[The whole family is sitting at the table.]

Abongile: We are going to tell you the truth now. It is a sad tale, but you’re old enough to hear it.

Sizwe: Yes, it’s time you knew your past. Umm, where do we begin?

Abongile: From the beginning. (Takes a deep breath). We were born by Nomtandazo and Sipho Sokhulu. As we grew up, we discovered that they were involved in witchcraft.

Anathi: What? How?

Sizwe: Every night they brought different people in the house and killed them in front of us.

Andisiwe: Wait, wait, wait…they killed people?

Abongile: Yes. They killed innocent souls each and every day. They believed in a mermaid that made them do evil things. The mermaid would tell them who to kill. They had a strong muti and powers.

Thabo: How did it all start? Why did they do such things?

Sizwe: I don’t know. What I know is that in return they would get powers and wealth. Powers which stated they would never die.

Anathi: Oh my word!

Abongile: They were obsessed with this thing. My father abused me in front of my mother (nearly in tears). My mother, who was supposed to take care of me, would ignore my cry.

Anathi: (Starting to console her mom) Shhh!!

Thabo: He beat you in front of your own mother?

Abongile: (burst into tears) He’d rape me in front of her. The only thing that my mother would say is “He’s infertile now, he won’t make you pregnant.”

Andisiwe: Oh Lord! Dad, where were you all this time?

Sizwe: They always locked me in the basement. It saddens me that I could not help my sister.

Abongile: Even when they butchered people in the basement, our job was to clean the mess (the blood).

Andisiwe: What a traumatizing situation! How old were you then?

Sizwe: I was 16 years old then. I knew nothing, and you sis?

Abongile: I was 10 years old. I’d cry and cry and they’d only tell me to stop making a noise or else they’ll chop all my fingers.

Anathi: Your parents would say that to you? How cruel!

Sizwe: They treated us as if we were outsiders or strangers. I remember when their mermaid asked them to kill their own blood. They were so angry that when they were about to kill me, the mermaid showed up and told them to stop. It wanted a new baby, fresh blood, a son!

Andisiwe: And they couldn’t conceive right?

Thabo: If the mermaid didn’t show up, they were going to kill you?

Sizwe: Yes, they would have slaughtered me too. They were even angrier because they couldn’t have a baby.

Anathi: Where were you mom (worried)?

Abongile: I was there, crying and screaming. They tied me on a chair so that I couldn’t disturb them.

Sizwe: Since they could not kill me, they cursed me.

Andisiwe: (shocked) How do you mean?

Sizwe: They said every daughter of mine will never be able to conceive. Every son of mine will suffer a terrible misfortune.

Andisiwe: (shocked) What?? So this explains why I cannot fall pregnant (bursts into tears).

Anathi: (consoles her sister) I’m sorry sis. Please don’t cry.

Abongile: After the curse, they untied and undressed me. They forced Sizwe on top of me. They told us that the child I’ll give birth to will be butchered for the mermaid (cries).

Anathi: Oh my God! This is bad, sad. Where is the poor child?? What happened to him?

Sizwe: The mermaid couldn’t wait any longer and our parents then suffered a traumatic death. The boy is alive.

Anathi: Where is he?

Abongile: The boy is here with us, it’s Thabo.

Thabo: (shocked) What did you just say?

Abongile: I was still 6 months pregnant with you when my parents died. I decided to keep you even though you were cursed. I couldn’t kill my son (continues crying).

Thabo: All these years I’ve been struggling, but still you kept quiet. Why mom, dad?

Sizwe: I understand that you’re angry son, but I wanted to tell you when you’re old. We needed to be ready because it’s not easy to say such things.

Anathi: This explains everything. What do we do now?

Sizwe: We’ll have to go and see that healer.

Abongile: We took all our parents’ medicines and everything they used to kill those innocent souls back to the mermaid, and after some months it was all in the newspapers that the evil mermaid had been killed.

(there is a knock on the door)

Andisiwe: I’ll get it. (Opens the door, Phello enters.)

Phello: The whole truth has been revealed, Thabo! Stand up and walk.

Thabo: (confused) I can’t walk.

Phello: I said stand up and walk.

Thabo: (stands up) Oh my God! I can walk! (he cries.)

(everyone is happy for him)

Anathi: (teasing him) Are you a cry baby now?

Thabo: (dances) My sister, these are the tears of joy!

Phello: Andisiwe, you will now be able to conceive.

Sizwe: (excited) Are you sure?

Phello: Your ancestors have been watching. They made sure that nothing goes wrong in this house, but they only wanted you to tell the children the truth so that they could live free.

Andisiwe: (smiling) Thank you.

(the healer leaves and they all hug each other)

[The conversation ends.]