Mother are you proud

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cherish your mother while you still can. Never take for granted her teachings because one day you will wish to undo what can never be undone. Life is like a spinning ball you will never know what happens next

Mother are you Proud

Ntombi was only 15 years when she feel pregnant with a girl named Nozinhle. Ntombi was just starting her high school living with her mother who was working at that time. She walked 20 kilometres to and from school every day. Two years after giving birth Ntombi and the father of her baby Nozinhle had problems. Eventually they broke up. Ntombi had to leave school and go and work to support her baby. Ntombi worked far from home and her baby Nozinhle had live with Ntombi’s sister Nokwethemba. Nozinhle had countable events she enjoyed with her mother her whole life and was always longing to know what her mother thought of her. Growing up she lived with her aunt Nokwethemba who was so special and always made her always feel special. Nozinhle was known for her love of sing from a young age but never really had a good voice. She never had a good relationship with her mother. She always thought her mother was strict and never loved her so much because she was living with her aunt instead of her mother. There was a stage in Nozinhles life when she had to live from house to house because her aunt had changed jobs in the middle of the year while she was still at school. In those years when she was living with family friends she was always longing for the time when she will go visit her mother. Whenever she goes to visit her mother she always wished she didn’t have to go back Nozinhle finally had the chance to live with her mother as she changed school. Ntombi was married to another man who was Nozinhle’ stepfather Isaac. Isaac had a good heart and never threated Nozinhle differently to his other kid. Nozinhle stayed with her mother and step father for a year and she went back to living with family friends.  Ntombi and Isaac had problems a 2 year after Nozinhle had lived with them. Ntombi moved from a place they called home to go and built a shack for her and her two kids. That was the last year in primary for Nozinhle. So she moved from living with family friends to live with her mother and brother in the shack. Nozinhle’s mother never had a fancy job. She worked for a clothing shop for the chines. Ntombi was able to support her two kids from working for R50 a week. Ntombi had to travel to work every day for 6 days a week. Never a day off, no leave. The only time she could spend holidays with family was Christmas and New Year’s.

The shack was one room. Everything was done in this one room, kitchen and bedroom all in the same room. One day Nozinhle and his brother were sitting alone on the shack. There was a heavy thunderstorm. The roof was blowing. Nozinhle and her brother could see the sky from inside. There were rained on while sitting in doors. Nozinhle was at her teenage years when her mother Ntombi told her she is to start helping with cooking since Ntombi worked long hours. One days Nozinhle had a thigh burnt by the paraffin stove they were using to cook but she never told her mother. Whenever Ntombi’s kids felt sick she always said to them. If you not dyeing you are still ok. Only tell me when you need an ambulance. Whenever Nozinhle would ask anything form her mother she use to ask her to wait 3 months because she could only buy on layby. Nozinhle always felt sad and she never understood why. Every casual day at school Nozinhle had to steal her mother’s clothes to look nice at school. Nozinhle never went to school trips unless it was for academics. Nozinhle went to school with no pocket money. Nozinhle felt she was mistreated and not loved by her mother. one day Nozinhle wrote her mother a letter because she was tied of the life they were living and she was very scared of her mother she never had a conversation with her mother, Nozinhle felt the letter will make a difference or maybe her mother will try to show her love the way she believe loved is shown by a parent. The letter read like this:-


Dear Mother


I can now I understand why all these years you never lived with me. Why did you bring me into this earth if you didn’t love me? I did not ask you to bring me to this earth so please do not make me pay for being your mistake in life. I am sorry that you had to give birth to a child that you do not like but you don’t have to treat me the way you do. I did not forced you and my father to break up. I don’t even know why you break up but please don’t take out your anger out on me. Just because my father does not give you any money for support doesn’t give you the right to make me suffer the way you do. Why do you always make me wait before you buy me things? Why do you always buy me clothes once a year, school uniform once a year? You don’t ever give me pocket money. You only bring me your leftover samosas from your Indian colleagues. Kids bring pocket money and my friends are starting to complain about me bring samosas everyday while they bring other things. Do you ever wish to make me smile or am I paying for you having to quit school and working from a young age. You had a choice to give me away to people who can afford me than to make me suffer like you do. I wish I was born by some other mother because you do not love me at all.

