One good turn 2/3

By Drum Digital
20 December 2013

Angela discovers sad news about one of her learners.

Angela was thankful that the rest of the day passed without incidentbut she still had one task to do before she went home. That was to visit the parents of Vusi Khumalo. ??Ko, Ko,'' shouted Angela outside Vusi's parents' shack. She felt agitated standing there alone as evening was coming in. To her relief the shack door openedand a haggard old man stood before her. ??Good day, Baba. Does Vusi Khumalo live here?'' ??What has the boy done now? I'll give him such a beating,'' mumbled the toothless man. ??Baba, it's not that he's in trouble, I teach him maths and I just wanted to see where he lives and talk to his parents.'' ??Vusi has no parents. I look after him.'' ??Oh,'' said Angela as she looked closely at the old man who looked more like a hobo than a responsible guardian. ??Can we talk?'' ??Well, lady, if you don't mind sitting on a tyre or two I'd be happy to talk all day.'' Angela looked about her and gently sat down on the nearest stack of tyres. ??So where is Vusi?'' ??He's probably out with friends. He comes back late,'' the old man said with a shrug. ??I teach him maths and it's hard to capture his attention.'' ??That boy could never stay still and it got worse when his parents died.''

??Oh, I didn't know that.'' ??Lots of people don't know and Vusi and I want to keep it that way.'' ??Has Vusi seen a doctor about his problem?'' ??I just thought it was part of growing up,'' said Baba. ??All right, let me see what I can do,'' said Angela and began to make her way home.

At home Angela fretted about what to cook for herself and her son Pitso, who was next door visiting a friend. In the small lounge above the equally small black and white TV was a portrait of a handsome man in full military uniform. His soft, friendly eyes and warm smile followed her wherever she went in the house.

The smell of fried cabbage soon filled the house. A door slammed and a boy ? the spitting image of the man in the portrait ? walked in. ??Mom, are we eating cabbage again?'' ??Yes, we are, my boy.'' ??But we always eat cabbage.'' ??At least we have something to eat. Now, go wash and get ready for supper.''

Mother and son sat down to eat. ??Mom, when am I getting a PlayStation? Tony is always beating me with his because he gets lots of practice.'' ??When I can afford it.'' ??You're always saying that,'' said the boy in a sulky manner.

??Listen to me carefully,'' said Angela, putting down her fork with a clang. ??What is important in life is that you get a good education that will take you far in the world. Where did Tony come in class last term?'' ??He came 20th.'' ??And what position were you?'' ??Third.'' ??Do you see the difference between someone who is distracted by games and somebody who isn't?'' ??Yes.'' ??I didn't hear you,'' his mom said, cupping her ears. ??Yes!''

THREE days later Angela went to see Baba after school. ??I told the doctor about how Vusi behaves at school and what you told me about him,” she said. “The doctor gave me this medicine for Vusi and he says you are to give it to him in the morning and the afternoon when he comes back from school.'' ??I'll make sure he takes it so we can get some peace,'' said Baba with a sigh.

Story by: Emeka Nwandiko

To be continued...

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