Today marks the last day everyone hands in their lab reports and the closing day of the university. Enthusiastic Zothile is attaching her lab report file on her email.
“I will miss you Zo,” cries Aria as she comes towards Zothile to give her a hug.
“You are being dramatic,” sighs Zothile.
“We have a whole second semester awaiting us, that’s like six months of you stuck with my sweet snoring.”
“How is that motorbike sound of your snoring sweet?” asked Aria as they laugh together.
There is sudden knock on the door, “Oh! that might be my dad, I will open up,” says Zothile as she walks towards the door to open it.
“Hello, my children!” Zothile’s father, Mr Mnguni enters the room.
“How are you Miss Clover?” asks the friendly Mr Mnguni.
“It’s Clive baba! Not Clover, please grab this suitcase and lead the way before you embarrass yourself!” says Zothile.
“I am very well Sir and Zo its fine many people call me that, I don’t mind, let me help carry your bags to your car,” says Aria.
“No!” shouts Zothile, “I mean…it’s okay we can manage to carry them,” as she lowers her voice.
“Bekumayelana nani lokhu obusukwenza?” (What was that all about?),
“ingaba bungafuni kuthi ebone imoto esihamba ngayo?” (Is it because you did not want her to see the car, we are travelling in?) asks the confused Mr Mnguni.
“cha baba ayikho inkinga ngemoto futhi akusikho lokhu okucabangayo bengingafuni ukumkhathaza ngezikhwama zami.” (No father, there is nothing wrong with your car and it not what you are thinking. I did not want to trouble her with my bags,) says Zothile avoiding her father’s eye contact.
It been two hours since the Mngunis hit the road and neither of them wants to talk, Mr Mnguni is still troubled by what her daughter did back at the university residence. Zothile keeps her eyes glued to the left-hand side of the window to avoid any contact with her father.
“Do you know why I drive this car?” asks Mr Mnguni.
“Yes! Because your father gave it to you and now, I am stuck with it,” mumbles Zothile.
“Zothile, when you passed your matric with distinctions, your mother and I knew you were heading for university straight away but we also knew it would cause a financial strain on the family as we did not save money for your fees.”
“Your mother and I decided to sell any valuable item we had to help you get through the registration and buy you few items so that you will also look like other children and not turn your eyes to those old men who prey on young and vulnerable girls.” says Mr Mnguni.
Upon hearing this, Zothile’s face starts to flow with tears.
“My child, when we learned that you did not get funding for the previous year, your mother thought it will be better if we sold the van and paid your fees with the money. It was a beautiful idea but it also meant that your siblings had to starve back home, so I came up with an idea to use this van to fetch children from school every day and get paid by the end of the month in that way we were able to send money to you and also have some left for us too back home.” says Mr Mnguni.
“Dad I am very sorry for the way I acted back then and for everything, I looked down on the only thing that brings food on the table, Ngiyaxolisa Mnguni omuhle (I’m sorry Mnguni).” says Zothile.
“It’s okay my child everyone has their story and this is mine, one day you will be telling your story to someone,” says Mr Mnguni with a smile on his face.
Tell us: How do you feel about how Zothile acted towards her father?