It was Wednesday morning and was starving but I had nowhere to get food. I think even my neighbours were tired of helping me. My parents passed away and left me all by myself. Mama Ouma, a neighbour, had promised to help me with everything I needed. It been three years now since my parents passed away and Mama Ouma had been helping me.

I decided to hide. I was hiding for two weeks now because I didn’t want to be a problem anymore to Mama Ouma. I started feeling so hungry that I even felt sick. I had been drinking water as if I was fasting but it was just that I had nothing to eat. Someone knocked on my door and I wondered who it was; I wished it was not Mama Ouma. I had no choice but to unlock the door.

“Hi,” I greeted, surprised to see Sipho. He was my partner at school as we were class representative.

“Hi Samkelisiwe. It’s been three days since you haven’t been coming to school and that’s unlike you. So I decided to come and visit you, just to check if you are fine.” He said smiling.

“Come in, Sipho,” I said quickly, not wanting Mama Ouma to find out that I was home. “Sit down, Sipho. I am fine, it’s just that I have been sick but tomorrow I will be at school surely.”

“OK Samke, if you say so. I have some books for you to catch up on your work. I’m rushing to play Netball, I’ll see you after practice to check if you have finished writing. And before I go, you look weak.”

“No Sipho, I’m fine, bye.”

As I tried to close the door behind him Mama Ouma came to my door. I started panicking and tried to close it.

“Don’t even think of doing that little girl,” she shouted. Why have you been hiding away from me?”

“No Mama Ouma, I have not been hiding, seriously I have been sick,” I started crying because I knew I couldn’t lie. “Mama, the reason I have been hiding is because I did not want to be a problem to you anymore.”

“Samke, who told you that you are a problem? Since when have you felt that way?”

“Mama Zandile told me that you are not my mother and I should stop nagging.” I told the truth. Mama Zandile was Mama Ouma’s daughter.

“What? How can that child be so selfish; I didn’t raise her like that! I am going home now to slap her.”

“Mama, please don’t do that. It will add more tension between us. And I don’t blame her for being jealous; you have been giving me more attention than her. And also Ma, I went to Sassa for the social grant and the social workers promised to come tomorrow with food parcels.”

“Wow baby girl, that is the best thing you have ever done. I would say that is a clever thing you have done.”

“Thanks Mama.”

“Before I go, take this food, you’ll eat until tomorrow.”

I thanked her and she left. Just after she went home I opened the food and started eating. The food gave me strength and I started writing. Just after I finished writing Sipho knocked on my door. I opened the door for him.

“Wow Samke, you look better than earlier.”

“Thanks Sipho.”

“And are you done writing?”

“Yes I’ve just finished writing.”

“That’s great. I passed by Mama Ouma’s take away shop and got you some food.”

“Thank you very much Sipho.”

After that he left and I started studying.

I was on my way to school the next day and ran into Zandile, Mama Ouma’s daughter and my friend.

“Hi Samke, Mom talked with me and I’m really sorry for treating you that way.” Zandile apologised.

“OK Zandile, I understand.” We started walking to together to school.

“Anyway choma, am I forgiven?”

“Yes Zandile, you know I don’t hold grudges.”

“I know my friend. If I may ask, are you and Sipho dating?”

“No choma, you know exactly that we are not. How can you ask such a question?”

“No Samke I know you would have told me. It’s just that he seems to care very much for you.”

When we got in class some girls started to laugh at me. I knew that they hated me and they couldn’t even fake a smile because I was doing better than them at school. During break time Zandile went to choir practice and I was all by myself. Sipho decided to join me since Zama was absent.

“Hi Samke, how are you?”

“Hi Sipho.”

“Samke I’m sorry about what our classmates did to you,”

“No need to be sorry, it wasn’t your fault. You know they hate me.”

“But Samke I love you. Why do you always worry about enemies? Samke, I like your sense of humour and I like the way you think Samke, you are always positive.”

“What Sipho? I thought you have been my friend all along but now you take advantage of my weakness?” I said and started crying.

“Samke, I am really sorry for letting you know how I feel.”

“It doesn’t matter Sipho, break time is over,”

I saw Zandile and rushed to her. The teacher hadn’t come to class so I told her everything that happened. After school Sipho came to me to apologise for his behaviour and I forgave him. When I reached home Mama Ouma called me to pass by her house and I did as instructed. That was where I found the social workers. They promised to deliver food parcels every month and they gave me a card so I could get myself a foster care grant. They then spoken to Mama Ouma and I went home.

I was done with all my home chores, Zandile came to visit me. She was carrying her beautiful dress and I was amazed and asked why.

“Samke stop pretending, you know that Sipho asked you out. My friend please give him a chance, after all he is a nice guy and guys like him are no longer available around Nyanyadu.”

“But Zandile…”

“No but, just go bath friend.”

So I went to bath and wore her dress.

“Wow Samke, you look beautiful as usual my friend.”

“Thanks Za, but if something goes wrong I’m going to blame you.”

There was a knock on my door and Zandile opened. the door it was

“Haibo, looking so good! Where are you off to?” Mama Ouma asked as she walked in. I didn’t have an answer and Zandile replied.

“No Ma, she is off to a poetry competition and if you stay here she will be late.”

“Hayi Za, why are you telling lies, is Sipho a competition?” I said when Mama Ouma left.

“Hawu friend, you know we wouldn’t tell the truth.”

There was another knock on the door and Zandile opened again. This time Sipho was standing there and Zandile let him in.

“Wow Samke, you look beautiful.” He said admiring me.

“Thanks Sipho. Can we go somewhere?”

I said yes and we got into his mother’s car and drove off.

“Thank you very much for giving me a chance to take you out.” Sipho said as we pulled up at Dundee Park. Sipho got out and opened the door for me. We walked around the park holding hands.


Tell us what you think: Do you believe that people like Mama Ouma still exist in our communities?