1 JANUARY 1994
Deep in the outskirts of Kwa Zulu Natal at a small village of Bergville just outside of Drakensberg. There was a young woman, a single mother of three beautiful kids. When she gave birth to the her triplets it was all a miracle. None of th villagers believed that it was possible for a woman to carry three children. At the neighbouring villages it was all an abomination but there they celebrated until one day when everything change. The children started growing more and more to look like their father.
"Ma, ngilambile mina." Said Ezintle. He has always loved his food, looking at her son's dry lips and how dirty she was, the pain she felt multiplied.
"I know Zina. Where's your sister? Tell her to come in here." She said softly trying not to scream out of agony.
Her daughter walked into their mini hut with their other brother following her.
"Ma, I'm hungry mina. There's nothing to eat!" Said Mawenza, the young girl who looked exactly like her brothers but she was feminine.
"Help me up so i can go to the Toilet." She said.
Mawenza held her right arm and Nqobi held the other.
"Ma, did you just pee yourself?" Said Ezintle holding his mouth trying not to laugh. Nqobi looked at him intensely and she sank back to bed..
When it comes to these three, their sister acts like their big sister because she is three minutes older than the both of them and Ezintle is the last.
She looked down breathing heavily. This has been the longest and painful pregnancy and the worst nine months of her life. The only thing she wants is to give birth to this child. It has to be a boy, what she has been going is worse than when she was carrying the triplets.
"go call your grandmother," she said to her thirteen years old son Nqobi.
The young boy helper her sit on the bed and rushed outside. He ran to his grandmother's hut, which was about fifteen minutes away from their hut. He found the old woman sitting next to her hut knitting a beanie humming one of her favourite songs. When she is like this, no one ever has the guts to disturb her. But it is worse if it's one of them disturbing her. For whatever unfathomable reason, she does not want any of them near her.
"gogo, Ma sent me to call you. She's in pain." He said holding his chest trying to catch his breath.
The old woman raised her head and looked at her grandchild and went back to knitting unbothered by what he had just said.
"Gogo, uyangizwa?" He called out again looking at her sadly.
She ignored him and kept on humming. "Phuma la kwami weMfana. " She said softly.
"Gogo Uma is in pain she needs your help." He cried.
At only thirteen years old, you do not know what is going on around you but he knew very well that his grandmother hates his mother and only she knows why she hates her own child this much.
He looked at the old woman " when i grow up and become a Lawyer, you had better not ask me for money! I hate you!!" He said and ran out of the yard.
She lookee at him running back to the house far from hers, she chuckled and went back to knitting.
Nqobi went to MaMkhize's house and called out her name as he ran inside.
The old woman hurriedly locked her house and followed the young boy rushing to their hut passing his grandmother's yard.
"Haibo Nonkanyiso,?" Said MaMkhize tying her doek around her head walking past Gog'Nonka. She too did not understand why one would hate her own child. If she had a child of her own she would love her more than anything in this world.
She went to Mawande's hut and found her lying in bed looking helpless. Two of her kids seating next to her. She quickly ran to her and took off the blankets off of her.
"Mawenza bring me a bucket of warm water and clean towels. " Said MaMkhize as she took the pillow and placed it behind Mawande.
"There are no clean towels lana, we only have dish cloths nakhona they are not even clean." Says Mawenza looking at MaMkhize. "What is happening to her?" She said as an afterthought.
Mawande groaned in pain, "Wenzy you can cut that new blanket from the wardrobe. Hurry!" She said in frustration. She is trying to keep calm as much as she can.
Meanwhile Nqobi looked at his mother tearfully. He wished that he could take the pain away from her, but how? He is only thirteen years old. What more can he do ? His sister and brother are also young, Mawenza is the oldest and she is only three minutes older than them. Mawenza came back with the new blanket and a scissor. Nqobi helped her cut it into four pieces and she gave it to MaMkhize.
"Okay, bantwana bami please go outside now. I need to help your mother." Said MaMkhize pushing them outside.
Mawenza took her siblings and they went outside and sat on the verenda listening to their mother screaming in pain.
"Should we go help her Wenzy?" Asked Nqobi looking at her sister with tears gushing down on his face.
Mawenza wiped her tears with the back of her hands and shook her head.
"No, let's stay here. MaMkhize will help her." She said assuring her siblings. They are triplets but since she is three minutes older than them she has always acted like their big sister and they got used to it.
They sat there for a good seven hours and time was 22:22.
Meanwhile inside the hut, Mawande held her child and looked at MaMkhize,
"please keep her safe. Keep them safe!" She said softly loosing her breath.
"Who is their father Mawande? " The old woman asked looking at her sadly.
Mawande coughed painfully, "ubaba wangihlukumeza ma." She said before coughing harder. She spat the blood on her shirt as she closed her eyes.
MaMkhize brought water, she took a sip and looked at her child.
