How many hijackings have you seen in your life time be it on TV or social media? What about in person? Do you even
know how most people get hijacked? I ask these questions because many of us have an idea of the answer but have actually never fully paid attention to what it is we are seeing or learning from this. The main reason why most of us end up victims is simple; we don’t pay attention when we drive. Personally I have read so many articles, listened to so many experts come on radio to warn us about our driving alertness but I am the first to say I cannot tell you with certainty what they said to save my car and even my life. We never listen of course because those people we tell ourselves that those people are irritating, flip the channel and go listen to the latest offering from Mgarimbe. The logic is very simple really why they tell us these things, with so many hijackings in Joburg all drivers must know when they are being followed. I am not the only guilty of not paying attention, we all are!
“What do we do because if that person catches us you know we are dead? What does Mthobisi want with us anyway it’s not like we know what his secret is?”
Miriam asked me as though I miraculously had the answers for that. She was scared too I acknowledge but now was not the time to ask me dumb questions. I could not even think straight.
“I don’t know what he wants ok! We just need to get out of here that’s all I know. We must drive to a police station!”
I responded. The police eish, we diss them so much but when we are in trouble we think of them.
“When you turn, make sure you floor it!”
She advised me. By floor it she meant that I must accelerate very fast. The problem is that if I did this what if I hit another car and besides the next traffic light was very close. This was not TV and I had never done any advanced driving.
“Lungi are you hearing me?”
She asked me and yes I was hearing her I had just chosen not answer her as I needed to think.
“Yes I will do it but there is a bus coming what if I hit it?”
I asked her as she was pointing to a road where a bus indeed was coming. In running away I was not trying to commit suicide in the process ok then all this would have been pointless.
“I can assure you on this though we are better off taking a chance with the bus than those people catching up with us!”
She went on to say which was completely against what I was thinking at the moment but with her fear this palpable she gave me courage. I left it to my ancestors and I floored my car, the tyres screeched and I ended up in front of the bus with driver of the bus hooting angrily. I skipped the traffic light which was red mind you but fortunately the car coming was a bit far. The black car was nowhere in sight one moment and the next thing, blue lights! The car had lit its blue lights on it. What the fuck? Now I did not have a choice I had to stop. We were by Braam and this was an undercover police car as it had no markings. I drove to a halt.
“Step out of the vehicle!”
The officer said to me angrily. What I had done was dangerous driving but I had never been so happy to see a police officer. If he was not so angry I could have hugged him.
“Officer there is a car chasing us!”
I said to the angry traffic officer completely out of breathe as though I had been running. I had not of course it was the fear that was making me lose my breathe.
“That’s a stupid excuse for the driving you just displayed. You almost hit that bus and you most certainly almost killed my partner and me! Are you crazy?”
He asked angrily. The other officer put his hand on his gun.
“Are you ok ladies and where is the car chasing you?”
The other officer asked us. Thank heavens they took us seriously because male officers especially take us women like we are jokes.
“Yes. It’s a black Opel and oh my God there it is again?”
I said as the car suddenly appeared. It was the same car with a broken number plate and it had indeed followed us. We both ran behind the police officers car as our instinct was to hide. Guess what, the boldness of these criminals, the car indicated to say that it was coming to stop by the police where we were! The way these criminals have no regard or fear for the police is nothing short of amazing.
“Why are you not taking out your guns?”
Miriam hissed at the police. I think like me she was expecting an ambush of some sort from the black Opel.
“Shut up lady let us do our jobs!”
The cop who spoke first said in a tense tone which really did not relax me much. They too sensed the heightened danger I guess as both were holding their guns. The car came to a standstill. I immediately ducked down and peeped out towards the car. I was expecting to see either Mthobisi but then it hit me that he would never do his dirty deeds on his own, makes sense. I should be expecting to see his goons then, someone with an Uzzi hoodie, All Stars and a sporty but nope surprise surprise I was wrong on all fronts. I could be not further off as out stepped an elderly white woman fuming. She was going ballistic!
“Officer, this stupid lunatic crossed the highway from one side of the road to the next and then almost got hit by a bus full of people when she cut them off then skipped a red robot!”
