“The lesson men will never learn is this, the world is full of beautiful women and you can’t have them all. Find one, follow her and you will see that all the rest combined will never match her!” Mike Maphoto
I have never been fired before. I can imagine it’s the most stressful and degrading thing ever. Being let go or being retrenched is not the same as being told to pack your bags and go because with that its circumstances not of your making but a reaction to other things. Being fired means- you have done a bad thing or are not good at your job so you are no longer welcome to mess up. Had I done that? Had my arrogance led me to a point where not only will I get the embarrassment of carrying a box out of the office, the walk of shame but also to have something on my permanent record? I felt dizzy for a moment and confused.
“Can’t you just apologize to Rudzani?”
She asked me. This was the second person to say this yet this was the first time it felt like an option. Could I swallow my pride long enough to apologize? I was going to have to if I was going to keep my job but the company had expressly forbidden me from talking to her.
“They don’t want me talking to her so they could use that against me!”
I explained and she wrote it down like it was something important.
“Is it that bad?”
I asked her.
“I am afraid it is!”
She said. Nthabiseng had always had that problem where she did not candy coat things. She was always a frank speaker and it annoyed a lot of people. Much as she was like that she was never single. When I was curt and upfront men hated me, when it was her, they saw her as a challenge they were willing to try. I just don’t get men honestly!
“I have a case right now and I can’t get out of it but I think Zama will represent you well!”
She suddenly said. Wait? Nthabiseng was not going to represent me? Come on!
“But I want you?”
“I want me to represent you too but you need someone who will be there 24 hours for you! I already have briefed her that you are coming. I wanted you to brief me first so that I can advise her if need be!”
She told me. Now what? I had to tell my story to somebody else! Goodness!
“Where is she?”
I asked her!
“I can call her in now if you are ready!”
She said. Of course I was ready. I did not want to lose my job.
“Zama, please come she is here?”
She said on the phone. Zama did not take long. In two minutes we were shaking hands.
“Zama Zulu, this is one of my oldest friends Lungile Mbatha, Lungi meet Zama, I call her ZZ!”
She said. This was not professional but I think she was trying to put me at ease. I should stop being so tense.
“I am happy to meet you. We were supposed to have drinks together the other day and things didn’t go as planned!”
She said. It’s true, before the wedding I had plans with Nthabiseng and her friends but because I had been roped in last minute and things had been hectic I had had to cancel it. It was not even a postponement because we never discussed the alternative date.
“Yes I recall. I am sorry we have to meet under these circumstances but it is what it is!”
I told and she laughed saying this was the best way to meet because she can show off how good she is and our friendship will be sealed after she kicks ass for me. I liked her.
“So please brief me! What’s going on?”
I told her the whole story and I did not leave out any of the details. I also included why apologizing would not help me much. When I was done she looked at me and said,
“We can’t fight them if they can prove that this is true and to prove that this is true they will need Simba to confirm a relationship between the two of you which I don’t think they can if you say his business is that important to them!”
“It is that important! They have a specific contract everyone wants in on!”
I explained without getting into detail.
“The thing is do you want to fight them or take whatever punishment they dish to you? I don’t think they will fire you! You too important and it will be a very flimsy excuse to get rid of you!”
She explained. I told about Susanna and how she hated me meaning that could be what would get me booted out but she was not fazed.
“I will do the talking. It’s a hearing not a court cross examination.”
She explained. It’s so easy for someone to reassure you but the reality is if you the one going through that crisis it feels like its just words.
“You in good hands!”
Nthabiseng said again. I think she could see I was worried.
“Let me go home and rest! This craziness must just pass now!”
They were both busy for now so going home was quick and painless. When I got home I took a long bath. I wanted a relaxed evening as this could be my few last evening as an employed person.
I just wanted to gym. They way I punished Kick and Step Classes that morning, there is no way I was not going to be sore later. I was going to regret this that much was certain. I decided to go to the steam room even though I often say it’s disgusting. Some women have a tendency of even lying down in there and I honestly don’t get it. That room is meant for all of us to sweat meaning that it’s full of other peoples’ sweat but these people don’t car. The sight of other naked flabby women also did not intrigue much because don’t be fooled, the reason why gym is full of women is because most of us look somehow! That was my morning as I was trying to get my mind of things. Around 8 I was already headed home. Whilst other people were driving in the opposite direction I was driving home! Sigh! As I got out of my car I saw Ntheteng’s dad get to his car. Doesn’t this dude work though?
“Good morning neighbour?”
He said from a distance. I greeted him back and asked him if Ntheteng was ok and back in school.
“Yes she is fine. She was up at 5 0 Clock and at my door demanding to go to school so even if she was not fine I doubt I stood much of a chance!”
He explained. To some people this would have been an adorable moment and we would moment that “awwww” sounds or comments as women but ah, that’s not me. I did say children I was not used to.
