Qingqiwe, her grandfather, raised horses. His favourite was Shishi, a glossy black mare. As soon as Ntsiki was old enough, he hoisted her on to the saddle in front of him. His strong arms reached around her. He laced the reins through her fingers.

He taught her to talk softly to Shishi, to groom her with a hard bristled brush. When she stroked its glossy coat, Albertina whispered, “You are the most beautiful creature. Thank you for letting me ride on your back.”

Her father, Bonilizwe, came home from the mines at Christmas. Ntsiki pulled herself up onto Shishi’s broad back. She rode out to meet him at the bus stop. Ntsiki sat tall and straight. Her knees held firm. She handled the reins with gentle fingers.

How proud Bonilizwe was of his daughter. The biggest smile Ntsiki had ever seen covered her father’s face.