Nomsa's nuptials (1/5)

By Drum Digital
25 August 2014

My model sister’s elaborate lies finally caught up with her – on her wedding day.

When she moved to the big city, my sister forgot all about her family. Our Ma and Pa were not happy at all. “What’s got into your sister’s head that she’s behaving like this?” Ma asked me countless times.

I don’t know. You raised her.” That’s what I felt like saying but I kept my thoughts to myself to avoid hurting Ma’s feelings. But truth be told, I couldn’t blame Nomsa for leaving – life in our village can be tough.

The electricity supply is unreliable and sometimes we go for days without water. Roads have potholes the size of fish ponds and because unemployment is high, young people spend their time playing soccer or smoking weed.

“I can’t stay in this hole,” Nomsa told me a few weeks before she left. “I don’t want to end up like most of the people in this village – with crushed dreams.

There’s got to be a better life out there. I’m going to be a top model.” I didn’t even try to discourage her – if Nomsa wanted something nothing and nobody could stand in her way.

It was easy for her to convince our parents that their 21-year-old daughter needed to spread her wings. Soon she’d packed all her belongings – five dresses, one pair of shoes, and a few other personal items – and was gone, headed for the bright lights of the city.

For almost a month we didn’t hear from her. Ma worried, burdening me with her thoughts. “Why don’t you go look for your sister? A young man like you should find his way around. Or maybe you’re like your father – too lazy to be bothered.”

“If Nomsa wanted to communicate with us she’d write,” I protested. “Even if I go looking for her where will I start? I’ll be like a small fish searching the Indian Ocean.”

Finally the letters arrived. Nomsa wrote about how she’d found a job modelling clothes and had moved into a flat with some of her model friends.

When she lived in the village she never wore trousers or short skirts, but in the photographs she sent she had on extremely tight jeans that made me wonder how she’d squeezed into them. She also had long artificial hair that enhanced her pretty face.

Mother showed off the photos to anyone who cared to look. “My daughter is doing amazing things,” she’d say. Nomsa never visited but she started to send money then groceries. For the first four months she was in the big city we ate all the sophisticated food she’d sent through friends.

I even put on weight. Then after a while, everything stopped: the letters, the money and the groceries. That’s when we started seeing Nomsa’s photo in newspapers and magazines, looking as beautiful as ever. In the magazines she didn’t use our surname.  She’d adopted a name she probably thought sounded more modern.

In one magazine interview she lied unashamedly about her background. She talked about how her rich and successful parents had raised her in the city.

It was clear my sister wanted nothing to do with her poor background or her impoverished relatives. My parents were distraught but there was nothing they could do.

“Where did we go wrong with that child?” my mother would ask my father. One day, my friend Peter was reading a Sunday paper when he decided to check out his favourite page – the back page where they show near naked women posing in their underclothes. “Your parents are going to have a fit,” he gasped.

“Your sister is here! Right here on the back page for every lusty man in the country to stare at. She sure can pose for the camera though,” he added with a naughty smile.

To be continued...

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