Our Dear Thembi

It’s been about two years since the Gloria horror stories came to an end.  And that’s because we’ve been gifted with the wonderful and hilarious Thembi, who refers to herself as our domestic executive.  Thembi is in her early twenties, has more style than I could ever hope for, and likes to sometimes rearrange our household according to what she feels looks good.  No complaints from me, really.  She usually makes things better.

Thembs is a special kind of human being.  She will oscillate between telling me everything about her love life, and then asking me questions about “Jon’s Jewish god” (she totally doesn’t get that we believe in the same God.  To her, it’s all very confusing) and then telling me the best home remedy on how to treat stretch marks.  We talk about all sorts of things, and I think the one thing I love most about Thembi is that to her there are no boundaries.  As far as she’s concerned, we are family.  And family do things for each other.

Like when Jon and I decided to give her a raise without telling her, she called to tell me Jon put too much money in her account and he must take it back.

But on the converse side, Thembs and I wear the same size shoe, so if I come home with a few new pairs, she’ll keep an eye on all of them and if I don’t wear a pair within a month, she shot-guns them and tells me I don’t deserve to neglect them.

Or when Thabiso (her little boy child) is sick, she’ll bring him to my house where he knows he’s guaranteed to find biscuits in the cupboard, chocolate in my bed side drawer or balloons he can play with, and happily he will sit on our bed watching Cartoon Network for the day.  And there’ll usually always be a drawing left for me by this precious little kid that cannot speak a word of English but grins to both ends of his face with all his might whenever Jon or I are around.

Or when she decided what I should wear for Valentine’s Day, and left me very specific instructions:



Sometimes I’ll come home to find that she’s repacked the kitchen and changed all the cupboards around.

Sometimes I’ll see different photos in different photo frames.

Sometimes I’ll have a heart attack when I sit down on the outside furniture and hear an explosion from the black bag she saw fit to cover the chair seat with underneath the pillow cover.

I believe it’s because Thembi loves our home as much as we do.  And more importantly, it’s because she loves us too.

And so when she left a note on the fridge asking me to make her 15 copies of a handwritten birthday invite to Thabiso’s party, I won’t do it.  I’d rather sit for a few hours and design her a proper invitation to hand out to the kids at school.

I’ve referred Thembi to two friends lately to help her out on the 2 days we don’t employ her.  She was hilarious, she didn’t care about what they’d pay her, she would only say yes when I promised her I wouldn’t make her uncomfortable about asking her any details from my friends houses (not sure why this was a concern for her, I can promise you the grime or possible hidden things in friends drawers is the very least of my curiosity in life).

And when I get an SMS from a friend who’s recently started employing Thembs part-time too, I laughed when I read that he was told to speak to me to get her banking details.  Like I’m her PA.  Because in truth, I am.  I do most of her life paperwork, and I don’t mind it one little bit.

Because as much as we do for Thembi, she does a million times more for us.  It’s an intimate thing giving the keys of your home to someone knowing that you can trust them in the sanctity of your private space, with all of your life’s belongings, and with the safe keeping of your precious furbabies.  And with Thembs I trust her with it all, plus my life.  Because to me she really is just part of the family.

I know that we’re lucky to have her.


  1. Momma says:

    And I will take all the credit for our Thembi as I found her, trained her and lo and behold adopted her as one of your siblings. She prefers working for you than for me though because you have sexy shoes and full grocery cupboards. And she doesn’t have to fight over the dstv remote with Wokkie as to what channel they should be watching. We certainly know that she is part of our family and we all love her dearly. Wok and I need her back in our home, she organised my domestic life and I am so lost without her.

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