It’s Sunday evening. Sakhile tiptoes to Nomvelo’s rondavel and knocks on the door. Nomvelo opens the door and goes to sit on her bed. Sakhile sits next to her. Nomvelo doesn’t say anything, she just sighs and looks at the floor.

“Why are you so quiet, my love? What is wrong?”

“Sakhile…” Nomvelo pauses to hold back her tears.

“Speak to me, my love. I hate seeing you this sad,” Sakhile moves even closer to her.

“I’m leaving tomorrow,” says Nomvelo. She sobs.

“Shh, calm down, my love. Where are you going?”

“I’m going to start my initiation to be a sangoma. When we went to see Ndlovu in Msinga after the episode I had the other day I was told the news. Ndlovu said I am not well because I have the calling, my ancestors want me to be a sangoma. He wanted me to start the process on that day, but I asked to be given a few days. I said I needed to fetch my clothes but what I really wanted to do was to see you and say goodbye in person, my love.”

There is a look of confusion in Sakhile’s face. “I just. . . I just don’t know what to say, Nomvelo.”

“What do you mean, my love?”

“On one hand you have found the solution to your problem because you were not well. But on the other hand you are leaving. My heart is confused. I don’t know whether to be happy or sad.”

“I will miss you, Sakhile.”

“I’ll miss you every day, Nomvelo.”

“So you won’t forget about me?”

“No, my love. How can I do something like that when you are everything to me? All my hopes and dreams have you by my side. I support you in this journey you are about to take. I know this is not your choice but it’s the choice of your ancestors because they trust you with their gift of this calling they have given to you.”

Nomvelo hugs Sakhile. They hold hands after embracing.

“I will wait for you until you finish your initiation. I will conduct myself in a way that is worthy of our love. Please don’t worry too much about me, just concentrate on the important journey you are about to take,” says Sakhile.

“Thank you, Sakhile,” says Nomvelo.

“Maybe by the time you complete your initiation I’ll have enough money to start the lobola process. We have been together for a long time now, I need to show that I’m a man by starting paying lobola.”

“I’m happy to hear that, my love. I love you, Sakhile.”

“I never imagined love would be like this, Nomvelo. My love for you is like running river. It grows day and night instead of diminishing.”

They talk until late into the night. Their hearts are bleeding because they won’t see each other for months.

Nomvelo is packing her clothes in the morning. MaNgubane stands for a while watching her only child getting ready to leave for months.

“Why are you packing all your clothes, Mvelo? Are you never coming back to me?” she says, and smiles.

“Stop exaggerating, Ma. I’m not packing all my clothes. I’m packing a lot of clothes so that you won’t be travelling up and down from here to Msinga bringing me clothes I have forgotten,” says Nomvelo.

They hug.

“I wish you a safe journey, Mvelo. May your way be blessed with success and light, my child.”

“Thank you, Mama.”

The car taking Nomvelo and MaNgubane is idling at the gate. They pack Nomvelo’s suitcase in the boot and leave. When the car passes by Sakhile’s home she looks out the window hoping to see the love of her life in the yard, but Sakhile is not there. She sighs, her heart breaks. The car comes to a stop at a T-junction on the gravel road. Nomvelo looks up to see Sakhile on the side of the road. Sakhile smiles and waves goodbye. Nomvelo feels a warm feeling coursing through her heart, and she waves back at Sakhile.

Nomvelo is calm and quiet as the car takes the freeway. She is thinking about the journey she is taking. She has never been away from her mother, but now she has to be away from her and Sakhile for months. Her heart bleeds when she thinks about Sakhile. She lifts up her head and looks up, trying to hold back her tears.

Tell us: Having Sakhile’s support means a lot to Nomvula. What actions does Sikhele intend to take to support Nomvula’s journey? Do you think he will do what he says he will do? Why/Why not?