A job for Shophie 1/3

By Drum Digital
16 December 2013

Mabali couldn't stop worrying about her unemployed daughter.

So, Sophie, did you do anything about finding a job today?'' Mbali asked as she unpacked the food in the kitchen. ??I've brought a newspaper back from work. Have a look at the jobs column.'' Sophie sighed and took it unwillingly. ??Mama, they don't advertise jobs for people like me. They want to see certificates! Qualifications! '' ??Well, maybe next year I'll be able to afford sending you on a course,'' Mbali said doubtfully,  shopping cabbage and onions. ??But figures are not something you were good with at school.'' ??Mama, I wasn't good at anything,'' Sophie grinned. ??Stop fussing, I'll find something soon.'' ??And where did that new skirt come from?'' ??I made it this morning while you were at work. Like it?'' Sophie twirled around, showing off the red and white mini. ??If you spent more time looking for a proper job and less time making clothes you don't need, this family would be better off,'' Mbali snapped. ??You and your brother cost me a fortune.'' ??Mama! I made that tracksuit for Yena last week! And I made his soccer shorts. Aren't I helping?'' ??I suppose so. Sorry my girl, I'm in a bad mood this evening. I've had a hard day.'' Mbali had worked for 10 years as a wage clerk in a factorybut there were worrying signs things were not going well with the business. Staff members were being laid off. She didn't know how she and her two children would manage if it were to happen to her. She had to admit Sophie was clever with her needle. But her fashionable clothes weren't bringing in any money. THE next morning Mbali rushed to get herself ready for work and make sure 10-year-old Yena had everything he needed for school. As they went out of the door she called to her daughter. ??I've left R20 on the table for you to buy beans and bread. And milk. And please start cooking the beans! '' Sighing, Sophie got up, switched on the radio and started singing along to the music. Then she took the money and went to the shop. On the way she stopped to look at the street traders' tables when she noticed a new stall selling children's clothes. She picked up the little tops and dresses and examined them. They were expensive but looked badly made. Suddenly she had an exciting idea. She'd made those shorts for Yena, hadn't she? ??I can make better children's clothes than these,'' she said boldly to the woman behind the table. ??Would you buy from me?'' ??That depends,'' the woman said. ??Bring me something you've made and we'll see.'' Sophie almost ran back to the house. She'd been making her own clothes since she was 14 and had plenty of leftover pieces of fabric. She chose plain blue cotton and blue and yellow floral prints, and sat down immediately to cut the pattern and sew it. Just before her mother came home, the little dress was finished, trimmed with pretty yellow buttons she had cut from one of her old blouses. ??Not bad!'' she thought, holding it up and checking for loose threads. ??This is really cute.'' Just as she heard her mother opening the door, she remembered the beans. Not only had she forgotten to start cooking them, she hadn't even bought them!

Sophie groaned, expecting the usual lecture. But to her surprise her mother just sighed and said, ??Well then, we'll just have bread and jam.'' Mbali looked tired and anxious. Sophie tried to be extra helpful, washing the dishes so her mother could relax in front of the TV. She made a cup of tea for her mom and sat opposite her on the couch.

Story by: Dudu Sibanya

To be continued...

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