I hear the bell ring. Do I really have to go back for my English class? Sitting behind Mr Maqubela’s old Ford bakkie in the teacher’s parking lot feels safer. But if I wait a bit for the corridors to quieten down I won’t make it in time. I certainly do not want all my class mates looking at me as I walk into class late. My last experience was awful. But if I hurry in front of everyone to get to class first I might get hurt. Who knows what these bully girls will do to me this time?

So I make my way to the reception desk. My acting skills better not let me down. “I am not feeling well. Please could you phone my dad to come and pick me up,” I tell our secretary, Miss Sixubane, as I lean forward across the counter, holding my stomach.

“What is wrong with you my darling? We can give you Panado. Are you sure you don’t want to lie down in the sick bay for a while?” She takes her glasses off and looks straight into my eyes.

“No, please I need to go home,” I say becoming a little agitated. She can see this and she asks me for my dad’s number. I think of my mother and how she used to tell me school was fun. It used to be. But now the eight hours of my day at school are a time in hell with all the bullies around me. I spend this time tearing myself up inside. Do I have the strength to go back into class?

My dad arrives at the school. He has a big smile for me and the secretary. It is strange how he smiles even when I know he can sense things are not well. “Nokuzola my child, you have not been yourself lately. Are your friends being nasty to you?” my dad asks as we drive off.

“Dad, my friends have been worse than nasty to me. I will do anything to get these pimples off my face,” I say to him. I am very emotional. I look out of the car window. We pass through beautiful neglected scenery. Nature has a way of healing itself. I wish I was the same.

He looks at me as he switches the car off at home. “I think we will need to go and see a sangoma.” There is silence after he has said this. I am not exactly too sure about the idea. I have always thought of sangomas as dirty people who do not wash. People have said the weirdest things about them and what they use to heal people.

Tell us what you think: Do you think Nokuzola will go to the sangoma?