Several years ago, I posted a blog in the form of a letter to Njabulo’s dead mother, Angelina. I was thinking of her recently and how proud she would have been of the person her oldest son has become, just as we are.
Njabulo has worked on the farm for the past year, ever since we had to layoff our erstwhile employee, Kho, due to ill-health. However the arrangement we had with both of them was that Njabulo would have to relinquish the job should Kho recover and want to return. After 6 months in Richmond Hospital recovering from TB and 6 months on unemployment and disability benefits, Kho has returned with a letter from the clinic doctor declaring him fit for work. I have seen Kho fight back from the brink of death 3 times and for that he should be commended but I sincerely hope that he doesn’t neglect his health again because it will be, I fear, the last time.
Despite knowing that this day might come, Njabulo was understandably quite distraught at the idea of returning to the ranks of the unemployed. We have always believed that he was capable of being more than an unskilled labourer and, to that end, have sent him on various courses (computer and permaculture) and have sponsored a number of attempts by him to get his learner’s license. So when he went for his interview as a waiter at the Bosch Hoek Golf Club, we were on tenterhooks waiting to hear if he got the job. And he did, with immediate effect. He visited us on his day off and we got a full report.
During his 2 days of training he excelled so much that he was asked if he had worked as a waiter before. He replied that his only experience was as a barman at Kiera and James’ wedding reception! One of his duties includes clearing and setting tables. So when he was asked to lay some tables and he responded that he had already done so, his speed on the job earned him the nickname “Ninja” by the chef.
His leaving the farm so abruptly has kind of dropped us in the dwang since Kho will only be starting in July. All of a sudden Peter and I have to get back into farm work but it has done us good to get involved again and, of course, we are so pleased for him. The chef asked Njabulo if we were okay with him starting immediately and he told her that we are his family and that we would want what is best for him. So it was with bittersweet emotions that he took his leave from us and the farm.
As another fledgling leaves the nest, I wish I could tell his mother we did the best we could but that her son did the rest and credit must surely go to her for laying the foundation of love.