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Topics - Leona Mathenjwa

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Application for Hogwarts School


Name: Leona Mathenjwa

Birthday: May 30th 1936

Hometown: Rustenberg, South Africa

Muggleborn / Halfblood / Pureblood / Unknown

Magical Strength (pick one):
Divination / Transfiguration / Charms / Conjuring & Summoning

Magical Weakness (pick one):
Divination / Transfiguration / Charms / Conjuring & Summoning

Year (pick two): 5th, 6th



“You are from Rustenberg,” A soft voice spoke behind her. Leona prayed her eyes from the great school carved into the flank of the mountain to lay them on the considerably shorter girl beaming up at her with bright blue eyes. The face was familiar. Those hands she’d seen tugged upon by precipitous adults exuding the sort of impatience which plagued the rich Afrikaners. “So am I. My name is Mariah Oosthuizen.” With a pink smile on her face the girl extended pale fingers to wrap around Leona’s chocolate.

At eleven years old, in the Mountains of the Moon tucked away in the skies of South Africa, so far away from her native home - this was the first time a person of European descent had addressed her so politely.

Like an equal.


The truth of the matter was, in the African school for magic, Uagadou, Leona and Mariah were equal in their inequality. Gone were the South African laws of Apartheid, replaced now with the strange prejudice that their lack of magical parentage made them lesser witches than their peers. The saying went that they were less attuned to the magics flowing through nature, that magics traced back through generations held a sacred bond that grew and flourished through the decades.

“Magic, like life is cyclical. It ebbs and flows through every living thing. It is reborn in every generation yet lives on in the afterlife.”

Leona’s hand shot up. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Mariah squirm in her seat. Her best friend would rather lay low, to avoid attracting the attention of people like Madam Engawi and the students who shared her vision of the generational strength of magic. Leona, on the other hand, would rather chip away at these notions. Not for her own sake - Unkulunkulu knew she didn’t care about their opinions so long as neither stick nor stone followed their ugly words - but she knew it bothered Mariah.

And that bothered her.

In South Africa, before she’d considered herself a stickler for native traditions, listening to her Grandmother’s stories with utter fascination. Even among her family, every inch of them ordinary in comparison to her new peers, they’d all known magic to be real. Its form had escaped them. They’d been oblivious to its raw power. The few manifestations Leona had exhibited throughout her childhood had been thought miraculous confirmations of their superstitions.

Of  course they’d been right.

When Madam Engawi finally and hesitantly called upon Leona’s raised hand, the eleven year old chose her words carefully. She didn’t mean to cause trouble or to conjure controversy. She simply wished for these people to see the nonsense in their words and the harm they were causing in holding onto these beliefs so vehemently.

“Are we not all living things? Does magic not flow through everyone, even those people who never came to Uagadou, as much as it flows through us, even if they cannot use it as we do?”

A broad smile concluded her line of questioning as Leona felt confident she must have made some impact. Mariah’s gaze fell to stare adamantly at her desk. Madam Engawi’s gaze hardened as she frowned at Leona with the strength of a thousand moons.

“Yes Miss Mathenjwa,” Answered the teacher with a voice hinting at naught but apathy. “It flows through your parents as much as it flows through the rats in the basement.”


“I don’t mind them.” Insisted Leona as she sat with Mariah in the courtyard.

“But you do,” Replied Mariah with a sigh. “You don’t say it, but you mind. You must.”

Leona considered this. She couldn’t deny that the laughter that followed the comparison had stung. Her parents, her family - they were so much kinder and so much smarter than most of her classmates could ever hope to be. They were not rats. Yet Leona had been unable to defend them, unable to convince anyone that they, nor she, nor Mariah, were worthy of respect.

This world had first felt so different from South Africa, from the dirty townships of Rustenberg.

Now she saw.

It was more of the same.

Nevertheless, Leona drew yet another smile upon her face. Because when there were no more words she could say that could make her friend’s worries go away, there was nothing left to do but sing and dance. Like a mongoose she sprang to her feet.

“I do not mind!” Brown eyes met blue as Leona tapped her hands together, setting the first beat of a rhythm Mariah would be unable to resist.


When summer came again, Leona and Mariah parted ways, each dragged back into their separate worlds. In the land of normality their lives could not collide. If the laws didn’t prevent it, their parents would. Distrust was all that could exist between adults differing in color and origin.

Eventually it dawned on Leona that this distrust was not unique to non-magical folk. It was not simply a consequence of apartheid.

Distrust was at the very core of every dispute she had ever witnessed.


“It’s good to see you again,” Leona whispered under cover of darkness, peering at Mariah from beneath the blankets tucked tightly around her. She thought she could glimpse the white of the other girl’s teeth shining beneath the moonlight.

In hushed voices, they chatted in the darkness as the snores of their schoolmates echoed against the cool stone walls. They caught up on each other's summers, took turns guessing what they might learn over the coming year, and apologized for the moments missed in their months apart.

“Despite everything,” Mariah paused, considering her words as she often did when expressing sentimental thoughts. “I’m glad to be back. This is home.”

Yes it was.


Over the course of the following years, Mariah excelled in all her classmates, easily surpassing the talents of each and every one of their classmates. It was her own form of vindication. What little revenge she could take for the words they spoke behind her back, for the lack of faith they had placed in her in previous years.

Leona did not follow suit.

Her own payback came in the shape of independant pursuits. In class she would listen to the professors. When she found gaps in their pontification, she would point them out. When their words verged on opinion, she questioned their subjectivity. She left no stone unturned, left them no respite when it came to matters of prejudice.

In four years, Leona had made several enemies.

She had not done so out of spite, anger or provocation.

