The aftermath of the whole situation made things bitter in my house. My father’s ego was badly bruised, and had to be nursed back to health by my mother. All the while, I had to endure the blame.
For weeks, I felt unwelcome in the house, except for my mother’s warmth. My father would nag about every little detail, and would pick a fight at every possible turn.
All the while, the only thing that occupied my mind was Lesedi. Three weeks had passed since the embarrassing event. I was lonely and in a bad space, and I’d partially given up on life. Here I was, jobless, without a tangible future prospect, and without the love of my life.
But one Thursday night, Mr Ray Makhura came bearing good news.
It was cold and the wind hissed and howled outside. Suddenly, we heard a sharp, unexpected knock at the door. I leapt to go open.
“Ahh, just the man I came for,” he said softly, with a gleaming smile.
“Long time no see, old man,” I said, with a sullen face.
“Hard times huh kid? Don’t worry, an incredible opportunity has availed itself, and I know it’s too lucrative to turn it down.” He withdrew a folded letter from his blue, formal trousers. “Here, I know you can read a few words.”
I read all the dizzying sentences, including, ‘… we are taking on new hands at the Hoffenheimer mines. Work is to commence on the 21st of March 1977.’
I excitedly jumped about, and rushed to hug Ray. I was thankful of the opportunity, which came at a dire moment, a rut in my life.
“I don’t know how I can thank you, old man. Is this the real deal?” I asked eagerly, recalling the disappointment of my first stint of Joburg living.
“I assure you, boy. With this you’ll build yourself a happy family soon. I have high hopes. This is mining we’re talking about. You’ll be definitely breaking bread for years to come,” he said, while he vehemently shook my hand with a smile full of holes and crooked yellow teeth.
I tried to offer him a celebratory drink, but he proceeded to head out to deliver the news to another young man, across the village. So, I kept to the company of my mother, who was overwhelmingly excited over the news, and the nonchalant face of my father, at the supper table.
I had written many letters to Lesedi, without response, since our visit with my uncles. But I had now decided that in a day’s time, I would be leaving, however painfully it would tear me to never see her again.
so I wrote a detailed letter, proposing that we meet on the day of my departure, so that we could start a new life, without the intervention of our parents. I made it clear that if we truly loved each other, this was a test, and we could go through it. I said that if we were truly meant to be, she’d show up at the place where we first met.
It was Sunday afternoon, on the 20th of March, 1977. Having said my goodbyes to my beloved mother and father, and my two adorable little sisters, I headed out into the scorching sun. I dragged two heavy bags across the unpaved pathway, and headed to the tree where I had met my love.
All the while, at the back of my mind, I had come to the resolve that I would never return home if I didn’t make something of myself in Joburg, given that I knew how the old man would coldly receive me. The hunter in me was too eager and hungry nonetheless, for success.
And as for Lesedi, I had to some extent bought into the reality that her love was too far out of reach.
But when I approached our place of meeting, miraculously, there she was! She had only one bag with her, and was crouching against the tree, lost in thought.
“By the gods!” I gasped. “I really thought I’d never see you again.”
We hugged tightly, and both sobbed.
“I’m sorry about my father. And for not answering the letters,” she said, staring with watery eyes.
“I love you. Let nothing ever separate us. Do you hear me, my love?” I said, holding her waist tightly, while I gently wiped away her tears.
We hitch-hiked, leaving for Johannesburg in the back of a white van, beaming into a new life of promised milk and honey.
Tell us: What do you think of Lesedi running away from her wealthy family to be with Kamogelo?