It started way back when my little brother first learned to speak. Questions! Endless questions!

“Masego, where does the sun go at night?”

“Masego, why have I got two legs and two arms and only one head?”

I did my best to answer Thato’s questions. It was quite easy back then. I used to think, Oh wow! What an inquiring mind he has! Maybe he’ll grow up to be a scientist. Or a journalist. Someone really important.

Of course there was no-one else to answer his questions. Only me. Our mom died back when Thato was young. As for our dad − who knows? He disappeared long ago with no forwarding address.

We live with our aunt. But she isn’t keen on answering Thato’s questions. I don’t think she even notices them. She and her friends are always busy chatting and laughing together.

Don’t get me wrong, our aunt is good to us. Very good. But she has her own ideas about raising children. “Keep them well-fed. Lots of spinach. And make sure they are washed and clean. And teach them to respect adults. Yes, that’s what children need. Cleanliness and full stomachs, and plenty of respect.”

So Thato saves all his questions for when I get home from school. And let me tell you, the bigger he grows, the harder his questions become!

“Masego, what makes a car go?”

“Masego, if you get in a rocket and drive into outer space, where will you end up?”

“Masego, why are some people so rich and some people so poor?”

Sometimes I struggle to give him answers. Sometimes I have to go on to the Internet at school – well, when it’s working and the queue isn’t too long. Thato and his questions can get pretty exhausting!

So today here I am, trying to do my History assignment. And it’s driving me crazy: all the dates and long foreign names. Outside I can hear my aunt chatting and laughing away with her friends.

Thato walks into the room and – oh no! – his eyes are shining with a thirst for knowledge. And his eyebrows are pulling up into a frown. My heart sinks. How many questions has he saved up for me today? How many will I be able to answer?

“Masego,” he says. “Masego, why…”

And then he stops. There is the strangest look on his face. Now what? This is surely going to be the most complicated question yet!

He says, “Masego, this is weird. I think I have run out of questions. I can’t think of any more questions. Not even one.”

I can’t believe what I am hearing. No more questions from Thato? Is it possible? Am I going to have some peace at last?


Tell us what you think: Do you think Masego will have ‘peace at last’?