At the hospital Makhulu Tshezi received the best treatment.

“Thank God, she is alive!” exclaimed Anathi, when she and Vuyo arrived there. It had already been three hours. She was alive, but her head was covered in white bandages.

“Khulu! makhulu wam!” Vuyo was too distraught to talk. He knelt down next to her bed and held her hand in his hand. He looked at his granny’s wrinkled, swollen face. He could no longer hold back the tears that were burning his eyes, so he let them flow in rivulets down his cheeks. He was shaking violently with the shock of it all.

Makhulu Tshezi, still in pain, nodded and then held his hand firmly, but said nothing.

“I am sorry Khulu. I am sorry… I should never have let you live alone.”

“It’s not your fault, Baby,” whispered Anathi.

Under the bandages, Makhulu Tshezi managed to whisper, “I will be fine my boy. God is greater than all evil people in this world, even Satan himself.”

“I just got a call from bhuti Skhwehle,” said Anathi, smiling and looking Vuyo straight in the eye. “The two boys who did this have been caught, plus the healer.”

“I want to see them. I am going to kill them with my bare hands!” said Vuyo, wiping the tears from his eyes. “Don’t worry Khulu. Sleep for now. I will deal with those boys myself,” said Vuyo.

Makhulu Tshezi shook her head.

“Let them be my child. We have better enemies to fight. USomandla will deal with them,” she said, wincing in pain.

The doctors had told Vuyo that she would be fine, as she suffered mostly first degree burns. The main problem they were fighting was the smoke she had inhaled.

“That is true; let the law takes it course. But I am going to make sure that Makhulu Tshezi never ever lives alone again. I am going to ask my brother and his wife to go stay with her, whether she likes it or not. Come let’s go,” said Anathi, pulling him by the arm.

But before he walked out, Vuyo whispered to his beloved granny. “I will fix your rondavel, Khulu. Don’t worry. When you come out of the hospital, you will live in a new house. Be strong. I know you will pull through this, Mama. You are the Queen of my heart.” Vuyo bent down to kiss her forehead, and they walked out.

A week later Makhulu Tshezi was discharged from the hospital, because she was healing so well. Anathi had arranged for her brother, Richard, who was starting his own small business, to go stay with Makhulu Tshezi, together with his young wife. They all moved into a house they had rented in the village while they rebuilt her home, adding space for themselves.

Vuyo liked this idea, and he was even willing to help Anathi’s brother financially, with the little he could. Richard had a budding business making wooden tables and built-in cupboards for people.

The fact that his grandmother had had a narrow escape from death made Vuyo more determined than ever to throw a wonderful party for her birthday. He now even wanted to hire the best jazz singer in the Eastern Cape to come and sing for his granny.


Tell us: What do you think gives Makhulu her strength?