You then decided to have another baby and now I must look after him after school. If he is hungry until you come back from work. You shout at me. If he is out playing till late you shout at me. He is not my baby he is your baby. I can’t play because I must look after this shack. Why do I get beaten up for all the thing going wrong in your shack? You don’t ever buy me new clothes and you don’t like if my friend borrow me theirs. You don’t want me to go play with my friends but you have friends yourself.





Nozinhle left the letter on the table for her to see when she comes back home. Nozinhle went to sleep early that day because she didn’t want to see her mother reading it since the shack was only one room. Nozinhle was expecting to be chased out or a huge hiding that day but she didn’t care as long as her mother knew how she feels.  Nozinhle woke up late the following morning and her mother was already gone to work. The letter was gone but nothing was said to Nozinhle. Nozinhle was very cared that her mother will punish her when she comes back from work that day.  Late in the afternoon that day Ntombi’s friend Thabile called Nozinhle to come over to her house. Thabile asked if Nozinhle was happy to be living with her mother. ‘No she don’t love me’ Nozinhle replied. Thabile told Nozinhle that her mother read the letter. Thabile also told her that her mother spent her night crying after reading the letter. ‘Nozinhle your mother came to me crying and asked me to keep this letter because she knows you don’t understand’ said Thabile. Thabile advised Nozinhle to understand her mother, because Ntombi was struggling alone. Ntombi was also not happy that she cannot do thing for her kids on time. As a mother she wanted what was best for her kids too but sometimes it is not easy.


Ntombi came back from work that night. She didn’t ask or speak about the letter. There was no beaten nothing but sweet mother but Nozinhle was thinking it her pretentious ways of love.  Ntombi never talked about the letter to Nozinhle. It was like she never read the letter. Ntombi never changed her house rules. She never spoiled Nozinhle with pocket money or fancy clothing for useless occasions. A few months later Ntombi’s Husband got ill. Ntombi had to come back from work and take care of her husband before she goes to her shack. Months later Isaac passed on.  Ntombi had to bury her husband and she mourned the death of her husband for a year. Due to legal marriage Ntombi and Isaac had Ntombi had to move back home with her kids. Ntombi so young in black mourning clothing her kids felt uncomfortable around her. On Christmas day that year Ntombi took her kids to visit grandmother’s house to have Christmas celebration as a family. Ntombi and her kids slept over at grandmother’s house. Due to crime in the area Ntombi asked her neighbour to look after her house for that night. The next morning people came to call Ntombi. There was smoke coming out the house. Ntombi rushed to check the house was on fire and the neighbour was inside.  The kitchen furnisher and the lounge burnt except for the two bedrooms. This was a hard time for Ntombi. She didn’t earn enough to buy furnisher. Ntombi was forced to start all over lay buying other thing in the house after the fire. Nozinhle and her brother never went to bed hungry even when the times were tough for Ntombi. Due to pressure that Ntombi was under she had to make extra cash Ntombi asked her boss if he can buy a microphone and speakers so that she can sing outside the shop and call people inside as part of marketing. Her boss agreed and bought the equipment. Ntombi now started singing and calling people inside the shop every Friday which earned her an extra R30 per week. She enjoyed doing it even though Nozinhle and her brother were so embarrassed by this act of making money. Nozinhle and her brother were now known as kids of that women who sing and call people at the chine’s shop. Nozinhle hated going to town because of this. Ntombi never cared what was being said about her new way of calling customers. Ntombi’s boss was so proud, many customer came to buy at the shop. Ntombi enjoy this and it was now a continuous thing. She did it every weekend. After Ntombi’s marketing campaign the shop expanded to three shops around town. She made lot of friends and people love her a lot. Ntombi never got a raise but never quit her job. She always use to say to her kids “ I feel sorry for you if you are embarrassed by what id bring food on the table” Nozinhle and her brother always begged that she stops this cause some kids were making fun of them at school. Ntombi always told her kids never to worry about what other people say, what they say will not kill anyone.  When Nozinhle turned 15 she applied for her ID. After Nozinhle got her Id. Every School holiday Ntombi used to ask “Did you close for you school holidays today” and Nozinhle would answer ‘Yes”. Nozinhle would expect the next question to be did you pass. But Ntombi always use to say”Ok that’s good prepare lunch box we going to work tomorrow”.

