It’s hard to know what to say about my meeting with the man who is my father. It didn’t take us long to get to Blikkiesdorp, since it’s not far from Gugs. When we arrived, Andile walked confidently ahead, finding his way through the tin cans without difficulty. They all looked the same to me, but he seemed to know where he was going. He knocked at the door of one of the blikkie houses; a man opened and gave the boy a hug. He looked at me and I knew that he did not recognise me. I didn’t recognise him, either.
I said: ‘It’s me. Mbu.’
He still did not remember me. Not even my name.
I said again: ‘Mbu, your son.’
He gave a shy smile: ‘Uxolo – sorry, boy. Yes, yes, now I see. Come in!’
He did not hug me. He asked me about my school, but I did not show him my good report.
He shared a sandwich and a Coke with Andile and me. Then he gave Andile a bag with clothes and some cash. A short while later, Andile left to go back to Gugs.
I asked my father if I could stay for a while. In the end, I remained with him for almost two weeks. In that time, he did not answer one of my questions honestly. He just said ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know’. He did not ask about Mavusi, not once. Nor about his sister in Gugs.
In the evenings he drank as much as mom did.
After two weeks, I asked him for transport money back to Masiphumelele. He gave me R40, two notes of twenty. The morning I left my father, I realised that I had done no prayers for two weeks.
I told Auntie Nompumelelo that her brother had moved to Delft. I also gave her the street name and number of his new place. My mom did not ask where I had been for the past two weeks. And I did not tell her.
Atie, I told: ‘I found my father . . .’
‘And?’ Atie asked.
‘Okukho nto – nothing,’ I said.
Tell us what you think: What do you think Mbu felt after meeting his father?