Betty and I were helping out at the refreshment stall. The day was hot and humid so we were kept very busy handing out cool drinks and collecting the money.

A huge crowd had turned up at the fête. There were people milling around all the stalls where everything from books, toys, second hand clothes, jewellery and bric-a-brac were displayed.

Around midday a hush fell over the field where we were holding the fête, because a louder noise took over − the noise of a helicopter hovering over us.

“Oh, looks like we’re going to have a show!” some girls squealed and ran off to see what it was about. The helicopter circled the field a few times, no doubt wanting to keep the people’s minds excited. I stood rooted to the spot. Something told me my Mother was somehow involved. But how?

“It’s Cat Woman and Spiderman” voices rang all around me. “Look – they’re doing a tandem parachute jump!”

The crowd went crazy as the parachute floated down, ‘Cat Woman’ and ‘Spiderman’ dangling from its cords. The kids jumped up and down in excitement. Everybody crowded around ‘Cat Woman’ as she and her partner thumped to the ground. She pulled off her face mask – and there stood my famous mother, grinning from ear to ear!

“You were spectacular,” Sizwe was the first to congratulate her. “You never cease to amaze me. But I am glad you had the sense to have an expert with you!” he said, shaking ‘Spiderman’s’ hand.

Our local paper was there and took a picture of Mom as she laughed and waved at the crowds. And to top it all she raised more funds for our school that day than all the other stalls put together.

What would she think of next?

“You’ve got such a cool Mom,” was all I heard the following week at school. I wanted to crawl away and hide in a very dark hole. But I forced myself to smile and nod my head. More than anything in the world I wanted to finish school and apply for a university as far away from Mom as I could possibly get.

“Maybe they have one in Timbuktu,” Betty laughed and punched my arm. “Come on, Masego. Your Mom isn’t that bad. At least she’s fun to have around and she does love you.”

“I’m sorry, Betty. I’ve been so caught up in my own dramas I have forgotten to ask you how your Mom is.”

“She’s due another course of chemo tomorrow. And you know how sick she always gets after.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“No, but thanks for asking. I’m sure Mom will pull through. But it’s hard, Masego.”

Betty’s Mom had breast cancer and had recently had a mastectomy.

I walked home from school alone, thinking of Betty’s Mom and how much she was suffering. Betty was the oldest of four children, but I never heard her moaning about her life.

“It must be the best living at your house,” she had said to me one day.

“You can have her,” I remembered saying. “She’s much too lively and colourful for me.”

I hadn’t even found it in my heart to congratulate Mom on her parachute jump. What on earth must she think of me? But she still maintained her good humour.

“I’m not going to change my ways, Masego,” she had said to me only last week. “I am who I am, darling. Because no matter what you do, there’s always somebody who will disapprove. So you might as well do the things that make you happy and not the things other people tell you should make you happy.”


Tell us: Do any of your friends have a mother like Masego’s?