But Bulelwa’s gaze was again distracted by the size of the flames that she could see. Even from this distance, they looked as if they were the height of a ten storey building!

“Those are pine trees on fire,” said Mudira, also suddenly silent, and following Bulelwa’s gaze.

They stood in silence for a moment longer and then Bulelwa reminded Mudira.

“Dangerous … afraid …? What were you talking about Mudira? What did you want to ask me?”

“The Matric Farewell,” said Mudira firmly, then she decisively turned toward her friend. “Will you be my partner?”

Bulelwa’s heart skipped a beat. She grinned broadly at first and then, as Mudira smiled back at her, Bulelwa took Mudira’s face between both her hands and kissed her gently.

Mudira pulled away for a moment. “Aren’t you afraid Bulelwa?” she asked softly. “You know how men feel about girls like us. My mom is right. It can be very dangerous.”

Bulelwa looked away, and out towards the burning hillside. Slowly she nodded.

“We won’t be stupid Mudira,” she said after a while. “But these days a lot of girls are going in groups of friends, or even just with their best friends, to the Matric Farewell.”

“I know,” said Mudira, “and this year the school is not allowing girls to take partners who don’t attend the school.”

“Absolutely!” said Bulelwa with a snort. “Especially after the way the male partners behaved last year! So badly, and it all got totally out of control! Some guys spoilt it all for everyone.”

“But we will know Bulelwa,” said Mudira, touching Bulelwa’s hand softly. “We’ll know how we really feel Won’t we? And what it really means to be finishing school in a special way, together?”

“Yes,” said Bulelwa, smiling down on Mudira, “we will. Totally.”

“Not everyone is like your brother.”

“Or like Sipho.”

“But they are pretty terrifying.”

“Yes. I know.”

“We will be careful.”

“Yes, we will,” said Bulelwa, looking down at the ground. “We will have to be. Always. We’ve both heard of the awful things that have been done to girls like us.”

“As if there is something wrong with us. And rape will fix us!”

Bulelwa looked away. She had never told anyone about Sipho. Not even Mudira. Slowly she nodded.

“I have even thought of a car,” said Mudira, feeling excited again.

“A car?” asked Bulelwa, a little confused.

“For the Matric Farewell silly,” said Mudira, laughing at Bulelwa’s puzzled expression.

“The lawyers that my mom works for own a really amazing white GT3 Porsche! They will drive us to the dance in it if my Mom asks them. I just know they will. They would fetch us as well if she asked. No-one messes with those two ladies!”

The girls were aware that smoke from the fire was blowing all around them, but they forgot about it as their lips touched and lingered passionately.

“What the hell are you two doing?!”

It was Lunga, shouting at them above the wind.

Mudira and Bulelwa pulled away from each other, their hands reaching for each other and their fingers finding each other and becoming intertwined.

***

Tell us: What is Lunga going to do now? Why does he think he has the right to behave like this?