UBhekani uzicabanga ehlezi noDelani, bekhuluma ulimi lothando. Uyagxila ngamehlo engqondo, akhumbule ngesikhathi befuna ukubaleka baduke nezwe. Ufisa ukuba wavuma babaleke kusanethuba. Ukuba ngempela wavuma ngabe bakude nempilo manje. Kodwa ke isikhathi asiphindeli emuva. Vele abaziyo bathi okungapheli kuyahlola!

“Bhekani wathula kangaba?” kubuza uThobile.

“Kukhona engikucabangayo. Ingabe kukhona obukukhuluma?”

“Yebo bengikade ngicabanga lana. Ngifisa sibe namawele. Ungakwazi ukunginika amawele?” kusho uThobile encokola.

Uzwa kugwaza enhliziyweni uBhekani uma ebuka lengane yabantu esimthanda kangaka. Uzwa eyidabukela uma ecabanga ngenkilayitheka ezifaka kuyona. Baxoxaxoxa izindaba ezingatheni. Nakhu sekuhwalala. Uthola intuba yokuhamba uBhekani, acele indlela.

“Hawu angeke uze uyiphelezele ingoduso yakho?” kubuza uThobile eshingila engena indlela.

Akanaki kwakushingila lokho uBhekani. Uvele abhocobale, abalandele. Uphelezela uThobile agcine emshiye eduzane kwakubo.

“Bhekani, ngiyabonga ngesikathi sakho. Ulale kahle, baba. Uhlale wazi ukuthi ingoduso yakho iyakuthanda,” kuvalelisa uThobile ngesizotha.

“Ulale kahle, Thobile,” kusho uBhekani.

Usuka ngejubane uBhekani; akagqizi qakala ukuthi uThobile umile noma uhambile. Uhlaba ngejubane ebheke ezansi kubo kaDelani – ufuna ukubheka ukuthi ulwande lusagcwele yini noma cha. Kuthi esacabanga kanjalo qhamu thushu uDelani.

“Delani waqhamuka ezihlahleni? Kwenzenjani?” kubuza uBhekani emangele.

“Ubufuna ngingakuboni wena nengoduso yakho?” kubuza uDelani ebhoka ngolaka.

“Delani yehlisa izwi,” kusho uBhekani sakuhleba. “Ufuna ukuthi kuzwe umhlaba wonke?”

“Anginandaba nabantu mina! Ngifuna ukwazi ukuthi usangithanda noma cha?”
“Delani yehlisa umoya bandla.”

“Angilwi! Ngiyabuza! Phendula!”

Yilapho ebona khona uBhekani ukuthi uDelani udle amanzi amponjwana. Yize ezama ukuma kodwa uyadiyazela. Bezwa umsindo othi khwasha khwasa.

“Yini leyo?” Kubuza uBhekani, eqalaza.

Uyaqalaqalaza kodwa angaboni muntu. UDelani yena ukhungethwe ukucasuka, akawuzwa kwamsindo; ubuka uBhekani ngqo emehlweni.

“Delani ngiyakuthanda ngicela ungavumeli ukuthi izihibe zinqobe uthando lwethu,” kusho uBhekani ekhulumela phansi.

“Ungalinge ukhululume amanga! Ungalinge udlale ngami, Bhekani!”

“Ngicela ungethembe uma ngithi angimthandi uThobile.”

“Pho ushadelani naye uma ungamthandi?”

“Ubaba nomama abaqhamuke nayo yonke lento.”

“Bhekani ngicela uhlukane nami ngoba-”

Kuthi engakawagwinyi kwalawo magama azibone esesondela kuye emanga. Bankonkoshelana baqabulane.

Wowu kanti libalahlile elakubo! Ngoba elokufa alitsheli! Mbo kubona amabutho. UBhekani yena unenhlanhla ngoba uthola intuba yokubaleka engakamboni amabutho. UDelani uthi ezama ukudaphuza ahluleke ngoba udle amanzi amponjwana. Nabo kodwa utshwala sebungakhetha isikhathi esibucayi kanjena ukuzikhombisa ukuthi budala kunaye? Amubamba kalula uDelani amabutho. Phezulu! Phezulu! Kubhekwe enkosini.

Inkosi ithukuthela igane unwabu. “Ayikho into engidina njengabantu abathandana bengubulili obubodwa ngoba badunga isizwe sami! Ngubani lomlisa omunye othandana naye?”

