Fezekile Futhwa 

Revolutionary Relay - Write What You Like

Fiction

THE MAGIC NUMBER - Part 3

The judgement by Judge Moremi made history in the South African judiciary. It became the headline topic in the Law Review Journal several times. Experts were called to express an opinion on the legality of the sentence. While everyone agreed the sentence was not exactly fair, the question of whether it was illegal could not be answered by any of the legal experts. They simply said a lesser sentence could have been imposed. But when asked what a lesser sentence meant, none could give an answer.

For the first time in his life Thabo saw life differently. He now saw the foolishness of his actions, what the judiciary call remorse. Now he was an object of a crusade by Judge Moremi to prove that fathers who don't take responsibility for their children must be incarcerated. He was now the subject of legal minds to debate whether his case justified the judgement, and if not, what alternative to suggest. The criminal law was now under review, with him the centre of the discussion. And sitting in jail does not get easier, especially if you are the focal point of discussion by the best criminal minds in the country.

True to her word, Judge Moremi had only filed Thabo's papers for appeal at the latest possible time, further delaying his chances for a review. To make matters worse, Judge Moremi had been nominated to serve on the bench of the Constitutional Court. This, in legal terms, meant that she was taking the fight all the way to the Constitutional Court. Thabo was at a great disadvantage. As an awaiting trial prisoner, he was shipped to Kroonstad prison until the courts knew what to do with him. Life was instantly miserable for him in prison. Do not believe stories that prison is like a hotel. You get two showers a week, using cold water. Breakfast is two slices of white bread with scant margarine and a lousy weak tea. Lunch is an overcooked meal that has not taste whatsoever. Supper is, well let's rather not talk about it. Prison food is lousy and bad. Awaiting trial prisoners are allowed visits by family and friends, but in Kroonstad Thabo had no one visiting him. Not that he was amazed really.

Thabo may be many things, but a hardened criminal is not one of them. so prison life was really torture for him. He was what they called a sissy in prison, and fell prey to the hardened criminals he was spending a cell with. The common cells accommodate four inmates per cell, and Thabo was a pushover in his cell. His first real experience of prison came the evening he arrived in Kroonstad. He was beaten to a pulp by a cell mate for refusing to share his meals with him. Soon news broke in prison that he was a ladies man incarcerated for failing to look after his offspring. He was twice nearly gang raped while taking a shower.

Following these incidents of rape, Thabo was adamant he must be moved to a safer cell where his life will not be constantly at risk. Ruri lehlohonolo ke lebelo, not long after this he had caught the eye of the chief warder Sharon Motaung. Sharon. Ba batle bana ba Basotho. She was tall with a slender body, not skinny though. Milky chocolate in skin colour. Hlooho e dula e luuwe. With generous breasts. Her legs! No man could see those legs and claim to be indifferent. At age 29, she was really hot. Every man who has ever talked to her wish she could be his.

Sharon come from a wealthy family in Welkom. Her parents own an mansion in Oppenheimer location in Thabong. One of three children in the family and the only one who did not follow the dreams her parents had for her. Her siblings are well educated and rich. The eldest brother is a medical doctor with a private practice. The youngest is one of the few black CAs in the country, and she doing well for herself. Sharon had studied for a BA in Industrial Psychology, after which she refused to continue studying nor working professionally in that field. For some reason she liked working for Correctional Services, and being employed as a prison warder was very rewarding for her. Her family had tried numerous times to convince her to do something with her life that befits their status, to no avail. They have since accepted that she is the lesser success of the family. Her perceived lack of success is a constant grudge to her whenever she meets her family. They use every opportunity they get to remind her that she could have done much better with her life. This have led to tension between her and the rest of her family, so much that she feels happy when she is away from them. Being constantly reminded about being failure, that's what her parents called her, made her resent her family. She couldn't be happier at the thought of news reaching her parents that she is romantically involved with a convict. A perfect scenario for her, one that might trigger a heart attack to her parents. She loved the idea.

