Neema had a scar on her cheek, a reminder of where she was- hiding- from. Her skin colour stood out from the rest of the neighbourhood. The name Neema brought questions to everyone lips, at times it was tactful curiosity, but mostly they queried in disdain.
At the age of six the attention seemed good-natured. By thirteen external influences mentally intoxicate the same hormonal children. Curiosity turned ignorant. Neema is called names, she’s followed home, threatened, isolated; results to eating lunch in the female cubical. Her school name becomes Zulu girl.
The rest of her life began with a bump in the corridor. Her papers scattered, her private hobby exposed, fortunately to a friendly face, Mr Hart, a maths teacher, his fascination for how detailed Neema drew internal buildings could not hide. Neema was shy, embarrassed, she scooped her sad life into her arms and pushed them to the bottom of her school bag.
Which other child dreamt of creating buildings one day? Which teenager drew the inside of property and imagined what they would be used for?
Mr Hart did not forget those drawings. Neema spent her lunch time in the maths room, adding calculations to her art work, which she shockingly enjoyed. The art department heard of Neema’s talents, by the end of her time in school she had won three art competitions, one of them being national. She had joined the schools maths team, although they only made it to second place locally; and she had learnt a career called architecture, which required the skills she apparently had.
The name Zulu girl never seemed to have worn off. Although friendships were hard to find, isolation combined with energy produced some of her greatest masterpieces.
Fab Zulu started off small, Neema liked the ring of the name for her company. With the help of her network, and the true friends who shared her passion she found clients. Some just needed an overview during constructions, others asked for advice. Her reputation grew, until they required her drawings, houses became libraries, museums, they wanted her input on city refurbishments.
Years had passed, Mr Hart sent an invite for a school reunion, Neema was not the same girl, she seemed to have grown into her scar, and her colour was not a reason for her to be different. The same mouths who chanted mean names years ago carried ignoble smiles. Eyes which once smirked with poison, brightened with regret. Those who were up to date on the city happenings would be aware that they probably entered a building designed by Fab Zulu Ltd.
Story Mode by Piarvé Wetshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.