Anathi did take the first week of Karabo’s holiday off as leave — five full workdays. In fact, Anathi even switched off her phone, and left it at home while they went to a movie, ice-skating, and shopping. Karabo thought that her mother would definitely cave in eventually, but she didn’t. As the days rolled into one another, she started to look more relaxed, instead of looking freaked out about what was happening at the office.
‘I don’t know why I don’t do this more often,’ said Anathi, the day before she was due back in the office.
‘Neither do I,’ said Karabo, her voice thick with sarcasm. Anathi raised her eyebrows.
‘What?’ said Karabo, ‘You are so much fun to be with Mom, especially when you aren’t looking at your phone all the time, with that panicked look on your face,’ explained Karabo.
Anathi sat up. ‘A panicked look on my face?’ she asked. Karabo nodded.
Anathi’s eye widened in surprise. ‘Really? That sucks. It’s just so tricky. On the one hand I love my job my angel, you know that. It actually really fulfils me. But on the other hand, it’s really stressful at the same time. It comes with the territory I guess,’ said Anathi, slouching back into her chair. ‘But I didn’t realise
I looked panicked. Good grief, that’s awful,’ stated Anathi, disturbed at the realisation as she rubbed her forehead.
Karabo considered her mother. She was in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, curled up on her chair. Her perfectly manicured toes sparkled free of shoes. ‘It’s OK Mom. I kind of get it. I get nervous for a hockey match, and it makes my stomach cramp. But I still love playing the hockey game. Wouldn’t have it any other way, really,’ Karabo explained. Anathi laughed and her head fell back.
‘Karabo! You’re so funny. Yes, it’s just like that’ said Anathi, grinning, ‘Just like a hockey match that lasts twelve hours every day!’ she laughed again.
‘Now tell me, have you had any more dreams? We need to seriously talk about who you will be going to, for your training as a sangoma. I know you said it was the sangoma from the Eastern Cape, but I just, you know, wanted to ask around a bit, and I have spoken to some of your grandmother’s friends. The other sangomas she used to consult with have mentioned someone in Pretoria who would be amazing; and has helped train dozens of sangomas. I was thinking December would be ideal, if the ancestors allow…’ said Anathi, looking up at the night sky.
Karabo smiled at her mom. She knew Anathi was just trying to be helpful, but Karabo was absolutely certain that the grumpy, old (and very unfriendly) sangoma near school, in the Eastern Cape, was her teacher. She had absolutely no idea why the ancestors had determined that this particular woman was to be her teacher, but so it was.
‘Thanks Mom, but my teacher is definitely the sangoma near school. I can’t explain why, I just know,’ Karabo said.
‘The ancestors work in mysterious ways my Karabo. But I want to ask you. Have they chosen the sangoma, or have you? If you are to stay with her in the holidays, I won’t get to see you. If you
were closer, say in Pretoria, at least I would be able to see you,’ urged Anathi, her voice carrying a hint of hurt. Karabo stood up and walked over to her mother, bending over her and hugging her small frame. ‘Honestly Mom. I promise I would never choose a grumpy sangoma over you. Especially not this one. She is actually really foul-mouthed and rude. She swears at William all the time. But she’s been chosen for some reason, and I have to go with it. You of all people know that,’ said Karabo, releasing her mother and looking into her eyes.
‘Yes, I get it. But I had to check. Selfish mother stuff,’ she explained, sniffing as she wiped under her eyes. Karabo was not the first in her family to be called by the ancestors. In fact, Karabo came from a long line of sangomas. Anathi hadn’t been called, much to the disappointment of her sangoma mother. This had led to Anathi seeking recognition through her career as a lawyer, driven to succeed and show her worth.
‘I love you Mom,’ assured Karabo, hugging her mother again. ‘There is something else though…’
‘Yes?’ asked Anathi. ‘I’ve had a new dream.’
Karabo wasn’t sure how to explain her recent dream. She fumbled with her hands.
‘Karabo, what’s wrong? You can tell me anything,’ said Anathi, sitting up and leaning towards Karabo as she squeezed her arm reassuringly. Breathing out deeply, Karabo began to describe her dream: how she and the sangoma had been trapped in the dream every night — until she’d managed to interpret the dream with Jez’s help. She still didn’t know why it was important to know William’s ancestry, but had no doubt that the sangoma or ancestors, would reveal its importance in time. She still felt puzzled, and curious to find out more.
Anathi was fascinated. ‘So, you met William’s mom, Jessabelle?’ Karabo nodded.
‘I also met her briefly when she met with Cedric. He asked me to be there as his lawyer, because he was worried that she was possibly still in contact, or even working with, Edward,’ Anathi explained. ‘Once we met her, we realised she hates that man even more than we do!’
‘I know,’ Karabo agreed. Anathi continued,
‘It was so strange to meet her, as William’s mother and Edward’s wife. I was expecting to meet this tall Amazonian, meantime she is this gorgeous petite French woman! You can really see where William gets his good looks from,’ jibed Anathi, winking at Karabo who pulled a face of disgust in return.
‘Whatever Mom. The point is that Jez has royal heritage, albeit it out of wedlock, and Edward only married Jez to get land in Madagascar! Then, when he found out that Jez’s heritage meant nothing in today’s Madagascar, he got rid of her,’ said Karabo. ‘Basically, Edward threatened to kill her if she didn’t leave him and the kids,’ she said.
‘That guy is pure evil!’ said Anathi, shaking her head. ‘Men. So disgusting!’ she spat, before a sadness crossed her face. Karabo sensed that her mother was referring to her own father — a subject they seldom covered. Karabo knew that her father had taken a job in London, rather than committing to his then-pregnant girlfriend Anathi. Karabo knew he paid for her schooling, and what he looked like (she stalked him on social media), but no more than that. He basically didn’t exist in her world.
‘So, Edward English wants land in Madagascar, does he?’ Anathi said, thinking aloud.
‘Of course he does, Mom. Remember his whole Libertalia fetish? How he wants to start another free colony for pirates and the like,’ said Karabo, almost laughing at the idea.
‘Hmmmm…’ said Anathi, deep in thought. ‘Yes, I remember now. I feel like there is something in this. I’ve got a meeting with Cedric tomorrow, so I’ll chat to him then,’ she said, before scratching her head and announcing it was bedtime. Karabo yawned in agreement.
Question: Do you think Anathi and Karabo have a good relationship?