A month passes. Thulani’s life is back to normal. He’s stretched out on his bed, checking Facebook before he sleeps. Lindiwe has tagged him on a romantic post as usual. Sometimes her posts are pictures of couples with babies, sometimes love quotes. Today it’s a picture of a wedding ring with the caption “One day.”


Zothani is sitting on the floor of his bedroom, wearing only boxer shorts. The wall is cold on his back but he’s too drunk to care. There’s an almost empty bottle of Scottish Leader whiskey on the floor besides him, a cell phone on his right hand and the pocket notebook he writes on before heists on his left hand. Tears run down his face but he’s giggling at what he’s reading. He closes the notebook, calls Thulani and puts the phone on loud speaker mode.

Thulani stares at the screen until the call goes to voicemail. Zothani’s number is not saved on his phone but he knows it by memory. The phone rings two more times before Thulani answers.

“Hey big bro,” Zothani says in his usual careless tone.


“You alright?”


“Come on Thulani, don’t do that female thing of one word answers. Talk to me man!” Zothani puts the phone on the floor and picks up the bottle.

“And say what, Zothani?”

Zothani tilts his head back, clenches his teeth and wipes his face with his hand.

“I’m sorry, man. Okay? I hope they didn’t rough you up too much,” he takes another sip from the whiskey bottle.

“Haha, they did, but I’m used to it,” says Thulani with a straight face.

“Okay sharp!” Zothani quickly picks up his phone, ends the call and throws the phone at the wall. The phone shatters into pieces as he closes his eyes and hyperventilates. He is angry at himself.


When Thulani hears the call end he grips his phone tight. He takes a few slow deep breaths to calm himself and returns to Facebook. It angers him that Zothani doesn’t take what happened to him seriously, but he doesn’t want to go to that dark place.

Thulani was an A-student in high school, but after matric he decided to get a job and take care of the family instead of going to university. He rushed to be a breadwinner because Zothani’s excuse for stealing was that “the family needs to eat.” But after Thulani got a job and fed the family, Zothani continued stealing and probably will never stop until he’s dead.

Thulani looks at Lindiwe’s Facebook post and shakes his head. Normally he’d just ignore it, but today he feels he has bottled enough emotions in.

‘Babe, please stop this, I’m doing my best to find a better job and I’ll marry you as soon as I can.’ Thulani sends Lindiwe a direct message.

‘Hun, I understand your situation, that’s why I’m willing to support you financially so you can make this happen.’ Lindiwe replies.

‘I will not let you pay your own lobola! I love and respect you and your family too much to let that happen. At least you can cover the fancy wedding you want, but I must pay lobola with my own money. So please be patient with me.’


Zothani is standing in the middle of his bedroom with his gun in his hand. He lifts it slowly and points it at the side of his head. Then he pulls the trigger.


Tell us: do you think Thulani should just marry Lindiwe without worrying about the money issue?