Forced to Grow
A Memoirby Sindiwe Magona
“Cynthia, I am sorry I have to let you go. Why didn’t you tell me you are pregnant? Your husband told me. He also said he doesn’t want you working hard now because you have very difficult deliveries.”
“But, Medem, I am only four months . . . I want to . . .”
“NO, NO. And, NO. I can’t keep you here if your husband doesn’t want you working. You know the law! I’m very sorry, my girl.”
My husband! Only the previous Wednesday, June 26, 1966, little suspecting I would not set eyes on him for nearly two decades, I had helped my husband pack. I had made his provisions and gone to Cape Town station to see him onto the train, and waited on the platform till it pulled out; and waved my goodbyes. The next four months were to be a nightmare!
Four days later, June having thirty days, it was the end of the month. I received two things from Mrs. Koorn, my employer: the first, the eagerly awaited thirty rand, my monthly wage for cleaning, cooking, and nannying.
The second, this thunderbolt: I was no longer in her employ!
Unbeknown to me, before my dearest’s departure he had done me one last favor, a favor Mrs. Koorn was painstakingly explaining to me.