I even wonder if the church knew where we even stayed, because I don’t remember anyone coming to our matchbox room except our non-judgmental few friends. Not judgmental that we were ever on stage acting wearing masks of happiness, no. No one knew about that. Remember we were acting on stage, the ‘It is well’ soapie.

‘The poet and the bible reciter lost their mother and brother’. That is how the message reached the ears of the pastor. People did not even know our simple names. Anyway, it did not matter. What matters is that God hears and answers prayers. The pastor and his wife were the first ones to arrive at the scene of our tragedy. Who told and directed them is a mystery to this day. I just thanked the Good Samaritan who did it.

Hey! It’s not good to act all the time. For the first time I screamed and cried my heart out. I am so convinced that I cried for all the years I had been on stage acting ‘It is well with my soul’. I never knew that genuine tears are sweeter than fake smiles and work in a magical way.

When they say, ‘Your gift will find you a place’, they are saying the truth. Through poetry and reciting bible chapters and verses our mother and our naughty brother who died a shameful death, were sent off in a dignified way which we never thought of. Believe me, we never paid even a cent towards this great and sorrowful event. I do not even blame Mahlomola, my late brother. He was trying to find a way to live and didn’t pretend as we were doing. He only gave up too early.

For the fact that we did not know anyone from both maternal and paternal parents, the good pastor took us in to stay with them in their house. Patience pays.

My smile is now a reality, a genuine smile. Unlike Hope and me, who smiled instead of cried; he cried out by involving himself with gangsters.

I am only 17, but I have been to hell and back. My message to those who have scars, but are hidden behind those smiles of theirs. I say open up, find someone to confide in before death takes you earlier than you think, or before you fail to fulfil your dreams like my dear mother, Hildah.

Masks are good for covering up what you don’t want people to know, but they will take you straight to the grave before you know it. Acting is good, but being on stage for the wrong reasons is like taking poison and expecting your neighbours to die. Open up, shout, and seek help. I got it, although too late. However, they say, better late than never. If you have a talent, don’t sit on it, for it is not a chair to sit on. Let it find a space for you in society. I love poetry and I want to say something concerning my scars:

Scars behind that smile
I smiled when I was drowning,
I walked away when someone teased me.
I praised others for their great work and
I acknowledge that I am no saint,
Yet for God I kept working.
For God Almighty through my voice
Praising Him with poems.
That is the voice that the people remembered,
The voice that helped us send off my great mother Hildah,
The sweet voice that helped us send off our poor Mahlomola.
For their souls in peace to rest.
Money, yes we might have, or not
But I assure you this,
Death is a bride to every home.
So be warned, the bride’s next stop is by your house,
So, how will you welcome that bride?

***

Tell us: What do you think of Dikeledi’s journey?