They rush into the car. Nobuhle tries to think of something to say to bring Sqiniseko back to some kind of sense but nothing suitable comes to her mind. She fears that the wrong word may send him off the edge and he may crash this speeding car before they get to Sthembiso. She does her best to stay calm, but her heart is hammering in her chest.

They arrive at Sqiniseko’s house. Nobuhle sees Sthembiso playing in the neighbour’s yard. She leaps out of the car and runs to her baby. Sthembiso runs towards Nobuhle. Both mother and son smile, but when Sthembiso reaches Nobuhle he runs past her to hug Sqiniseko behind. Her heart breaks; her child does not recognise her anymore!

Nobuhle looks around, hoping to see a neighbour who can help her disarm Sqiniseko of the gun she knows he keeps. She sees no-one. She looks back to Sqiniseko and Sthembiso. They have disappeared into the house. Nobuhle fears the worst as she follows father and son.

Sounds of laughter greet her as she steps inside. Sqiniseko and Sthembiso are on the sofa, both are laughing. But Sqiniseko’s laughter is coupled with tears. This sight touches Nobuhle in an emotional place she thought she no longer had for Sqiniseko. She sits next to them. Sthembiso frowns at Nobuhle. Sqiniseko hands Sthembiso to Nobuhle but the baby screams.

“I’m sorry. You deserve a better man than me,” Sqiniseko sobs. Nobuhle is also sobbing.

“I want to let you and Sthembiso go … but it is hard!” Sqiniseko is wailing now. “I can’t live without you!”

Nobuhle is rocking Sthembiso, who is slowly warming up to her. She looks up and sees Sqiniseko enter the main bedroom. Nobuhle follows with Sthembiso, to find Sqiniseko on the bed, kneeling as if in prayer, his back to them.

Cautiously Nobuhle goes closer – only to see a gun in front of Sqiniseko. He picks it up, points it at his temple.

“Don’t do it, Sqiniseko!” Nobuhle screams. The baby cries; she can feel Sthembiso’s little arms and legs struggling against her grasp, trying to go to his dad. She holds on to the baby even tighter.

“Nobuhle, I apologise for everything I’ve done to you. I’m must do this because I cannot change the past.” Sqiniseko clicks off the safety catch of the gun.

Nobuhle sees Sqiniseko’s finger start pulling on the trigger and jumps for the gun, flinging Sthembiso safely on to the bed. She hits at the weapon as Sqiniseko fires. She’s just in time – the bullet passes within a whisker of his head and embeds in the wall.

With strength she never knew she possessed, Nobuhle snatches the gun from Sqiniseko’s grasp. “I can’t let you do this, Sqiniseko! You need help. God knows you need help.”

Nobuhle runs out of the house with Sthembiso cradled in one arm. Sqiniseko’s gun is in her other hand.

As Nobuhle runs out of Sqiniseko’s house in Bhekulwandle, Pastor Luthuli wakes up from a terrible dream in his house in Stanger. He was dreaming of his only daughter, Nobuhle. In the dream she was five years old and drowning in the ocean. Pastor Luthuli wakes up as Nobuhle’s tiny hand disappears in the water. He sobs as he drives to reconcile with his daughter.


Tell us: What is Sqiniseko’s likely fate? Do you believe the sangoma really did cause things to happen as they did? If you do, is Sqiniseko ‘innocent’ because he has been influenced by supernatural forces?