Dead at 16
Nkosinathi and Amandla’s fun with drugs comes to a terrible and shockingly tragic end.
Nkosinathi and Amandla (Sipho Mhlongo and Lungelo Mandondo) have been back and forth between friendship and love for the past year. So when Nkosinathi introduced Amandla to drugs back in October, he didn’t think of himself as a pusher – just a guy sharing another exciting new experience with his best friend. And when Amandla had to move in with the Mdletshe family thanks to her drug problems on Monday 21 December, he was too excited about it to think about how out of hand her use has become. “It’s a dream come true for a young man to have his crush coming to stay at their home,” says Sipho. But on Monday 28 December, death opens his eyes.
TOO MUCH PAIN
Nkosinathi dialled back his own drug use after he was healed from his paralysis on Wednesday 18 November. He doesn’t realise that he and Amandla aren’t on the same page anymore – on Tuesday 22 December, Amandla stole his mom Zandile’s (Leleti Khumalo) watch to pay for drugs – just after they’d kissed and confessed their love to one another. “After that, his perception of Amandla changes,” admits Sipho. Stealing that watch is the last straw for Amandla’s family too. They tell her that they’re sending her out of town to rehab on Wednesday 23 December and terrified, she runs out and gives her phone to a dealer in exchange for more drugs. Then Amandla pleads one last time with Muzi Xulu (Mpumelelo Bhulose) on Monday 28 December to just be a father to her. When he refuses, she sees everything being taken from her.
Amandla crawls back to her room at the Mdletshe house to light up and make the world go away. Overwhelmed, she never thinks about the possibility of smoking too much. “Nkosinathi is the one to discover her body,” reveals Sipho. “His mom asks him to look for Amandla, so he goes into the place she sleeps and when Nkosinathi comes in, he finds her sprawled on the floor.” Nkosinathi’s scream of fear and loss brings everyone running. “I have never discovered anyone who was dead, so I had to personalise the situation,” says Sipho. “Lungelo lying there did give an impression of somebody who’s dead – especially when you have make-up. I remember at some point in the scene, she has bubbles coming out her mouth. That helps you to make the situation more real in your mind. It affected me a lot.”
SAYING GOODBYE, FOR GOOD
While pain made Amandla vulnerable to using drugs again, Nkosinathi has the opposite reaction as he joins with his family to bury his first love on Monday 4 January. Grieving with her brother Mastermind (Ntokozo Dlamini) and sister Sma (Sihle Ndaba) and being comforted by his brother Ayanda (Kay Sibiya), Nkosinathi feels no desire for any other kind of comfort. “After Amandla’s death, he realises that drugs are something he doesn’t ever want to mess with or associate himself with. He wants nothing to do with it,” says Sipho.
Troubled Amandla overdoses but Nkosinathi and
his family are too late.
Amandla tries to smoke her pain away.