It was a Thursday evening. He was going to be late again. His left sole had finally detached from the long walks home each day. He knew his father was going to be upset again. Especially because the exam results were out. He had failed. Well, that was according to his father. His father’s whip was going to have a job today. 

He remembered the last time he tasted the whip. His mother came in crying 

because he was bleeding. He had to miss two days of school because of the wounds he was nursing. And in that moment anger gripped him.

Why can’t dad just understand. I mean I’ve tried everything. Taking extra classes and even tuition. I’m just not cut out to be book smart. I love singing and drawing and I’m actually good at it. Why do I have to be a doctor like Nina?

Those are the thoughts that plagued his mind each day as he walked to and fro from home and school. He was tired of the constant comparison to Nina. She had beat the odds and become the first engineer in the village. His father saw no reason why he couldn’t become a doctor. 

He imagined how things would play out when he got home. As he passed Mr. Mzanzi’s pub, he made a resolve. That he was going to keep taking art and music classes no matter how many times ‘Bunda’, the whip struck him. He speaks of the many nights he and his father quarreled. When he was in from three, his father actually kicked him out and he had to go stay with his aunt. His grades had become the very anticipated D+ with an A in art music.

As Malaba sits across the table over the interview, I can tell it was the best decision he ever made. By a stroke of luck, a scout came to their district to scout for talent in the arts. That day Malaba skipped school. He had to walk 12 kilometers to meet the scout. As he stood on the makeshift stage, he could feel the sweat from this back drenching his shirt. He sang his heart out because knew that it was a do or die moment. 

At the end he reached into his bag and pulled out tattered sets of papers tied with a piece of sisal. The scout was more than shocked to learn that Malaba had used anything he could, including could dung and insects to paint and draw. 

When he asked to meet my father I froze in complete horror. The sound of Bunda rung in my ears for about 2 minutes until he spoke.

The scout wanted to offer Malabar a scholarship to pursue arts in New York. It was after this statement that his muscles relaxed as he saw his future flash before his eyes. Malaba had never seen his father cry before. He pulled him in for a long hug and kept apologizing. 

Today, Malaba owns an international music school. He attributes his success to that evening when.He walked home. To that day he believed in himself. 


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