Hassana was a schoolmate, tall, clean-limbed,
dark-skinned with the smooth bloom of a jamun;
a modern Noliwe if you like, undimmed
by a Shaka, a vibrant, stunning woman.
The two-year-old, mischievous toddler son
of our tutor was often at her hip -
Hassana’s I mean, after lessons were done.
A male an almost-part of a female rib.
Is he a relative that she babysits?
I’d asked her once, she’d thoughtfully replied,
‘no, but I like him, and it’s good practice
to work with a child hanging off your side.’
He left one day. I saw her grieve, understoodthe first lesson of love, and of motherhood.