She started by putting Thabo in a solitary cell, where he got more "privileges" than was customary in Kroonstad prison. In his cell, he had a colour television, a collection of books, food and money. He could have visitors at any time, at least that is what he was promised even though Sharon knew he had no visitors whatsoever. He had unlimited access to the sun on the prison grounds as he was now allowed to roam about at his leisure. Giving in to Sharon's affront gave him the hope he have been hoping for. Not that he needed any convincing seeing that Sharon is the best looking woman he has seen in a long time. And in time he came to understand that his privileges extended to conjugal matters too.

Although everyone was aware of the special treatment Thabo received in jail, no one really could complain as he was an awaiting trial prisoner. His case never made it to court, not even for a bail hearing. Some righteous democratic organisations and liberal individuals had tried to argue his case, citing unfair and unconstitutional treatment. The toothless Human Rights Commission, the racist Institute of Race Relations and the Wits Law Clinic. Even the Commission of Gender Equality entered the fray, though nobody really knows why since Thabo is neither a woman nor child. The logic explanation offered by township tabloid is that Thabo has had doings with several commissioners, hence their interest in his story. Kasi Taal, the tabloid, reckoned Judge Nku must be the best legal mind in South Africa. How else do you explain, they argued, the fact that Thabo was buried deep in prison while no one seemed capable of doing anything about it? Despite the best constitution in the world, Thabo stayed in jail.

There is something intrinsically strange, funny, best and stupid all at the same time about the South African constitution. While is hailed as the best in the world, it facilitates some of the weirdest things in the world. The Mangaung municipality couldn't fire him for absenteeism, neither could they fire him for being in jail. You can't fire someone until their judicial case has been concluded. The best they can do is to suspend him until such time that he comes back from jail or he is found guilty. This is a great position for Thabo because he knows that he does not have to worry about work, unless he is found guilty. If they dare fire him, they will be compelled to compensate him for loss of income and unfair discrimination. No wonder the CCMA is such a busy institution. Township people fully agreed with the tabloid that Judge Nku is the best mind in the country for orchestration of such an act. The Minister of Justice, when interviewed, said that he couldn't interfere with independence of the judiciary. eTv even did a programme about Thabo and his plight.

Only the programme "exposed" his privileges more than anything else, and for this Thabo was condemned and forgotten in the justice system. Some commentators said there was nothing to worry abut since Thabo was enjoying better treatment than most prisoners. And indeed he was forgotten in the system. For eighteen months he was a prisoner in Kroonstad prison. For eighteen months he enjoyed special privileges, courtesy of Sharon Motaung, chief warden. For eighteen months he enjoyed the chief warden. In eighteen months the chief warden was pregnant. Things have come a full circle. Some things just don't change, no matter the circumstances.

There was mini riot taking place outside prison the longer Thabo remained incarcerated. The original instigators, a reference to the women who started Thabo's legal woes, were now being haunted by society where they lived. This started with the elder women asking where have seen a man jailed for fathering children? That is a family matter they argued. Then the young women who had children with Thabo entered the fray. They claimed they never wanted the father of their children jailed. And this blame was placed squarely on the shoulders of those who started these legal cases. And then matters were made worse by the young hopeful girls who claimed their chance with Thabo was taken away by those responsible for jailing Thabo. Girls physically fought on this point. Modiehi the lawyer and Ethel the social worker were forced to relocate while running away from an angry mob. Gugu had some of the businesses burned down as a result. Even Ncumisa, the BEE benefactor, was once attacked in public by an angry girl in retaliation to her dumping Thabo.

