From under a rusted yellow Hilux my father said, “Bring that spanner.”

I handed him the spanner just as the owner of the bakkie came up.

Dumela, Renalemang!” he bent and shouted under the Hilux to my father.

My father made his way out. He stood up brushing the sand from his dirty overalls.

“Rre Oagile.” My father stuck out his hand after he had wiped it off on the rag in his pocket. Mr Oagile took it up at once. “The car should be ready just now if you want to wait.”

“Sure – no problem.”

I ran into the house to get Mr Oagile one of the white plastic chairs we had for visitors. Then I sat down again on my upturned brick, waiting for my father, who was now back under the bakkie, to call me.

“You got a real ball player here, Renalemang. Eish!” Mr Oagile shouted to my father.

My father knew I played softball. He had asked about games, but I told him parents weren’t allowed to watch. I forgot Mr Oagile’s son was on our team, though he spent most games on the bench. I held my breath, hoping he wouldn’t say anything else.

“Is it?” my father said from under the bakkie. He handed me the spanner and pushed himself out. “That ought to do it then. I think that wheel won’t be giving you a problem now.”

“Thanks a lot.” Mr Oagile reached in his pocket and took out his wallet. As he found a few notes to give my father he said, “This boy of yours is a natural with softball. I don’t know why you don’t come and watch him. A few of us around here make sure we get to each game. I could give you a lift.”

My father smiled, saying nothing, and took the money.

Ke a leboga.” Thank you. It was his only answer to the new information Mr Oagile had given him. He watched Mr Oagile drive away and when he turned back to me I saw the same sadness in his eyes. The sadness he got when my mother used to read out her list.


Tell us what you think: What should Kago’s father do about Kago’s attitude to his work?