Courtesy to

"Ngozi didn't do his work," Thandi shouted loud for the entire class to hear.  Everybody knew she did it deliberately to make him look small, and accordingly, they all turned their heads to peek in his direction and giggle.  Thiry pairs of eyes shamed him and gave Thandi a prideful satisfaction.  Then she turned to the teacher, standing on one other side of the classroom.  One more second, she stood there, then walked forward to arrange the homework books she had collected from the rest of the learners on the teacher's desk.  While doing that, she glanced at Ngozi a few times, shaking her head to express her disapproval of Ngozi's laziness.  The teacher thought she was the acting teacher and ignored her.

It was a Monday after a long weekend, and everyone in the class had got enough time to complete their homework. 

Ngozi sat, lowering his eyes to the desk in front of him.  The teacher walked up to him, and seeing her, he stood up.  His shirt, a frayed colour not even close to the school uniform, had the torn front part of the collar falling out.  A trouser twice his size was pulled at the knee.  Instead of the school blazer, he had a dirty overcoat.  His class teacher might have felt pity for him for not sending him back home that morning to change into a proper uniform.  

His hair was dirty unwashed matted, and mud-stained.  He was adamant and looked away from the teacher as though counting the vehicles speeding along the road in front of the school.

"You and Thandi are coming from the same home.  Why don't you two work together?" Teacher asked.  In reply, his eyes shot a fireball at Thandi. 

The teacher had heard from other teachers in the staffroom that they both had different mothers, his mother had passed away, and Thandi's mother had just allowed him to stay with her.  And while she bought Thandi's school uniforms and other learning stuff, she just needed to pay attention to Ngozi.  

"He doesn't like working with me," Thandi said, giving the rest of the class a reason to laugh. 

As the waves of their laugh crashed onto the classroom wall, Thandi exited his seat and walked out of the classroom.  

"Teacher, have you seen he has disobeyed you." Thandi stood up, looking in the direction  Ngozi disappeared. 

"Yeah, I have seen that Thandi, now can you tell your mother to come see me tomorrow in the afternoon."

Thandi looked down; the sparkle and the shine in her big eyes suddenly disappeared.  
"Will you?" The teacher looked at Thandi, who shook her head slowly in agreement.