Germiston South-Kasi loku- groova, as some call it because almost every day there’s not one Quantum’ that won’t pass by, blasting loud music but I like to call it ‘ekasi lama psycho’.
Everyone who lives here seems to have a lose screw in their head, don’t get me wrong but people around here aren’t normal. Germiston South is a beautiful place with its collection of palm trees and an uptown atmosphere but by the time sunsets on a Friday, you have to be home. Our Friday nights consist of screams, cries and pure terror! They can be heard starting from as early as 19:00. Never did I think that one day I’ll be letting out one of those screams.
“Kawleza kawleza” “Hurry up hurry up!” my mom screamed from her bedroom, it was a very lovely morning and she had wanted me to walk with a boy next door named, Quinton. He’s a lovely guy and my mother is really fond of him. Quinton and my mother are really close and they’re always talking, his mother and my mother are best friends, He’s doing his second year of IT at the University of Johannesburg. Even though I’m in grade ten, Ma doesn’t want me to walk to the taxi rank alone and lucky for her, Quinton had told her that if I come out early enough, we could walk together since he also goes to the taxi rank for a taxi to Johannesburg.
I was still dressing myself when I heard the front door open.
“Oh Quinton if you could just wait for a few minutes! I don’t know why she’s taking so long” said Ma.
“No problem Ma, how are you this morning?” said Quinton.
“Very well my son and you?”
“I’m good, thank you Ma”
“Nwabisa hurry! You can’t walk alone with the ugly thugs we have!” My Ma cried out. I finished dressing and dashed out the room.
“Ready for the day?” Quinton asked with a huge smile on he’s face?
“Kind of” I replied, not so sure of myself.
Ma handed me my lunchbox and Quinton and I walked down the quiet dark streets together, at first I found it a little annoying because I hate being treated like a baby but then again, Ma only wants what’s best for me. Ever since the incident, where they had forcefully removed her wedding ring, and took all of her belongings on her way to work; she has since then, been extra careful…
I remember how she wept for days and kept yelling “The only thing I have from Dumi is gone, how could they? May they feel the wrath of the ancestors! It hurt me so much that they had taken the only thing we had left of my late father.
The school day was pretty interesting. At break time, I sat underneath a tree and enjoyed my fat-cakes with yesterday’s tuna. Students passed by and gave me ugly stares. The tuna did have a weird smell because it was left over but I couldn’t care, Umama isn’t rich and I accept whatever she gives me for lunch, I never question her because I know how hard she works everyday just so there’s food on the table. We had our last period and soon it was time to leave. I packed up, grabbed my bag and left the school building. When I got home, I changed out of my uniform. There was fat-cakes in a bowl so I ate them with a cup of juice and cleaned up afterwards and finally did my homework, Mom arrived at 17:30.
I took off her heels and fetched her slippers, then I prepared a cup of tea. I know how much she loved a cup of tea after a long day at work. I scooped up some paraffin, poured it in the stove and prepared dinner and after about an hour, I dished up.
“Adelaide tells me that Quinton has already started making apps” said Mama
“Oh that’s good Mama”
“Yes that boy really makes me proud I want you to be like him, he’s doing so…”
“Oh! Will there ever be peace around here? Eat your food my baby, it’s probably nothing” My Mama said discerningly.
We carried on eating till we heard a police van pulling up outside, Ma unlocked the door and went out, “stay here” she said to me. Just then I heard the loudest cry ever, it was coming from Quinton’s mother.
I rushed outside despite what ma said and I saw the most horrific scene ever, Quinton in a pool of blood. Oh no! How? I felt warm tears rush down my cheeks. The older brother I never had, the one person who helped me with my homework. He was always there for me, the son my mother never had. My mother who couldn’t believe what had just happened was comforting her best friend. The ambulance arrived shortly and he was declared dead. I froze with horror. Which monster did this? What kind of a place are we living in? Mrs Jacobs couldn’t come to terms with the reality of her dead son and she wouldn’t let the ambulance take him away.
“Nieeee! Nieeee, my Seun, Nieee, Nieee, Quinton, Nieee She cried.
I ran back into the house and covered myself with the pillow, this was too much to take in. Someone who had their whole life ahead of them, he only had good intentions, always respectful to his mother. My mother wasn’t even eating anymore, Quinton was a son to her.
The day of the funeral came, we dressed up and went there where we were stopped at the entrance.
“Excuse me, the deceased was my neighbour” my mother said.
“I’m sorry, we were told not to let you in.”
“What? That’s rubbish please move, I need to get in.”
