“How things can change in such a short time,” whispered one young woman, as everyone went back upstairs to the patio.
“I don’t feel like partying anymore,” said one of the guys as he went in and switched off the music.
“We still need to celebrate,” said Buyiswa’s friend – the birthday girl. “And let’s make a toast to Mbali. Let’s acknowledge how brave he was in rescuing Senzo. He saved his life!”
There was a round of applause as people filled up their glasses and toasted Mbaliyethu – the life-saver.
Buyiswa smiled, and, holding Mbali’s hand, she pulled him aside and they went to stand on the balcony outside where the breeze was fresh and cool. The sky was clear with the moon shining down as if smiling at them, and the stars sparkling above in celebration of their newly found love.
“I did not know you were such a competent swimmer. I am very proud of you.”
Mbaliyethu felt goose bumps all over his body. Buyiswa was so beautiful and so kind and caring. He was still not sure that he even deserved a girl like her.
“You know why I love you, Mbaliyethu?” Buyiswa asked, smiling at him.
“I am all ears,” he said with a shy smile.
“You have a good heart. You have a pure heart. You are a good person Mbali, and I think with you I will be happy.”
Mbali felt like he was in a dream. To prove that he was not, he leaned forward and kissed Buyiswa passionately. For a while, they embraced lovingly and then the tears came; he couldn’t hold them back.
“Don’t cry, Mbali. You are a brave man. Everyone knows that by now. You saved someone who looked down on you. You saved someone who tormented you all these years.”
“It is what my mother taught me from a young age – to do good. It is one of the things we can be most proud of as Africans – Ubuntu.”
“Come on guys, you lovebirds out there, join us inside. We are about to cut the cake,” shouted one of Buyiswa’s friends.
“I am going to write a book about my life one day,” Mbali told Buyiswa later as they walked away from the party, hand in hand. “Just to teach our people that being born an albino is not a curse.”
“I will be the first one to buy a copy of that book, or better yet I will be your editor and you will have to pay me when you are rich and famous,” said Buyiswa laughing.
Tell us: In your community, are people with albinism rejected, like Mbali? If so, what can be done about it?