Growing up, I was a troubled young boy. I lived with my mother, well at least that’s what children call women who gave birth to them. But to me my mother was never my mother. My name is Paul Masemola, we live at Khayelitsha, Cape Town in a small shack.

Lundi Sizwe, my mother, fell pregnant with me when she was 16 years old. She gave birth to me in the year 1996. She was raped by 6 men. I sometimes ask myself why didn’t she abort me since she hates me so much. Well, her hatred towards me doesn’t affect me at all because I also hate her, she never really cared about me. I’m now 22 years and yet nothing has changed.

Today is my birthday, just another boring day, at least today I’m going out with my friends. I woke up, cleaned the house, washed our clothing while she sat and drank, enjoying a beer with a sjambok on her hand which was ready to hit me at any time. This sjambok has left many marks on my body. She hates me for no reason! I sometimes think she hits me to get away from the stress because I remind her of when she was raped.

I’ve finished doing my chores and I’m off to meet my friends, Tshepo and Sechaba. I feel happy, I’ve never been out before. My mother wouldn’t even take me with her when she went to buy groceries, I was always locked in the house and the only time I went out was when I was going to school. Now I’ve finished my schooling and I don’t have money to further my studies. I blame her for everything.

My friends have decided to take me to a local bar called Let’s Drink so we can celebrate my birthday. Have I drank before? No! Have I ever been to a bar before? No! Tshepo has a strange habit of stealing his father’s gun, his father is part of the SAPS, so he has brought his father’s gun so that he can impress the ladies at Let’s Drink. He tells them that he is a gang member and they go crazy over the fact that he has brought the gun with him.

They order a bottle of Vodka and 15 shots. When Sechaba ordered the shots I got a little scared, thinking they are bullets for the gun. So when the drinks arrive and not bullets, I feel relieved! I’m actually drinking more than anyone at this at the bar. There are a lot of things happening in my life and I have a lot on my mind as well.

So we’re dancing on the dance floor and everything is going great. I’m having the time of my life when suddenly Tshepo drops his gun. I pick it up and put it in my jacket.

Time is ticking, I think. I leave the bar to go to my house. I open the door and it’s dark… I’m certain the lady of the house is still asleep. Just as I’m about to sleep, I feel the sjambok on my back. I turn around, hold it and tell her she has no right to hit me anymore because I have grown-up.

I accidentally drop the gun and she reaches for it first. We fight over the gun I’m trying to get it back from her.

“Give me that gun Mum!” But she doesn’t do that.

We fight over the gun and I pull the trigger. The bullet goes to her heart and she falls.

As I’m trying to stop the bleeding, I’m panicking. Then I hear someone coming in, thank goodness! It is a neighbour who comes in with the police. Suddenly I’m taken into a police van. I’m screaming now. I never meant to hurt her but no one listens. It’s my birthday and I’m being arrested for killing my mother. I don’t feel guilty though it’s as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I realise that the gun I used to kill her is next to me. I try to reach for it so that I can end whatever is left of this miserable life of mine.

I wake up wondering what’s going on, I open the curtain and I see day light. It was all just a dream! What a relief! Today’s my birthday. As I wake up from the bed I think to myself, maybe I should learn to love her as I never know when I’m going to lose her.