Inkosi ibuza lombuzo icasukile, iyavevezela. UDelani uzithulele nje, akaphenduli. Kwehlula noma ebhaxabulelwa ukufa nokuphila.

Inkosi imubuka ngokwenyanya, ithi, “Makabulawe ukuze isizwe sonke sizokwazi ukuthi imithetho iyalandelwa!”

Nebala amabutho alungisa umgibe wokulengisa uDelani.

“Ngicela ningangibulali! Ngizoyilandela imithetho yakho nkosi!” Kuzincengela uDelani ehlahle amehlo.

“Kwenzekile kwenzekile. Uphoxe mina, waphoxa sonke isizwe sami,” kusho inkosi. Iphenduka ibuke izigijimi, imemeze ithi, “Ngibizeleni abazali bolomdungi wesizwe sami njengamanje!”

Uyahayiza unina kaDelani uma efica ingane yakhe iboshwe izandla nezinyawo. Liphelelwa ngamandla ikhehla elinguyise kaDelani uma libona lensambatheka. Hhawu yaze yabalinga ingane!

Amabutho aqaqa uDelani. Nangu bandla ehlanganisa izandla ethandaza ngenhliziyo ezicelela kumdali intethelelo kanye nendlela ekhanyayo. Nangempela kukhona okhahlela isihlalo. Uqhwisha isikhashana uDelani elenga emoyeni. Izinhliziyo zabazali bakhe zikhungathwa umunyu ongakaze uzwakale njengoba bebuka uphuma umphefumulo wendodana yabo.

Konke okwenzekayo ukubona sengathi kuyiphupho uBhekani. Ingqondo ikubuyekezeka ingaphezi konke okwenzekile. Ulokhu ezincinza ngoba engakholwa ukuthi lokhu okwenzekayo kwenzeka ngempela. Phela izindaba azihlali phansi zisaba amazolo. Usezwile ukuthi uDelani isithandwa sakhe sibulawe okwenja maqede wadingiswa endaweni umndeni wakwaMkhize.

Into emukhalisa kakhulu ngukuthi uDelani ufele izono zabo bobabili. UDelani umele uthando lwabo bobabili kwaze kwafika ekugcineni. UDelani akazange amkhiphe uBhekani, uncamele ukufa yedwa. Zehla kakhulu izinyembezi. Akabe esezwa noma kungena unina endlini.

“Bhekani kuzomele uzame ukudla, mntanami. Ngiyazi wena noDelani beningabangani abakhulu,” kusho uMaKhuzwayo ezama ukududuza indodana yakhe.

“Kunzima, mama. Sebengaze bamubulale kabuhlungu kanje?”

“Ngiyaxolisa kakhulu, mntanami, ngobuhlungu obuzwayo ngaphakathi kuwe. Kodwa engikwaziyo ngukuthi kuzodlula, mntanami.”

“Angeke kudlule, mama, futhi angisoze ngakhohlwa.”

“Mntanami konke kuzodlula ngisho kungathatha iminyaka emingaki kodwa kuzogcina kudlulile.”

“Baqinisile uma bethi umhlaba uyahlaba,” kusho uBhekani ezama ukubamba izinyembezi.

“Bhekani ngicela wehlise umoya ubhekane nomshado wakho. Nakhu nezinsuku sezisondele.”

“Mama ngishonelwe yisitha…” azibambe esecishe washo ukuthi ‘isithandwa sami.’

“Kodwa mina engifisa ukukwazi ngukuthi ubani lona omunye umfana uDelani abethandana naye. Mina bengingacabangi nje ukuthi lomfana engaba yinko…” azibambe esecishe wakhuluma kabi.

“Akubalulekile lokho,” kusho uBhekani egwajaza.

“Kodwa lengane ngempela ingenwe yini?”

“Mama, osekwenzekile kwenzekile.”

“Wena usho ukuthi awazi ukuthi umngani wakho ubethandana nobani?”

“Cha, mama, bengingazi,” kusho eBhekani zehla izinyembezi.

“Ngizokushiya kancane, mntanami, uthi ukwehlisa igwebu,” kusho uMaKhuzwayo eyophuma ngesicabha.

Usala ekhala uBhekani. Ukhala kuze kushe izinyembezi. Uyezwa ukuthi liyaphela ithemba lempilo. Luyamugwinya usizi luze lumumbhoze.

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Sitshele Umbono Wakho: Yisiphi iseluleko ongasinika uBhekani njengamanje?