Kagiso sat on her bed looking out at the empty expanse of grassland behind their tiny house and thought about how much she missed Joburg. She missed the noise and the constant activity. She missed her father who still lived there with his new wife. She missed her best friend Molly, and her boyfriend Tumelo. She couldn’t believe they’d been living in Kloofsburg for almost six months already. Joburg seemed like yesterday to her.
It was the divorce that brought them here, her and her little sister, Nonofo, and their mother. Her mother got a job in the Kloofsburg Public Library and that was it. No-one asked her, Kagiso. They just packed up and moved, ruining her life in the process. Now they stayed in this tiny little dorp where nothing ever happened. Kagiso suspected Kloofsburg was the most boring place on earth.
The kids at Kloofsburg High School were different from the kids in Joburg. They’d all known each other since primary school. Their parents had lived in the small town forever. They all knew each other and didn’t like strangers, especially strangers from the big city. In six months she’d made no friends. And the sad part was that she could see she was fading out of the lives of her friends in Joburg. When she first moved here, Molly called her every day. Then it was every few days. Now it’s a text message about once every two weeks. Tumelo already had a new girlfriend. Her old friends were gone and no new friends had been made and Kagiso felt very lonely.
Her sister Nonofo had it better. A girl in the house next door, Patricia, was in the same class as her. They’d become friends and it made everything much easier. Nonofo was always out playing and doing things with Patricia, so Kagiso was even lonelier. The weekends were the worst: hours of nothing stretching out in front of her.
She lay back on her bed reading the novel she was half way through. There was a soft knock on her door. “Come in,” she said. She hoped it was Nonofo back from Patricia’s, but it was her mother.
“Hi Kagiso. I thought if you weren’t busy we could go out to the mall together – get you some new takkies and maybe have lunch there. What do you think?” her mother said.
She knew her mother was worried about her and was creating this trip just to get her out of her room. But she had nothing else to do, so “OK,” she said.
At the mall (or what Kloofsburg called a ‘mall’) her mother bought her a new pair of Converse, and that cheered Kagiso up quite a bit. Then they sat down at the outdoor tables of the restaurant in the front of the mall. Kagiso looked through the menu, not sure what she wanted to eat.
“Aren’t those some of the kids from your school?” her mother asked, indicating a group of kids walking into the mall. Kagiso looked up. She knew them. At Kloofsburg High groups were important. If you weren’t in a group, you were nobody. Kagiso wasn’t in a group so she disappeared socially. She knew this group – they were the most popular kids. Reggie, Marike and Themba. They were laughing and joking as they walked into the mall.
“Yes, they’re from school,” Kagiso said.
“Why don’t you go and say hi,” her mother suggested, not understanding anything. Kagiso looked up at the group just as they passed near to their table. The three looked at her then turned to each other and whispered. Kagiso heard them laughing as they walked into the mall.
Tell us what you think: How would you feel if you had to move to a new place, away from all of your friends, like Kagiso?