Analo couldn’t stop smiling when she got home. She wasn’t the same girl. Something inside her felt like it had changed. She threw her schoolbag on the couch and went to the kitchen to help her mother with the dishes.

“You must have had a great day at school,” her mother said, giving her the cloth to dry up. “I haven’t seen that smile for a while.”

“Yes Mama, I played soccer today in the break. Everyone was impressed, they couldn’t believe I could play! To be honest, even I was surprised how good I was, because I haven’t kicked around with Tata for ages,” Analo said, excitedly.

“Really?” Nomalizo asked.

“Ewe Mama. And I have an indemnity form for you to sign,” Analo said, grinning. The corners of her mouth stretched to her cheekbones.

“And the tutoring. How did it go?” her mother asked.

Analo’s excitement worried Nomalizo. She had expected her to come home excited because she understood the physics and chemistry in Natural Science– not because she had discovered soccer. What if soccer distracted Analo from improving her marks?

“The tutoring was okay. But it will take time for me to understand everything. So, will you sign the form for me, Mama?” Analo said. She could sense that her mother was unhappy.

“Analo, you can’t play soccer and attend tutorial sessions at the same time my child.”

“But Mama, I will play only on Wednesdays,” Analo pleaded. “The tutoring is on Tuesdays and Thursdays”

“Molweni. Play what?” Her father, Thobela walked in, back from work.

Thobela worked as an armed guard for SBV. Thobela and Nomalizo had not been able to finish school because they had Analo while they were both in Grade 11. Thobela had to drop out of school and look for work to make ends meet because they both came from financially struggling families.

So now, her parents lived through the achievements of their only child. She had the chances they never had. They took a keen interest in everything Analo did. There was nothing in the world Thobela wanted more than to see his daughter graduate one day. He would boast to his friends that she would be the first chemical engineer in the family, and what’s more, a girl chemical engineer at that.

“Molo Tata. Ibhola. And I am good at it. You should have seen me play today,” Analo said.

“Hayi, iincwadi zinabani? Wena, you need to focus on your studies,” Thobela said.

“Please, Tata. I will play on Wednesdays only.”

“Analo, ndithi hayi. My word is final.” He sat down on the couch, saying, “Do you have anything to eat ready, Noma? I’m starving.”

Analo knew very well that it wasn’t easy to change her father’s mind. ‘No’ to him meant ‘No’. Her excitement was fading fast, being wiped away by her father’s words and her mother’s disapproval. She picked up her schoolbag and locked herself in her bedroom.

“Analo, you know I don’t want any rooms locked. Open that door now!” Thobela called after her.

Analo opened the door and curled herself up on the bed.

Thobela came into the bedroom and sat next to her. “Analo I am not trying to be hard on you my child. You are my daughter and I want all the best for you. But school must come first. I don’t want to hear anything about you playing soccer,” Thobela said. “If you don’t do well now you will never succeed and get what you have always wished for. Picture it – working for a big firm as an engineer; the first person to graduate in our family.”

But the trouble was Analo couldn’t picture it. She wasn’t even sure if she wanted it, or if she ever had.

When her father left the room Analo took the indemnity form out and she signed on the dotted line where a parent or guardian was supposed to. Her mother’s signature was easy to copy.


Tell us: How do you feel about Analo forging her mother’s signature in this case?