We started having problems right after Papa's death. My elderly sister lost her job, and Neo was also fired after trying to steal a box of milk. Mama said papa's death brought so m any misfortunes in our home & sometimes she also felt like taking her own life because of poverty. We became very poor and sometimes we would go to bed on empty stomachs. I didn't understand as to why papa's death would bring us such, did he enjoy watching us from Heaven suffering, was he that heartless?. I know that he and mama used to fight but I didn't know that we all would be punished one day because of their fights.
Papa was a traditional man who believed in badimo(the uncestors), the old man had a lot of stories to tell about badimo. According to him, they were the reason he married our mother, & the reason they had us. Mama on the other side was a very submissive woman who supported everything Papa did or said even when she didn't really agree but she would for peace's sake and that's when I knew that mama was no longer happy in their marriage. Papa was a polygamist with three wives, mama was his third wife, right next to our house lived his first wife Mme Sebolai and in a Hut next to that one lived the second childless wife Makhumalo.
After Papa's funeral Makhumalo did not waste time but packed all her belongings and went back to Mpendle(a small village in Kwazulu Natal). Mme Sebolai had three kids with Papa and they all had moved to the city for greener pastures. All three of my brothers we taking a good care of their mother, it was only my sister Dineo & my brother Neo who could not take care of our poor mother. I on the side was still in high school but on Saturdays I would go work in the farms for extra cash & a bag of potatoes. Yes! a bag of potatoes that's what the white man would give us when we were done working for the weekend. A bag of potatoes that would become our seshebo & sometimes pap when we did not have maize meal. Mama would boil the potatoes & when they were tender she would then add a pinch of salt and mash them with our big wooden spoon. This was our only decent meal & before every meal we prayed and thanked God for it.
Mama's illness started the moment she discovered my sister Dineo's pregnancy. Awwwwwwwwwww! Dineo o mpolayile(you have killed me) how could you? " Your peers are giving birth to qualifications and houses wena o tlisa ngoana? " I am sorry mama" my sister said. "You are sorry Dineo, well sorry is not going to feed that baby" awwwwwwwwwww Dineo ngoana ka" why mara, why Dineo?....
To be continued