“So, are you the only grandson she has?”

“No, I am not. There are also my four cousins, but they have never lived with my granny for a long time, as I did. They are all still students,” Vuyo told the party-planning assistant, when he told her of the party they wanted to have for Makhulu.

“Do you still live with her?” asked the assistant.

Vuyo shook his head. “Not at the moment, but I visit her as much as I can.”

“I’m always telling Vuyo he should get someone to live with her now,” Anathi told the assistant. “She’s turning eighty. It’s not safe for an old lady like her to live alone.”

“Ahh! Anathi doesn’t know my granny,” Vuyo laughed. “When I brought up that idea of someone staying with her, she laughed at me and suggested that instead I just buy two dogs for her, and a cellphone. She trusts no-one and nothing – except the dogs I got her.”

“Vuyo is a good grandson,” said Anathi taking his hand. “He goes to visit her often, because he’s in a nearby village.”

Anathi picked up a pink and white tiara from a shelf of party goodies. “I am going to buy this for her so she can wear it to the party,” she said giggling, and fitting the sparkling thing on her head. She went to the mirror and admired herself, while the assistant and Vuyo chuckled.

“Wow! This would look great on Makhulu!”

“But she will have to take off those big thick layers of cloth she always wraps around her head,” said Vuyo.

“She would never! I bet she would try forcing it on top of her bulky headgear,” said Anathi, laughing as well.

Vuyo walked towards the gift section, to the sleep wear, with Anathi following him close by. He picked out a long, pink, shiny night dress, with soft lace at the top, and a gorgeous gown to match.

“How about this one?” he said, showing the set to his girlfriend.

“Mm! No, not that one … or maybe just not that colour. It’s too light, plus this set is not warm enough. Maybe a darker one will be better,” advised Anathi.

Vuyo put the pink set back on the rail and checked for another one. “And this one?” he asked, lifting it up.

“Wow! That one would look great. It’s just the right one for her, definitely. Now we need a gown that matches that,” she said, nodding to Vuyo.

“Okay great, we are getting there. Let’s also look for nice, cosy and comfortable slippers.”

Vuyo moved to the next aisle where different shoes and slippers were packed up in neat rows on the shelves. Anathi grabbed two pairs of warm socks on the opposite shelf. “I know it can be very cold in your village.”

“Yes, and Makhulu is always out and about feeding chickens, throwing maize to the goats or just watching the cattle as they graze around in her yard. Those people I hired just sit there and chat in the sun, eish. But at least she has some people to talk to during the day, even if she doesn’t want people staying with her. Tshezi is very active for her age. I think she simply does not see herself as an old lady. She still feels twenty five! Hahaha!”

“I can’t wait to see the smile on her face, Babe. Makhulu gets excited by the little things that I do for her,” said Anathi.

“Well, you two have a special bond; I noticed that when I first visited her with you. She loves you to bits. She says you will be a good, beautiful makoti,” Vuyo said and winked, a naughty smile on his face.

“Well, she did once mention that she does not want to die before she holds at least one of your kids.”

“I remember that. That means she will have to live another 10 years, because children are not in my plan for now!”

Anathi stopped right there, her mouth wide open. “Ten years Vuyo?”

“Hahahaha! Gotcha!” Vuyo playfully embraced his girlfriend as they walked towards the till to pay for the gifts. “Makhulu Tshezi loves you too much. She loved you from the very first day I introduced you to her.”

“I know, and I am very excited about that. I love her too. You know, I never had the privilege of meeting both my grandmothers. When I was born, they were already gone. Just like your mother, dying at such a young age.”

“I only have very hazy memories of my own mother, but Makhulu was the best mother figure to me. I thank God for her.”

Anathi gave Vuyo a tender brush on the shoulder and he leaned forward and kissed her lightly on the cheek.

After paying they walked out of the shop with bags full of goodies.


Tell us: What is your impression of Vuyo? Did Makhulu do a good job raising him alone?