It was a Friday morning when the alarm woke Thando. Thando could see the sun rays shine right through her curtains and it filled her with hope and drive. Standing up, Thando opened her windows and for a moment something caught her eye. The grass and the sun weren’t reflecting the reality of their current state. It was more of a camouflage.

Thando was a strong black, beautiful woman. She was in her late twenties and had everything a woman her age could ever wish for, or perhaps that’s what people thought. Thando was a doctor by profession. She contributed to many, and had just finished her major project of a building that was designed for homeless children and elderly people called “Home, made of love”. The home would also cater for the needy

Thando prepared for work as helping others was what she devoted her life to, especially in the black community. She knew that the “black mentality” was so infectious that black children were groomed to be satisfied with enough, whereas Thando knew that enough was next to nothing. Thando’s granny always told her that rich people were greedy and miserable, so it’s better to be poor and at peace.

Thando never believed in those sayings, she knew that poverty was the source of all bad things; crime, prostitution, misery, hate, jealousy etc. Thando knew the struggle of being poor and whether people would hate her or not, she was going to get that wealth. All she ever wanted was peace.

As Thando arrived at work it was busy as usual. Lately when people died it no longer hurt as people were dying like flies and it became a normal thing. Thando failed to see that as normal, people had turned the wrong into right and no one had a problem with that. Thando couldn’t understand if the medicine became weaker or was the diseases stronger. She worked as hard as usual and the day went over quickly. She was so tired that she had no time to catch up with her bestie, Lihle.

Lihle was a friendly, outgoing, talkative person, the opposite of Thando.

“Hold it!” Lihle rushed in the lift. “Are you ignoring me Thando?”

“No I just want to get home and finalise my project.”

“Well, too bad for you, I’m going out with George.” The friends departed at the basement and got in their cars.

Thando got into her car and switched on her radio. It reported on how uncontrollably hot other places were. Thando could believe it, she was in the Cape and it was very hot, worse was it was winter. Thando switched off her radio as things were getting worse by the day, yet people were still burning things as if they first wanted to die of the sun rays. The streets were filthy, kids were hooked on drugs, prostitution was ongoing, some were robbed and killed. The world was like a circus and everyone did what pleased them.

Thando arrived, took a quick shower then ate. After, she began finalising things for her building. Thando called her organizer, Miss Layla.

“Hey Layla, are we set for tomorrow?”

“Yes, Miss Dlamini, but there’s something else. Our main speaker dropped us and it was decided that you give the life talk, considering that it’s your event and you’ve made it this far.” Layla reported.

Thando went blank.

“Miss Dlamini… Hello… Hello?” Layla eventually hung up.

The thought of having to speak in front of everyone made Thando sick. So many people were invited from government officials, power people to school children. The launch was the following day and Thando knew she had to come up with a plan. She called Lihle and it went straight to voicemail. How typical of her, she was never there when Thando needed her. Thando decided to go to bed.

Thando had many enemies who hated her because they thought she never got satisfied and always wanted the spotlight. In her township they called her ‘Miss D-diamond’ as they were jealous of her and meant it in a bad way. Thando’s success brought her more pain than joy. After all, it was never about the spotlight but about helping the disadvantaged.

Thando couldn’t fall asleep and decided to call her mom.

“Hey Ma, I know it’s late but I need some advice.”

“Oh, what is it my baby? Is it boys?”

“No Ma, it’s about tomorrow’s launch. I have to do the life speech and I don’t want to unwind my wounds.”

“Oh my baby. But you have to think about how many lives you could change and how many people would be encouraged. This may be what the black child needs to change,”

“But… I might breakdown,”

“Tears or not, you have to do it. Many souls need this and tears can be dried but a destroyed life ain’t easily mended. I know you can do it.”

“Thanks Ma, it really means a lot.”

Thando knew it was time she faced all her fears and she began to write her speech.

Most of you know me as Miss D-diamond, a name I got recently. Some say it in a mean way but I anyhow love it as it says who I am. A diamond doesn’t shine before it has been burnt.

Growing up black wasn’t easy, at times I hated being black. That moment you stay in a 2 room shack with no father and a poor single mom and your 3 siblings. Having to witness your siblings crying because of hunger and not being able to save them. Watching your mom slowly fade away but keeping a strong front for your sake. I never knew what breakfast was, to me breakfast wasn’t for the poor or that’s what they made me think.

At the age of 17 I got wise and refused to accept this life and I decided to make a living for myself. I got mixed up with the wrong crowds who encouraged dating older people for financial support. I met this guy, Katlego, he had everything I wished for. We dated and eventually had sex. It went on and on till I fell pregnant. Can you imagine being poor and pregnant, seeking for a job/some kindness but getting hatred instead? Katlego was in the Cape for work and had already moved back to Kimberley when I found out about my pregnancy.

Mom was furious but I accepted. It was like I brought a curse upon myself, but that didn’t last as I gave birth to a dead baby. My baby never got see the light of the day and that’s when I decided that I’m going to make it work. I made my mistakes a stepping stone and strived for my education. I couldn’t let my baby’s death be in vain. I got my degree worked hard and knew I wanted to change lives, thus we are all gathered here today for this baby “Home, made of love” that I’m going to grow. Never let your mistakes bring you down, allow them to make you a better person, lest you die being poor and a poor life is a miserable life. Thank you.

After writing, Thando knew it was done. What needed to change lives was there and she knew her event was going to be a success. And although the world was a bad place, the event would plant seeds inside the individuals that would drive them to change. Thando had reached all she ever wanted, which was creating better lives for people. She already had sponsors to provide food, clothes and beds for the home. She went to bed with a heart full of joy.