What really added fuel to this riot were the accidental implications of his incarceration to other important people. And this is the reason people believe moved the levers of power to see him released from jail. His continued imprisonment was increasingly becoming a risk to many rich and influential people. Modiehi had grown to be a very influential legal mind in Bloemfontein. Gugu was a running a successful business empire, now with friends in high places. Her being haunted as a result of Thabo made her go after her original enemies, people she had sworn to pay revenge to; the movement. She immediately organised a media campaign in which corruption was being "exposed". Many comrades' dealings were reported in the media, and many were caught red handed. Gugu was providing the background information on comrades and directing where to look. Many high figures were publicly embarrassed. Many ended up being formally investigated and charged by the police. All because Gugu was now paying revenge and many did not know this.

But mostly because many politicians found themselves trapped in the scandal. Many of the girls Thabo had impregnated turned out to belong to political families. The media was especially interested in this fact. They even alleged that these politicians must be behind his unjustified imprisonment. No influential person wanted his/her name associated with Thabo in any way, and these stories were not doing them any favours. The news of Sharon's pregnancy by Thabo, while he was in jail, became the number story. Her rich and influential parents were shamed. They swore they would everything in their power to have this Thabo release from prison. Only if that meant they could have their peace. The media investigations also revealed that Thabo had been sleeping with many women in the Mangaung municipality, most of whom are married women. When the media claimed to have a list of all women who had slept with him, everyone ran to plead that Thabo must be released form prison. Husbands urged the media to release the names of the women involved in the scandal, wives pulled every trick to ensure they never get published. Indeed Thabo was finally released, eighteen months after his woes began.

Ka nnete o lehlohonolo la tshitshidi enwa motho!

Being incarcerated makes a person realise how lucky we are to be alive and free. Simple things such as enjoying the fresh air, the sun, or plainly walking aimlessly are missed. You realise how precious these thing are in life. Jail forces you to appreciate the simple things in life.

When released from jail, Thabo couldn't believe how radically different his views on life now were. He was seriously considering staying in Kroonstad with Sharon. Life in Bloemfontein had been a string of tiresome problems. Maybe Kroonstad could be a clean start for him; to be a man, for once, and take responsibility for his child and woman. Maybe even get married.

Despite the social benefits of staying away from Bloemfontein, Kroonstad promised something better for him: wealth and influence. Sharon's parents were wealthy and well known, and anyone who marries their daughter would by default be entering their circle of influence. All of these rang very well in his mind. Imagine not having to work yet still being able to enjoy the finest things in life. He knew her parents despised him, but they had no choice, he was their daughter's choice. And their daughter was madly in love with this ex-convict(less). No one could ever be so loving in her eyes. She loved him for love's sake, and nothing else. Her parents had realised that any effort in trying to separate them could result in them loosing their lovely daughter. They grudgingly accepted having to tolerate his presence.

The first thing he had to do was go to Bloemfontein to sort out his work status. Since he was never fired or sentenced by the court, technically he still had a job, even after eighteen months of absence. That is the law. But the Bloemfontein municipality could not have possibly waited for eighteen months for him to come back, so they had employed someone else in his position. They agreed to pay him a fee in return for him not demanding his old job back. He was smiling when he left the Mangaung Municipality offices, he had gotten more than he had bargained for. Word had gotten around that Thabo was back, and a few women who had a thing for him were gathered outside waiting for him. Even after everything else that has happened, these women still wanted Thabo a ilo kga moroho, to bed them.

His next stop was not particularly appealing to him, Block M Botshabelo. His family home headed by his mother. He hadn't set foot home in many years following his scandal with Modiehi, and every other girl that had a child by him in Botshabelo. He dreaded going home, but he had to go home and see his mother. As a Mosotho child, he also knew that he had to perform the ho tlosa senyama ritual, in which a chicken would be slaughtered and he would bath with its gull. Secondly, he knew he had to make peace with his mother and ask for her forgiveness after all he had put her through. Off course this reason was selfish, he wanted his mother's blessings for his pending marriage to Sharon! He couldn't possibly get married without anyone from his family being present. A ka furallwa ke badimo(his ancestors would turn their backs on him). More so because Sharon had insisted that his family must be present during their wedding. He was shocked to learn that his mother now lived with three young children, two boys and a girl, all dumped there by their mothers whom Thabo had since forgotten about. His poor mother was suffering trying to make ends meet, and he had added tremendously to her burdens. All his mother did was cry when she saw her son. Ruri bohloko ba pelo ya motswadi!