“Are you not working today because usually by this time you are not to be seen?”
He asked me.
I laughed and responded,
“I see someone has been stalking me!”
And he laughed too.
“It is hard not to miss your car in its bay hey, maybe one day I will get to drive it!”
My mind went on over drive. Was he talking about the car as in vehicle or was using it as a metaphor? I needed to get my mind out of the garter ah, who thinks such things so early in the morning.
“That’s good. See you around then!”
I said and got into the house hastily. Had I missed a moment?
“Hey it’s Zama!”
The lady said on the other side!
“I am actually on my way to see you. We have something to discuss and I was this side when I got the call!”
She said. It was only nine in the morning, what time did she start working kante!
I gave her my address and a bit more instructions on how to get here. It was not so hard and 20 minutes later she was done. I had showed at the gym so I had not had to do anything in a rush.
“I love your place hey. Where I stay everything is broken and if you ask the caretaker to fix it it’s like another story!”
She said as she sat down. This girl somehow reminded me of me. I don’t know how so. Young lawyers have a tendency of being career driven. It’s the one industry I actually don’t envy because you constantly have to be on your toes.
“So what’s the news you bring?”
I asked her.
“I contacted your firm last night asking for details of our meeting. I told them I was your lawyer, the firm I work for and so on…”
She explained. This morning I got a call from Mr. Gold himself saying that he needs us to come to the office.
“Today? The hearing is only tomorrow!”
I said panicking. I could feel the air getting sucked out of the room. My mind had prepared itself somewhat for getting fired tomorrow but this lady had brought my fate one day sooner. No come on!
“Are you sure it’s wise to accept? Are they not trying to throw us off our game because they know a day early we won’t be prepared?”
I asked her.
“I thought that too but I doubt it. When I called I think I threw them off as well because I actually think they did not foresee you coming with a lawyer. They might have advised to get one but black people have a tendency of undermining us so they all need us when they have fucked up something that could have been fixed so simple!”
She explained. I actually understood her because in a way she was right. We have a way of thinking that lawyers are not necessary we can talk ourselves out of a situation. On the other hand even those Scorpion and Legalwise adverts mean nothing to use because we also say they are expensive yet nowadays especially there are so many cheaper ways to do it.
“So what time is the meeting?”
I asked her.
“He said anytime that’s why I would like you to get ready now. Wear your Beyonce!”
She said with an evil smile. For those who don’t work in the private sector, your Beyonce is your power suit, they don’t mess with me today outfit I am going somewhere to the top! We all have one or two of those, always freshly pressed and from the dry clean. You wear it for presentations mostly. This was war. I went and got dressed but my mind was not at peace.
Walking into my company just felt awkward. I did not see Rudzani, thank heavens because I don’t know what I would have done but when we got to Mr. Gelds office we had to wait five minutes outside the door. It seems he was very anxious to see us because whoever he had been meeting was told to leave.
“Thank you for coming at such short notice!”
He said when we walked in.
He greeted us after I introduced Zama.
“Straight to business, Mr. Tizora and company won’t sign because you are not on the contract. What’s worse they have just gotten a new contract with WHO which makes us even more desperate to sign with them. What did you tell him the day you spoke?”
Simba you are a saviour!
“I told you what I said to them! I even recorded the conversation but that’s irrelevant!”
I told him. What had I done this time really? I was being punished!
“Well they won’t sign with us if you are not the lead person!”
“We need this contract and all is forgiven!”
He said to me! Was he trying to bribe me with my own job? That was so unfair.
“I want a promotion if I am coming back under these conditions! Everyone thinks I am this pervert who did all those things which is not true. The contract has to be signed ASAP right, that’s what you want and I want that too!”
I told him. It even took Zama by surprise that I had such balls but ladies, cease the moment whenever you can, that Beyonce suit only comes out when you mean business so it must be used to its full effect.
“There is a post open up. Susanna is moving to the Cape Town Branch as of next week. There is a permanent crisis there and she wants to be next to her family. Rudzani will go with her; she does not have a choice!”
I wanted to laugh; this would put her even further away from her mystery boyfriend.
I said I wanted to laugh but I didn’t…
When a woman complains at sexual harassment which is effectively what she had done, she doesn’t even get a hearing?
Now I got it why there were so many feminist groups, nobody cared.
I had my job back though with a promotion but it somewhat had a sour taste!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I am a student who has been accepted for Law at UNISA but am stuck on registration fee. Yesterday I posted on Twitter asking for help and today I am here. Please friends help me raise the money I need. The total registration fee wanted is R5575. For those who are willing to help with a hundred rand here or there I have attached my proof of registration as well as UNISA account details, student number etc to Bra Mike. Kindly do it directly to the University, all the account and steps are on the attached documents (proof of registration). I really beg you to consider me with your aid.
My number is 0735825268 Thank you so much