High School Drama Inspirational

I wanted to walk fast but I could not. Each time I took a step, a sharp pain struck as if shocking me with my teeth clenched hard, sure they would shutter. It had been three hours of walking, a walk that normally took me an hour stretched to hours of agony and pain. My hand was raised, wiping away my tears with the back of my shaking hand.

Ask me how I was still standing and I would not tell you, but I kept moving until I saw the school gates. I moved a bit faster, knowing I was in no way presentable for school, but what could I do?

It was fifth period already, quickly wiping my face off all the sweat and tears along with the blood.

The corridors were so quiet and if I did not know better I would guess it was empty, but I knew better.

The school had just begun operating last year. It was the only school for miles with a population of three hundred learners, ninety-nine point three percent being males. I opened the door as gently as I possibly could but it was of metal thus it was futile, the thing making so much noise I knew I would be in for it.

The door opened, walking in with my head cast down. I wanted to hurry, did not want to disturb the class but my injuries prevented me from doing so. None the less, I rushed as fast as I could and made it to the back of the classroom where I took my seat and finally exhaled. The class had went still, my eyes cast down, just praying they would go on with the lesson and, luckily for me, they did so.

My eyes trailed to my hands which rested on the table. The bruises where the thick leather bull whip had passed as I had tried to cover my body burned as if oil had been poured on them. Just staring at them had fresh tears burn in my eyes, but I pushed them back because what would crying help me with. I wiped away fresh blood that had seeped from my open cuts and adjusted my seat, but my butt had got the worst of the lashes thus it just left me trembling badly.

I could hear the teacher talking but everything was just spinning all around me and I could barely keep steady.

I had no books, no exercises, which always got me in a lot of trouble.

Why was I still continuing with this?

With the limited spots available at the school, females were discouraged from continuing in high school. Learning was still new in my village and it was a constant struggle even for the boys themselves. Our parents did not see the use of it, but none the less, took what the missionaries had preached on the opening day of the school. The only thing that had persuaded the parents in the village to take their children to school was the promise that the children would get jobs after and have money to buy cattle, which was what wealth was measured by in the village.

Females, on the other hand, were supposed to do house chores, and find a husband just as they hit puberty. I was beyond that. My two sisters had been married off at the age of fourteen and I was free because of God’s grace. Thinking about it had more tears pool. You would think that years and years of abuse would deem me numb, but I was not and I was starting to give up. Each day I was given an ultimatum to stop going to school or endure hell, yet each day I picked hell. Each day I took all the work and beatings thrown at me to prevent me from going, yet still, I made it to class after all.

I had no support with the only thing on my side being my brain, but even it was not enough at that point. I wasn’t learning anything in class. I could not write assignments and get feedback. I just sat in that chair and fought my tears back each and every day.

The bell rang out loud, having my ears whistle with me clenching my teeth. My eyes opened and I saw the beats of blood collecting under my tiny desk. I was shaking so bad and I knew I had reached my limit.

No one helped, no one cared because they all knew my situation and agreed with my father. All the teachers were male and could not understand why I kept coming back to school.

“You are hindering a boy from coming to school who will actually be something. Look at how old you are. You are a shame to your family.” Mr. Gwebu had said one afternoon when I had walked into his class bruised and battered as always.

To everyone’s eyes, I was being disrespectful. In the community, they all sympathized with my parents because I was refusing to get married and plain right disrespecting them. Parents are always right. You should always listen when your parents talk, never talk back and never disagree. The words echoed in my head like a broken record playing over and over again.

Some of my classmates went out to buy lunch outside the school gates but most just walked around chatting with friends. Most parents could not afford to buy their children school uniforms, none the less, give them money for lunch. Those that could afford that, was because their parents had sold a lot of cattle in order to buy them whatever they would need all through their school years.

It was a sight for sore eyes if you asked me. I would marvel at pictures in various books where school children would be happy, wearing proper school uniforms while we, on the other hand were a charity needing saving. The missionaries from the United States had built the school and equipped it with furniture and that being that. Only the teachers had books, but some of the parents would go to the city to buy exercises and books for their children so they could practice what they had learnt.

More and more of my classmates filed out until nothing but silence filled the classroom. My heart was beating too hard for its own good and I decided to just close my eyes and let whatever happens to happen. I was tired, I was tired of fighting and I could not do it anymore. I could not take it anymore. I was breaking and giving up.