School holidays use to mean resting and visiting friends for Nozinhle but after her Id things changed. Nozinhle now had to work throughout her holidays. Ntombi never wanted Nozinhle to use her pay to help her support the family but she always use to tell her use you pay for whatever she wants but make sure she has enough money for transport. Nozinhle was confused why her mother is forcing her to work if she didn’t want her money. Nozinhle hated going to her mother’s work every holidays. Nozinhle would stand in the shop all day and serve customers. Some customers were irritated if being followed. The only time Nozinhle would sit was when she had her 30 minutes lunch. Nozinhle remember once stepping on some guy shoes by mistake and the guy turned angrily and said “ Hey you girly do you know how much these shoes cost, does flops of your don’t even go closer to the price of these shoes, watch where you going and stop steeping on shoes you can never afford”. The attention was all on Nozinhle and this guy was loud. Nozinhle was deeply hurt and only replies “I am sorry sir it was a mistake”. Nozinhle spent her day sad that day and she hated ever being around affording people.

 On Nozinhle last year of high school just like every kids doing matric she applied for university knowing exactly that she will never go because her mother would not afford to pay university fees. There were responses from the universities some needed her to fill in forms at the doctors and returned them, some required her to write a selection test that she could not afford to go and write since the universities were far from her home and she never told her mother that she was applying to go and study. So Nozinhle missed out like that until she finished her matric. She passed her matric with flying colours but not enough destinations to be considered for bursaries. The following year Nozinhle had to go look for school and begged her aunt Nokwethemba to please accompany her to look for school. Unfortunately they had no luck. They went back home but Nozinhle didn’t want to give up like that. Nozinhle asked her Mother to give her money so she can try universities in other cities.  Ntombi gave Nozinhle money to go at do self-applications and register at University. Nozinhle went to look for school but Nozinhle could not register unfortunately because she never came to write selection test. Nozinhle being desperate to study she started trying other faculties that still had space to take self-applications. While Nozinhle was still in doing self-applications she received a call from the college where she applied and was put on the waiting list. They told her to come register in two days’ time, but had to pay R3500 registration fee and bring the slip on the day of registration. Nozinhle phoned her mother to tell her what was good news to her but stressful to her mother because she didn’t have money for registration. Ntombi spoke to her boss for a loan and she was offered a loan. Two days later Nozinhle went to register and was enrolled to study. After registration Ntombi asked for more money from her boss for tuition and accommodation had to pay the loan R30 from her salary every week until the loan is finished. Every month Ntombi also had to try and sent money for Nozinhle’s cosmetics. Life was much harder for Ntombi with Nozinhle in college and having to pay for a loan at work and still support her and her son.  Nozinhle still had to work holidays at her mother’s work. During the year applied for bursaries to help for the following year but there were no responds. That year Nozinhle passed all her modules and had to progress to do her second her in college. End of the year Ntombi had to tell Nozinhle bad news that she need to take a break from college because the loan she took for her 1st year will take 13 years for her to repay and her boss told her he cannot give her another one since the other one is far from being finished. Nozinhle had to work to save money to go back to school. It was clear that Nozinhle while have to work for a very long time before she save enough money to go back to college. Nozinhle was deeply hurt by the news but she didn’t want to quit college, she didn’t want to work for nothing because it was going to take for ever for her to save enough money. She had long and sad holidays. She refused to quite. She spent her holidays thinking of her next move. She didn’t want to end up working for R50 a week the rest of her life.  Nozinhle asked her mother to at least try and save money for transport for went the school opens because she will go back to college. It seemed impossible but Nozinhle had a fighting spirit and she didn’t want to give up without trying.  Holidays were over last day Nozinhle packed her bags like everybody else prepared to go back to college. Ntombi gave her money for taxi to go to college as she asked but she never gave her money to come back. Nozinhle was scared that she will be sent home since she didn’t bring registration deposit slip. Ntombi on the other hand was feeling sorry for her daughter, she was miserable but decided she will allow her daughter to try what she thinks will work for her. The day came Nozinhle and her friends went back to college. Everyone was happy to see their friends after the holidays but Nozinhle was not happy because she might be sent home.  Nozinhle had chosen a room a year before. She and her roommate temporary signed for the room put their thing in. Nozinhle unpacked but Nozinhle did not want to unpack because she didn’t know what would happen at registration. Her roommate kept giving her hope even though there was zero hope. They slept the night, the 1st thing Nozinhle did the following morning was to go to the principal’s office and beg to register without paying for registration fee. The Principal asked when she is planning to pay. Nozinhle replied “I applied for a bursary last year they promise to respond to my application in February”. The principal asked to see her result since she could be crying to register and yet she is not even doing well. The principal was motivated by her results. The principal felt the need to help Nozinhle but he had to confirm that Nozinhle might get a bazar before he can make a decision. The principal phoned the bazar people to confirm and they bursary people confirmed to have received Nozinhle’s application but will only make a decision in February the same year. The principal requested Nozinhle to come back in February they will register her after her is sure she is getting the bursary. Nozinhle refused to go, she refused to leave the principal’s office and kept begging the principals to register her on that day. Nozinhle knew she had no money to go back home that why she decided to nag and cry in the principal’s office. Four hour later the principals got annoyed and wrote a letter that approved Nozinhle to register without registration fees. The principal gave Nozinhle the letter instructed her to use it when she register but he made it clear to Nozinhle that if the bursary do not approve her in February she is going back home. Nozinhle was relieved. She registered and told her mother about the good news.

