“Busi is a very busy young lady, you know she will be twice as active as you, mama, when she’s grown,” Vuyo said, referring to his eight-year-old sister.

He rolled a peach blanket on top of his mother, who was laying on her bed feeling weak and not in the mood to talk. She just hissed and watched her stressed son exit the room in pain.

She had been sick for the past two weeks and had been refusing to see a doctor. Her children, Busi and Vuyo nursed her. They didn’t mind, but she could see that she was depriving them of a childhood.

“Call her in Vuyo, it’s getting late this Covid might get her,” mama said in the midst of a cough and a heavy chest.

She was right, Busi had been on the streets for almost the whole day, doing jumping jacks and rolling on soil with her friends.

Before Vuyo could call her, she was parking her four-wheeled bicycle in front of their shack. She was not wearing her mask again! She had used it to cover what seemed like a jar with a silver lid. She got into the shack blazing with excitement over her newly found treasure.

“Vuyo, look bheka what I found at sisDora’s gate,” she said removing the mask that was covering the jar.

“Wow what a special treasure like the useless board you found yesterday,” Vuyo said rolling his eyes. “You should always have your mask on Busi, we can’t risk you coming here with Corona and infecting mama or us for that matter.”

Busi frowned at her brother’s command. He always does this, thought Busi, he does not want me to have fun, he’s such a grumpy old brother.

She put her jar on top of the old wooden table that stood in the middle of the room. As her brother was about to call for her she stormed into her mother’s room (the other half of the shack).

When she entered she saw her mother sleeping on the bed. For a moment she thought she was dead until she heard her cough her lungs out. She stood there looking at her mother’s pale face aching in pain. Busi didn’t want to assume it’s Covid-19 but these days you never knew. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she coughed a bit taking in all the pain of seeing her mother, her hero, suffer. She turned away to go and get something to eat in the kitchen.

“You can sit down my baby I’m not asleep,” her mother said, as she stood to sit on the bed. Busi left the room instead and came back with her glass jar of a lamp. She sat beside her mother on a bucket and stared at her. Neither of them said a word but they could feel the hurt.

“If I go to the clinic they will say I have Corona and I will lose work. What will you eat Busi?” her mother said, distraught.

Busi looked at her knowing that her mother could not take the risk, as she was the only breadwinner. She began to sing:

God protect!
God heal!
God she is my mother!
God intervene!
We need God!

After singing, her mother looked away to cry. No child of hers was ever going to see her shed a tear. She blew her nose and coughed, she looked at her beautiful girl and smiled. Right then Vuyo walked in and handed mama a cup of ginger, lemon and honey boiled in water. He went to sit next to Busi and they watched mama drink her remedy hoping that tomorrow she get better and eventually heal to get back to work. To provide for and nurture them as she wished to.


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