So let me tell you a little story about how I met my stepmother. I’m not trying to sound cheesy or make it look like I’m trying to bad mouth someone. What you all need to know is that I once met this woman. She seemed like a sweet person, always smiling and beautiful. Little did I know that this woman was going to make my life a living hell. Little did I know that I was welcoming a monster into my life.

I didn’t know that people change overnight, I was young and innocent. I didn’t have any power to fight her. My father would never want to hear anything I said when it came to that woman. Part of me feels like this woman had used some kind of love potion on my dad. My dad used to be fierce and feisty — this woman tamed him. He danced to every beat that this woman played. How I wish somebody woke my dad while there was still time. This is a memoir and I would like to take it from where it began.

My parents broke up a few years ago and my mother moved back to my grandmother’s house. My little sister Gemini and I decided to stay with our father. My grandmother shouted too much and was very paranoid, we found it quite boring to be around her. We enjoyed having our room, hence we decided to stay behind with our father. My father used to take care of us, cook and clean. It was very funny seeing a strong man like my dad standing in front of a stove. Days went by and my father got tired of doing the house chores by himself. Gemini was only six years old at that time. We started sharing chores with my dad, although it was difficult as my mother used to do everything for us.

One evening we were playing in our room as usual with my little sister and my father walked in.

“Mndozi!” my father shouted my nickname.

My father gave it to me as I was very skinny growing up. A mosquito in IsiZulu is ‘Umndozolwane’. We soon stopped playing with my sister as we heard our father’s footsteps approaching.

“Hey guys, I’m here to tell you that Octavia has passed on,” my father broke the news of our grandmother’s death. I could not answer him as I was still in shock. My father knew I was a kid of few words and left us to digest the news properly.

Elders prepared for the funeral and Octavia was buried with dignity. At that time none of this made sense. After the funeral my cousin, Sbonelo, decided to come stay with us. We enjoyed having him around because we did not have an older brother.

My father started going out a lot, it must have been stress. He was drinking too much and always came home late. He later realised that he was neglecting us and hired a nanny for the three of us.


Tell us: Do you have someone close that you consider a brother or sister?