It is dusk as Delani enters Bhekani’s room.
“What a pleasant surprise! I wasn’t expecting you at all. How are you, my love?”
“I am well. I was just missing you. When I saw that it was late and you hadn’t come to visit I decided to come check on you,” says Delani.
“I wanted to come but was hesitant. I was worried that you mother may grow suspicious because we are always together in your hut. So I decided not to come today.”
“That’s true, I also worry sometimes. I’m afraid to even think what would happen to us if someone found out that we are lovers.”
“I can’t bear the thought of losing you, my Delani. I’ll die where you die.”
“Do you promise me?”
“Please trust me. This love of ours will shine until death do us part.”
“That’s also my promise to you, Bhekani. I love you and I trust you, my love.”
“I’m so happy to hear that, love of my life.”
“Bhekani, I was thinking.”
“Go on. What were you thinking?”
“Why don’t we run away from this place?”
Bhekani sits up on the bed. “No, Delani. Where would we go?”
“I don’t know, but what I know is where there is love there is a way.”
“I know that. But–”
Bhekani’s mother enters the room. She’s in a bad state; there is redness in the whites of her tearful eyes.
“Mama! What’s wrong?”
Bhekani puts his arm around her shoulder.
“Hawu! How could they kill my niece in such a brutal way!” screams MaKhuzwayo.
“Talk to me, Mama. Who got killed?”
“My niece was sent to the king to be killed! They said she is a bad influence in the clan! She was hung from a tree!”
“Which niece is this?” asks a shocked Delani.
“Nokubonga? Why, Mama? What happened?”
“Yes, Nokubonga. It was found out that she is lesbian. The king doesn’t want homosexuality in his clan. So they hung her from a tree! What a hateful king!”
Delani and Bhekani shed silent tears. It is clear to them that they’ll also be found out soon. The mood has turned sour in the room. The love that was blowing in the wind just moments ago has disappeared.
“So what happened to the other girl, Nokubonga’s girlfriend?” asks Bhekani as he wipes away his tears.
“Oh, my son! Her family tried to run away, but the king’s soldiers caught up with them as they were about to leave their home. The soldiers killed her and the rest of her family.”
“My God! Such hatred for fellow human beings! I don’t understand what is wrong if people of the same sex are in love with each other,” says Bhekani.
“Don’t speak like that, Bhekani. Do you also want to die? The king would kill you if he heard you speaking like that! I have to send word to our relatives,” says MaKhuzwayo as she gets up and leaves.
There is a shocked silence in the room. Both Bhekani and Delani are deep in thought. They know that eventually the spear of death will also point squarely at them. Neither of them wants to suggest that they break up. Delani feels Bhekani’s hand tightening around his. They cuddle, trying to comfort each other with tears. All hope of one day being accepted in their society for who they really are is completely obliterated.
“We have to be careful from now on,” says Bhekani.
“Yes. If they found out about–”
“Don’t even think that, Delani.”
“Maybe we should only see each other at night from now on.”
“We just have to be careful. I don’t think it would be suspicious if we still saw each other during the day. People know that we have always been friends.”
“I know that but I don’t want us to make a mistake. The king’s spies could be anywhere.”
Tell us: What do you think Bhekani should do?