On his way back from home in Botshabelo, Thabo made a quick turn in Bloemfontein to see his daughter with Ethel. He thought it prudent to start acting responsibly, and seeing how his child was doing is part of caring. He just showed up at Ethel's house unonnounced. She was visibly shocked to see him, and even somewhat ashamed. Their horrid past flashed before her eyes the moment she set eyes on him. There was a deep felt feeling of remorse and regret in her. She couldn't believe how well he looked after all this time in jail. She had thought, she always thought about him, that he would come out in a bad shape. And she felt jealous that jail had not worn him down. She was wishing in secret that he loose his good looks, for then she would have absolutely no reason to be attracted to him. She had been suffering a terrible illness ever since she last saw him. Although she had believed she was over him, time over again he intruded her thoughts. This was so bad that twice she had uttered his name while she was enjoying herself with another man. Needless to say, the men had instantly left. She was beginning to believe that Thabo must be a curse. How else does a woman fall so hopelessly in love with a man who has never shown her any care or love? There is nothing compelling her to Thabo, yet this man is so ingrained in her mind and soul it hurts just to think about him.

And out of the blue, just like that, here he is standing right before her eyes. His smell, his eyes, his masculine arms. She missed being caressed by those arms and feeling this man. He was in jovial moods, smiling constantly. And he seemed, she thought, happy to see her. After the usual pleasentaries about life, she wished he would give her a long hug. One heart wanted to kick him out and tell him never to return. Another one wanted to embrace him and never to let go. He was really interested in the well being of his daughter, for that is about all he talked about. And he had asked for permission to come see her on a regular basis. Then he left. Although she herself is a born-again Christian, and a coloured person, she couldn't resist the urge to believe that perhaps she was bewitched. Maybe she was bewitched to love this man for the rest of her natural life. As he left he house, she realised she was crying involuntarily. Lerato ke moleko, for it comes and goes on its own will, and people are left at the whimp of its will.

"Am I dreaming or what?. Is this really you? Thabo?" This made him to turn and look at the person speaking. He was seated in a restaurant enjoying a snack. He had run out of things to do in Bloemfontein, and was already contemplating going back home to his mother's house. There was no rush to go back to Kroonstad. In any case, his mother could do with his company for a while longer, especially after all these years. He would just have to make sure that he avoids running into any of the mothers of his abandoned children and their people. Perhaps spend this in the compound. He might as well get to know his children who live with his mother. He could not believe his eyes when he turned to look at the person who was speaking. Ntebaleng! Ntebaleng? For some unknown reason he was delighted to see her. Perhaps because some company would be nice at the moment. He was really happy to see her. The two screamed like teenagers excited about a play. They embraced and kissed on the lips, it just happened that way.

Ntebaleng looked different from what Thabo remembered. Something was different about her. He couldn't tell what, but he knew she looked different. Different in a very good way. Honestly, he was turned on by her right there in the restaurant! He was uneasy about all this, but how can a man ignore feelings of attraction? Especially those that are uninvited and about a person who used to hold similar feelings about him in the past? He was getting harder the more they spoke, and this was making him uncomfortable. Ntebaleng mentioned she could not stay long as she was on her way home to prepare for her next shift, which started in about four hours. She had wanted to ask him to come along, to continue their discussion. But she could not. She still remembered how she used to shame herself into wanting Thabo, to no avail. In all this time that has passed without Thabo, she had learnt never to subject herself to such humiliation ever again. And she was not about to break that vow.

