By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa
‘No woman, no cry’ chants Bob Marley through Kwena’s radio. Kwena is a Bob Marley fanatic and a lover of raggae music in general. He goes as far as attending events and collecting the music. His room is like a musuem of raggae because of all the CDs and posters he has displayed. His mother often tease him about this and says she is scared she’ll wake up one day and he’d be a pot-head – he always laughs it off. Kagiso has always been an open book whereas everyone wonders about Kwena, even their parents. He keeps to himself but sometimes let his twin brother into his mind by sharing his thoughts. He appreciates how different they are but they are still very close, Kagiso is his best friend. Kwena is just lying on his stomach on his bed listening to his favourite album, The Best of Bob Marley.
“Andile!” He hears his mother shouting somewhere inside the house. He lowers the volume and shouts back without moving from his position.
“Where is your brother?” His mother shouts.
“I don’t know”
They are used to talking like this. Ayanda (their mother) shouts from wherever she is even if she is coming to them. The twins are so used to this, they also like shouting around the house. Kefiloe (their father) is just as loud, only visitors find this behaviour strange.
Ayanda is coming closer to Kwena’s room but she’s still shouting; “I’m not stupid wena! How can you not know where your brother is?”
Kwena sits on the bed, he is expecting his mother to open the door any second now. “Awu mama, he didn’t tell me when he left.” He says and has his eyes fixed on the door. And as he expected, Ayanda opens and peeps in.
“Kagiso cannot be away from you for 3 full days without contacting you. He hasn’t been home since…” she pauses and focuses on Kwena’s radio as if she’s listening to the song. The radio volume is extremely low, it’s like Lauryn Hill is whispering as Ayanda listens:
‘Loving you is a like a song I replay
Every three minutes and thirty seconds of every day (uh, uh)
And every chorus was written for us to recite…’
Kwena looks at his mother with curiousity, he wonders why she stops talking like that. He is trying his best to keep up with this lie because his brother’s happiness depends on it.
“This music of yours…” Ayanda begins before looking back to her son. “I think you’d enjoy hanging out with Mbali Jacobs, she also listens to this type of music. She can be such a good girlfriend, if she could only lift her eyes above the stupid soccer players around her…”
“Mom!” Kwena interrupts. His mother is always trying to set him up with the journalists in her office.
“How come you haven’t met Mbali anyway? She’s Thabi’s friend. Which reminds me; do you think Kagiso ran away to that Thabi of hers?”
Kwena pretends to be fixing his shirt, to avoid looking into Ayanda’s eyes. “I doubt it, maybe he is with his friends.”
“None of them has seen or heard from him. I’m starting to worry Andile, Asanda may have done something stupid. I checked Thabi’s family; they said she also left over the weekend and they don’t know where she is.”
“Relax mom, I’ll try contacting him. You know he won’t hide things from me.”
Ayanda looks at him suspiciously before saying; “Please drive me to Mbali, maybe she knows something.”
Kwena shakes his head as he says; “But mme you can drive.”
“Yeyi! I give birth to you, you do whatever I say habe! You’re here to make my life easy… even though your brother is stressing me out.”
Kwena can’t help but feel guilty so he slowly takes his car keys, put on his shoes and follow his mother out of his room.
“Yes?” Ayanda responds without facing him.
“Why are you so against Kagiso and Thabi’s relationship?”
“Are you aware that you’re probably pushing them closer together?”
“I’m 26 years older than you Kwena!” Ayanda points out the obvious.
“I’m just saying.” Kwena shrugs. “What’s the point of me dating anyone because my parents will deem that person not good enough for me anyway, it’s pointless.”
They are now inside Kwena’s car. Ayanda snaps; “Shut up!”
“As I keep quiet…” Kwena says as he starts the engine and they go to her mother’s office in silence.