Slice Of Life: 'I have no choice but to work hard for my son'

Jackie Africa works hard so her son can be a football star. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Jackie Africa works hard so her son can be a football star. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

“I don’t ever want to get married. I like to be single – I want to be independent. But I have a 12-year-old boy, Tefo. Eish, and I’m so proud of him. He is studying at the Johannesburg Polytech Institute.

My son, from very young, he loved street soccer – he used to play it outside all the time. Now that soccer is making him lucky. At the school they chose him to be part of the soccer academy. The coaches from the different private schools visit the school to see who the really good players are.

I was at work one day and got this message saying, ‘Your son has been chosen to be part of the soccer academy’. Yoh, I was so excited. I just wanted to go home and be with Tefo. When I got home, he jumped on me and said, ‘Mummy, I’m going to be a soccer legend’.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, after they go for training sessions, the school sends me a DVD of them playing. When I see him playing on that field, I feel like crying. It makes me so happy.

Now Tefo is starting to promise me lots of things: a house, a car. But I say to him: ‘My boy, I know when you grow up you’ll forget about me.’

But he says, ‘No ways, mummy, you work so hard for me. Even when you don’t have money, I know you are working hard for me.’

But I have no choice but to work hard for him. I don’t want him running to things like nyaope. I love him too much. And he also loves me very much. With parents, dads are second. But as mothers, we are the first; we are the key to their hearts.

Jackie Afrika, 44, as told to Carl Collison, the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian.

 
Carl Collison

Carl Collison

Carl Collison is the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian. He has contributed to a range of local and international publications, covering social justice issues as well as art and is committed to defending and advancing the human rights of the LGBTI community in Southern Africa. Read more from Carl Collison

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