Zandile studies Zinhle’s neat room. It’s one bedroom with one bed. There is no sign that anyone else lives here but Zinhle.

“So your father is okay with you being pregnant?” Zandile asks.

Zinhle clears her throat and nods.

“Wow! My father almost killed me when he found out I was pregnant. Your dad is really nice for being so understanding,” says Zandile.

“But it looks like you mended your relationship with your father. I could see that he loves you very much. He couldn’t help but smile when he told me about you,” says Zinhle.

“Both my parents, but my dad especially, were deeply disappointed when they found out I was pregnant. But the day my son was born was the happiest day of their lives. They dote on him so much, they spoil him.” A smile brightens Zandile’s face. “Where are you from, Zinhle?”

“I’m from Amaoti,” says Zinhle.

They both fall silent for a moment.

“So how did you become pregnant?” Zinhle breaks the silence.

“Through unprotected sex, just like everyone else,” says Zandile curtly.

“Oh,” says Zinhle. Her face is suddenly bloated with embarrassment. She avoids eye contact with Zandile.

“I’m just playing with you, Zinhle. You shouldn’t take me so serious,” says Zandile, breaking into laughter. “My English teacher impregnated me. I know it’s wrong but it happened and I have to live with it. It was hard, you know…”

“Shame. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you. But is the father, your teacher, taking care of you?” asks Zinhle.

“At first he did, but he has his own family. He has a wife and five kids, his oldest son is my age.”

“At first?” says Zinhle. She can hear the desperation in her own voice.
“Yes. At first he took care of everything, but he was no longer in our lives by the time our baby was six months old. He stopped taking my calls. He stopped sending money. Soon after that I discovered that he had impregnated another learner.”

“No he didn’t!” says Zinhle.

“Yes he did, and I felt so betrayed. I felt like a fool. I really thought we were in love. I thought he was going to leave his family for me. I even begged my parents to not report him to the authorities when he got me pregnant. After going through that whole thing I always tell other girls to be careful of their teachers. They are so manipulative.”

Zinhle’s face turns pale, she feels a lump on her throat. She adjusts her sitting position on the bed. “Do you know what happened to him and the learner he got pregnant?”

“He got arrested for statutory rape. The girl’s parents made sure he got arrested, they wouldn’t even take his money when he tried to bribe them to not open a case against him.”

“Yho!” exclaims Zinhle.

“Don’t feel bad for me. I have made peace with everything. I have mended my relationship with my parents. I’m working on getting my life back together. I’m lucky I found a job so I can take care of my baby,” says Zandile.

“Where do you work?”

“I work as a cashier at the supermarket at the Clermont taxi rank. It doesn’t pay that much but I can buy food and clothes for my baby with the money I make. I help out at home with groceries. And I have managed to get my matric through a finishing school. ”

Zinhle takes in a deep breath. Her eyes become glassy with tears. “The man you always see visiting me here, the one who drives the red car, is not my father. He’s actually the father of this baby I’m carrying.”

“Oh, really!?” says Zandile.

“He was my history teacher,” Zinhle whispers and turns her face away.

“Hhayi (No)! That story doesn’t get old, does it? I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m so sorry you have to go through this.”

“Sorry? Please don’t say that, Zandile. Sbongiseni is taking care of me at least.”

“Don’t pin all your hopes on him, Zinhle, because he can turn on you at any moment. How trustworthy is he? Can you really trust a teacher who impregnates his teenage student?”

Tears cascade down Zinhle’s face as she covers her face with her hands.

Tell us: In your own life, how do you decide who you can trust?