Mr Mbaza had been living with them for a month when one afternoon Lwazi came home to find his bike on the floor at the back of the garage.

“Who moved my bike?” Lwazi shouted as he stormed inside the house. Namhla came running towards the door.

“You don’t need to shout, Lwazi. Your bicycle is fine.”

“It is fine? No, Mama, it is not fine when it’s lying like that by the door,” said Lwazi sharply, passing his mother and walking straight into the kitchen where Mr Mbaza was. He was dressed in his running shorts and was filling his water bottle.

“I am sorry, Lwazi, I was going to look for a good spot for your bike. It’s just that my car is so big I had to move your bike from its spot to be able to park,” said Mr. Mbaza, sipping a protein-shake bottle.

Now that he was his mother’s fiancé – they had had a big engagement party – he was making himself even more at home in their house.

“Your mother’s garage is too small. I think I need to buy another house,” he announced.

“No, don’t buy it for us. We are fine with my mother’s small house. Buy it for yourself and your sons.”

“What? I don’t like your tone, my boy!”

“I am not your boy. Nja, the one in jail is your boy, not me.  By the way when was the last time you visited him there? To supply him with the stuff?”

Mr Mbaza lost it. He rushed at Lwazi and threw a punch. Lwazi ducked. He was laughing at Mr Mbaza, showing him no respect.

“Wow! You want to hit me in my father’s house? Huh, Mr Mbaza?”

The commotion made Namhla come running just as Mr Mbaza was storming out.

“Love, what is happening? Why do you look like this?” she tried to stop him.

“Ask your son!” he said pushing her aside and walking out leaving Namhla alone with Lwazi.

“Lwazi, what did you do?”

“What did I do?”

“Stop repeating what I am saying, Lwazi! What did you say to Bheki? What are you up to, Lwazi?”

“What am I up to, Mama? No mama, you should pose that question to Bheki! Ask him what he is up to? Leaving his beautiful house in the suburbs? Coming to stay with us in a small house in the township? What is he hiding, Mama? Ask yourself that? Have you ever been to his house?”

“There is nothing that he is hiding, Lwazi. Stop this nonsense. I asked Bheki to come live with us here because I didn’t want to leave my children alone.”

“You don’t need him, Mama.”

“Oh Lwazi, you do not understand, my boy. Maybe when you are much older you will understand what it feels like to live alone, with no one to love for the rest of your life.” Tears trickled down Namhla’s face and without another word she walked to the bathroom.

“I am sorry, Mama,” whispered Lwazi after her, but she didn’t hear him.


Tell us: Do you understand why Namhla is acting as she does? What are your feelings about her?