“Oh no! My baby!” Ningi rushes to help Amahle get up.

“No!” Amahle slaps away her mother’s hands. She quickly stands up, puts her hand to the back of her head and runs to her bedroom crying.

“Amahle!” Ningi rushes after her, but the door of Amahle’s room slams in Ningi’s face. The key clinks in the lock. Ningi tries turning the door handle, but the door is locked. “Amahle, open the door!”

“Why? So you can beat me up?” Amahle’s voice bubbles like she’s drowning in the tears flowing down her face. She stands in the middle of her room and faces the door. Her hands are still on her head.

“Are you okay? Please let me look at your head.”

“I’ll be fine, Mom. I hope you’re happy now.”

Ningi turns around and leans against Amahle’s door. Her back slides down the door until she’s seated on the floor. “I’m trying to protect you, Amahle. Men aren’t what you think they are. They are not what you see on TV. They will lie to you, take your purity and leave you broken. Some will even take it by f-fo-force,” she stutters on that last word and starts crying.

“I’m turning eighteen in a few months, Mom! I’m going to university next year and I’ve never had a boyfriend because I respect you. You had me when you were sixteen. I’m not judging you; I’m just asking you to please be fair to me. Please try to remember what it feels like to be my age.”

Ningi closes her eyes and welcomes the memory she brushed away earlier.


It’s nineteen years earlier, and Ningi is fifteen years old. She opens the front door for uncle Tonic, her father’s friend, and greets him cheerfully. Uncle Tonic is drunk. He asks for Ningi’s father and Ningi tells him she’s home alone. Uncle Tonic pulls out the silver pistol that always forms a corner at his waist. He enters the house, locks the door behind him and commands Ningi to quickly lead him to her bedroom. Ningi asks uncle Tonic why. Uncle Tonic places the cold muzzle of the pistol between Ningi’s eyes and tells her to do what he says or she will die.

An hour later, Ningi feels like she’s in a nightmare. She removes her bloody sheets and goes to the bathroom to wash them before her parents and her big brother return. Uncle Tonic promised Ningi that if she told anyone what had happened, he would kill her and her whole family. Ningi has seen uncle Tonic shoot a person before, and she has heard stories about him killing more people and getting away with it because he is friends with a lot of police officers.

Ningi keeps the secret from everyone until her belly shows. Ningi’s mother cries in disappointment when she finds out that her daughter is pregnant at such a young age. Ningi keeps the secret until the baby is born, even after uncle Tonic is arrested for one of the murders he committed and is stabbed to death in prison. Ningi keeps the secret after the baby is born and is still doing so as she sits outside the door of Amahle’s bedroom, weeping at the memory of how Amahle had been conceived.

“I remember how it feels to be your age, Amahle,” Ningi says while crying. “I remember everything. And that is why I cannot allow you to let men ruin your life!”

An hour later, Ningi makes sure to lock all doors, the burglar guards and the gate as she leaves for work.

Amahle stays in her bedroom. She sits on her bed texting Ziyanda.

She’s getting worse, Zee.

Oh come on, Amahle, she’s not getting worse, she’s always been worse.

Lol yeah, and if I let her control my life, I’ll become just like her. I can’t let that happen. Tomorrow midday when she’s asleep, I’ll sneak out and go to the mall alone for the first time in my life.

Wooooh! SBWL a tag along, we’ve never gone anywhere besides school just the two of us.

I know. But let me do it alone first and then we’ll do it together.>

Okay love, have fun!

Amahle puts her phone away and walks to her closet to get dressed for her outing.

Tell us: What do you think about Amahle’s mother now that you know her story?