One morning a beautiful girl called Zintle was sleeping. Her parents woke her up and said she must clean the house because they were going to the mall. Zintle woke up and did the chores in the house. Then she had a bath. She was the strongest woman – a woman who could take pain without tears.

Zintle was an icon. She was black – a dark beauty who was being teased at school by everyone. She loved reading and writing poetry. Her dream was to become a social worker or a lawyer so she could fight for people’s rights.

Another day she went to school and some girls were teasing her about her colour. They told her she was ‘black’ because they were yellow bones.

In her class there was a newcomer, a boy called Sindiwe. He was clever, neat, generous and kind. This boy went to sit with Zintle. They became friends. It was love at first sight!

Two months later Zintle was a new girl. She was no longer that girl who used to be kind, strong and fought for what’s right. Sindiwe, her boyfriend, changed her. He made her party and drink alcohol.

On Valentine’s Day Sindiwe invited Zintle to a party. The place was packed. There were people drinking and taking drugs. Zintle drank a lot and suddenly she collapsed. They called an ambulance and took her to hospital.

Her parents came and asked the doctors questions. The mother asked, “What happened to Zintle?”

Her father said, “What is going on with our daughter?”

The doctor said, “I am sorry to say this but your daughter drank a lot of alcohol and collapsed because of it.”

“What!” the mother cried. “Zintle doesn’t drink alcohol.”

“Sorry she did. She must go to AA for teens,” said the doctor.

Her mother started crying and asked Zintle to tell her what happened. Her father went out of the room and went to his car. Her mother said to her, “I am disappointed in you. What happened to the strong, beautiful and respectful daughter I know. I hope you know the pain you caused your father and me.”

Her parents left and Sindiwe came.

“Hi babes,” he greeted her.

“Go away, it’s over,” she said. “You loved me but I was wrong. I hate you. Get out and never come back.”

She realised that her life was important and she wouldn’t gamble with her future like that. Zintle saw that boys were just a distraction and they were a bad influence on her. She saw her mistake and learned from it.

Zintle saw what was distracting her from her books. She had a message for all girls and women like her: To women who are black and are being discriminated against. Don’t mind them. You are beautiful the way you are. Don’t do things that are stupid to prove that you are beautiful. You are the most beautiful diamonds on this earth. No one is better than anyone else in this country. You can do what you want to do. You can say what you want to say because it’s a free country.