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“What the hell just happened”? I asked looking at both the girls, “Did your man just deny us like Judas denied Jesus Christ?” asked Cleo, trust the biggest heathen to quote the Bible. She Rocks was just standing there not saying anything. When she eventually spoke she said “we need to go”. Both Cleo and I readily agreed, we walked to her car only to find it locked and Siyabonga had the keys since he had moved it from outside to behind the Quantom, our bags were in She Rocks car we only had our phones with us. She Rocks said we should try and sneak in the house to get the keys from Siyabonga, we all walked on our toes trying not to make a noise as we were passing the kitchen window Cleo pointed to us to look inside, all we saw was the 8 men with guns pointed at each other, we looked at the men inside then each other then without even saying a word, we ran, no scrap that we stormed out like we were chased by lions, we ran out of the yard, into street, after street, after street, we ran halfway to Jabulani Mall which is about 5km from where we were, fear is the greatest motivator, my friends would never run I have been begging them for months to do fun runs with me they always turn me down, they would not even make excuses they would just say no but on this particular day no one even had to say let’s run, good thing none of us were wearing heels since we had not gone to work, when we eventually stopped we were out of breath and couldn’t even speak. Cleo threw herself on the pavement trying to catch her breath; we all followed, after a few minutes of no words just heavy breathing Cleo asked “how the hell are we going to get out of here?”
I don’t think we had thought that far, all we thought about was saving our asses, we just left Siyabonga there, well he’s a man he will just have to defend himself. I turned to She Rocks and said, “if Siyabonga is involved in shady dealings now is your perfect opportunity to get out. Once the shadiness starts it does not stop, more shit will come out so I say walk away now friend” , Cleo backed me up, “we love Siyabonga and we think he’s amazing but if he’s going to put your life in danger then baby girl you need to step now” I added “I know how much you love Siyabonga but he’s somehow involved with dangerous people and what we saw in that house did now look pretty, imagine if you were alone in the house with him and those men came, think about what they could have done to you.”
Cleo and I went on and on just giving her reasons to end this toxic relationship, I know I was being a hypocrite since I was in a similar situation but I’m married to the man, we have a family together, I can’t just pack up and leave him but if I had seen these things before we got married, I would never have married him, I would have never allowed myself to go through what I had been through in the past few months, it was hell and if I had an opportunity to get someone out of it before they even got in I would do it until I turned blue in the face, the life I was living was no life to live. It was as if we never said anything at all, She Rocks said after we were done with our speeches was she’s going to call a friend of hers who stays nearby to drop us at Southgate, both Cleo and I turned and looked at her and we asked “what about you?” she calmly replied “I’m going back to my man”. “Have you lost your mind, did you not just see guns been waved all over the place?” Cleo was getting angry now.
I was beyond annoyed with She Rocks I told her we were not going anywhere without her. I wanted to call my husband but knowing him he will give me a lecture first so I dropped that idea, as we were sitting there taxi’s kept driving past and hooting, we had no wallets no bags withus, we couldn’t even catch a taxi. Cleo called Vusi her husband to come pick us up, we couldn’t direct him since we didn’t know exactly where we were, poor guy had to collect the kids then come all the way to Soweto to pick us up, we decided to walk to Jabulani Mall to make things easy for him, it was basically a 3 km walk, in the sun, not an easy walk at all. We walked in silence since we realised that our talk was not working on this stubborn girl, then after 10 minutes She Rocks broke the silence, “what you guys saw there is not what you think” oh my gosh did this man pray and fast that much that She Rocks was even blind to things that she saw, she was becoming the type of person who was believed that their other half could never do anything wrong, she needed to wake up and smell the gun powder dammit. Before I could say anything she cut me off, “the two of you are so quick to judge, in your eyes Siyabonga is a criminal just because you saw those guys in his house with guns, was Siyabonga carrying a gun? No.
Guns were pointed at him, did you not see that?” So what? if you know people with guns you are dangerous even if you don’t have one yourself, look at me for instance I knew people with guns and I had almost killed my mother in law, see what I mean. She Rocks explained that the men we saw there are not Siyabonga’s friends in fact Siyabonga only knew about them last week. Siyabonga uses the Quantum to collect people from work and take them to work, but this is specific people from specific companies like restaurants and call centres, people who work ungodly hours and by the time they go to work or come back from work there are no taxis either it being too early for taxis or too late for taxis, so some days Siyabonga can’t go and collect so he would ask his brother to go and collect the people for him but then his brother got greedy, on the way back from collecting people he saw some people standing on the side of the road waiting for a taxi and picked them up got the cash and dropped them off, so when nothing happened when he did that he decided to take his chances and take the Quantum during the day while Siyabonga is in his other job fixing cars his brother would take the car and drive around collect people and take them to town to make extra cash, now to me and you that might seem like a smart idea but there are levels to these things, to taxi owners he’s stealing their customers and that is a no-no, you never touch a taxi owner’s customer, even if it’s raining and there are no taxis around you leave those people alone because someone is always watching and the stupid little brother didn’t know that so one day they followed him to see where he parked the car and found out who the owner was and paid Siyabonga a visit and demanded a R80 000 as payment for disrespecting them and stealing their customers.
