“Your Majesty! Your Majesty! Your daughter, Princess Thembelihle, would like an audience with you,” says Vusi, the king’s messenger.
“Tell her to enter!”
Vusi leaves and quickly returns with Princess Thembelihle.
“Baba, there’s an urgent matter that I’d like to discuss with you,” says Princess Thembelihle.
“Baba, why are you allowing Thobile to get married to Bhekani ahead of me? I am your oldest daughter. According to our custom I should be the one who gets married before all your other daughters.”
“Listen here, little girl! Don’t insult me in my court. Did your mother put you up to this nonsense? Did she tell you to disrespect me like this?” the king asks, shaking with rage.
“No, Baba. Mama doesn’t even know I am here.”
“You are showing me complete disrespect. Your mother has done a dreadful job raising you. Is she the one who put you up to this?”
“The problem, Baba, is that you only love Thobile. All your other daughters don’t matter to you. Just look at how perfectly you have set up Thobile’s future. But that’s not the case for the rest of us. What did we ever do to you, Baba? Is it because Thobile is the daughter of your first wife?”
“You are treading on my last nerve, Thembelihle! I’ll beat you to within an inch of your life if you carry on like this! Where do you get the nerve to tell me, the king, how to conduct my business?”
“My apologies, Baba, if what I’m saying has struck a nerve,” says Princess Thembelihle.
She casts her eyes to the ground as a sign of respect. The king isn’t fooled – and he is furious.
“Vusi!” he calls.
Vusi comes running and kneels next to the king. “Your Majesty,” he says.
“Vusi, drag this little girl out of my court before I do something I’ll regret!”
Princess Thembelihle is kicking and screaming as Vusi drags her out of the king’s court. Her mother, Queen MaNdlela, comes running out of her house when she hears her daughter screaming.
“Hey Vusi! Whose child are you grabbing with your filthy hands? Let go of my child you filthy servant!” screams Queen MaNdlela.
Vusi lets go of Princess Thembelihle. He is oblivious to Queen MaNdlela’s insults as he walks back to the king’s court. Queen MaNdlela helps Princess Thembelihle up from the ground and gently guides her to her house.
“Are you alright, Lihle? What did your father say?” she asks.
“It didn’t go well at all, Mama. Baba didn’t take kindly to what I was saying. He just instructed Vusi to drag me out of his court,” she says between sniffles and tears.
“Don’t cry, my baby. I’ll cook up another plan.”
“Your husband is the devil, Mama. He is a true devil with horns.”
“Don’t speak like that about your father!”
“It’s the truth, Mama. There’s no use hiding from the truth. How did you get married to such a hateful man?”
“Thembelihle! Stop it! I know you are angry, but trust me when I tell you I’ll make a plan.”
“Time is of the essence, Mama. Baba will send a message anytime now to the Dladla family about going ahead with the start of negotiations for Thobile and Bhekani to get married.”
“Relax, Lihle. Just watch and see, my baby. Your mother has a plan.”
Tell us: What do you think of the king’s treatment of his daughter?