

I greeted back after the mini assessment.

“I’m Nothemba Nkomo. My husband is the youngest of the Nkomo men. I’m not talking about the new generation”

She giggled softly.I couldn’t even smile. I sat there, not showing any trace of emotion.

“Most people call me ‘Mommy’ because my son, Trevor calls me Mommy. He’s White, by the way”

I looked at her, but said nothing..

“Look, I know exactly what you’re going through. I have a son at home, about your age, and he is going through a similar path. He was always angry at the world, and it was sometimes very difficult to handle him-“..

I cut her short..

” People are not projects, they don’t need to be handled”

I looked away. The eye contact was getting too much.

“Yes, that’s true. All I’m trying to say is, if you ever need to talk, or to clear your head, you can always come to my house. My husband and kids will welcome you with open arms”

Mommy was the first person to say something nice to me.

“Thanks”

I replied.

“I know you feel like its you against the world, and that everyone hates you. I can assure you, this is only a period. Its only a chapter in your book of life”

I looked at her again..

“Thanks, I think I needed to hear that”

I said.. This time around, I wasn’t cold or cocky. This time around, my heart was down on its knees, screaming “help me out of this misery”.

“I will keep mentioning my son because he had so many battles to fight. When he first came to live with us, he was 6. His parents died in a car accident and his grandfather, who was a very rich businessman asked me to look after him. I was their maid, but he allowed me to take Trevor home to the township and look after him in the comfort of my home. He came by every other weekend, to visit and to give us money. When Trevor was going to visit him, he took my daughter, Thokozile with. They were like siblings. Thoko was 4 at the time. Mr Roskruge took both Thoko and Trevor to a very expensive private school and had them chauffeured to and from school. When Trevor was 10, Mr Roskruge had to relocate to Australia”

She closed her eyes and faced the ceiling.

“I remember that cold Sunday afternoon. We had just got home from church and the kids were having a snack in the kitchen while I was ironing their uniforms. He arrived, looking like he hadn’t slept in a while. He dropped the news on Trevor and asked me to mother Trevor, all his life. He said I could raise him as mine, and gave me the permission to change his surname into mine. He then built us a mansion and left us a large sum of money. He’d visit once a year, and bring us money and nice things. When Trevor was thirteen, his grand father stopped visiting. Since then, we’ve never heard from him. Trevor changed into this angry and aggressive child. I understand your anger and frustration”

Tears rolled down my cheeks.

“Sometimes children are misjudged as ungrateful spoilt brats, while their rebellious behaviour is just a cry for help. I’ve learnt to master the skill of telling the difference between a child who is just a spoilt brat and a troubled child with a broken soul, who needs nothing short of love and a sense of belonging. You are one of them, let me help you”….