How lockdown threatened to spoil the party

How lockdown threatened to spoil the party

It looked like lockdown was going to ruin a special birthday date for Nontuthuko Ngubane. Here’s what happened…

The idea was to have a big birthday party, since I was turning 30. It is one of those things I had put down on my life to-do list. It has a significant meaning to me. You see I lost my older sister, Sizakele, when she was 29.

I remember a text she sent me from hospital a few minutes after she turned 29. It was new year (she was born 1 January 1981).

She said, I am just hoping God can keep me until I am 30 years at least.

It wasn’t to be. She passed away in June 2010.

So for me it was important that I break the curse and make 30 myself.

I wanted a big dinner, somewhere expensive, balloons, cake, flowers, makeup and a dress. I wanted it all. The whole thing.

I was about to make a reservation at one of the hotels in Pietermaritzburg when the lockdown was announced.

birthday lockdown

GO BIG AND GO HOME: The birthday cake and all the trimmings. Family and friends helped make the day special despite lockdown.

Second thoughts

I had hope by May, maybe things would be back to normal. Instead the lockdown was adjusted to Level 4, which meant restaurants remained closed.

It looked like I couldn’t have a party. But I thought this should not stop me from celebrating the milestone.

Then I had second thoughts. Really, what was there to celebrate? My brother was in hospital because of an eye problem. Our salaries had been cut at work because of the corona effect. I couldn’t even have a glass of wine on my birthday.

I was broken.

A day before my birthday, I didn’t make any plans, but I did buy myself a cake.

But secretly I was excited. It’s not everyday a girl gets to turn 30.

As it was about to strike midnight, at the start of my birthday, I was about to pray and thank God for the gift of life, when my best friend Thandeka video-called me. We spoke for a long long time, she sang for me.

Originally we had plans for my birthday weekend in May. It would be a weekend getaway with her and my other bestie, Lungile. You see, a lot of plans were ruined.

Beautiful day

I slept and woke up to a beautiful day. It felt as if it was my wedding day. Just like in the movies..

My mother came into my room and started singing for me. The whole family joined her. They whisked me away to the living room, where breakfast was served.

I took my nephew shopping for a few essentials.

I saw a dress hanging in the shop. No, I said, I can’t afford this. But then, well, it’s my birthday. I tried it on and It fit. I brought it and left.

When I got home the table had been set for me and my sisters had prepared lunch.

It was an emotional moment. They said I could pretend I was at the restaurant where I had been hoping to book. I made my order and my food was brought in.

Birthday during lockdown

SPECIAL DAY: Nontuthuko Ngubane (left) with family.

Surrounded by love

My dad gave me a gift, money. He knows I need it’s the thing I need most!

Everyone wished me well, friends and family. Lots of social media, phone calls and SMSs.

It made me realise that my lockdown party had probably been my best birthday party so far, one filled with love.

I was surrounded by people who love me and wished me well. I was home.

Yes, we even danced a little and had an amazing time.

Later on the day we had a braai with my sisters. We took a walk down memory lane, recalling  all my birthday parties over the years.

This 30th birthday was special. It made me realise there is so much more to be thankful for. Yes, lockdown kept me home, but it proved a blessing. I had an amazing time.

Until I write again, stay home, wash your hands and wear your mask.

Birthday lockdown

BANNER IMAGE: Turning 30 means a lot to our columnist Nontuthuko Ngubane. Her older sister, Sizakele, died when 29. Nontuthuko was determined to break the curse.

Now read… Living room liturgy: Home church brings spiritual solace


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