So what we saw were the goons of taxi owners coming to collect their money which poor Siyabonga didn’t have and they’ve been threatening to kill him and his brother and the reason why Siyabonga had to say he didn’t know us was if they knew one of us was his girlfriend they would probably have shoot her just to show him how serious they were. Damn this was hectic, we had judged him too harshly, we apologised to She Rocks who had tears in her eyes from explaining this. She asked if do we now understand why she has to go back to make sure he’s okay. We told her we would all go with Vusi when he got to the mall. With all that talking that took place we had arrived at the mall and didn’t even feel the 3km’s. While we were waiting for Vusi I told She Rocks that maybe Siyabonga should speak to my husband cause he’s dad was a taxi-owner but after he died his mom sold all the taxis and wanted to have nothing to do with anything that involved taxis that’s what Mthobisi had told me, so maybe they still had some connections and could help. She Rocks said she will tell Siyabonga and they will take any help they can get. I received an sms on my phone it was from a number I didn’t know it read “Lesedi, we will see how far your selfish ways take you, I know Mtho agreed to having the ritual for my daughter and you stopped it. I am going to make sure that you suffer for the rest of your life. I will make sure you lose everything you have” I laughed and thought some women have too much time on their hands, what was she going to do bewitch me? Bitch please!!
Vusi finally arrived, Cleo filled him in on what had happened and I had never seen a man so scared, if it were up to him he would have given us his car and taken a taxi and went home, but his bully wife would not let him. we drove back to Siyabonga’s house, the cars outside were gone, She Rocks ran in, damn the girl is brave, we were not sure if maybe some of the men had stayed behind so Cleo, Vusi and I walked slowly in while She Rocks went around the house calling out Siyabonga’s name, he came out from the house and the sigh of relieve from She Rocks just brought tears to my eyes, she really loved him, they hugged and she was all tears in his arms and he kept kissing her tears telling her he’s fine she shouldn’t worry. We went inside the car to give them some privacy. After they were done talking they had decided that they were coming home with me to speak to Mthobisi about helping them, now I wasn’t so sure, we all get those moments where we speak without thinking things through and my husband might not like the fact that I opened my big mouth about his father’s business, he never even liked talking about his father, but what the hell, our friends lives were in danger. We all drove to Alberton to my mom’s house on the way I called my husband and told him that Siyabonga was coming over for a visit; I couldn’t give him all the details over the phone. He didn’t seem bothered by that.
When we arrived my parents were out so it was just my husband and our son bonding, this was so cute and precious, I took a picture I had to capture these special moments who knows when they might end. Cleo and Vusi said they will not stay so they took their cars and left. Siyabonga explained the situation to my husband about the whole taxi saga, my husband was listening attentively he kept nodding his head when he was done said “I guess Lee told you about my father being in the taxi business”, She Rocks said yes and they are disparate for help, they don’t have the kind of money they want and if Mthobisi knew of any of these people could he speak to them try and get them to drop these demands and threats. He looked at both of them with sincerity and said “I honestly wish I could help you, but my mother made sure I never had any taxi dealings, all I can tell you is don’t pay this money, once you pay now you will pay for the rest of your life, do you know how many taxi owners there are in Soweto alone, if word gets out that you paid the few that you going to pay and believe you me word is going to get out, more are going to come wanting payments, you will end up losing everything you have.” Okay they were not hearing what they were hoping to hear from my husband, Siyabonga asked “so what would you suggest I do? Would they really kill my brother and I?” my husband without even thinking about it “yes, they would kill you and your brother and not lose any sleep over it. I would suggest you pack up all your shit and leave in the middle of the night and disappear that’s the only way to come out of this alive”. “Yhooo” was what came out of mine and She Rocks mouth; I was shit scared for my friend.
My husband’s phone rang and it was in the kitchen so he asked me to get it and answer for him, it was the hospital they said his mom is awake and has been asking about Neo. I told them it was the hospital, Mthobisi grabbed his keys and said let’s all go to the hospital. She Rocks burst out “the truth is finally going to come out about Neo” Mthobisi stopped on his tracks and asked “what truth about Neo?” shit, I had not told She Rocks that I had not told my husband, she calmly replied “the fact that he is not your son.” my husband’s veins in the head popped out, he looked at me as calmly asked “Lesedi, am I not Neo’s father? Whose child have I been raising?” he was fuming I swear I could see fire in his eyes.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)