As she made to go, he shifted uncomfortably and mumbled something. "Can I come with you?" She thought perhaps she must have not heard him properly. She looked him the eye, and he repeated the words she had thought she heard. Her eyes welled quickly with tears, and she merely nodded her response to him. He followed her in his car. He couldn't believe how well Ntebaleng was doing, by the look of her apartment. And for the first time since he knew her, he had to acknowledge to himself that she had a good taste in things. But it was something else that was eating away at him, silently. Every time he looked at her, he saw an attractive woman with a well cared for body. Ntebaleng was still without a baby at her age, by choice. Her breasts evoked an electrifying feeling in him. And she had caught him looking at them a few times. And every time this happened, he would look down in shame. It felt like the best four hours he has had in his life. He was used to being in charge in bed, but this time, Ntebaleng had turned the tables. For once in a long time, sex evoked emotions in him. And every time after the act, he wanted to be held. It was no wonder that he spend the night at her apartment and she skipped work!

Last night, while Ntebaleng slept and in between great fun, he had time to think and reflect. He was bothered mostly by a single question, to which he seemed to have no answer. In any case, it was the real first time he reflected on his life voluntarily. When he had asked himself honest questions. And when he had genuinely tried to provide answers to these questions, however elusive the answers may be. Ntebaleng had provided him with something, something he could not define yet it was so profound he felt it. So much that he spend the night thinking. How is it possible that he has never been able to see what he sees in her now all those years past?

By the first light of dawn, he was still up. He had not slept at all. He had sort of come to the conclusion that Ntebaleng he wants for himself, although he had no idea in what form given the fact that his wedding to Sharon Motaung is pending. "Thabo, I don't expect anything from you. So do not worry yourself about what to say to me or how to explain last night. I know you are getting married soon" It was the first thing Ntebaleng said when she woke up and the last she said about last night.

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Ntate Motaung couldn't be outdone for his daughter's wedding ceremony. He had always wanted to throw an extravaganza for her wedding, even though she was marrying a convict, it was still her daughter's wedding after all. He wanted everyone to know about the wedding, and all the high profile personalities were invited. He said it would be a wedding of the century, one that people will always remember, and talk about.

Preparations went ahead in earnest, and it was a highly anticipated wedding. Not only in Kroonstad, but across Welkom, Virginia, Bloemfontein and areas in between.

As the wedding became close, Thabo was increasingly being restless, for no apparent reason. It was like his soul was floating elsewhere, never seeming to allow him to fully enjoy the moment. His senses were becoming attuned to whatever he was feeling deep down. He had never cared much about feelings and internal harmony before, yet these feelings were so distinct he couldn't ignore them. It was like he was undergoing some form of changes. He had much time on his hands because he did not work, nor was he allowed to participate in the wedding preparations. Perhaps that why he was aware of his feelings, because he had nothing meaningful to do. He had become accustomed to the treatment ntate Motaung and mme MaMotaung were giving him. They ignored him at all times, as if he did not exist. To them, he was something, not someone, to be tolerated for the sake of peace with their daughter. Nad he had quickly learned never to be bothered by it. The three of them tried very hard to stay out of each other's way.

Sharon was besides herself with joy for the upcoming wedding. And in a strange way, she seemed to truly love him. Ever since she got pregnant for him, it is as if she was being forced to love him. As if something was constantly working on increasing her attraction to him. Like o jesitswe moratisa, the love portion. O ne a mo rata a re phothololo!! And her beauty kept glowing like it was being defiant.

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Life was becoming increasingly difficult for Ethel Smith. She was doing very well in her job, her problems were emotional. Despite the fact that she was a practising social worker experienced in counselling, nothing could help her. She was falling into a deep episode of depression. And deep down in her, something hurt badly. She haven't quite had peace in a long time, despite her pretences. Things have been made worse by Thabo's visit to see his daughter. She now sleeps less and spends the the nights worrying about nothing in particular. She does not eat well either, and this was physically visible. She was one tormented soul.

Her knowledge of the impending marriage between Thabo and Sharon was a pain she could not bear. It was a constant reminder to her of her inability to get the man she loves. And it reminds her of the chance she has had of living with him, and how their union had ended. She had wondered a million times why she had done what she had done to him back then. And now he was getting married to a woman he does not have a child with, okay, with whom the child is still on the way. She must find a way to get back into Thabo's life.

