I am the youngest child of Mam’ Dlamini, as she was affectionately known. I have six more siblings as you already know, all male, except my yellow bone sister, Thandeka. Like a genuine yellow bone, Thandeka was treated with kid gloves in my family. In the eyes of my mother, she could do no wrong. She called her, ‘my lily flower.’

I had decided to stop running errands in town with Thandeka because most men avoided me like the plague while ogling her non-stop; she had more than her fair share of male admirers. She was also lucky to know her father.

So yes, she was a spoilt brat, as in, ‘uphakathi komhlane nembeleko’.

But I had eventually accepted myself as a dark-skinned black woman and proud of it! I may not be a yellow bone, but I was, and still am, a full-figured, beautiful African Queen. I have a crown of black hair, and shapely body. If you can’t accept me for me, it’s your problem. Deal with it.

I didn’t know my father. To him I was always an absence. I was never missed.

I had decided that when I married, my brother Thulani would give me away to a man. Yes, a man who would make me pregnant so that he could start a family of his own. I knew that if I didn’t give him a male heir, perhaps I would be made to try and try again, six or seven more times – my worth measured only in this.

On that fateful day as we approached the home of Gonodo, a child beckoned us to take off our shoes. It is believed that Isigodlo is a sacred place that demands respect and can’t be soiled by dirty shoes. We had been warned before that no pants are allowed. We were in our Sunday best dresses.

As we took our places on incansi, my eyes started playing tricks with me. Seated next to Gonodo was a man I was not familiar with.

However, in that split second, I concluded that he was the one. Yes, my version of Prince Charming. I have long imagined Prince Charming lifting me to the sky. He is tall, masculine, and of a darker shade. (There’s nothing as off-putting as a yellow bone man, in my opinion.)

Our eyes met. He looked me in the eye as if to say, ‘Yes, my lady, go ahead and feast on my manly presence’.

My heart skipped a beat, and he gave me shy smile … or maybe it wasn’t so shy. I lost my voice. I almost swooned, while firmly rooted on the ground. Suddenly, I panicked. I recalled my mom’s proverb: ‘The ones from Little-Fear’s kraal escape, while those from Little-Courage’s place die’.

I recoiled into a safe internal place, not wanting to cause a scene. I calmed myself and I stopped gazing at him.


Tell us: Do you believe in ‘love at first sight’ like this? What is your opinion of classifying people as ‘yellowbone’?