She had done it all to defend her best friend.


The summer of 1951 was particularly raucous. With the passing of several housing laws, Leona’s family had been forcibly removed from their home while she’d been away at school. They had been relocated further North, in a so-called homeland reserve meant for South African natives of Zulu origin.

In the subsequent months, the eldest Mathenjwa boys often travelled to Johannesburg to join protests lead by the African National Congress. Two weeks before Leona was meant to return to Uagadou for her fifth year, word came that a warrant had been issued for Goodwill and Alphe Mathenjwa.

This word was not delivered by just anyone - it was Mariah Oosthuizen, flanked by her parents, who seemed both angry and terrified.


It was Leona’s father who answered the door, with curious Leona peeking over his shoulder. His greeting was one of silent befuddlement, taken too far aback by this odd Afrikaner triad who had so bravely wandered into Bantu territory.

“You need to leave.” Though breathless, Mariah’s voice carried an authority Leona had rarely heard before.

Her father’s gaze hardened at once. “You have already exiled us from one home, how dare -”

“Papa stop!” Leona exclaimed, knowing he had misunderstood. He had never met Mariah. All he saw was an impudent white girl barking orders on his doorstep. “She is my friend!”

Her words were met with the flummoxed expression of all present adults.

Mariah continued, her eyes on Leona now. Her friend was rather less intimidating than the tall man in the doorway. “The police, they are coming to arrest your brothers. They think they have information about the ANC.”

There was a pause as Mariah considered her words. Pale blue eyes darted to the head of the family. “You know what that means. For all of you.”

He did.

The stout man behind Mariah cleared his throat. He didn’t bother speaking English; he addressed his inferior in his own language, Afrikaan, which Leona’s family had learned to understand out of sheer necessity. “I have family in London who could help you relocate. My sister, she married a wealthy Lord.” He paused, waiting for reaction. None came - these words meant nothing to the Mathenjwas.

I am a merchant.” Mr. Oonsthuizen spoke with more emphasis now, like a man speaking to a particularly slow child. “I could help you get to London on a ship.”


They really had no other choice. If they had stayed, unspeakable things would have befallen Goodwill and Alphe, and any other of the Mathenjwas might have succumbed as well if it was believed they had any supplementary information to provide the South African authorities.

“I’ll miss you,” Leona whispered to Mariah after Mr. Oonsthuizen had helped them sneak into his own docking bay like thieves in the night. She felt a small hand wrap around hers and give it a soft squeeze. “You’ll give Madam Engawi trouble for me, won’t you?”

The hand squeezed harder. “I will not go back to Uagadou.” Mariah answered with regret. “They are opening a school for Afrikaners in Pretoria. Mother and Father would like me to go there now.”

So they would have been separated either way.

It did not make Leona any happier.

“I’ll miss you.” She said again with a squeeze of her own.

What else was there to say?


The entire household was smuggled onto a train to Cape Town. There they were met by the Captain of Mr. Oonsthuizen’s trade vessel, who smuggled them onto his ship. Only once they were out to sea was it safe for the Mathenjwa family to leave their hiding spot.

The endless swaying and lurching made Leona dizzy and nauseous for days. The journey felt like it might get the better of her. Days felt like years, dragging on and on until they finally berthed at the Saint-Katharine docks in London.

As promised, Mr. Oonsthuizen’s sister Helga and her husband, Lord Edgar Pell were there to greet them. They brought the Mathenjwas to their new home, a derelict apartment in London’s east end.

There, waiting for Leona on the windowsill, was a little Red Chested Owlet carrying a letter for her sealed and signed by Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Note: This section is optional, and is up to you to complete.

House Request: Hufflepuff

Personality: Though loud and unafraid to speak her mind, Leona rarely speaks up for matters which concern only herself. She is a strong believer in justice, and bears unwavering loyalty for those she holds dear. For those who would do them harm, Leona would tear the world down to stop them in their tracks. For those she loves, she would sing, dance and jest for hours to put a smile on their face.

She strongly believes that, with the right amount of effort, anything can be proven or disproven. She puts every amount of effort she can into proving that the world wouldn’t be so awful if the people living in it didn’t make it so.

Appearance: With pearly white teeth in stark contrast to her crepuscular skin, Leona’s smile is her most defining feature. Her round face, spherical cheekbones, and button nose all add to the radiant portrayal of joy she embodies. Her long limber limbs are in a constant flux of movement, running from place to experience, dancing all along the way.

Option 1

Of all the grey and dreary things in Great Britain, these dungeons really took the cake. Even in near total darkness, Leona could smell the bleakness in the air, rising off the walls and permeating her existence.

This castle lacked in color. It lacked in life. During the day, she could hear the laughter in the air, yet looking round at the people, at their stiff postures and their calculated movements, it was hard to discern the source through all the stuffiness.

Still, she’d find herself watching her new countrymen and recognising, in them, her Mariah.

Her Mariah so far away.

With a small smile, Leona reminded herself that this new life, this comfortable life in comparison to the one to which she would have been fated had her family remained in South Africa - this life was a gift. A gift from Mariah.

And she should revel in every ounce of it, down to every last grey and dreary stone. She would do so at all hours of the day and night, regardless of curfews and rules which adults so arbitrarily imposed in their continued attempts to control the new generations.

The unexpected sound of frightful youth cut through the air. Leona stopped in her tracks, looking around, squinting to try to discern a figure in the darkness.

"Hello! Is Emma Birch here?"

Like most names, Leona had not heard this one before. A fact Leona was doing her best to rectify, one introduction at a time. “No, child, I am Leona Mathenjwa.” She took a few steps in the direction she thought her interlocutor might find herself. “And who are you?”


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