Kago and Jojo sat at a table on the veranda of the cafeteria. It was a hot day, but a cool breeze was blowing and the table was in the shade. Kago pulled out a chocolate bar from his lunch box.

“Thought you might like this,” he said, handing it to Jojo.

“Thanks,” she said, breaking it in half and handing one half back to him. “Are you OK today?”


“I don’t know. This morning you seemed not quite yourself, like something had happened.”

“My dog went missing. I was trying to find him and missed the first taxi. I had to run for the next one.”

Jojo’s eyes sparkled. “You have a dog? That’s so sweet!”

“Well…you know…anyway, he’s not one of those tiny carry-around dogs. He’s big, part Boerboel.”

“Still, I love dogs! What’s his name?”


“So did you find him?”

“No, but I’m sure he’ll pitch up. He likes moving around the neighbourhood. My stupid cousin Spokes let him out. He’s so irresponsible.”

“So you live with your cousin?”

“Nyaa, I live with my Ma. It’s Spokes who lives with us.” Kago shook his head. “I don’t know why my Ma allows it. This guy is shady, always has been. He’s up to something. I know it.” Jojo sipped her cola. She looked up at Kago with her big round eyes. “I mean he has all of this money, but can’t ever really say where it comes from. And he sleeps all day and goes out at night. I think he’s stealing or something. I don’t like that stuff. People should earn a living honestly.”

Jojo covered Kago’s rough hand with her tiny soft one. “Kago, you know what? You’re really one of the good guys.”

Kago smiled just as the time-up siren went.

* * * * *

“Ma? Ma, I’m home!” Kago called when he came through the door of the house.

Spokes came in from the sitting room. He carried a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Besides the fact that he was a year younger than Kago, Spokes shouldn’t have been disrespecting his mother’s house like that.

“Your mama’s not here little boy. You want me to make you some milk and biscuits?” Spokes teased him.

“Spokes, I told you not to be smoking in the house. And you don’t need to be drinking either. Don’t you need to go to work soon?”

Spokes sat down on a kitchen chair, putting his feet up on the table and blowing smoke rings out of his mouth. “My job isn’t like yours. Our rules are a bit lax.”

“Yeah, right,” said Kago, knocking Spokes’ feet off the table. “Did you see Tiger?”

“No. Eish man! What is your issue with that stupid dog? It will come when it wants to come.”

Kago was annoyed now. “You’re the one who let it out. I told you not to let it out. Why can’t you do anything right? You’ve always been like this – failed at school, always getting expelled for fighting and shit. Even your mother kicked you out of her house. You should be happy my Ma even lets you stay here. You’d be living on the streets otherwise.”

Spokes stood up suddenly. He clicked his tongue and stormed out of the house, slamming the door. Better, Kago thought.

He waited for his mother to come home and then went around the neighbourhood looking for Tiger. It wasn’t like the dog not to come home. He hoped nothing had happened to it.

His thoughts turned to his cousin again. If Spokes didn’t live with them life would be much better. Kago didn’t understand why his mother was always helping Spokes out. Everyone could see he was no good.

* * *

Tell us what you think: Should Kago and his mother let Spokes stay in their house?