Although Tankiso’s bullies had been expelled, he no longer felt safe at school. But he was driven by the determination to build a great future for himself. He no longer hung around with girls or anyone else; he spent time in classrooms, and when he came out, he went to the library. When he got to Grade 11 the following year, he asked to be part of the school’s debating team, and that’s when he discovered his interest in becoming a lawyer.

When he finished Grade 12, he enrolled at the university to study Law. His parents had never known about the attack by the basketball team, so they encouraged him to stay on campus.  Tankiso refused, and asked to stay at home and take a taxi to the university instead. His parents bought him a car so that he would not go by taxi.

Even at university, he continued to be part of the debating team. In that group, there was a girl who was very impressed by Tankiso. Tankiso was also interested in the girl because he could talk to her about important issues affecting the community, especially in terms of human rights. That girl, Tebello, used to invite Tankiso to her room, which was on campus. Back in her room, the two of them could stay up until the morning talking, watching news programmes and movies, and eating. There were days when Tankiso slept over.

One day, while they were sitting in Tebello’s room, Tebello stopped the movie they were watching, looked Tankiso in the eye and said, “What do you think about me?”

Tankiso turned and looked into her eye too. “I think you are smart and beautiful…inside and out.”

Tebello was flattered. “Now, what are you going to do?” she said, bringing her face closer to Tankiso’s.

“Hey, stop!” said Tankiso, and quickly stood up, packing his books. “Tebello…I…eish!” Tankiso took a breath, sat down, and continued. “Wait, I don’t want to waste time on romantic relationships. I want to achieve my dreams before I get into these romantic things. I want the first woman I love to be my forever. Like what happened between my parents.” He enveloped Tebello’s hands in his.

“I hear you, man of God. It’s OK if you don’t like me!” said Tebello, wrenching her hands away and standing up. She opened the door and said, “Get out!”

Tankiso took his things and left. Since then, he and Tebello never spoke again. Tankiso did not understand because he thought he had explained himself well.

Life went on. He continued to participate in the debating team and joined other organisations. He was even elected as the president of the Student Representative Council of the university.

His leadership, intelligence, vision, love for people, and concern for human rights were virtues that anyone could see. The university nominated him for an internship to work in Ethiopia under the African Union. This drove girls crazy. However, the person of interest was not interested in dating at all.

Tell us: What advice would you give to Tankiso?