"Her name is Nomalanga keep them safe for me." She said tearfully looking at MaMkhize. "In that box, under the wardrobe there are four letters in it and pictures of their father, my father. " She said and coughed a lot more "give it to them when they are old enough." She said before closing her eyes.
"Ngisafuna ukuphumula." She said ..
MaMkhize looked at her and she found herself crying. After a little while we went outside. She looked at the kids sleeping peacefully on the torn mat infront of the house. Thank God for them it was not cold.
She sighed and went back inside the room, she took the little girl and looked at Mawande lying on the bed lifeless.
"What am i going to do with you, huh?" The old woman said looking at the new born baby, she sighed and went outside.
She closed the door behind her, Mawenza was up already. She gently stood up and dusted her torn dirty dress looking at MaMkhize carrying a blanket, so she thought.
"Uphi uMa? Is she sleeping?" She asked looking at MaMkhize.
The old woman looked at her sadly. "Yes, ulele and she said you guys should not disturb her. I'll take you to your grandmother's house." She said
"No we can't go there, uGogo doesn't want us near her house. She hates us." Said Mawenza "why are you carrying that blanket, give it to me I'll take it inside. It's cold out here." She said trying to take it from her.
"No. Wake your siblings up and follow me." MaMkhize said looking at her,
She sighed and woke up Nqobi and Ezintle.
"Come on you guys, asambeni. " She said taking their hands and followed MaMkhize to their grandmother's hut.
MaMkhize knocked for a good five minutes and sighed, after a couple of more minutes Gogo Nonkanyiso finally decided to open the door for her.
"Kanti ufunani la? Do i owe you? Ngiyak'kweleta? " Gog'Nonkanyiso said in annoyance.
"Nonkanyiso ingane yakho ifile, here are your grandkids. And this is the new one. She died right after she gave birth to her." MaMkhize said
Nonkanyiso looked at her with a raised eyebrow and burst out laughing.
"Well then good riddance to bad rubbish. Phumani la kwami!! " She said pointing at the gate.
"Where am i supposed to take these kids?" MaMkhize asks, this is not how she wanted to tell the kids that their mother just passed on after giving birth to their sister.
"I don't care what you do with those bastards. Just make sure you leave my place and take that home wrecker with you! You can go burn her for all i care!' She banged the door on her face and went inside.
MaMkhize sighed and went back to the gate where Mawenza and the others were standing. "Let's go." She said making her way to her house.
"I told you that uGogo hates us. Why don't we just go back to Uma? Mina sengikhathele manje." Said Ezintle holding her sisters hand tightly.
"Let's go, I'll make you something to eat when we get home," said MaMkhize.
She had no kids of her own, but she knew how to treat a child. And she loves them, sadly God never gave her at least one. But when her husband died, he left her all his cows but sadly they got stolen. She survives on her pension money.
"Nqobi go into that room and take off those clothes, I'll boil water for you to bath. Mawenza, follow me m" She said as she went to her room and placed the baby on the middle of the bed.
Mawenza walked inside the room and her eyes shot open as she looked at MaMkhize looking at the baby.
"Is that a baby?" She asked as she walked inside the room and stood next to the bed looking at the baby sleeping peacefully..
MaMkhize sighed before taking Mawenza's hand into her and pulled her to sit next her.
"Yes, this is your sister. " She said looking at her sadly, "and Wenzy umawakho ushonile." She said tearfully looking at her.
"What do you mean ushonile? Did you do something to her ?" Said Nqobi who was standing at the door eavesdropping at their conversation.
"Nqobizitha, come sit down. Where's your brother?" Said MaMkhize looking at this young boy who had no emotions on his face.
Ezintle walked inside the room a and sat next to her sister. Looking at them, she did not know how to say it all..
"Listen, you all know that your mother was sick right?" She said and they all nodded their heads. "Yes, but because she loved you all and trusted that you are old enough. She left you all a present! Here is your little sister, Nomalanga." She said sadly trying to smile.
"So she really is dead?" Nqobi said angrily looking at MaMkhize. "You are the one who killed her! It's your fault." He said before storming out of the room.
"Let me go talk to him." Mawenza said following outside.
"Nqobizitha stop!" She called out running after him to their mothers hut. She stopped to catch her breath and ran to the house.
"Are you crazy Nqobi?" She said angrily kicking him off the stoep! Nqobi angrily looked at her folding his hand into fists, his heart beating out of his chest. "Come on, let's go!" She said pulling his shirt.
" STOP!!" he said aggressively pushing her and she fell on her but hitting the rock next to the gate with the back of her head.
She groaned in pain as she stood up feeling dizzy. "I'm bleeding.." she said looking at her hand.
"You should leave me alone!" He said going back to the house.
He tried to open the door and it was all locked. He cried banging on the door.
"Nqobi let's go we will come back here tomorrow. " Mawenza said holding get throbbing head. Nqobi wiped his tears with the back of his hand and went back to his sister, he walked past her and she followed him all the way to MaMkhize 's house.