“Ma’am. If you take one more step, I’m afraid we’ll have to throw you out.”
My mother was confused
“Who told you not to let me in?”
With that said, my mother didn’t argue anymore and turned to leave.
“Ma, We can’t just leave! Quinton adored you! We have to say goodbye.”
“Oh my child, We’re not wanted here!” my mother said soothingly.
“But why?” I asked frantically.
“It doesn’t matter let’s leave, Quinton knows we tried.”
Now I had nobody to help me with school work, nobody to walk with me early in the morning and now Mrs Jacobs had distanced herself from us. She wouldn’t come for tea and biscuits and chat with Ma anymore. This was really weird because Ma and Mrs Jacobs were really good friends! The community started having meetings without ma, the kids played together but they weren’t allowed to come close to me, even the girls I would play “umgusha” with gave me nasty looks and refused to play with me, no one came to borrow milk and sugar anymore but Ma had told me not to worry.
” leave it to God” she would say.
It was soon to be half past six and mom wasn’t here yet, I hadn’t cooked because she told me not to Today was my birthday and she wanted us to eat something special, she arrived ten minutes later.
“Oh my! My legs couldn’t carry me all the way to the shops, I’m sorry baby, let me change and go to the shop.”
“No don’t worry ma, I’ll go”
“No Nwabisa, it’s not safe out there!”
“Ma, it’s not even seven yet, I’ll be quick and there are people outside.”
She looked at me and I could tell she was really hungry. Even though she doesn’t have money, she always gets something special on my birthday.
“Okay here.” She handed me a R200 note.
“get cake, fried meat and anything you desire baby.”
“Oh Ma. I’ll be back.” I rushed to spar, which is down the street.
I got there, took everything I needed and waited the que, it was really long, I was called next and the cashier made a silly comment.
“Heee abo malambane banemali yenyama!” The hungry people can buy meat. All the other cashiers laughed. She didn’t even bother to put the goods in the plastic , she threw the plastic and it fell on the floor. I picked it up, put the food in and walked out into the night. I ran home feeling very happy. I was relieved that I walked safely and nothing had happened.
Just then I looked down and I saw two shadows. I told myself to ignore it, it was nothing I thought. I looked down again and the shadows seemed to be getting closer, I started jogging then I saw three figures jogging after me. I ran as fast as I could and started screaming for help.
Ma told me that the best thing to do is to make noise to alert people, thieves hate noise. I screamed and screamed but no one came out. I passed Mrs Jacobs house. She and the other neighbours were having a little party, she didn’t even bother to help nor did the neighbours. My legs were getting weak I tripped over a huge rock and fell face down. I woke up in bed with ma staring over me.
“What happened? I asked”
“You knocked your head really hard, I found you laying outside unconscious.”
“I’m so glad I’ve managed to stop the bleeding” She added.”
A tear escaped my left eye. “My birthday food is gone I thought.” My mother’s money!
“Did they take the food and money? I asked”
“No, everything was with you.”
“Oh mama, I was so scared.”
“You’re okay! You’re safe now, I’m with you.Now tell me what happened?”
I told her the whole story…
“Quinton’s mother saw me! She saw me mama and she didn’t even help, The neighbours too.”
My mother shook her head.
“Adelaide thinks I’m behind the killing of Quinton.” She said.
“She says: I was jealous that I didn’t have a brilliant, hard-working son and I acted like Quinton was my child and he had been here a few hours before he died.”
I saw the pain in my other’s eyes as she spoke.
“Oh Mama, I know how fond of Quinton you were! You trusted him and he loved you like his own mother.”
“She will never understand. He offered to walk you when I was worried about your safety. He was always there. Yes, I did wish that he was my son but it was only out of Bet interest. He was a really good boy. She has poisoned the community about me, no one talks to me anymore, they’ve been calling me a witch! The kids were also told not to come near you because you’re the witches daughter.”
“In the name of the lord, we’ll remain peaceful. We won’t fight them. We’re fine with just each other.” My mother calmly said, with tears in her eyes.
I took her hand in mine.
She prepared the food, she sang for me and we ate.
We’ve been locked out. The people of Germiston south think we’re behind Quinton’s death. I guess Mrs Jacobs is desperate to find someone to blame. They’ve been making our lives living hell. They throw their rubbish bags in the yard, they scatter nappies on the porch and do all kinds of nasty things, you couldn’t even imagine, that’s why I call the people around here psychos, they’re quick to judge and hate without the facts Ma lost her adopted son and her best friend and we lost our community.