On his way home, Sanele wore a smile of satisfaction. He was happy for taming this woman who had rebuffed all the men in Madadeni.

He was going back home for one reason: to get a jersey because it had suddenly become chilly. Ordinarily, Sanele only returned home to sleep. In fact, Sanele didn’t live in his house, he only slept there. He only remembered when he arrived home that he had bought groceries earlier when he was chatting up Mbali.

“This chasing after Mbali has taken me off track. Now I have unintentionally bought groceries. I guess this is the price I have to pay to tap it,” he said.

Sanele’s wife, Thembelihle, was wiping the stove after cooking supper.

“Good afternoon, my husband!” said Thembelihle. She was ecstatic when she saw Sanele entering with groceries.

“How are you, my love?” said Sanele. He didn’t wait for a reply. He placed the groceries on the table and moved on to their bedroom. Thembelihle unpacked the groceries.

“Dear God, is it true that you listen to my prayers? Is it true you are now answering my prayers? If it is so, I will praise you better than before,” Thembelihle whispered, as she unpacked the groceries.

She sang a line from her favourite song, “Praise Him in your time of need”. She smiled as she unpacked meat, spices, and toilet paper. Sanele never bought groceries. Whether his family ate or not was none of his business. He acted like this because Thembelihle also worked a good paying job in the municipality; a job that Sanele had organised for her.

Sanele didn’t even buy clothes for his child. All his money went into buying booze and paying rent for his many girlfriends, as well as entertaining his friends at the shisanyama. How was he supposed to buy expensive liquor if he supported his wife who earns her own money? How was he supposed to live the high life if he bought clothes for a child with a mother who makes her own money? How would he buy his own expensive clothes?

Thembelihle felt hope flooding back into her heart after seeing Sanele coming home with groceries. Hope swelled in her that her prayers for her husband to return to her had been answered. The Sanele she met a long time ago was back. The charming Sanele she married. The Sanele who used to whisper sweet words in her ears.

“My love, I’m going out to watch a soccer game with the guys,” said Sanele. He didn’t wait for a reply as he swiftly moved across the lounge to the front door.

“Can’t you wait to eat before you go out?” asked Thembelihle.

But Sanele was already in his car and had started the engine. Tears fell down Thembelihle’s cheeks. She had hoped things were finally getting better. It won’t all get better in one day, she consoled herself.

That is how Sanele and Mbali started their relationship. Thembelihle prayed all the time for Sanele to change but he did not.

Tell us: What do you think of Sanele’s attitude towards his wife? How do you think partners should split up the responsibilities and costs of life?