Things were hard on my own. I ended up having my first written warning for coming in late at work and missing meetings. I couldn’t sleep. The babies slept for most of the day while they were with their grandmother and at night they were wide awake. I didn’t have time to prepare for meetings until late at night and even if I did, I woke up late.

Zandile eventually came back. I told her about my warning but all she could say was, “Sorry it won’t happen again.”

Her being back didn’t change anything. On the very weekend of her arrival from Nigeria, she went to her best friend’s wedding. She lived in another city eight hours away from where we were staying. So she had to leave Friday after work and come back Sunday. I had to stay behind and watch the kids because her aunt was also invited to the wedding.

Sunday, around eight at night I received a call.

“Hello, is this Mr Matlala?” the unfamiliar voice asked.

“Yes, who am I speaking to?”

“I am calling from the Middelburg private hospital. I’m sorry to inform you but your wife, Zandile, was involved in a car accident and is being treated at the hospital as we speak.” The lady’s voice said.

Though she wasn’t shouting, the words came at me loudly and there was that moment of impact. I didn’t know what to do.

My neighbours were both males and couldn’t ask them to watch the kids. I had to call my friend Sipho to come over with his girlfriend and watch the kids so I could go to hospital. Sipho and Thabi came and I left for the hospital.

She and her aunt were in ICU. She was bleeding excessively and running out of blood. She had a head injury and the doctors said there’s a possibility that there’d be brain damage.

There was nothing I could do but to hope and pray that she got well. That night her aunt was pronounced dead. Zandile was in a coma. The doctors couldn’t wake her up until the swelling in her brain was down. She was put on a life support machine that helped her breathe.

I received a call from the medical aid company informing me that they couldn’t pay anymore. They said they’d pay for hospital stay but not the life support machine.

In a week that machine could run up to R69 000 and at the state that Zandile was in, she was going to be in that machine for a couple more weeks. I had to go to the bank and draw out cash it was the cash from China. I had enough cash to keep her on the machine for five weeks and then it was over.


Tell us what you think: Will Zandile recover? What would happen if they ran out of money and couldn’t pay for the life support machine?