The next morning she woke up got out her room and found Mr Ndola watching TV. She went and sat next to him and asked, “Why me?”
“Because life is a bitch and it happened to have picked you to mess around.” He said as he laughed.
At that very moment, Zodwa’s spirit died. She stopped reading her father’s book of quotes and she gave up on dreams completely.
During an outreach programme done by the local clinic for the community, nurses from the local clinic came to the Ndola household. They found Zodwa alone and they informed and educated her about HIV/AIDS. They told her that it’s better for a person to know their status so as to reduce the risks of infecting others and to live a healthy, positive lifestyle.
“Have you ever had an HIV test before?” asked one of the two nurses.
“No, never,” responded Zodwa without much worry.
“Are you sexually active?” she asked looking this fragile teenager.
If you call having a grown man force himself on you every week being sexually active, then yes I am, she thought to herself but only answered, “Yes.”
“Would you like to get tested, Zodwa, to know your HIV status?” the nurse asked holding her hand gently and Zodwa nodded. After the nurses gave her a pre-counselling session, they did the test. At the time Zodwa didn’t think much of it.
A few weeks later the results came back and she was HIV positive and that was it. She went around the house looking for any pills she could get. She found a couple of bottles and drank them all. She lay down on her bed and waited for the ghost to come collect her. She cleared her mind and welcomed the feeling as the lights went out.
She was found by Mr Ndola who called for help and she was rushed to hospital. The pills were drained and she was in ICU for a long time. While she was there her father, Solomon, appeared and spoke to her in her dream.
“Many people that are not successful are those who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Who has guaranteed you that life is fair, because I sure didn’t. I know that it’s hard that’s why I was there with you, that’s why you never gave up a long time ago because me and the ghost were with you. One can’t choose how one’s life begins but one can choose to face the end with courage. It’s not about the people that hurt you but it’s about how you better yourself that counts. With what you have done do you think you have better yourself?”
Zodwa woke up from her coma and pondered over what her father said. Andrew, a local pastor on Sundays and a lawyer on weekdays came to see her a couple weeks later just to check on her. Mrs Ndola was worried about her and she was a member of his church. She had told him everything that had happened and Andrew came with the book of quotes that she had from her father.
He told her that he has never seen anything so wise and that her father was truly something special. He also told her that some of the quotes are from his favourite motivational speakers, Bishop T.D Jakes and Pastor Zondo. The quote, “With everything in life I will always be by your side. Don’t have faith in God but trust in him. Think about it and you will get it later,” was used by the bishop.
The life lived by Zodwa Africa became a motivational story used by Mr Zondo in his play, “Zero to hero”.
Tell us what you think: How important is it for a person to have a support system? What should be the punishment deserving of people like Mr Ndola?