My friend had moved to another village because there was trouble from the other villages. The men from the other village would ask me and the other children to buy them alcohol and they paid us small amounts.

One day I took the money and ran away to buy bread and polony. A long time afterwards a man approached me and asked whether I didn’t want a father. I said no, I wanted to be alone.

I asked him, “Who am I supposed to trust? Do you see family around me?” I was afraid, I didn’t trust anyone.

He then asked me whether I remembered who he was. He said it was OK, he didn’t need the money and didn’t drink anymore. He offered to take me to his home. I didn’t go, as I was afraid.

I went back to the village to the woman with the donkeys. When I arrived they were watching a movie. It was black and white, not clear. The movie was about a young boy and a girl. The girl went to a party and met a guy playing a harmonica. He stopped. She looked at him and he asked her to come up to him. They ended up both playing musical instruments. They ended up having sex and she fell pregnant.

She wanted to meet the guy again. He was dirty and the father said he didn’t like her to be around this boy. The father was shouting saying she must never be around boys again. She collapsed and gave birth while unconscious in hospital. Afterwards they told her that the baby had died. She sometimes used to hear the child’s voice while playing music. The father of the child would follow music, his name was Chris and he stayed in a children’s home and he met another boy who used to play the guitar. One day he heard music playing in the church. There was a choir and one day he went to the church and played the organ.

That was when the TV went off and I couldn’t finish watching the movie. But I felt there was hope.

Later on, I found the movie when I moved to Cape Town. I can’t remember the name, but I think it was “August” something. The story ended when the mother identified the boy in the picture and the mom and father found each other and their boy.

At the age of 11 I went to East London with Pheliso, Noeloff’s child. We waited there for 6 weeks. I was confused as I didn’t know why I was being sent away. I remember people telling me that the Western Cape was good for education. I met Tobekhaya in East London. Her children are Aphiwe and I don’t remember her daughter’s name. I stayed with them for a bit in East London.

I enjoyed staying there, it was the first time I could remember living in a big town with streets and shops. I went to pick up Aphiwe at school. There were many different people, of different races there. This was new to me.

One day Pheliso went to work and told me to stay at home and lock the door. I was alone. The neighbour arrived and asked whether I didn’t want to go to school. I said that is the one thing I wanted to do. He asked me what grade I’m in and I didn’t know. He asked me to spell my name and I didn’t know how.

I think I was 11 years old.

He said it was getting late for me and I should start soon. Pheliso came back and asked me why I was talking to a stranger, but I told her it was no stranger, but a neighbour. The next day they told me to pack my clothes. I didn’t have anything to pack and told her I don’t have clothes. The next morning we went to the train station and took the train to Cape Town. Aphiwe wanted to give me a phone as a gift but I refused as I thought his mom would mind.

I enjoyed the train ride because I was amongst new people. But I didn’t know what would happen once I was in Cape Town.

***

Tell us: Do you think the narrator would ever go to school?