“At times you need to take a step back to review if your life is going the way you want it to be going because if you don’t, you will continue on a path that will ultimately lead you to unhappiness!” Mike Maphoto
I know I don’t go to church but fuck it I have standards because Nicolene was getting on to my last nerve. I was getting tired of her trying to always be better than me and challenge me at my own job. She was my junior and I didn’t even treat her like that. She wanted me to look up to her but how could I do that. You learn your place in a company hierarchy by working yourself up. I was so annoyed. I could not help but feel that when she came here she had been trying to make me say something that would get me in trouble. She had controlled that conversation and insisted that I come out bad at the end of it. It’s a good thing that I had decided to tape because I know when I am being set up. Anyway I had work to do.
“Miriam, what time are we leaving?”
I said when I called her. She had said she will get back to me after we spoke last night but she never did.
“Eish I have a problem. Seemingly my husband does not want me to come!”
She said with disappointment in her voice.
“Why wouldn’t he want you to attend a funeral?”
I asked her.
“I don’t know but he does not know me well! I am going. He can’t tell me what to do!”
She said sounding very annoyed. I am glad to say that marriage hadn’t taken out her fighting spirit just yet.
“Is that wise though? Is it worth the fight?”
I asked her.
“Of course it’s worth the fight! He won’t tell me not to mourn when I want to! That’s bullshit and you know I don’t stand for bullshit!”
She said. I laughed it off and told her I will call her later. The next three hours were paperwork. I felt I had not been in the labs in a long time because for some reason I had so much on my desk. A phone came in on the work line, it was Ms Du Toit.
“Lungi, please come to my office now it’s important!”
She said when I picked up.
I responded and I left for her office. As soon as I got to her office I started recording. I was more mature now meaning that I had to do things differently. They really wanted me out and where doing everything they can to get rid of me.
“Yes Miss Du Toit, I have a client coming in can we make this quick!”
I told her as soon as I was in the room. In the chairs by the wall I had not noticed Mr. Du Toit and Mr. Gold in the room. This was crazy and I knew already that this could not be good at all. I had to watch myself.
“Mr. Gold and Mr. Van Zyl will be sitting in on this meeting ok,”
She said. I already knew I was in trouble so I was not surprised at all that they would be here to sit in.
“That’s ok! What can I help you with?”
I asked innocently.
“Well, I will be forward. This is a letter of suspension pending an investigation. You have been accused of racism and that’s a very serious charge! For this you are suspended!”
“Wait, don’t I even get a chance to respond to my accuser? Does the law not allowed me to respond before you can suspend me?”
I asked her.
“Well clearly it does not. If Brian Molefe and Eskom can be accused of corruption, humiliated in public for it without getting a chance to respond to the allegation made against them by the Public Protector then she goes on an publishes these allegations for the whole nation then my dear you too don’t have a right to respond!”
Mr Van Zyl said with such glee in his face. Had he just used the state capture report on me? White people have a tendency of using whats happening in politics to blame all black people and yes that includes black DA voters. I had never thought of it like that though. A person can get accused yet not be given a chance to respond? Oh well as long as they are black we can paint them all with the same paintbrush I guess. 80% of all media in South Africa is white owned, Glencore the company that was denied the contract is from Switzerland so its white owned and forget that they wanted to sell the South African coal, at a time when the country was on its knees trying to generate electricity for a much higher price than that off those dreaded Guptas! We all hate them no lie, and Mr. Van Zyl bringing them up meant it would distract me. The media loves them to death; they are everything white capitalists fight against, black people trying to get a piece of the pie. I hate them because the media told me to hate them. It’s like every single day they have someone leaking information to them but if you look closely, it’s the same information told a hundred different ways until it’s locked in our psyche!
“Well not that I want to talk about politics but what’s that got to do with me. I have never even met any of those people so are you saying because they were not even found guilty by mighty Thuli Madonsela just implicated I don’t have to be guilty too to warrant suspension?”
I asked. He smiled,
“You finally showing that you a smart one! At least we not wasting our time here!”
He said folding his arms across his chest. I hated this man.
“Well let’s not digress. We don’t want politics here we just want to follow procedure like you said to me earlier so what he said doesn’t change the facts!”
Ms Du Toit said.
“Well I don’t really think you have a case against me because I did nothing wrong. If you suspend me without cause I will sue you!”
I told them straight up. With white people they can sense fear in your voice when you talk to them. You have to be confident and act as though you are ready to take it to the next level. They love telling you about their rights and the law when it’s the very things they used to oppress us with and deny us.
“We have a case unfortunately. This is serious. Your threats won’t work here Miss Mbatha! I sent Nicolene to talk to you earlier and instead of scaling down the argument you made it worse. I gave you a chance and you refused to take it!”
She said sternly. See what I was saying earlier, there was no way Nicolene had come to talk to me out of the goodness of her heart to fix things. She had been sent to implicate me.
