“You shouldn’t worry so much,” Motso’s mother, Mrs Maphalala said, dishing up an extra-large helping of mutton stew for Thabi. “The Lord has blessed you for being kind. He will not take away his gift to you.”

“Thank you, Mama,” Thabi said, taking the plate. Motso’s mother was always warm and encouraging. She loved coming to visit at the house. “I hope you’re right. But Warren is Mr Katz’s flesh and blood. Surely a judge will give him the house?”

“Eish,” interrupted Motso. “I hope you don’t have to go to court. Do you know how much lawyers cost? If you lose, you could have a bill of thousands of rands to pay.”

“I saw on TV that some lawyers charge R20 000 for one day’s work,” said Sim.

Thabi paled. “R20 000? Where am I going to get money like that?”

“You can cross that bridge when you come to it,” said Mrs Maphalala. “Trust in God’s goodness, and you will be rewarded.”

“What am I going to do,” said Thabi. She felt near to tears. “I haven’t got a job, I’m going to have to move out of the place I stay at the end of the week, and now this horrible man wants to take away the house Mr Katz gave me.”

“Let me phone Mrs Paledi,” said Motso’s mom. “She teaches with me at the school. Her son Babusi is a lawyer. He’s a very nice young man. He will know what to do.”

She picked up the phone and dialled her colleague’s number. She spoke for a while. “Good news,” she said to Thabi, passing her the phone. “Her son is visiting. You can speak to him.”

Quickly Thabi explained the problem to Babusi.

“Don’t worry too much about it,” he said. “Warren will have to prove that his father wasn’t mentally competent – in his right mind – when he wrote his will.”

“But you should see his house.” Thabi said. “He must have been sick. He was like one of those people you see on the hoarder programs on TV. Nobody who was right in the head would live in a mess like that.”

“Being a hoarder doesn’t make you mentally incompetent,” said Babusi. “It sounds to me like Warren Katz is taking a chance. Take no notice until you get a lawyer’s letter. Then pass everything on to Mr Pritchard. Let him deal with it.”

Thabi felt a bit better as she ended the call.

“Has Warren been inside the house?” Mrs Maphalala asked.

“I don’t think so. His father told me they hadn’t spoken in over ten years.”

“We need to clean it out as soon as possible. If he doesn’t know his father was a hoarder, you’ve got a better case.”

“You’re right, Mama,” said Motso.

“I’ll phone the church ladies,” Mrs Maphalala said. “Many of them aren’t working. We’ll ask them to be there first thing tomorrow morning, to help you get the house cleared out.”

“But what about transport for them?” asked Thabi. “And I must feed them at least. If I can’t pay them, I must at least give them coffee and something to eat.”

“You can pay me back.” Mrs Maphalala took out her purse, and gave Thabi R900. “I trust you. Once this is all sorted, and the house is yours and the money is in your account, you can pay me back.”

Now Thabi really cried. People were so good. Even if I lose the house and the money he left me, she thought, I’ll still have what really matters in life – people who love me.


Tell us what you think: Will Thabi and the church women get the house cleared in time?