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Modiehi had vowed to give her child the best life she could afford. It was hard raising a child all by herself, especially a male child who needs the presence of a man to teach him manly things. But without one, what else can she do except do her best?

Life had become somewhat easier for her with the passage of time. Her parents had gradually come around to accepting her child. One day her mother had asked her to visit with the child, and the welcome she received was the path to a satisfying relationship with her parents and their grand son. For reasons known only to him, ntate Tlokwe, Modiehi's father had finally accepted what had happened to his daughter. And his was showing signs of adoration towards Tshotleho.

Her mother had insisted she must find herself a husband, if only to quench the thirst of companionship in her life. She had said that her daughter was leading too much of a lonely life, which was true. Modiehi had nothing happening in her life except her work and her son. And the two were very close as a result.

It is not that Modiehi had never considered a man in her life before, or that men did not approach her with proposals of love. Her heart had closed up after her experiences with Thabo and her pregnancy, and how she was thrown out of her family home as a result. In a way, she hated men and their lies. In her eyes, all men were the same. And she was not prepared to travel that road again, ever. So she had accepted that loneliness will forever be a companion.

Tshotleho grew up to be a model child, one that made his mother very proud. His uncle had a big impact on him regarding his interests in education. Like he did to his mother, he had greatly influenced him on educational matters, including what possible careers he should consider. Right through high school, he had always performed well, always coming in the top five of his class. He had been offered a scholarship to study medicine at Stellenbosch University following his excellent marks in matric.

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Disebo had worked as a primary school teacher for the past nineteen years. Her daughter, Lesedi, had just started working as a nurse at Oppenheimer Clinic in Welkom. She has never seen Thabo since that day in Welkom at a wedding. She has heard stories of him and his womanly ways over the years, but that was all there was to it. Neither was she inclined back then when there was a class suit against him to join. As far as she was concerned, Thabo might as well have been dead. She raised her daughter alone, without even so much an expectation from her irresponsible father. And now Lesedi was a grown woman, and soon she expected cows of her in-laws to grace her cattle kraal. What a proud mother she will be that day!

Lesedi had wanted to study Industrial Phsycology, but her mother could afford sending her to university. So she settled for nursing when Anglo Gold offered sponsorships to a select few students, which she was lucky enough to be chosen. She had always yearned to become independent so that she could ease the burden on her mother. She had seen the sacrifices her mother had had to make in order to provide a comfortable life for her. And she had vowed that she will make a difference in the life of her beloved mother one day.

Lesedi, aged 21, was a beautiful girl. She was dark skinned, big eyes with faint dimples on the left cheek. Her body lingered on the slender side, although she was not slender in the true sense of the word. She was a rare breed in that at 21 she was still a virgin. Her experiences of family life had made her averse to men in general and she did not wish to find herself in the same predicament her mother found herself. She had also observed young girls of her age, how hurt they have been by men who had promised them the world, only to hurt and leave them in the worst possible conditions. She vowed no man would touch her until she was married.

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Gugu had done very well for herself in business, despite her setbacks from Thabo and the movement. Her business interests had expanded tremendously and she was now operating them from various locations across the country. Although she had remained in Gauteng herself, she travelled regularly to oversee her businesses. She now had business operations in Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo and Northern Cape.

Her son, Jabulani, was now a grown up man of 23. He had taken from his father on looks. He was a cute little man for whom women fall over themselves. They consistently threw themselves at him. Only if he was like his father. But Jabu was very different. In fact he took no interest whatsoever in women. He had focused all his energies on his mother's businesses and his own studies. After completing matric, he had gone to the UK to study at Lancaster University in Food Preparation. He was now working as an assistant chef at the Oppenheimer Clinic in Welkom. When not on duty, he was looking after his mother's businesses in Welkom, Kroonstad and Bloemfontein.

