The Continuous Game of “Seek Tenele”

After the week at Cape Town, it was nice to be back “home.” Prior to leaving, I had arranged to meet Tenele and Nomphilo at church for Christmas, which of course they didn’t end up coming to. Once we were back, I tried to look for both her and Nomphilo at Mangwaneni without success. Someone had told me that Tenele was still around but that Nomphilo was gone.

So nearly three weeks after last seeing them, I went to Mangwaneni again to meet Johannes. After a mini game of “seek Tenele,” that seems to be the recurring game when I try to find her at Mangwaneni, she came out to meet me…voluntarily. I then spotted Nomphilo and Khanyisile walking away around the corner. I asked Tenele about Nomphilo and she told me that Nomphilo lives at her home now and doesn’t live with Tenele anymore. I thought that was strange, so I knew there was more to the story than she was telling me. I called after the girls and they stopped to let me catch up; Tenele followed. I exchanged greetings and saw that Nomphilo looked very sad. “Unani?” (What’s wrong?) I asked. Nomphilo just shook her head and wiped away the tears in her eyes. Khanyi was also very quiet and didn’t say much. They didn’t seem to want to stay and talk and as they continued on, I invited them to come by the house tomorrow with Tenele. They just nodded and disappeared. I turned to Tenele and asked if they were still friends and she gave me a quick, “No-o.”

I found out through Ayanda and Johannes later that day that there had been a fight between Tenele and Nomphilo. Nomphilo did something to make Tenele upset and Tenele started beating her and tried to get her boyfriend to do the same. So, Nomphilo ran away and went back to her home in Ka-Khoza, where her mother who is sick lives. I was extremely upset and saddened by the story (I got more details later) and asked Ayanda to tell Nomphilo that if she needs anything she can still come to me without Tenele (as long as Tenele doesn’t know about it because I didn’t want to make things worse between them). Tenele gets very jealous.

Later that day, Tenele walked with me back to the top of Mangweneni and was about to leave when Johannes told her they should walk me partway home. So Ayanda, Tenele, Johannes, and Pununu all walked me half-way, which was a pleasant surprise. Tenele told me she would come to me the following morning at 11 a.m. I just nodded, knowing there was no use believing her at the moment. However, 11 a.m. the following day proved to be a day I won’t forget…

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