Under Water by J. L. Powers
If I wanted it, I would make it happen, no matter how hard or seemingly impossible.
After the death of her beloved grandmother, seventeen-year-old Khosi and her nine-year-old sister Zi must face the world alone. Her aunt, accusing Khosi of witchcraft, has stripped the girls’ family home of its contents. They have only mattresses, a cracked plastic chair, and an ancient T.V.
Working as a sangoma, a traditional Zulu healer, Khosi abandons her studies in order to support herself and her sister. This should have been her last year of school prior to university. She wanted to study nursing, practicing modern medicine along with traditional healing.
Circumstances impel her to break the two promises she made to her grandmother: that she would complete her schooling and that she would not get seriously involved with her longtime boyfriend, Little Man.
Tensions rise when her boyfriend becomes enmeshed in the local tsotsi's (gangster) taxi war and the body of a murdered Somali shop owner is left on her property. Destitute, pregnant with Little Man's child, her home destroyed by fire, Khosi knows that she must take her sister and flee.
"What do you suppose Gogo is doing right now on the other side?" Zi asks.
I shake my head. I don't have to suppose. I already know. "She and the other amadlozi are sitting around gossiping about the funeral," I say. "Gogo is laughing about how many people came for a free meal, people who never visited when she was alive."
Zi shakes her head. "That isn't funny,"
"The things that matter to us when we are alive are not so important when we are dead," I say. "Gogo is glad they had a good meal. And she's touched by how many of them brought money to give to us."