I am a born actor. I am always on stage. You think I love acting? You believe I am one of the Hollywood greatest actors? So where are my fans?

Situations beyond human control throw me on stage daily and I start obeying, like nature obeys the law of gravity. I act daily, and both the young and elders buy into my story. I act for no payment because that is my life. It’s my camouflage. I let the waters run still, yet underneath the still waters, there is a raging storm.

Anger, bitterness, depression and worry will eat at me to the last bit of my existence. They are my daily bread on my life’s menu. Tears are my 100% fruit juice to wash down my sorrows. I cry myself to sleep daily.

Born in a family of three, I am the first born to my maternal parents, yet the fifth on my step dad’s side. Apartheid came to an end and June 16 1976 is marked the youths’ strength and endeavours to overpower, topple and destroy inequalities in education. Yes, they tried and made history.

What about me? Whose wars am I busy fighting? Some things remain history in people’s lives. We ask questions, but there are no answers to those great questions. The question about our father is one mystery.

People confuse my grinning for me being genuinely happy. That ‘smile’ is my strategy to scare away screaming. They always encourage us in our daily lives to count our blessings, but I have none except the hurricanes in my life. The root-cause being my so called mother’s marriage. It’s a nightmare to talk about such matters as a child. Why should I talk about it? Or why should I expose such an ordeal to the universe?

My gut feeling tells me someone might be in such a scenario and needs comfort, so let me just spill the beans.

My mother took me and my two siblings into her new marriage. There were now five children in her new marriage.

How interesting? The first four were way older than I. That first born was almost my mom’s age. I wonder why she lacked so much respect for herself. Remember I said before, I was number five in this family when our ages are ranked.

Fine details matter no more, except just causing me pain, frustration and hatred. My name is Dikeledi, meaning tears or meekness. My life is a life of tears, it’s a horror movie. I try to be meek daily, but I pray I will not break down one day. I cry because I cannot help it anymore. It’s the order of the day.

Yes, the new father was there, but he was absent due to the nature of his work. My mother lived in hell in this world in her so-called ‘marriage’. I swear, I will never get married. My mother suffered abuse, poverty, hatred and you name it.

Those girls we found in this marriage were ‘she devils’. We never had a bite before sleeping. Not that food was not there, but the heart of giving was far from existence to my step-sisters.

They had an upper hand on what happens in this family, especially with our step-father always on the road as a truck driver. However, once in a while, he would pop in to give us enough food, but thanks to the ‘she devils’ we didn’t eat much of it. We could see it and enjoy it with our eyes, poor Mahlomola and Hope, my siblings. They were too young to understand the logistics.

A few spoonful’s of soft porridge would daily take us to a few spoonful of rice or 2-3 morsels of pap. Yet we kept a smile on our starving selves.

Hildah my mother, one day decided to end her abusive marriage. This happened after our step-dad had blasted her to near death after his DRC trip. Of course it was after my step sister Mara had lied to our father that my mother was not giving them enough food and was cheating on him.

Mara was crueller and sly, more than the devil or queen witch. And do you think my mother told people that she was beaten to near death? She claimed that she slipped and fell then hurt herself. I hated her lies because at school we were taught to speak out. Sorry for the disrespect, according to my mother, but I spoke out and we were placed in a place of safety. Thanks to my LO teacher, Mr Langa, who taught me to speak out when one’s life is threatened.

Yet still, even at school, we kept smiles like all is well. Some teased us about staying in a home, yet we pretended we see no offence in it, although behind those smiles we had big scars.


Tell us: What would you do in Dikeledi’s position?