“Bongi, go to your room, now,” roared Mike.
“I am so sorry, but I cannot do what you demand,” I protested.
The conversation took an impossible turn in just a few seconds. Both of them were busy throwing insults. Unfortunately, this wasn’t new, and it’s a pity none of them was willing to negotiate.
“I am tired of you, Mike. You are always demanding, and you better stop being greedy because you won’t love the consequences,” Bongi said, irritated.
“I will not backchat with a minor in my house. So, young lady, you better decide whether you are leaving my house or you get down on your knees and apologise,” Mike said.
Apologising wasn’t an option for Bongi. She looked at her father exquisitely, still perplexed by his ultimatum. As much as she wanted to take the first option, where would she go? The award winning solution was to guilt trip her father, who turned out to be immune to it.
“And here I thought I saw it all. You really placed your last mail, out of all the things in the world, you decide to throw me out! Really? Shem, I’m really ashamed to call you a father,” Bongi said.
“Do I look like I care?” Mike said as he disappeared into his bedroom.
“Ok, if that is what you want, who am I to stand in your way!” Bongi yelled as she turned to take a glance at her shattered looking mother and brother.
The two had always reprimanded Bongi for her misuse of language and her behaviour, and as much as it was difficult for them to digest the fact that their child is going away, they had to. With a heavy heart, Bongi exited the yard, and upon her arrival at church, judged she was.
“Please father, I will be at my best behaviour,” Bongi pleaded.
“I hear you my child,” the priest replied, “but please understand my reasons. We only accept homeless people. Now, please go home and fix things with your father.”
Soon after, Bongi went to her friend Mosima’s house, who lived with her abusive Uncle. Funny enough, though, he wasn’t abusing Mo.
“So what really happened?” Mo asked.
“All of this nonsense started when I was doing grade nine. Instantly, after discovering my writing talent, I wanted to be a writer. Back then, my family supported me, even my own father,” narrated Bongi.
“What does that have to do with this?” Mo asked.
“When I was doing grade ten, my father forced me to choose between writing and education. As any normal child would, I choose education, but little did I know that I was digging my own grave. My father went on and burnt all my books. That day I cried like a slaughtered lamb.”
“Was that the end of your writing journey?” Mo asked.
“How I wish. Writing is in my blood. It’s like having a calling: the more you are in denial is the more you will live miserably. So, I decided to write secretly. Oh, it was worth it for a while, until Mike found out.”
“Please don’t cry,” Mo said, “it will be fine. I still don’t get your anger, though.”
“Oh, it was before Mike lost his job and forced me to look for a job or sell my book,” Bongi said. “I didn’t mind selling it, but that was my passion. How can I sell my talent? There were days when I hated God for giving me writing as a talent instead of dancing or singing. But I learnt to live with it. I took it as a blessing in disguise. Things went back to normal when Mike found a job. My writings were rejected. I entered several writing competitions, but none managed to create a spot for me. And that was when I was appointed as the black sheep of the Madisa family eternally.”
“So will you live with me?” Mo said. “My uncle will not let you go.”
“But will he provide for me and take me to school?” Bingo asked.
“To what extent are you willing to fight?” Mo asked.
Truth be told, Bongi vowed to fight for a better end, no matter the circumstances. As long as she used her talent and accomplished her God given dream.
Years later, four to be precise, Bongi graduated with an LLB, majoring in family law, from the University of Johannesburg. She did great for her life. She decided to self-publish, and her books were distributed in schools. It wasn’t easy living with Mo’s uncle, though. Mo’s uncle took her to school and gave her the best education money could buy, as long as she satisfied him. It was short lived, though, because Bongi eventually paid him off, and she was off the hook. Her family looked for her to no avail. But, what were they thinking pushing her beyond her limits.
One day Bongi bumped into her father.
“You!” exclaimed Bongi.
“My child, are you fine?”
Anger was an understatement, she was livid. After so many years, there he was looking like a hobo, but his personality said it all.
“Where did you get an audacity to judge me?” Bongi asked.
“I already lost my serenity, can we please talk outside? Please?” he begged.
“I was young, dad. You had no right to test my maturity. It wasn’t my choice to be born. You aren’t a saint yourself.”
“I am sorry,” Mike said.
He looked at his daughter with pride and a will to live. Life had roughed him to a point where he had lost both his family and work, and he was now living at the church. His wife had died a week after her daughter’s disappearance, and his son had distanced himself.
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