Last week: our riveting drama ended with Mihlali shaken after overhearing that her folks are HIV positive.
What does a young girl like that do when she hears that the happy family life she once knew is treading on deadly ground? She makes a plan, that’s what she does. She starts taking a few of her parents’ rands without necessarily checking with them first. Kind of like stealing. Last night we saw Mihlali take money from her mom’s purse in the morning before going to school. Could this be a cry for help or a touch of kleptomania? Or something more?
Mrs Theki goes to market and bags more than just groceries
Mrs Theki (we’ll call her) walks into the Moloi’s supermarket to get a few things, coughing up a storm all the while. With stigma being what it is, or perhaps because he knows more than she does, Zimele asks Mrs Theki if she has had her cough checked when she returns to the counter to pay for her goods. She responds that she is taking something for the cough. Zimele hesitantly suggests that she go and get tested because her cough sounds like it could be something serious like TB or….
Mrs Theki does not take kindly to the insinuations made by Zimele’s unsolicited advice which comes with her groceries. She looks at Lebo who has been standing quietly in the background, and then back at Zimele and asks him what exactly he is trying to say.
Zimele puts on a brave face and says that she should get tested for HIV because she never knows. “Zimele, are you suggesting that I’m cheating on Theki?” she says. More like Theki is forcing you into dangerous ‘polygamy’ behind your back dear and although Zimele was speaking out of turn, he felt it was the least he could do without exposing Theki. Becoming a bit of an HIV/AIDS advocate this Zimele and he got an encouraging rub on the shoulder from wife Lebo for it.
A boat is rocked, and Zimele is mocked
Mrs Theki leaves the shop in a huff. She goes home and lays onto to Theki, who then goes to the Moloi supermarket where he finds the Moloi’s entertaining friends chesa nyama style. The occasion? Celebrating Bulela being awarded a study scholarship to America. Shine shine. Tefo, Lihle Sol and the dreadlocked nurse from the clinic whose name I clearly don’t know because I would have just called her so, all there having a ball.
The drunk and disorderly Theki immediately starts at Zimele, asking him about the suggests he made to his wife regarding getting tested (don’t you just love how we all know what “getting tested” means? The phrase has developed a stigma too). He accuses Zimele of planting ideas in his wife’s head who is now on Theki’s case accusing him of sleeping around. Things went a little crazy with Theki trying to have a go at Zimele, accusing him of thinking he is better when he also sleeps around, to which Zimele confidently responds that he no longer lives that life style.
The commotion, finger pointing and shouting carries on as Tefo tries to get in the middle of the two men, and pushing Theki to go away. Lebo and Zimele look worried that Theki in all his drunken rage might blurt out their HIV status. And he didn’t disappoint . It was loud enough for all to hear. Eyes turn to the couple and Lebo calmly confirmed that she and Zimele were HIV positive.
In love we make up
Lulu and Zakes reaffirm their love for one another and she makes Zakes promise that no matter what his status turns out to be after the window period, nothing between them will change. Zakes promises that if they ever break up it will not be because of HIV.
And we break up...repeatedly
If Dineo sort of breaks up with Bulela again I swear I’ll pull a Theki and just go and tell it on the mountain that she is a freaky freelancer. I won’t even need to get drunk about it first. I’ll just be fuelled by annoyance. She says it’s not quite a break up but more of a let’s not see each other outside of school or study together because we end up doing that thing where condoms are myth and self-control is well, what is that again? Poor Bulela agrees, believing Dineo’s reasons about exams approaching and there being a lot of work to do, blah blah blah. All perfectly fine reasoning, if any of it were true.
Tefo for President
Following the Theki vs Zimele saga, Tefo decides to do something about this ‘boys will be boys’ nonsense that has men behaving very badly. He visits the school to speak to the principal about calling a meeting for men only, where the issue of HIV will be on the agenda. We know they won’t want to hear about HIV, but Tefo says their curiosity about a men only gathering will draw them to the waters. I want to say that we should admire Tefo for being such a self-respecting man and loving husband, but I also think that we need to treat the likes of Tefo as the norm and not the exception because this is really how it should be. But another topic for another day.
