Zelwande throws herself on the bed. She gets under the covers and wails. Thobani is at a loss for words. He is deeply disappointed that his mother and sister have been so insulting to the woman he loves. And worse, that they still want to choose Noxolo for him.
“It’s true, Thobani, I don’t deserve you. You need a learned woman from a rich family. Not someone poor like me,” says Zelwande from under the covers.
Thobani gently moves the duvet away and holds Zelwande in his arms. “Don’t speak like that. Please calm down. Everything will be alright. I’ll speak to Ma and Snothile about this.”
“Thobani, we can’t get married. Your family hates me! They want you to marry Noxolo! And how come you never told me about her?”
“Noxolo is just a friend. I’ve never had romantic feelings for her. My love, we promised each other that we’ll never let anything come between us.”
“This is different, Thobani. We are talking about your family here!”
“That doesn’t mean anything. We’ll get through this.”
“We can’t get married under these conditions.”
Thobani bursts into tears. “Don’t speak like that, my love.”
“How will we get married without your mother’s blessing?”
“I’ll speak to Ma.”
“This is hard, Thobani. I don’t think I can take it.”
They stare into each other’s eyes and wipe away each other’s tears.
“Don’t be discouraged by all of this, my love. You and I will get married and have many children, who’ll be as beautiful as their mother.”
Zelwande smiles although her heart still feels like it has been sliced into pieces by Mrs Khumalo’s words.
The mood is sombre at breakfast the following day. Thobani leaves early for a meeting. Zelwande still can’t get over how Mrs Khumalo looked down on and insulted her. Senzo has barely touched the cereal in front of him.
Suddenly the kitchen door flings open. It’s Mrs Khumalo and Snothile!
“Yes little girl.” Mrs Khumalo stares straight into Zelwande’s eyes.
“Can’t you get it through your thick ugly head that we don’t want you to marry Thobani?” says Snothile.
“Senzo and Aphile – go to your rooms right now!” says Zelwande. Senzo goes out but tiptoes back to the passageway. He is far enough not to be seen but close enough to hear what is being said.
Mrs Khumalo cocks her head to the side. Her cruel demeanour has turned her beautiful face ugly. “So those stray kittens have rooms in my son’s house now?”
“I love Thobani, Ma,” pleads Zelwande.
“Listen here. We will give you R100 000 if you leave right now and never contact Thobani again,” says Snothile.
“What did I ever do to you to deserve such hatred?” Zelwande sobs.
“It’s your decision. Either you take the money or something bad will happen to you.”
“I love Thobani, not his money. I’d love him even if he had nothing. Please believe me.”
“This is not a discussion. Take the money and leave. We can’t have Thobani marry you! I have worked too hard to have my only son marry an uneducated girl from the shacks!”
“I can’t leave Thobani. I love him.”
“I hope you understand who you are up against,” says Mrs Khumalo, banging the kitchen door shut.
Senzo tiptoes back to his room and sits on his bed. He thinks long and hard, and decides that he will definitely keep the money he has been stealing bit by bit from Thobani, and sell Thobani’s watches. That way he and Aphile can have something to live on if things don’t go according to Zelwande’s plan.
Thobani is livid when Zelwande tells him that his mother and sister offered her money to leave him, and threatened her.
“Zelwande you have to trust me when I say I’ll fix this. Start making preparations for the wedding,” says Thobani.
Tell us: Do you think Thobani will be able to change the minds of Mrs Khumalo and Snothile?