“Wake up Lungile. Please wake up!” MaKhumalo fans Lungile with an exercise book.

“Don’t worry about her, MaKhumalo. She will wake up,” says Sibiya.

“What happened to her, Baba?” Lihle is in tears.

“You and your sangomas, Baba! Just look what Ndlovu did to my daughter. Lungile is not responding,” says MaKhumalo.

“She’s breathing, she has a heartbeat. She is alive but just sleeping. What did you want me to do, MaKhumalo? You wanted me to just sit around and do nothing to help my daughter? To just watch her die?!”

“Please don’t fight,” Lihle pleads.

It is the loud voices of her parents fighting that finally wakes Lungile. She hears their voices as if from a long distance away. She sneezes.

“Lungile, my baby! You are awake at last!” MaKhumalo shouts.

“Ma,” Lungile answers in a tired tone.

“We were worried about you,” says Lihle.

“Where am I?”

“You are home, my child. Can I make you something to eat?” MaKhumalo wipes sweat from Lungile’s face

“No, I’m fine. I just need to rest. I’m tired. I’ve never been this tired in all my life.”

“That’s fine,” says MaKhumalo. She turns to Lihle. “Go prepare your sister’s room so that she can rest.”

“Okay, Ma,” Lihle says and sits up quickly. “Can I have a glass of water please?”

Sibiya is back in a flash with the glass of water. Lungile takes a few sips and trudges on to her bedroom. She is asleep as soon as she closes her eyes.

* * * * *

A week has passed since Lungile collapsed at Ndlovu’s house. She’s rested a lot, but today she feels happy and energised. She had even risen early and washed all the blankets in the house. You wouldn’t have said she suffers from depression from how energetic she feels today. Everyone is hopeful she is getting better …

But in what seems like the blink of an eye, at sundown she again feels like she is worthless; a complete failure. She weeps. She takes out her pen and poetry book. She writes.

Dear Depression

You took the chance in my hand
Thief of joy
You have destroyed my life
Made me cry non-stop like a weeping widow 

My eyes are taps of tears
My heart thumps out sorrow
I think of death
And only death
It seems so easy
The only way out. 

Death is my one hope
Of rest from this infinite pain
And to be happy again. 

Killer of my joy
Appeaser of my enemies

You have ended the joyful wonder of youth
Just let go of me
I’m tired of being sad
Let go of me, great disappointer! 

Let me go I beg you
My life is in your hands
I concede defeat
I bow to you Your Majesty
Because you act like my king.


Tell us what you think: What should this whole family do next, to help Lungile?