It was supper time and the Majolas were eating together and watching TV. Busi had received her suit from the dressmaker earlier that day. It was a perfect fit. She was excited about the Matric Dance coming up and couldn’t wait to show it off.
“It’s so exciting. I remember my Matric Dance,” Lerato said. “Hopefully the car will be here by then and Themba can take you in it.”
“Of course! Hawu! Only style for my baby sister,” Themba said, getting up. He had finished eating and collected Baba’s tray to take to the kitchen.
Busi smiled, already picturing the day. She was going with her friends, Sive and Nolwazi. They had decided to not get dates and go together as a group. They were so excited and had been waiting for this day for a long time. She was busy texting with the girls, talking about the dance, when a notification came through on her phone.
It was an email from the college – accepting her for the coding course.
“I’m in!” she shouted before she finished reading the email. “I’ve been accepted to do the coding course.”
“Why do you sound surprised?” Samke teased. “We told you that you’ll get in.”
“You can never be too sure about these things. I didn’t want to get my hopes up.”
“Read it to us. What does it say?” Baba said.
Busi read the email to everyone, then, excited, she went on, “Now I must start finding out about internships as well. It’s a good way in to getting a job at a company, and then they might pay for studies and … and …”
“After your Matric Dance,” Samke said. “Have some fun! Celebrate your acceptance first.”
“I will. But I need to start looking. I must also explore bursaries. They don’t come easy and I need as many options as I can get.”
Baba’s phone rang on the table. He picked it up and, seeing that it was Gogo calling, signalled Busi to turn the TV down.
“Sawubona Ma,” Baba greeted with a smile.
The girls got up and went to the kitchen to give Baba some privacy. Lerato and Themba started washing the dishes. Busi was making tea for Baba and Samke was sitting at the kitchen table with Baby Khwezi on her lap.
“The weaves have arrived,” Samke told Busi as she scooped food to give to Baby Khwezi. “What time are the girls coming to the salon tomorrow to have their hair done?”
“I’ll ask them now,” Busi said, fishing her phone out of her pocket. She started typing.
“Josiah offered to cut the guys. I mean, anyone who would like a cut.”
“And some guys want make-up. Lwando asked if you could do his makeup?” Busi asked.
“Sure, I can fit one more person in, but that’s it.”
“The girls say at 11, after they finish their chores.”
“Cool, I can start with you so long in the morning. That way I don’t turn away customers when they come later in the afternoon.”
“Maybe you’ll have to get someone to help you,” Lerato advised.
“I’ve been thinking about that. I can’t afford to right now. Josiah says the best way to do it is to manage my time and make sure I don’t overbook. If I tell a client I can’t do it on a certain day or time, then they can get someone else if they are in a rush. This way I don’t employ someone I can’t afford to keep.”
“Josiah knows his story, hey,” Themba said.
“He does. He’s been in business for a while. And tomorrow night we’re actually meeting with Ma Ruby to draw up a business plan,” Samke said proudly.
“All the best, sisi. We’re really proud of you,” Themba said.
Baba was finally done with his call with Gogo and called Busi over. Gogo wanted to talk to her. The girls returned to the lounge to watch TV with Baba.
“Sawubona Gogo. Unjani?” Busi greeted cheerfully.
“Yebo Busi, siyaphila ngane yami kodwa it’s cold,” Gogo said between coughs. “Kunina, kunjani kodwa? Kuhamba kanjani esikoleni? (How is school?)
“School is good, Gogo. I’ve been accepted at a college to study coding next year.”
Busi knew that her Gogo didn’t know what she was talking about. She had no clue what coding was, or the processes involved in applying for courses. But that didn’t stop her from telling her about it. Gogo loved hearing news from them, even if she didn’t understand most of it.
“Oh, kuhle ngane yami, I’m proud of you.”
Busi was beaming with joy at hearing Gogo’s praise.
“You must be excited that your Matric Dance is coming soon. You remember Sethu, MaMkhize’s youngest? She went to her dance last week. Wee Ma! Ave emuhle. She looked so beautiful.”
“Samke is doing my hair tomorrow. I’m really excited it’s finally happening. Finally, some good news.”
“Oh mzukulu. I wish I could be there. Phela, I’m missing out on so much and you’ve grown so much,” said Gogo wistfully.
“We’ll soon see you Gogo. I’ll bring all the photos for you to see,” Busi promised.
Afterwards she asked to speak to Samke.
Busi came back to the lounge, handed the phone to Samke, and sat on the floor next to Baby Khwezi.
Samke went to the bedroom to chat in private with Gogo. She had so much to tell her.
Gogo filled Samke in that she had met a ‘nice gentleman’ in the queue at the clinic. They were talking about how the grants were so little and he told her about an NGO in the area that helped the elderly use their skills to make extra money. The organisation helped them with knitting, sewing, running veggie gardens, or any skill the old people had, or wanted to learn. She was having so much fun teaching others and learning new things. She was finally using her sewing and gardening skills to feed herself. It was wonderful.
“How is Gogo?” Lerato asked Samke when she came back to the lounge.
“She’s well. Her gardening group is going well,” Samke responded. She filled them in on Gogo’s news about the NGO. “She says she’s even made new friends, and some money selling their products.”
“That’s great. It’ll help supplement her grant,” Lerato said.
“She says I must start saving for retirement and get a pension plan,” Samke said laughing.
“She’s right Samke. It’s never too early to start saving, for you and for Khwezi’s education and future.”
“Maybe we can sit together soon and look at some options for an education fund for Khwezi,” Samke said, nibbling Khwezi’s ear playfully. Khwezi started giggling and rolling on the floor.
“Oh yes, I would love to. It’s like I was telling Themba. He can’t rely only on his UIF. He needs to start planning now.”
“I don’t think Themba believes he’ll ever get old,” Busi said. “So thinking about retirement now, while he’s still young and fresh, would just cramp his style.”
Lerato was laughing heartily. Themba really was so playful and young at heart, almost childish sometimes. But she had had the talk with him and he understood the value in saving.
“Forever young, like Bra Mike,” Lerato said and they all laughed.
Themba came back beaming from the call with Gogo.
“Are you talking about me? Izindlebe zami ziyaluma (My ears are burning).”
“Oh please, not everything is about you,” Samke said, sticking her tongue out at Themba. “What did Gogo say to make you smile like that?”
He told them about how proud she was that he was doing so well. She was looking forward to seeing the car when they came. She also thanked him for the airtime he had been buying these past months. But she assured him that now she could afford to buy her own.
He didn’t tell them the rest of his conversation with Gogo. He had told her that he was going to start saving for his marriage next.
There was much excitement and hope in the household now. There was less stress regarding money. Baba had his new work; Themba too. Now Samke’s business was finally picking up. Everyone seemed to be finding their feet.