In the taxi on the way home Mado kept wondering what was wrong with Valerie. She had got four distinctions! And she had a cool boyfriend. She should be over the moon! Why was she so upset? Sophia should be the one to be worried. Maybe Valerie was breaking up with David? But then why was he expecting to meet her at the party? It didn’t make sense.

Mado remembered the time when her mother had warned her against boyfriends. She had told her that boyfriends were bad news and a waste of time. “They are only there to make you pregnant and then they get rid of you like torn underwear, if they do not even add HIV on top of this,” she had said.

Her mother had told her that if she ever had a boyfriend, it could only be someone from the Congo. Her mother didn’t understand how difficult it was already for Mado to fit in at a new school. She heard the things some of the boys said behind her back, laughing at her accent every time she started speaking. She wanted to go out with whoever she liked because they were kind not because they spoke the same language and came from the same country.

While all this was going on her mind, she nearly forgot to get off the taxi at her street.

“Thank you, driver!” she shouted to let him know she was getting off. There was a screech as the driver stopped suddenly. Mado got out and started walking home. The sun was very strong and Mado was thirsty. She would be home soon. She was dying to break the news to her mother who would be alone at home as her father had gone to do his work as a security guard inside Siyaya Shopping Mall.

As she got closer to home a sharp smell of frying cabbage hit her nose. At once she knew her mother was cooking dinner. She went straight to the kitchen and embraced her.

J’ai passé! ¬– I have passed,” she told her mother.

Félicitations, ma fille. Nous sommes fières de toi. Viens! Mange quelque chose. Tu dois avoir faim – Congratulations, my child. We are proud of you. Come, get something to eat. You must be very hungry.”

Mado sat down and her mom gave her two bananas and poured her some Darling mango and orange juice. For a moment they remained silent, overwhelmed with emotion. All Mado needed now was a letter of acceptance from UCT – then her joy would be complete.

Whose view do you support – the way Mado’s mother wants her to only date boys from the Congo or her view that she wants to date whom she pleases?