Themba had a dream of being a journalist. From a young age he was always spying on people. He was living with his grandparents, Samson and Gladys and he don’t know his father. His mother had died of HIV and AIDS when he was young.
His grandparents were poor. They didn’t have identity documents; were not working, not getting pension from the government, they survived from planting vegetables and selling them. They had bought Themba’s school uniforms like this.
Themba was very good at school; the most excelling student in his class. His class mates were always laughing at him because he did not have the full school uniform and his was cheap.
He had looked for his father for a long time but he didn’t find him. Gladys and Samson were the ones who got him an identity document even though it was not easy. They report that they didn’t know his father but they had his mother’s death certificate. He got his identity document at the age of sixteen.
They wanted a bright future for him. After they got their identity documents they registered for pension and also registered Themba for the orphan’s support grant. He grew up being a poor child living in rural area. He was shy to play with the children of his age except if it was a soccer; he like to play soccer. When he was not playing soccer he preferred to stay at home with his grandparents. He loved his grandparents so much that at school other leaner’s called him Gogo’s boy.
Grandmother would read him stories about the poor child who ended up having good things with Education, and that encouraged Themba to do the best at school. He was wanted to be like the poor boy in the story. He was the most respectful child in the community, every community member wanted to spend some time with him as he liked to play soccer and he was good at it. He was even selected to play for the community team.
But Gladys was not happy.
But she was afraid to tell him that she didn’t want him to play soccer. He was too happy he saw himself as the best player of the national team; South Africa. He was always playing soccer even after school and Gladys felt that he would lose focus from his school work because of soccer. She was there with Samson to support Themba when his community team was playing with other teams.
When the other team noticed that he was very good they injured him and he was hospitalized.
“My boy, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that I hated for you play soccer. But it was that I thought you were going to lose focus from your school work. But after I saw you play I noticed that you’re very good at it. But I think you have to focus on serious things like your studies. Do you remember the story about the poor boy? Look now not even one of your team mates is here, not even your coach is here. But don’t worry my boy we are here for you,” Gladys said when they went to visit in hospital.
“I know you’re always here for me and I appreciate it. You are right granny, I have to focus on my studies,” Themba said.
“I’m proud of you my boy,” Gladys said laughing. “Granny wants you to be better than her. You see your granny is nothing because he didn’t get a chance to be educated, so you my boy use it while you have it.”
Themba matriculated at the age of eighteen. He did very well and was the best student at the school. He got As for all his subjects. He got a leanership to go to the university. Gladys and Samson saved some money for him to pay the deposit at the university. He left his dream to be a journalist and studied to be a doctor.
He liked to work with people and wanted them to love him. Had he become a journalist people would dislike him. He moved from the rural area to an urban area where the university was.
He was not happy leaving his grandparents behind.
The first day at Durban was weird for him when he went to registered at the university. The way people walked and the way they wore their clothes was strange; there was no such a thing in the rural area. He was afraid to even go out; he didn’t know anyone there and he even noticed that the language was not the same. Even though it was Sulu but the people spoke sitsotsi.
The other kids laughed at him and called him farm boy. He was greeting everyone in the streets, something people in urban areas didn’t do. When he tried to speak to people they just looked at him and said mxm or ignore him.
One Friday he went to town to do some shopping. It was difficult as there were lot of shops there and he did not know anything. The tsotsi’s noticed that he was not used to being in the city. They followed him.
He went to SPAR, and when he got inside they followed him. They greeted him and he ignored them. He got all things he wanted then went to the queue to pay. When he was close to the till he put his hands in his back pocket and there was no wallet. He started to look for it everywhere but he didn’t find it. He felt like crying but he remembered his grandfather’s words when he said a man does not cry.
There was granny selling fruits outside, she called him and asked him what he was looking for. He said he lost his wallet.
“I saw the tsotsi’s who took it. But I was afraid that he was going to kill me,”
Themba called his grandparents. They were happy to receive his call. He cried and told them he wanted to come back home.
“This place is different. I don’t like the way they do things here,” he said.
“My boy, you have to be strong and take care of yourself. Be careful urban is not like rural areas. But don’t worry we will send you some money,”
He did very well in his third year. He finished and got his degree; he was a qualified doctor.
His grandparents organized a big party to celebrate his success. Everyone was happy for him; the community people and even the minister of Education was there to encourage other poor children to be like him.
Since there was no doctor in the community hospital in his village they asked him to help and he agreed. Then after three months they gave him a permanent post as the doctor. The community people loved him very much he was the best doctor. He was twenty-eight when he started as a doctor.
After a year as a doctor he opened a community program for poor children to get meals, uniforms and care that they didn’t get from their home.
Everyone in the community was the part of the program. Community people donated clothes, money, food and other people from overseas helped too. Other communities and government also also donated.
Themba bought a beautiful car and house to thank his grandparents for raising him as their own son. On Christmas day he invited community to spend his day with them. He cocked nice food and spent the day with his community. People loved their doctor and they we proud of him. All the children in the community said “I want to be like Themba” and he was happy to hear those words.
It was early in the morning as he was chilling with his grandparent under the trees eating their breakfast, someone rang the gate alarm. Themba thought it was one of the neighbors and went to check. He saw an old man in a wheelchair.
His thought was that the old man was sick he ran to help him. He take him under the tree and asked the old man how he can help.
“I’m fine, I just need to speak with you alone,” said the old man.
“Can I pour you some tea?” Gladys offered and the old man declined.
Gladys and Samson left Themba and the old man to talk.
“My name is Jim,” the old man introduced himself. “Please son, listen to me, you can ask me questions when I’m done,” Themba agreed and listened.
“Please, son, forgive me,” Jim said. “I was not there when you needed me and I don’t expect you to forgive me that easily. I tried so many times looking for you but I didn’t find you.”
Themba didn’t say anything.
“Say something,” the old man said.
“Get out of my place and never come back,” Themba said.
“I just wanted you to know that you still have the father,” the old man said and left.
Themba cried, “Where were you all the time? Where were you when I needed you? Now because I’m happy you are coming and telling me you are my father,”