I sit on my bed crying. I think of life without Lubabalo. He has been holding my hand in the absence of my friends. I think of the price I am paying for having pimples, for being ugly, suddenly. Some girls have them when they go through puberty. No one judges them. Why me?
I pick up a small mirror and look at my face. If it is not beauty I see, at least I should be patiently accepted as a human being. I try to smile, but I do not know how to anymore.
My father wants to have umcimbi wokuthwasa, to accept the calling to be a sangoma in the September school holidays. Is it something I will be able to pull through? I do not know.
On Friday afternoon sangomas arrive in a taxi. There is already singing as they get off the taxi outside our gate. The song is about ithongo lam, my dream about the ancestors. There are drums, dancing and singing. I watch in awe at the people dressed in beautiful, colourful outfits.
Lubabalo stands across the road and watches. I tell myself that he is only here to report back to the others at school. Who cares? I tell myself. I have a great number of people by my side today.
To my surprise our school caretaker, buti Ncedile is here. I am put at ease by his presence. He does not usually drink on weekends with the other men in shebeens, but today he is drinking. It is beautiful to see him dance with his shoes off.
I am instructed to apply white non-permanent paint to my face, neck arm and legs. One other accompanying sangoma gives me instructions. From now on I have to sleep on the floor, eat with my hands, and bathe in cold water. I do not know how I am going to keep up with the rules I am given.
At school on Monday Lubabalo does his best to avoid me. He does his absolute best to make sure I see him when he is with girls or sometimes hugging my ex-friends.
Busisiwe comes towards me at break time and she wants to shake my hand. I do not believe this. It must be a turn of events for the better. She takes my hand and holds it very tight. With her other hand she rips off my shirt cuff button. It all happens so fast. My right arm is left bare, exposing my beads. I try to break free but her group of friends come running and she calls other learners to come and see. I stand there with my heart racing. My eyes fill with tears. I cannot see clearly. When she lets go of my arm I fall down. My cheek rests in a pool of tears. I watch many feet run away.
Tell us what you think: What kind of people do you think bully others? Why do they do it?