Mr. Mthembu had extended his invitation to marry me a few weeks back. I knew after him no one would take me. I was ruined in the eyes of the whole community. No one wanted a wife that would not respect and take orders. No one wanted a woman who knew that it was wrong to be oppressed in the way our mothers and grandmothers were. Mr. Mthembu was old, already having four wives, and I would be the fifth and the second oldest. He had offered my father thirteen cows for me which had been why the beatings had got severe in the past weeks since I refused to take the last marriage offer I would probably get.

My head tipped up suddenly as I felt a hand on my thigh. A shiver ran up my body, my eyes wide open in fright of who it might be, but as I stared down at my thigh I saw a piece of bread being placed there. My heart stopped beating, I promise you, my lips trembling because I had not had a meal in four full days. Green mold was covering the corners of the bread but the tears could not help but fall.

I turned to stare at the person who had scooted closer to me. In her hand was a small piece of bread with her large eyes on me.

Mbalenhle was the only other female in the whole school. She was not from my community and she got the same treatment as I did, totally ignored. Her clothes were always dirty and she had such a bad odor they always threatened to kick her out of class, but she always stood her ground and told them she had the right to learn no matter how bad she looked and smelled.

She was part of the reason why I kept fighting, because I knew that she was fighting her own battle. If she could keep coming to school, then I could do that too.

She wore the jersey and tunic we had been given when we started primary school five years ago. We had both already been in our teens, so it could still fit but barely. It had large holes in it just like mine, stains that could no longer be removed and could barely be called clothing, but it was all we both had.

“T—h…” I could barely speak, my lips closing shut with her nodding her head in understanding. She brought her piece to her mouth and bit as I did the same. It was the greatest thing that had happened to me in months. My eyes closed but soon the small piece of bread was gone with the hunger having intensified.

“Is your home situation getting worse?” She asked me and I swallowed before nodding my head.

She said nothing back, minutes of silence passing between us until she spoke again.

“Have you reached eighteen?”

“Yes.” I answered, just feeling better to be talking to someone.

“You no longer need your parents, you can sign your own school papers.” She commented, with me frowning. Where was she taking this?

“You can leave. I turned eighteen last year and left home. I don’t have a proper place to live, but it’s better than being married off to an old man. It’s better than being nearly killed by my father with his bare hands. I decided to leave and on weekends I walk to the city, wash people’s clothes to make some money which I use to get by with.” She finished as I turned to stare at her.

I could not believe her words, chewing on them. The city was six hours from our village. I could not imagine anyone doing what she was saying. I could not believe it, yet as I stared at her face I saw that she was not joking. She had this fire in her and I just knew she could do it. It was as if I was staring at her for the first time. I saw her strength, saw her determination and it warmed me up. I suddenly realized there was no way I was giving up. There was no way I would let my father win after all these years of his abuse. I had a dream and I dreamed of finding a job. I would not buy cows with my money but I would buy myself a house in which I would not need a man to dictate my life. I wanted my children to have a better life than I had. I did not want to just be a man’s door mat where he would wipe his dirty feet any time he wanted. I wanted more, I needed more. Life could not be just that awful. Being a woman did not condemn me to just being a slave.

I slowly stretched my hand, grabbed Mbalehle’s and squeezed it.

“Where do you sleep?” I asked her with her smile growing.

“Behind the school toilets.” She said, with me nodding my head. It made sense. The school gates were locked after six which made it the safest place for us to sleep. I nodded my head, biting my lip.

“Can I please stay with you?” I asked her, my heart drumming hard and she brightened up like a Christmas tree.

“Yes you can” She nod her head with me smiling for the first time in a long time. I knew the way would get even harder from there but I was not alone anymore and there was nothing that would stop us from getting the education and life we deserved.

May 19, 2022 13:37

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Skhanyiso Bopela
15:27 Aug 30, 2022

This was really beautifully articulated 👌. So touching and intense, well done Ma'am!!!


09:16 Sep 02, 2022

Thank you so much Skhanyiso. I am looking forward to reading your work too.


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Suma Jayachandar
12:06 May 24, 2022

This is so real, raw and intense. Definitely shook me. Best of luck!


20:14 May 24, 2022

Thank you so much. Fingers crossed.


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Michelle Konde
00:10 May 24, 2022

Very moving! Thanks for sharing just a raw story. I could feel all the pain.


20:15 May 24, 2022

Thank you for reading and commenting. it means a lot.


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