Soon enough there was a scholarship for Albertina. Mariazell near Matatiele was a long way from Xolobe, but the whole village erupted. Their home girl was off to high school. She would make them proud. They threw a party like no other. The women brewed the sorghum beer and lit the fires. They slaughtered chickens and stirred up pots of meat. Albertina smiled till her face ached.
She packed her brown suitcase and polished her shoes again. Before setting off on the bus to Matatiele, she said goodbye to Shishi. Albertina brushed her coat and stroked her wiry mane. She whispered all her questions into the horse’s silky ear: What if I get lost? Will I make new friends? Will I still be clever so far from home? Shishi whinnied and stamped the ground.