End of February no reply from the bursary people. Nozinhle was called to principal’s office that day. On her way she was ready to pack and go home. The principal informed Nozinhle that the bursary people phoned him and asked that he keeps Nozinhle for another 15 days and they will respond after. 2nd weekend of March 2007 Nozinhle was called to the office Nozinhle was called to meet with the bursary people at the nearest hotel. That was a day Nozinhle received happiness. She was approved. Nozinhle qualified for the bursary for the next two years. Nozinhle made a decision to look for temporal jobs during holidays instead of going to work at her mother’s work place. She was lucky to get a job that was going to gain her experience. Nozinhle studied hard not to lose her bursary and during holidays she worked hard not to lose her new job. Nozinhle losing her bursary meant she is going back home or if she is fired at work it will mean she will have to go work at the shop where her mother worked. Working as not so easy for Nozinhle. She was young and doing what is regarded as work for man. She never gave up. When Nozinhle finished her studies the company she use to do her holidays work at fortunately phoned her and wanted to employ her for a year if she was interested or had nowhere else where she was going. Nozinhle was given a year contract and was now supporting her mother and brother. Nozinhle graduated and it was the first time she celebrated her success with her mother. Nozinhle bought furnisher on credit for her mother because she could afford to pay at that time and she wanted the situation at her home to be pleasant and make her mother happy. That same year Nozinhle felt pregnant and started having problem with her colleagues. The family of the colleagues got involved and she was now scared to go to town. She had to change locations and transport to work because they use to harass her. Problems with her colleague’s family were so serious and lead to physical fights and Nozinhle was attached outside work and she decided to resign and went back home. Life went back to being hard for Ntombi because she was still working for the same company and was not paid enough.  

After Nozinhle left work Ntombi started getting sick. Nozinhle gave birth to a baby boy but she was now jobless and Ntombi had to work in that sick condition so she can still support the family and pay for Nozinhle’s debt that she had for furnisher. Ntombi and Nozinhle didn’t have a good relationship at that time. Nozinhle went to live with her relatives and was never there for her sick mother. Ntombi one day was struggling to walk by herself in town and strangers had to help her take a taxi home. That when Nozinhle was forced to go and take care of her sick mother. Nozinhle’s brother was affected by seeing Ntombi sick that he was also not in good health. Nozinhle went and took care of her mother. After a week Ntombi struggled to sleep she woke Nozinhle up midnight to call the ambulance. Nozinhle woke up phoned the ambulance. Nozinhle had to take her 5 months old baby to go and fetch the ambulance at the nearest stop. When Nozinhle came with the ambulance Ntombi had bath dressed up and was ready to go. They all went to hospital. When they arrived they were sent back to go to get a transfer letter from the clinic. In a week state that Ntombi was she insisted to take a taxi alone to the clinic and get the letter she will come back. She told Nozinhle to wait in the hospital benches Ntombi was gone for more than 6 hours.  Nozinhle tried getting her on her phone but Ntombi never answered. Nozinhle phoned her aunt to tell her about the story and that she is been waiting for her mother for more than 5 hours and she hasn’t come back and she is not answering her phone.  Nozinhle’s Aunt came to the hospital to fetch Nozinhle and the baby. They phoned Ntombi she answered the phone and said she decided to go home and have a rest. Ntombi promised to come back to meet with them. Nozinhle and her aunt waited for her she came across the robot walking slowing and looking tired. Ntombi was taken to the doctor that day and Nozinhle’s aunt took Ntombi to her house and Nozinhle went back home to look after the house. Three days later Nozinhle received a call from the hospital. They asked to speak to an adult Nozinhle replied “I am the oldest one at home today my mother is at my aunt’s”. The hospital asked for the Aunties number Nozinhle gave them the number. During the day Nozinhle’s uncle came to fetch Nozinhle’s kid and Nozinhle never suspected anything wrong. Nozinhle took the kid’s food after a while to her uncle’s place and the uncle asked if she could stay longer. Later that evening Nozinhle went back home. On her way home a strange kid stopped Nozinhle and said “My mother sent me to pass her condolences for your lose”. Nozinhle was confused what this kid is talking about. She continued going home prepared super and her aunt came with all her other cousin. She instructed them to clean Ntombi’s bedroom because she is gone and never coming back. Ntombi has passed away the night before. Nozinhle and her brother never cried after hearing the news.  While there were cleaning Ntombi’s bedroom there was a box full of brown envelops and papers. The envelopes were dated from 1995 to 2010 hand written (Date, Ntombi Dlamini- R50). Envelopes from 2002 had extra information Date, (Ntombi Dlamini-R50 plus R30 bonus). Envelops from 2006 to 2010 had more written (Date, Ntombi Dlamini-R50 plus R30 bonus less R30 loan). It only made sense then to Nozinhle that her mother was paid R50 a week that why she always made her wait for whatever Nozinhle was asking Ntombi to buy.  She understood that there was no ways Ntombi would have been able to send her back to college the second year. Nozinhle was emotional but could never show how hurting she was.

