It is the day of the SRC elections. I am standing up on stage as Busisiwe and her friends boo and catcall. I look down to see Lubabalo amongst them, the loudest of all of them.

I am a little shaky holding my speech, I take deep breaths in and out. Out of the corner of my eye I see buti Ncedile. He is standing just outside our main hall as I start with my speech.

“I am a child of God first. Your actions of late have done no good, they have hurt and scarred me inside. What if any one of you was in my position, would you accept the treatment you have given me? My manifesto does not contain in detail what I will do if you vote me onto the SRC. But should that opportunity come, I would ask you to step back and look at what you have done. To see how you have bullied me and made me suffer. These are acts that cannot be justified – please stop.”

There is silence and then the clapping starts. To my surprise the outgoing SRC members start a standing ovation. I can feel all the eyes in the hall looking at me as I sit down. The SRC candidacy does not bother me anymore. I know the bullies won’t vote for me. But I have done the right thing and a brave thing. I look up and see buti Ncedile smiling.

Our principal is to read the names of those that made it and are voted onto the SRC. I know my name is not on this list. The girls in my class spent a lot of time making this clear to me after my speech. He reads out the names and the girls and boys jump up with joy as they go onto the stage.

He spends a long time saying what the role of the SRC president is. Then he announces the SRC president and head girl: Nokuzola Judith Mamali. Wow, that girl must be happy. I see everybody looking at me. What, has he just said my name? Phelisa whispers in my ear, “Yes, that was your name.” I do not believe it. I walk up to the stage. The learners are screaming “speech, speech, speech.” Our principal whispers into my ear, he wants to know if I will be saying anything. I kindly take the microphone. A song breaks out from the back row in the hall

Thina sihamba noNokuzola thina
Nok’zola thina
Thina sihamba noNokuzola thina
Nok’zola thina

We are going with Nokuzola – we are.

The song goes on for a while until our principal asks the learners to give me time to speak.

“Thank you for voting for me. I look forward to working with you all in your matric year and to making it exciting. I must say I did not expect this.”

“You deserve it.” A boy shouts from the back row as I conclude my short speech.

I run outside to buti Ncedile and hug him.

“What happened Nokuzola? Why do you have the whole school behind you?” he asks pretending not to know.

“I have been elected SRC president,” I say as I feel my feet leaving the ground. The first team rugby captain, Siphelo, lifts me up on his shoulders.

From here I must say the view is beautiful.

I look down only to see Lubabalo. He looks at me with disbelief and misery. I see others run towards him and he puts on this act, pretending to be honestly cheering. So I leave Lubabalo for a long time. I don’t know what he is thinking or what he must really feel about me.

For our first task I ask the SCR members to work on a bully free school. We come up with a one liner on bullying. “Don’t Bully, Make Friends.”

We have it printed and stuck on every locker in the school, we also have it displayed on the schools’ bill board.

The pimples are slowly going away, a big thank you to buti Ncedile and my father. I now can enjoy my life again.

Now I don’t worry anymore about hiding my beads. Many pupils at school ask me where they can get beads like mine, thinking it is a fashion. I tell them I am ithwasa, a trainee sangoma.

At netball practice I now wear my short sleeve shirts and beads without fear.

Tell us how you enjoyed this story. Would you like to have more like this?