Joyce enters the Davidson-Mojanaga living room, out of breath. She looks around and mumbles to herself, then notices Tebogo, who is in deep thought, sitting on the couch.

JOYCE: Hey, Tebogo. You’re just sitting there meanwhile I had to walk three hundred miles from the bus stop to this gigantic house. What kind of child are you? I mean there are five cars in this house impha I had to take a taxi from the train station.

TEBOGO: Granny! I didn’t know you were coming. (Surprised, attempts to give her a hug)

JOYCE: (Smacks him) Hayi don’t hug me! You busy hugging, hugging here, when my bags are at the gate. What if the hobos steal them?

TEBOGO: Okay, Granny. I’ll go get them. (Leaves laughing, talking to himself) Lol – hobos in Sandton?

JOYCE: (Sits on the couch trying to catch her breath.) This house is so dirty. This rug looks like it should be in Joe’s shack. Why did they decide to buy a coffee table just like Mavis’ coffee table? Sies, this table is so dusty! (Wiping the table surface with her hand and looking at it) Don’t they have six maids? It is filthy!

Tebogo comes back, carrying all five of Joyce’s heavy bags.

TEBOGO: Granny, how was your trip?

JOYCE: You are a foolish boy. I just told you it was horrible. Anyway, what are you doing here? Why are you not at school?

TEBOGO: Yoh, Granny, I just feel down. My name is all over the newspapers and I guess I don’t want to get weird stares from people on campus.

JOYCE: Oh you city boys. What did you do now? Are you selling drugs or robbing banks? What is it?

TEBOGO: Someone leaked information to the press that I’m not mom’s biological son. Then they told me that my real mother’s dead. Dad only cares about the company and Clayton knew about all of this and he didn’t say a word. I’m having a hard time trusting anyone. I don’t even know who I am!

JOYCE: He banna. We all knew. We just didn’t want to tell you, because you are weak. I mean, look at you now (mocking him). Hee, hee my father did this; hee, hee my mother’s not my mother. Hayi shut up! Do you think these are real problems? You know Phineas in my village? He doesn’t have a roof! The wind blew it off and you are crying over these silly issues. Tebogo ngwanaka, you have so much to be grateful for, and this is not a problem you should worry about.

TEBOGO: I guess you are right, Granny. I just wish they had told me.

JOYCE: Okay baba. Anyway, where’s the drug addict?

TEBOGO: (Uncomfortable) Uhm … Granny, Clayton went to rehab, remember? He’s not addicted to drugs anymore. He’s doing well. In fact he’s even helping Mom and Dad at work today.

Thandi walks in with a broom in her hand. When she sees Tebogo she drops it and rushes to his side.

THANDI: Tebogo! I have been worried sick. Are you okay? You left so suddenly this morning. I hope what was written in the newspaper didn’t upset you too much.

TEBOGO: No, Ma Thandi. I’m fine now. It did get to me a little bit, but Granny made me see the bigger picture.

Thandi notices Joyce and quickly greets her.

THANDI: Hello, Mrs Mojanaga. Unjani? Can I get you some tea?

JOYCE: Hello. You know, the whole time you were busy talking I was wondering when you are going to see those five bags at the door, this ugly mat under my feet and that dirty coffee table. I guess they pay you for nothing. So instead of making me some tea, get to work. I suggest you start by dusting this room.

THANDI: Uhm … okay, I have to check on dinner, but I will come back and clean the dust later. (Exits)

As Thandi exits, Kgosi and Lucille enter, arguing. When Tebogo sees them he quickly gets up, grabs two of the bags and walks off. Lucille notices him and tries to stop him.

TEBOGO: Granny, let me leave you to catch up with Mom and Dad. I have to go. See you later.

LUCILLE: Tebogo, please! We need to talk. I just want to know if you’re okay.

TEBOGO: Mom, I really don’t want to talk right now, especially not to you. (He leaves the room.)

LUCILLE (Calling after him) Tebogo … please!

JOYCE: Hayi leave him. He’ll be fine. What you should worry about is this filthy house. Fire that maid and get someone else. Kgosi, why didn’t you pick me up at the train station?

LUCILLE: I’ll get Thandi to prepare the spare room for you, Ma. Excuse me. (Quickly leaves the room, avoiding Joyce’s eyes)

KGOSI: Ma, I’m sorry I couldn’t pick you up, but I’m glad you had a safe trip.

JOYCE: It’s fine, my son. Take my bags and put them in my room. I am going to freshen up. (Gets up and makes her way to the bedroom.)

KGOSI: Okay, Ma. (Takes bags and follows Joyce) Yoooh Mama – what is in these bags? Rocks?


Tell us: Do you think older women have a right to treat domestic workers like Joyce treats Thandi? How do you think Thandi feels about it?