Song tried Mpho’s phone number six times on the way home. The phone just rang and rang and rang and eventually cut off. 

Song got home to find her mom doing the ironing and humming with her little dog, Ithuba, bouncing around at her feet, stealing socks out of the basket and growling, shaking his head like he’d caught a rat.  

Song couldn’t help but smile. But it was a tight, stressed smile. 

“Molo sana lwam’, you’re home early,” her mom greeted her. 

Song took a deep breath. She was just going to get it out straight away. “Please don’t be mad. I got suspended. It’s not my fault.” 

“iNtoni? But we decided you were going to stay in school!” 

During the holidays, Song and her mom had a huge fight about whether she should quit matric and get a full time job in the film industry to help pay the bills. 

Song explained the whole story to her. 

“I don’t understand all this technology stuff,” her mom said.  “Can’t I just talk to the principal, sort this all out?”

“It’s not enough, mama.” 

Song’s phone interrupted the conversation. She picked it up. It was Mpho’s number. Song was relieved. “Hi, are you okay?”

An angry male voice replied, “Who is this? What do you want? Can’t you just leave my daughter alone?”

“This is Song. I’m a friend of Mpho’s.”

“Are you one of the ‘friends’ phoning her at two a.m. this morning, leaving threatening voicemails, posting terrible things on Facebook about her being a slut and” the man’s voice cracked with emotion. She could hear a girl sobbing in the background. 

“No, I.” Song tried to say. But the man was so hurt and angry, he didn’t hear her.

“I wouldn’t have believed you could ruin someone’s life in less than twenty-four hours. I hope you’re happy now. We’re pulling her out of school. She’s going to the Eastern Cape to stay with her aunt for a while. Where you people can’t hurt her!” 

“Please, I don’t have anything to do with -“

“You’ve destroyed her whole life. You tell ‘Hectic Boy’ that. You’ve destroyed her.” 

The man hung up. 

Song stared at her phone, devastated. She was trying to help Mpho, but now it seemed like she’d made it worse!

Image: Sam Wilson, CC-BY

WHAT DO YOU THINK: Do you think Song is right to blame herself for what Anathi did?