In Sbu’s granny’s village a smart car pulls up outside her old, dilapidated house. The paint is faded and the gutters are broken. Sbu, his brother Nkosi, and their mom Ester get out of the car. Sbu’s granny comes out to greet them, then Nkosi runs off to play with the kids in the street.
GOGO: (pinches S’bu’s cheek affectionately) Hawu! Look how you’ve grown, nganeyami.
S’BU: (blushing) Ah, I missed you too, Gogo.
GOGO: Oh Nkosi yami! You have become only bones, my boy. Don’t they feed you in town? Maybe you need to come back and live with me again! Did I not teach your mother to cook properly? But listen to me. I can see you want to go and play with your old friends. Off you go – I’ll have cooldrink for you when you come back.
S’bu runs to the park where he finds his friends from when he lived in the village.
S’BU: (smiling) I knew I’d find you guys here.
FRIEND 1: Hayibo! Look who’s here, bafethu.
The four of them gather around S’bu. He shakes each of their hands and gives them manly hugs.
S’BU: I’ve missed you guys so much!
FRIEND 2: Asikaze sicabange. We never thought we’d see you again.
S’BU: I’m just back for this week because we’re on school holidays.
FRIEND 1: Woza uhlale nathi. Come and chill with us.
S’BU: I’ll stand, thank you.
FRIEND 1: Oh, now you are worried about messing your new clothes!
FRIEND 2: What’s it like that side – in the big city?
FRIEND 1: The food?
FRIEND 2: Aikhona. Who cares? Tell us, S’bu. Kanjani amantombazane? I bet they are really cute and pretty.
They all laugh.
S’BU: It’s different – very. But I’ve got used to it. It’s nice. And the school – there are enough books for everyone – plus extras! We’ve even got laptops and we get to go to the beach and museums. It’s fun …
FRIEND 2: (whistling) That’s ngca, ne?
S’bu nods enthusiastically.
S’BU: And forget Morabaraba. They have chess and hockey.
FRIEND 1: Eish, one day I’ll live there too.
S’BU: Some things aren’t easy though. The cost of living is extremely high. And the kids there – they’re high class.
FRIEND 2: Uthini? Are we not good enough?
S’BU: N– no! That’s not what I meant.
FRIEND 2: Noma yini. You think ’cause you go to a fancy school now and wear fancy clothes you’re better than us, S’bu?
S’BU: I don’t think that. You’re being unreasonable. It’s just that … I can’t explain. You wouldn’t fit in there …
FRIEND 1: Wow! You’ve changed, umngane.
S’BU: It’s not easy. Ma worked hard to bring Nkosi and me to the city.
FRIEND 2: You think our parents don’t work hard? Unenhlanhla. You got lucky. Coconut.
FRIEND 1: Asambe, guys. Let’s go!
S’bu goes back to his granny’s house and finds her in the kitchen. She gives him some cooldrink.
GOGO: Your mother says you have a machine now that washes your dishes. So now she has forgotten how to wash up! I love your mother, you know that, but lowo wesifazane – that woman she hates work.
Gogo looks at S’bu closely.
GOGO: Kwenzenjani, S’bu? What’s wrong?
S’BU: My friends think I’m a coconut. It’s not like I’ve changed … But it’s like I have to change who I am. At school I must speak English and act like the other boys or I get judged as a village boy. But here they think I’m too high-and-mighty and tease me too. What do I do, Gogo?
S’BU: What’s so funny?
GOGO: Oh, son, uzolile manje. Be calm. Just breathe and remember who you really are. Be true to yourself. You don’t have to change. You must just be you.
S’BU: Easier said than done. Sometimes I don’t know who I am any more. I’m ‘too white’ for my home and ‘too black’ for school.
GOGO: Cha, nganeyami. If you keep pretending, you will lose yourself. Kufanele uzithole! – You must find yourself!
S’BU: Thanks, Gogo. I’m really tired now … I think I’ll go to sleep.
Gogo kisses him before he goes to find Nkosi who is lying on their mattress listening to the radio.
Tell us: What do you think of the term ‘coconut’? Do you think it’s fair to call someone that?