A day later Kamvi’s mother arrived at the hostel in a car driven by her uncle. Kamvi found them both waiting for her, with Miss Strydom, when she returned from school that Friday afternoon.

“Your Mom has come to fetch you for the weekend,” said Miss Strydom, standing up, and extending her arm towards Kamvi. She hesitated in the doorway, too afraid to come in.

Kamvi’s mother looked up then from where she was sitting, slumped on the couch next to her uncle, who was frowning deeply.

Kamvi could see that her mother had been crying. Her eyes were red and swollen. She did not speak but she stood up and opened her arms to Kamvi. Kamvi went to her, and the two stood together for a while, both of their bodies trembling as they sobbed together.

Kamvi’s uncle drove them to her aunt’s house in a nearby town, and there Kamvi was not really surprised to find a large gathering of her family members. She sat amongst them and hung her head.

They asked her many questions.

At first Kamvi did not want to give them Yanda’s name. She said he didn’t matter, and it wasn’t his fault, and that, anyway, she never wanted to see him again. She said that he would not care about a baby, and that she did not want anything to do with him.

But eventually, feeling hungry and tired, Kamvi told them all. She said his name, and the family assured her that he would be contacted, and that his family would be told. Her family had already made all the decisions, Kamvi soon realized.

“Why did you even bring me here?” she shouted, when she finally found her voice, and she stood up.

“Sit down Kamvi,” said her mother, also standing up. “We all know what will be best for you.”

“No, you don’t,” said Kamvi. “This is my baby!” Her hands flew to her belly, and she spread her palms over her bump protectively, as she felt, very firmly now, the strong turns of her baby.

All the family members sat in silence, and stared at Kamvi.

Kamvi’s mother turned towards her, her face angry, her mouth open, and Kamvi braced herself for the words that she felt sure were about to came.

Instead, Kamvi’s mother shut her mouth, sat down and began to scratch in her bag until she found a cigarette. She took one out and lit it.

Haai, Nomvu!” said Kamvi’s uncle. “Since when do you smoke? Put it out immediately!”

Nomvu took a deep drag on her cigarette, before she stood up again.

“No, my brother,” she said softly, exhaling as she did so. “That is something that I won’t do right now. You have told me and my child what to do from the moment she was born. I am grateful to you for everything, but Kamvi is right. This is her baby. And this time we are going to listen to her. I never had a say in what happened to her. She has made the same mistake that I did. But let it stop there.”

Kamvi followed her mother out of the room.

Nomvu went around the back of the house, and stood in the shade, leaning against the wall. She smoked her cigarette in silence, while Kamvi stood near her, and waited.

“My dreams for you have not changed Kamvi,” were the first words Nomvu said, and then she continued. “When I had you everything was lost. I had to leave school, and give you to my mother. I had to go to the city and find work, and so I did, and I worked very hard, and tried to forget about you. I had to. It was the only way. It can be different for you.”

Kamvi had begun to cry while her mother was speaking, but Nomvu left her to cry, and continued.

“Miss Strydom told us that you can finish this year, and then you will have to leave to have your baby. After that you can go back. You can finish the year if you keep up your work. There is time. Your aunt will help this year. And next year can be different. You and the baby can come to me in Cape Town. You can go to school in the day and my grandchild can go to a day mother. I can get a job in the office of the bus company. I am so tired of riding the buses. I have been thinking of a change long before now.”

“Oh Mama,” said Kamvi. And turning to her mother she threw her arms around her and held her tight.

“We will somehow raise this child together. I know it will be hard sometimes. I missed out on raising you Kamvi. I will not miss out on my grandchild as well. What do you think, Kamvi?”

“Yes, Mama,” said Kamvi softly. “Thank you.”

“I have some money saved,” continued Nomvu. “It was always going to be for you anyway. What do you think? We will all help. I can’t say I am happy Kamvi, but this has happened now, and we must deal with it. Together.”

***

Tell us what you think: This is the first part of the story. What do you think will happen in Part 2, which will be published soon?