Jabu was rather shy for a boy of his looks. He had lost his virginity when he was nineteen, already at university. It had still not been his intention to partake in conjugal matters, but being black at a mostly white university made him a novel subject for the white girls. They had been too pre-occupied with him and his looks, a fact that had led to him being the preferred black candidates girls went for. Not that there were not any other black male students at university, it is just that most of them were of British citizenship, and it seemed these girls favoured those of non British origin. Of course going out with some of these girls has got benefits. Bebefits such as connections and a good life. And he had ridden many of them in that short period of university life. But that was all there was about his women escapades, outside university he was a humble man. He had maintained a relationship with only one girl over these years. She was Ntsoaki Mabe of Kroonstad, right next to his grand parents' house. They had grown close to each other over the years. Poor Ntsoaki did not know about the white women of Lancaster.

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Ntate Motaung wanted a wedding of all weddings, one to rival anything people of Maokeng have ever seen. He had been planning his daughter's wedding in his head for the past twenty years. Despite the undesirable situation of Thabo being his son-law, whom he detest very much, this wedding will be great. The date was fixed, by him, for the summer period around October. He would have gone for December but too many people marry during that period, and he wanted his daughter's wedding to be an exclusive event. Any clashes with weddings of ordinary people is not acceptable to him. So October it was.

The was only one snag with this wedding. With so many prominent people coming to grase the wedding, how on earth does he account for who the groom is? He had opted to omit the groom's name from the invitation cards, but that would raise suspision and curiosity from the guests. He had settled for the message: "You are cordialy invited to the wedding of ntate Motaung's only daughter, Sharon Motaung." He was solely I n charge of the wedding preparations, not even Sharon was once solicited for an opinion about her wedding. In any case, she was just happy that she was marrying the love of her life, Thabo Radieta.

Sharon was oblivious to everything happening around her. She was just too happy. And being pregnant did not make things any easier for her. She was not bothered even by Thabo's long trip home to Botshabelo. In her heart of hearts, she trusted him completely, and he could never do her any harm.

Thabo had taken longer than planned at home. In reality there was nothing holding him back, except for memories. Memories of Ntebaleng. Although Ntebaleng had simply moved on with her life following the encounter with Thabo, he had failed dismally to get her off his mind. All he did while home was think about Ntebaleng. The Ntebaleng he had failed to notice when he had all the chances, when time had permitted him to persue her. When Ntebaleng just wanted to sleep with him. But now that he has finally tasted, he cant forget Ntebaleng. What in God's name was happening to him?

October was really not that far away, only four months to go. But the four months felt like a life time to Ethel. She could not get the wedding out of her mind no matter how hard she tried. She was counting the time remaining every day, literally. She was suffering emotionally. She wished she could trade her heart for someone else's. Just so she could escape the mental and emotional strain brought about by memories of Thabo, her soul mate. A man who was now getting married to another woman. And to think she had had her chance with him, and she blew it. Now that he was getting married, her chances with him seemed even further remote. And that remoteness she did not like, it made her scared, desperate even. Her pre-occupation with Thabo's wedding was something of an obsession in psychological terms. She should have known better as a social worker. At the rate she was going, she was a ticking time bomb.

And slowly time passed, like it was minding its own business, while to others it seemed to mock them. To Thabo it was fast pacing towards the wedding date. For Sharon it was fast bring her closer to the love of her life. For Ethel time had come to screetching halt, a painful one. For the rest of the people it was optimism and pessimism. The ladies whose lives Thabo had touched, romantically that is, they were waiting with bated breaths. None of them wanted to express an opinion on the matter. But every single one of them had an opinion they preferred to keep to themselves. Thehardest hit were those whose babies were now grown ups. What are they supposed to tell their children about this Thabo wedding? Because the majority of the children did not know who their father was, they were never told, were they supposed to learn now their father was the groom of the highly publicised upcoming wedding? Indeed Thabo will always be part of their lives, no matter what.