My grandmother is a teacher. In 2010, she taught Grade 7. In her class there was a girl who never went on school trips. This worried my grandmother so much that one day she asked her about it. It was hard for Nomsa to talk at first but after seeing that my grandmother wanted to help her, she eventually told her what was going on.

“I’m raised by a single parent. Mom and I are very poor. It’s hard to have food in the house. Some days I must go to sleep on an empty stomach,” she cried.

After Nomsa finished her story, grandmother was speechless. Grandmother grew up in the same situation as Nomsa. After school my grandmother told Nomsa that she would visit her home. Nomsa was stressed the whole way home. When they got to Nomsa’s home they found her mom. She greeted them and offered them seats. My grandmother introduced herself and shared everything Nomsa had told her. She begged Nomsa’s mom to allow her to help. Her mom agreed; she knew they needed help.

It was decided that Nomsa would stay with us on school days and on holidays she would visit her mother. We treated Nomsa so well that you would never know she was not part of our family. I called her my sister because she was older than me and many people thought we were sisters. Four years later, Nomsa was still living with us. Everything was going well. I wish that happiness lasted forever.

It happened that in Grade 11, Nomsa fell pregnant. When my grandmother found out she had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. Seven days later she was discharged. She and Nomsa’s mom were so disappointed. After everything she had done for Nomsa, she wondered how she could do this to her. Nomsa apologised to grandmother and her mom, telling them how sorry she was. They forgave her. I was really shocked by everything. I was young at that time, what did I understand?

One day I decided to ask grandmother about it. She told me her story of how she got pregnant when she was 18. So she and Nomsa had the same background. She told me if she was forgiven by her parents, why wouldn’t she do the same with Nomsa?

Six months later Nomsa gave birth to a boy. Grandmother was the happiest of us all. She left everything that happened in the past. Indeed as Alexander Pope said, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Grandmother was grateful for the respect Nomsa gave her although she disappointed her once, she couldn’t hold grudges against her. She decided to do something special for her. She planned to surprise Nomsa by buying her everything she needed for her matric dance.

When matric dance day came Nomsa was ready, thinking how gorgeous she’d be.

When she came back from matric, we couldn’t sleep, hearing reports about how beautiful she was and above all, how shiny her awards were. It was really a long night. What grandmother did for Nomsa encouraged me to put others first. She thought outside the box and that’s characteristic of a true hero.

Nomsa’s currently doing her last year at university. Grandmother really can’t wait for Nomsa’s graduation day. She’s already looking for the clothes she’ll wear. So funny.

I’m really proud to call her my grandmother. I’m proud of what she did, so is she.