The wind whips and whirls, sweeping up dust and papers from the ground. The sun is momentarily obscured by thick dark cumulonimbus clouds. A cool breeze sneaks in through Zinhle’s door as she chats with Zandile.
“Oh my God!” Zinhle screams.
“What’s wrong?” asks Zandile.
Zinhle feels a tiny kick in her belly. She feels another kick, but this time it is so violent that she winces. She stands up and as soon as she takes a step, her waters break.
“You are going into labour! The baby is coming!” says Zandile. “Okay, calm down, Zinhle. Lie down on the bed. Okay, okay, I know what to do. Let me call mom!”
Zandile’s mom, Catherine, takes over in the pandemonium. She organises a car to take Zinhle to the clinic. Zinhle goes into a long, hard labour that lasts for six hours. Catherine and Zandile are with her all the way, holding her hands as the clinic nurses deliver the baby. Vincent is also in the clinic, worried and pacing outside.
“It’s a girl!” Catherine says when the baby is final delivered.
Zinhle is dazed. She is totally exhausted.
“Zinhle, she’s beautiful! What should we name her?” asks Catherine, handing the baby to Zinhle.
The baby is beautiful. She has a light complexion like Zinhle, dark hair, fine eyelashes and perfect tiny pale fingers and toes.
“Snethemba. She is Snethemba,” says Zinhle.
Zinhle holds Snethemba for a few minutes before she hands her over to Zandile – she is spent and needs rest after the difficult birth. She sleeps for four hours. When she wakes up she find Zandile on a chair next to her bed holding Snethemba. Catherine and Vincent are also there.
Zinhle holds Snethemba. She just can’t get over how beautiful she is. She can’t wait to tell Mr Khuzwayo, Snethemba’s father, that she has given birth. She calls him but her call goes straight to voicemail.
“We have to take you home with us,” says Catherine. She takes Snethemba and rocks her gently. “You and Snethemba can stay with us for a few days. You need to have people around you after giving birth. Stay with us until your body recovers.”
“Thank you, Mam’ Catherine,” says Zinhle through tears of gratitude.
It’s two days later. Zinhle hasn’t been able to reach Mr Khuzwayo. She is getting worried now because her rent is due in a couple of weeks. She is running out of money. She is still staying with Zandile and her family. Snethemba is sleeping peacefully on Zandile’s bed.
“I’m getting worried about Sbongiseni now. My calls are not going through, he is no longer on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. It’s like he just disappeared off the face of the earth,” says Zinhle.
“Isn’t there no one else you can call? A school mate who can tell you what is going on with him?”
“I blocked all of the people I know from Amaoti.”
“Unblock them, Zinhle. You need to find out what is going on.”
Zinhle unlocks her phone and looks at Sphiwe’s number for a while.
“Call him,” says Zandile.
Zinhle finally unblocks Sphiwe and calls him. The call goes unanswered. She tries several more times with the same result. Zinhle looks at Zandile and shakes her head. Right then Zinhle’s phone rings. Her eyes widen, her heart beats fast.
“Hello?” says Zinhle.
“Zinhle, is that you!?” asks Sphiwe.
“Yes it is me!”
“Thank God! It’s really you?” says Sphiwe.
“You don’t know how happy I am to hear your voice! I’m so sorry for not keeping in touch, Sphiwe. I know you’re angry at me for not keeping in touch, but understand I—”
“No, I’m not angry at you. I’m just happy that you finally called,” says Sphiwe.
They are both silent for a few seconds until Zinhle says, “I have given birth to a girl. Her name is Snethemba.”
“I bet she is beautiful like you,” says Sphiwe.
“I’ll send you her picture,” says Zinhle.
Zandile looks at Snethemba and smiles.
“I’d like that,” says Sphiwe. He takes a breath and says, “Mr Khuzwayo has been arrested, Zinhle.”
“What? When?” Zinhle stands up and paces about in the room.
“A few days ago. He tried to force himself on Samke. A lot of current and former students have opened cases of rape and sexual assault against him,” says Sphiwe.
“Tell me you’re joking, Sphiwe. This can’t be. My daughter will be fatherless.”
Sphiwe keeps quiet again, he’s searching in his mind for comforting words.
“Sphiwe, please tell me it’s not true,” says Zinhle.
“It’s true, Zinhle. The truth was going to come out eventually. And it’s not a good picture. This guy has damaged a lot of lives. Over ten cases have been opened against him so far.”
“Sphiwe, please don’t say that. Don’t be like that right now,” says Zinhle.
Snethemba cries. Zandile rocks her gently, but she cries even louder. “I have to go, Sphiwe. Can I call you later?”
“Of course, Zinhle. You can always call me.”
Tell us: Sphiwe says ‘The truth is going to come out eventually’. Do you believe that it is always better if people know the truth?