Where the warm waters of the Indian Ocean meet the subtropical shoreline of South Africa’s eastern coast lies the Dhlinza Forest. Under the cool shade of the arching canopy, the stillness and stifling silence imparts a feeling of serenity: even its name alludes to this, meaning place of grave meditation in the Zulu language. Despite this apparent lifelessness, it is considered one of the greatest examples of unique biodiversity in all of southern Africa. Within the towering trees, under crackling leaf-beds and between the broken boulders live hundreds of species of animal, including rare and endangered birds, insects and reptiles. On the very edge of the Dhlinza forest lies the semi-rural town of Eshowe, named for the sound of the wind…show more content… He stretches; pushing the night-time stiffness from his muscles, and takes a moment of reflection to look around the bedroom he shares with his mother. The faded pastel wallpaper is peeling, revealing the gritty whitewash that lies behind it. The single pane of glass in the window is covered in a network of hairline-cracks, like the web of some inverse spider. Absentmindedly, he aims a half-hearted kick at his prized football while he tries to recall his routine, but stops his foot just short of the ball’s bruised surface. Sibusiso’s insides feel like he has swallowed a lead weight, but he grits his teeth and gets his morning started. He bends down and snatches his crumpled white shirt and his dirty-grey trousers with the worn-out knees. He pulls them on and brushes the most visible grime off his front. There is a slightly misshapen ochre jug sitting by the door, filled with water the colour of river-mud. His mother must have drawn it from the well before heading out to her first job. He washes his face with the brackish water, not certain if all he is doing is spreading the dirt around more evenly. Eventually satisfied, he makes his way into the other room of the house, in search of breakfast. A hopeful investigation of the cupboards reveals nothing but stale air. Sibusiso shrugs. It’s just going to be one of those days. He loads his dog-eared textbooks into his ratty schoolbag. Eying the splitting seams, he makes a mental note to reinforce them somehow.