One plus two...
Lulu is outside doing a bit of gardening when BF Dineo pops in for a visit. Lulu tells Dineo about how things have improved at home with Gogo getting a grant now and her younger sister’s school fees also being paid for. Lulu offers Dineo some cake, and they sit down to share more friendly talk. Lulu decides to tell Dineo about her HIV status.
Dineo very awkwardly brushes Lulu’s knee and says askies and continues eating her cake. Lulu naturally finds it odd that Dineo is taking this very well and doesn’t seem surprised at all. She asks Dineo why she is behaving like she already knew. Dineo, for some weird reason, tells Lulu that Zakes had already told her about it, but she didn’t want to mention it until Lulu told her in person. Who does that?
Zakes arrives all buzzing and grabs a seat, but instead of a friendly greeting he gets the ‘how could you tell Dineo about my status when you had promised you wouldn’t tell anyone’ question from a shocked Lulu. Lulu throws down her yummy looking cake in rage and Zakes and Dineo try to the PR situation. But eventually Zakes comes out with the truth about him and Dineo sleeping together. Doesn’t mention the no condom part, but then again we are getting used to condoms being an afterthought to these characters.
Lulu throws Mr and Mrs we were drunk and fell upon each other’s nakedness by accident out of her yard. Zakes in turn goes and throws a stone into the Moloi’s shop on his way home, breaking the window. When the Moloi’s return to the shop to find the broken window, they suspect it was Theki.
Money, money, money isn’t funny in a poor man’s world
Lebo and Mihlali are counting shop takings for Lebo to go and bank afterwards. While Lebo is not looking, Mihlali takes some of the money already packed into the money bag and slips it into her school bag. Maybe she just wants to recount it again later. Or she’s planning a surprise farewell party for her brother. She’s a good girl right?
Lebo returns to the shop and asks Zimele if he has taken R500 from the money that was to be banked. He denies taking any money, but precedence leads Lebo to ask if he has another girlfriend he is feeding. Zimele is of course innocent this time and while they are trying to figure out where the missing money went, Mihlali’s school teacher gives Lebo a call asking to see her regarding Mihlali’s lack of concentration in class and her dropping performance. Lebo tells the teacher that there have been some problems at home and that she will come in to see her.
The cash stash is found
Lebo finds the missing R500 hidden on a shelf in Mihlali’s room. Later that evening when Zimele asks what Mihlali’s teacher had said, Lebo shows him the money that she found in their daughter ‘s room. Mihlali is called in to explain. She lies and says it is money she has been saving. They obviously don’t believe her because they don’t give her that much pocket money. Mihlali was forced to admit that she had stolen the money from the shop.
Mihlali’s interpretation of making hay while the sun shines
When asked by her disappointed parents why she would do such a thing, Mihlali says that she did not want to end up like those poor AIDS orphans she sees on tv, and was trying to save money to look after herself and her unborn sibling once her parents died of AIDS, since Bulela would be away in America. I wouldn’t have guessed this would be her reason. I was thinking attention seeking, and maybe there was a bit of that too.
But she was only trying to do what she thought was best for her and her younger brother of sister. Tears ran down Lebo’s face as she pulled Mihlali into her bosom and reassured her that although her parents had HIV, she shouldn’t worry about being an orphan because they were both still healthy and would be there to look after her and the baby.
Should hypocrites take the Hippocratic Oath?
Now that Mihlali knows, Bulela had to be told. His reaction to the news left me wondering if he is smarter than an 8th grader because he stood shouting at his parents for betraying their own teachings of condom use. I know it wasn’t just me and there was something very wrongo about this reaction because, well hello, need I spell it out. A bit hypocritical don’t you think Bulela? Mmh? I mean, I don’t remember you using condoms. In fact, I remember you doing the opposite. Twice! I wouldn't let this aspiring Dr take my temperature.
Soul City, Monday 20:30, SABC 1!