A day after the funeral people came demanding repayments claiming Ntombi was owing them money. Furnisher was repossessed since no one was paying. Late Ntombi’s house was left empty and no one working. A few weeks later Ntombi was called for an interview. Knowing that she is a graduate on the day of the interview she dresses all formal and was confident she will pass the interview. At the interview there were more than 70 people all dressed in their overalls and casual clothing? Nozinhle was now confused. Everyone was called at once. People were split into groups and were instructed climb to the truck so they can be taken to their designated area of work. Nozinhle spoke to the manager that she came for the interview. The manager told Nozinhle that yes everyone is there for the same thing. They understand Nozinhle has a qualification but they do not have a post for her yet. The manager told Nozinhle to join her group and if a post that requires her qualification arise they will hire her. Nozinhle jump to the truck but unfortunately they was an overload and some people had to stay back wait for another truck. Eventually the truck came and pick the rest of the people. 1st groups for cleaning toilets, 2nd groups for sweeping the streets another group for cleaning grave yards and last group for irrigating parks, planting flowers in town. Nozinhle was with the irrigation and planting team. She worked for a month. One day a lady phoned her to ask if she will be interested in a position that would suit her qualification. Nozinhle gave it a try even though she was not sure if it real or a prank since she never applied. She sent her CV, went for an interview and was hired at that company. Life changed for the better for Nozinhle and her brother. She tried to make difference in her and brother’s life. She bought everything that her mother always wished to have while she was alive. But she never was satisfied knowing that the person who deserves to enjoy the product of her sweat and tears can never witness product of her hard work. Nozinhle regretted not having a good relationship with her mother while she was still alive. She regret the sad letter she once wrote to her mother not knowing what her mother was going though. She regret never telling her mother how much she means to her while she still had a chance to do so. As Nozinhle wake up every day she always have guilt of taking her mother for granted and never seeing how hard she was trying to be a mother that everybody wish to have. Nozinhle now live her life trying hard to make up for the time she wasted instead of making her mother happy.


Nozinhle only now she understand why her mother forced her to work every school holiday. She now understand why her mother had to make a fool of herself singing and calling customers to come and buy where she worked. Nozinhle only understand now why her mother made her wait to get what she wants. Back then it all seemed like Ntombi never liked Nozinhle but now it makes sense that she wanted to leave her with brains to know nothing comes easy in life, love doesn’t mean spoiling kids with unwanted gifts and doing whatever the kids wants whenever they demand. But Nozinhle has a question that will never be answered. She wake up every day trying to make life for her kids and brother to pay back for what her mother went through in life but never had to enjoy her hard work. Nozinhle degree studying towards her Master’s. Her brother is also in tertiary studying and lovely kids. But Nozinhle still asks ‘MOTHER ARE YOU PROUD’.

By: Lungile Buhle Mchunu

Submitted: June 01, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Lungile. All rights reserved.

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