Abufiki kahle ubuthongo kuZinhle, kanjalo nakuMondli. Bobabili bavuka ekuseni ngovivi. Bafuna ukuxolisa kubaba wabo. UZinhle ungena kuqala egumbini likayise. NoMondli naye uzimisele ngokuxolisa kuyise kodwa uqala endlini yangasese. Uxubha amazinyo ngesikhathi ezwa ukuhayiza kwaZinhle kugcwala indlu yonke.

“Baba! Baba! Baba!” kukhala uZinhle.

UMondli udedela isixubho, agijime eqonde egumbini likayise. Kuvuleka isicabha, kuphume uZinhle ehayiza egijima. UZinhle uvula isicabha sendlu, aphume agijime otshanini anyamalale ehlathini elingemuva kwendlu.

Bonke abantu baphuma bediyazela emagumbini, ubuso bugcwele ubuthongo. ULindelwa ugijima angene egumbini laMnumzane Msomi. Asikho isidingo sokuba uLindelwa awaphimise amazwi uma ephuma egumbini – kuyacaca emehlweni ukuthi sekonakele – kodwa uyawaphimisa amagama.

“UMkhulu usesishiyile! UMkhulu akasekho!”

Ekudidekeni, ukushaqeka, nokukhala okulandelayo kuzwakala umyeni kaZinhle ethi, “Ukuphi uZinhle? Kungcono ngimthinte ngocingo.”

“Ucingo lwakhe luseceleni kombhede kaMkhulu, Baba,” kusho uLindelwa.

“Kufanele ngimbheke. Ukhona obonile ukuthi uphume washona ngakuphi?”

“Ngeke ukwazi ukumthola,” kusho uMondli. “Imina kuphela engizomthola.”

UMondli nguye kuphela umuntu owaziyo indawo yokucasha kaZinhle ehlathini elisemuva kwendlu. UZinhle wayecasha khona uma engaphathekile kahle emphefumlweni ngesikhathi besakhula.

UMondli ungena ehlathini, anyamalale. Uhamba ibangana. Umazi njengoba ezazi udadewabo – ingakho engamemezi uma esengenile ehlathini. UMondli uyazi ukuthi uma ememeza kanti uZinhle akafuni ukutholakala uzobaleka acashe kwenye indawo ekude lapha ehlathini. UMondli uyasibona isihlahla acasha kusona uZinhle, amthole ezigoqile emuva ngesiqu saso isihlahla. Naye uMondli uyazigoqa ahlale eceleni kadadewabo. Bayabambana bakhihle isililo.

“UBaba usishiyile, Mondli! UBaba akasekho,” kusho uZinhle

“UBaba akasekho, Zinhle,” kusho uMondli.

Bakhala isikhathi eside bebambene, becabanga ngempilo enhle abayinikwa abazali babo.

“Ubeqinisile uBaba,” kusho uMondli. “Siyekele izinkolelo zethu ukuba zisihlukanise.”

“Ngempela kunjalo, Mondli. Siyekele izinkolelo zethu zakha inzondo phakathi kwethu, mfowethu.”

“Ngiyaxolisa, dadewethu,” kusho uMondli.

“Ngiyaxolisa nami, mfowethu,” kusho uZinhle

Babambana kuze kuphume ilanga, bezwela ukulahlekelwa.

Ubanjelwa eplazini umngcwabo kaMnumzane Msomi. UZinhle noMondli babuyisana ngokuphelele njengoba besebenza ndawonye ukulungiselela umngcwabo. Umndeni wakwaMsomi uyaduduzeka ubona uthando, inhlonipho nokukhula abakhombisana khona nazo zonke ezinye izihlobo.

Umndeni umile otshanini. Wakubeka kwacaca esaphila uMnumzane Msomi ukuthi ufuna ukushiswa, emuva kwalokho uZinhle noMondli bachithe umlotha wakhe ehlathini elisemuva kwendlu. Ilanga likhipha umkhovu etsheni. UMondli noZinhle bahamba bobabili basondele ehlathini. Babamba isitsha esinomlotha bobabili, bawuchithe umlotha ehlathini.

Kushaya umoya opholile ngesikhathi uMondli noZinhle behamba otshanini bephindela endlini. Bayama babuke isibhakabhaka. Limile ilanga, alikho nelilodwa ifu esibhakabhakeni. Udlula ngokushesha umoya opholile, kubuye ukushisa. Bayabukana.

“UBaba ujabulile lapho ekhona,” basho kanye kanye.

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Sitshele: Izelamani uMondli noZinhle sekuyibo abadala emndenini manje. Ubaba wabo ubasize kanjani ukuba balungele ukudlala le ndima emndenini?