Once upon a time there was a girl called Nomthandazo. Nomthandazo was a very beautiful and intelligent young girl who spent most of her time reading books or involved in community projects solving problems. One thing about Nomthandazo is that after reading a book or watching something informative, she would quiz herself with questions that helped her to understand how things work in life. One day Nomthandazo became bothered by one of the questions she had been trying to find an answer for but with no luck, she never managed to find any. Nomthandazo wanted to be different! Her problem was that she didn’t know what she needed to do for her to learn how to be different so she became frustrated with herself that she ended up heading straight to her father’s study room to see if she could get any clarity from her father regarding this conundrum. This time around, she doesn’t knock to get permission from her father to enter his study room as usual. As she enters, her father quickly notices that something seems to be bothering her daughter. He quickly places his book aside and pays attention to what her daughter had to say.

Dialogue 1

Nomthandazo: Dad, I have a problem

Dad: What is the problem my child?

Nomthandazo: I want to be different. How do I learn to be different?

Narrator: Dad examines his daughter with a thoughtful look.

Nomthandazo: Every day when I wake up I brush my teeth, I take a bath, I eat breakfast, lunch and supper, I sleep, I wake up, I rarely watch TV, I love music, I read books, I have a few achievements under my name, I help people, I pray before I sleep and when I wake up, I do everything there is to be done in a full day. However, everything that I do is also done by somebody else in this world meaning that there is nothing different that I do that somebody else doesn’t do or doesn’t have. A simple example, you read books, I also read books, you love mom, I also love mom, we share the same blood, we both have dark hair, you have eyesight and I also have eyesight, so what makes me different from the next person?

Narrator: As the father looks at his daughter in awe, he feels proud of himself. He looks above and smiles.

Dad: (in a whisper) Today it is confirmed that I made a difference to this world.

Narrator: Dad clears his throat as he smiles. He responds in a firmer voice than never before.

Dad: My child, go and call your mother for me!

Narrator: Nomthandazo is curious. She smiles and quickly leaves the room in search for her mother.

Dialogue 2

Narrator: Nomthandazo walks into the kitchen and finds her mom preparing pap for an afternoon family meal.

Nomthandazo: Mom, Dad is calling you!

Mom: Go tell your father I will come to him in 5 minutes time once I am done with what I am doing here.

Narrator: For the first time in her life, Nomthandazo does not follow her mother’s command.

Nomthandazo (in a firm voice): Mom, Dad is urgently calling you!

Narrator: Her mother immediately pauses cooking and moves the pot on to a cold stove and follows her daughter’s lead to the study room. While she’s walking, she’s wondering what could have happened or what her daughter could have done or said to her father. As the daughter opens the door of her father’s study, the mother immediately notices her husband’s face looks different – he is smiling thoughtfully. She can’t wait to hear what has happened.

Dialogue 3

Mom: Sthandwasam, I am all ears.

Dad: Tell your mother the problem that you have, my child!

Nomthandazo: Mom, I want to be different! What do I need to do for me to be different?

Narrator: The mother smiles and goes to hug her daughter.

Mom (whispering into her daughter’s ear): It is time my child.

Narrator: After saying this, the mother then looked back to the father and uttered the same words:

Mom: It is time we told her the truth, my love.

Narrator: Dad nods his head in agreement. It is a blessing for this family to live to see the day their daughter became self-aware. Most importantly it is a blessing for these parents to be the ones responsible for the task of teaching their child the purpose of being different. In most instances in our lifetime, parents aren’t usually the ones who influence their children in making the choices that will influence their lives for the better or worse. In most times this task is usually performed by friends, extended family, role models, neighbours, music or television. In this very moment the father feels proud and honoured to be tasked with this very responsibility alongside his wife. He clears his throat and begins to talk.

Dad: My child! It is an honour to be the man in this lifetime to have this conversation with you. I never thought I would live to see this day happen because it is not everyone who manages to understand the importance of being different. Through my life experiences in this world, I have learnt so many things that have all contributed to the little wisdom that I have today. The biggest question that anyone could ever ask in life is the same question that you just asked us, ‘How can I be different’?

In life there are two sides that exist, the Positive and the Negative. Understanding what these two sides mean and stand for is what will make you different from everybody else. Some people refer to these sides as Good and the Evil, the light and the darkness, the right and the wrong, and many other descriptions based on one’s understanding. However, to summarize all these descriptions, I will use Positive and Negative for reference. On the Positive side, we have those who thrive for the betterment of themselves and other people at large. Those who solve problems that impact societies and provide common solutions to the problems that we face as communities through what they do. On the negative side we have those who do harm to themselves and to other people, those who do bad things based on bad intentions that affect others. You will find so many branches of negatives that when collectively put together they cause harm to society.

So those who thrive to be different, are those who are fully conscious of what they are doing. What then makes you different rests on the purpose of what makes you do what you are doing despite other people also doing the same thing as you are doing. So my child; being different isn’t about what you do or what you have. Being different is about why you do the things that you are doing to get what you want to have.

The end…