I remember very well, it was the 18th March 2014, the day before was my best friend’s birthday. We were sitting under a big, shady tree during school break.

I asked Yinhla, my friend, “What did your mother get you on your birthday?”

She did not say a word, she just took out her phone and showed me.

“A Vans sneaker my friend?” I asked.

“Yes, it costs R750,” Yinhla continued, “my mom really loves me.”

I felt offended. It meant my mom does not loves me, but I did not tell her. I quickly understood that my background was not the same as Yinhla’s background. I knew deep in my heart that I wanted a Vans Sneaker and my mother cannot afford it as she was a domestic worker with lots of responsibilities at home. When I arrived home I came up with a good approach to my mother.

I knocked on her bedroom door and she allowed me to come in.

Politely I asked her, “Mommy, what are you going to do for me if I can obtain very good marks at school?”

“Something special sweetheart,” she replied.

“Please tell me what kind of something special mom, I want to work harder in order to get that something special,”

“Baby girl, I can see that you have something in your mind, talk to me, what do you want?”

I gave her a beautiful smile and said, “I want a black Vans Sneaker,”

She asked me where she can buy them and how much they were. When I told her about the price she opened her eyes as if she saw a ghost.

“Where do you think I will get R750 just for a pair of shoes?”

You should have seen the disappointment in my face, but my other half understood. Then I turned and got out of her room but before I entered my room, she called me back.

“OK, can we make arrangements in order to get the Sneakers?” I agreed with a big smile. “I will start saving R150 per year, you will get your Vans Sneaker when you pass your Grade 12 very well, do we agree on that?”

I nodded my head, since I did not have a choice.

Ever since that day I used to study harder and I passed my Grade 8, 9, 10, and 11 with distinctions. When I reached Grade 12 things changed because the workload was too much. But because my mind was filled with that “something special” – a Van Sneaker – I spent sleepless nights studying.

I got distinctions and told myself to work harder in order to get a bachelor at the end of the year. Working hard for a Vans Sneaker made me do so well in my final examination that I got a bachelor with distinctions and finally got my something special, a Vans Sneaker.