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Behind the Kitchen Walls – Her sanctity, her listener, her keeper of secrets – By Mumtaz Moosa

JOYCE’S POINT OF VIEW

I didn’t realise I was wiping and re-wiping the same cup for ten minutes.

“Joyce, what are you doing? “Sabera startled me and pulled me out of my reverie. There was nothing I could do but apologise to her for wasting time. Instead, I lied, said I was not feeling well, and asked if it was okay to get some rest before the iftaar. After some complaining, she agreed.

I went to my room, but I wasn’t sure what I should do with the news that Amina had just given me. I love Amina and am grateful to her for wanting to make my life easier, but we all know there is a hierarchy. Back home, my children wouldn’t even give me a slice of bread. They constantly remind me of how they owe me nothing as I had left them behind, and if I share this news, they will tell me that I should know my place.

As I was about to call Anna, there was a knock on my room door. I opened it slowly, and Amina came in and sat on my bed like she would when she was a little girl.

I felt love for this child like she was my own.

“Mama Joyce, are you upset with me? Have I offended you?” she asked with tearful eyes and a concerned voice.

Deciding to be honest, I looked at her and asked, “What would your mother say?”

I understood how Sabera felt about me being the servant – her not calling me by my proper name, not allowing me to use the bathroom inside, and daring to drink water from the same glass.

The idea of me living with Amina would create a divide between mother and daughter, and I wouldn’t be that divide.

Amina has forgotten that remnants of apartheid still divided us, especially older folk who were less inclined to change their minds or ways.

RAMADAN TIP:

“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another.”

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