“Nicolene and I work together and my job is to train her the way I was trained by Susanna. She was stern and kept me in line and often I complained to Ms Du Toit here that it was too much what she was doing to me and she said its procedure. You even told me to toughen up. You recall this right?”
I asked her.
“Yes I do. She was older and had been in the job for longer than you! You complaining never went far because she was not being racist!”
“Really? So what have I said to Nicolene that makes me racist?”
I asked her.
“It’s your word against hers so who do you think we are going to believe. It’s this very panel that is going to decide your fate so tread carefully!”
She said smugly. I looked at the three white people setting in this room and asked myself what the hell I was thinking.
I would never win this!
“That’s like you saying that you can never be objective then because of obvious reasons. A panel of three white people judging one black woman who is being accused by another white person? Mr. Van Zyl the reason why you protect Nicolene is because you are seeing her outside of the office!”
I went for the jugular! He got up from his chair and bellowed angrily,
“That’s not true! How dare you? We should fire her for making up lies! Now you are trying a smear campaign to discredit us just so you can get out of this”
He said angrily turning red!
“Ms. Van Zyl the reason why you are firing me is because I am challenging you on the rules of the company. You are the legal head so who else can I ask except you though?”
I asked her. I left out Mr. Gold because he had been quiet all along and at this stage had put his head in his hands. He did not want to be here.
“Come on people let’s scale this down a bit. No one is getting fired here.”
Mr. Gold finally intervened trying to calm down the situation. The only problem is I was already calm. It was these bloody white people who were raising their voices.
“I am going to sue you for defamation! You have no right making such allegations! I am happily married and met Nicolene at work!’
Mr. Van Zyl said!
He was rattled.
“Yes please sue me! I am going to sue this company. You don’t have to fire me, I quit but before I go let me do this…”
I said taking out my phone. I sent the two voice note I had taken, one of the meeting and one of Nicolene to Nthabiseng. They looked at me not understanding what I was doing.
“No don’t quit, come on Lungi these two are just trying to scare you. Ms Du Toit, Larry this has gone too far!”
Mr. Gold intervened but it was too late. I had taken it to the next level.
“Those were recordings of firstly the first meeting I had with Nicolene this afternoon, the one where you tried to make me say something racist against her and you failed. As for Mr. I love my wife here, you took Nicolene to the Protea Hotel Wanderers on a night I happened to be there. Here are the pictures, I sent them to my lawyers as well, I really would love to see you how much the wife you say you love loves you when she finds out. This includes the board of this company when the find out you took a 22 year old, straight out of university and put her into management on possibly the biggest contract this company has had in years! Let’s see what’s more important the colour of your skin or your bottom line!”
I told him. If there is one thing white people understand its money! They didn’t give up on apartheid because suddenly they found Jesus, they gave up on it because it was now economically not viable to do business with broke kaffirs! That’s why they still hate you even today.
I stood up.
“And oh, I have just sent those pictures to everyone on my office group on whatsapp! Let’s see how your precious Nicolene survives after everyone knows she is sucking on Santa’s dick!”
I told them. I was lying. I did send it to Ms Du Toit who when the picture came she immediately checked her phone. Woman was so confused by what was going on she didn’t even realize I did not have her in a whatsapp group to start with and that it was a sms.
“See you in court! Checkmate!”
I said and I walked out.
This time there was no coming back!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for reading my letter. I must say I am so impressed by how you write stories I can actually visualize some of these events as they happen.
I have been married to my husband for 9 years now. In that time we have both cheated on each other. I caught him through his phone and some of his friends each time he cheated. In the beginning I used to cry and fight with him for it. I would report him to the family and much as they reprimanded him, the message they gave out was that because he is a man these things will happen. Two years ago I started sleeping with a colleague at work. We worked in the same government department but now he has moved to another. It was a full blown affair and at the time he had a girlfriend. He got engaged to her and they had a big wedding which I was invited to 6 months ago. I went with my husband because he loves gatherings and I am sure that’s where he picks up girls. My side guy (groom) saw us together there. He ignored me for two weeks after that and when eventually I asked if we were through he said it was because by bringing my husband to his wedding I had tried to make him jealous on his wedding day. I reminded him that when I done my RSVP I had done it for two but he would hear none of it. We broke up and it hurt a bit because we got along. I stopped cheating and started trying to fix my marriage. My husband is sweet and kind when we are together yet he cheats. When I catch him cheating he will beg for forgiveness but still do it again. Three weeks ago I found out there is a new girls. This will be girl number 3 that I know of since we got married. I love this man but I can’t keep him loyal. When we are together we are almost perfect but when he is alone he forgets me and works on instinct I suppose. We have two kids who he adores. What do I do? Divorce is a big thing especially when you love someone.
Please advise me please.