Matome was a teenager who lived with his grandmother in a small shack in Tembisa, Gauteng. He lost his parents to a car accident when he was three years old. His grandmother tried her best to ensure that Matome did not feel the absence of his parents.

When Matome was in high school, he hung out with bad friends. He would bring them home even though his grandmother did not approve. She told him to stay far from them but he never listened.

One of Matome’s friends, Mahlatse, grew up in a well–to–do family. He wanted to make his parents proud by passing his matric but he ended up using drugs. At first, Matome told his friend to quit smoking but Mahlatse ignored him.
Mahlatse would spend a week without bathing and when his parents told him to take care of his hygiene he’d say, “Kgaogana lenna man! Ke bophelo baka (Leave me alone, man! It’s my life)!” Mahlatse blamed his father for his drug use. He claimed his father spoiled him too much.

Matome enjoyed hanging out with Mahlatse because he always had money. Matome found himself joining Mahlatse in his drug use.

One day, Matome and Mahlatse were seen smoking in the school toilet. He was very high when he got home.

“Koko why le sa ndirela dijo (Granny, why didn’t you cook for me)?” he demanded.

“I was at the women’s society, ke gona ke boya (I just came back).” she said.

“Ke kgale ke bona gore ale nrate! Ke je eng nna (You don’t love me granny! What must I eat)?” Matome shouted but his grandmother ignored him and retired to her bedroom.

The following morning, Matome greeted his grandmother, “Dumela koko, na le tsogile bjang (Hello granny, how are you)?”

“Ke tsogile ngwanaka, efela ke tshwenya ke mokokotlo (I am fine my child, I’m just having pains in my back).”

“Bothata ke eng koko? Le swanetxe goya go bona nyaka (What’s the problem granny? You should go see the doctor).”

“Ke tlaya ngwakana (I will my son).”

Matome went back to his room to prepare for school while his granny was making herself tea. He got out of his room and kissed his granny on her cheek. On his arrival at school, the principal, Mr. Khoza called him to his office,

“Matome! Nsale.”

Mr. Khoza was with the learners who found Matome and Mahlatse smoking in the toilet.

“Bothata ke eng principal?” Matome asked innocently.

“Dula fase wena! Akere o tseba gabotse gore bothata ke eng (Sit down! You know very well what the problem is).” Mr. Khoza said.

Mahlatse walked into the principal’s office after his classmates told him that the principal was looking for him. The principal told Mahlatse and Matome to bring their parents to school the following day.

Mahlatse’s mother came for the meeting but Matome’s grandmother did not. “My granny went to see the doctor, principal. She’s not feeling well.” Matome lied. He did not tell his grandmother that the school principal wanted to meet her.

“Matome and your son were seen smoking in the toilet.” Mr Khoza told Portia, Mahlatse’s mother.

“Eng (What)!” Portia exclaimed. Mr Khoza called in the leaners who saw Matome and Mahlatse smoking in the toilet. They told Mahlatse’s mother what they saw. Mr Khoza decided to suspend Mahlatse and Matome from school.

Later that day, Portia drove to Matome’s house. She found Matome’s grandmother working in her small garden. Portia greeted Matome’s grandmother who invited Portia in for a cup of tea. Matome wasn’t at home.

“How was your visit to the doctor?” Portia asked.

“I haven’t been to the doctor.” Matome’s grandmother was surprised.

“Then why didn’t you come to the meeting?”

“Kopano efe ngwanaka (What meeting my child)?” Matome’s grandmother asked.

Portia told her what the meeting was about. Matome’s grandmother collapsed when Portia told her that Mahlatse and Matome had been suspended from school. Portia rushed her to the hospital. When Portia came back from the hospital, Matome was at his grandmother’s house.

“Matome your grandmother collapsed and I took her to the hospital,” Portia said sadly, “I am sorry Matome, the doctors couldn’t save her.”

Matome couldn’t believe the news of his grandmother’s passing. He locked himself in his room and cried. Mahlatse’s family helped pay for the funeral expenses. Matome felt lonely in the house without his grandmother.
Mahlatse’s parents sent their son to a rehab and Matome remained a drug addict.


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