The old lady complained. Miriam and I looked at each other in utter disbelief.
“Why are you following us?”
I asked her angrily.
“Following you? Are you mad?”
She asked us confused but still angry.
“I live here but officer, the mayor said we must take down the number plates of reckless drivers and report them. I followed these two as imbeciles as they were cutting across lanes to do my civic duty and take their number plates down!”
She said handing over a piece of paper to the metro officers who could hardly contain themselves. I could see they wanted to laugh but they kept their cool. The officer read it out loud and indeed it was my number plate.
“Officer this lady chased us down. How can it be a coincidence that we ended up here when we were taking many corners to avoid her?”
I asked him with intent but reality was I was questioning my logic. I know now we looked very stupid because this was a white lady around 60 years old. Had we got this wrong though? I mean come on now what would a 60 year old white woman achieve chasing us down?
“They must be drunk? Do I look like I am a hijacker at my age?”
She asked the most logical question and this just made us look worse.
“Madam I am sorry about the incident. We will handle it from here. You can go to any police station to lay a charge.”
The officer told her as she was now causing a scene. She did not hang around longer as I am sure her civic duty was done and she was happy but now it left us in a pretty pickle.
“Can I see you license please?”
The officer asked me sternly. He was no longer friendly as before. I took out my bag and I showed him!
“Have you been drinking or taken any illegal substance?”
“Heh? Now you are suspecting us of having done something? Come on now that can’t be right!”
Miriam said. Police can be very disappointing at times. We are the ones who had run to them yet now we were the criminals. Imagine! How did it even get to this point?”
“No we haven’t been drinking! Its 11am in the morning for Christ’s sake!”
“Regardless of that that how do you think this looks to us? A white magogo chased you down on her bicycle?”
He asked us and I did not even have answers. Had my mind played tricks on us? I am not even sure anymore!
“I know how it looks but…”
I started to explain but he cut me off.
“I am going to administer a breathalyser test and I am going to search the vehicle as you exhibiting unnormal irrational behaviour. I am sorry its part of my job!”
He said. He was not forceful or anything but he was stern.
“I can’t believe this is happening!”
I said out loud. He gave me the breathalyzer and I blew with all my might because I knew I was sober.
“Ok it’s clean! Now we are going to search your car. Please open your boot and step aside!”
He asked me. I went around with him and I opened the boot. I know how I pack my car and immediately I knew that something was wrong. I keep a gym bag in the car not that I go to gym. It has a change of clothes just in case I end somewhere I shouldn’t be. Any girl who drives will tell you that her car is like a wardrobe and often keep clothes or shoes in there. I was no different.
“Is something wrong?”
The officer asked me seeing the look of confusion on my face.
“Yes something is wrong, that bag should not be open!”
I said and indeed I was right! The bag is always closed because I never use it. I have never had an emergency sleep over session so it’s always closed. Today it was wide open meaning someone had opened my book.
“I am going to search the bag madam.”
The officer said suspiciously. I realized my stupidity at that moment because I had led him directly to the bag. How had I managed to do something so silly?
“Don’t you need a warrant for that?”
I asked thinking about the little law I knew.
“I thought you have nothing to hide?”
He asked me and funny enough I was managing to make myself look guiltier than I was.
“Of course not, search!”
I told him confidently. He pulled the bag towards him and he started searching. I turned to Miriam,
“I can’t believe this is happening, I really cannot!”
I told her.
“I just want to go home now this is too much drama for me!”
I was just thinking the same thing. I did not even want to go to my mother’s anymore for the Will because I was rattled. I wanted to go hide in my house which I was not even sure was still safe.
“Madam could you please step over here please?”
The officer asked me. He was holding his gun even though it was still in its holster and he was referring to Miriam as she was on the other side.
“Ladies, what is that?”
He asked me. We have all seen it in the movies, a small bag of white powder is cocaine and I was looking at small bag with white powder!
“I … I … It was not there before!”
I said totally and utterly confused.
What the hell was going on?
“I believe that is cocaine! You are under arrest!”
He said immediately. Now the other officer was next to us to handcuff us.
“It’s not ours!”
Miriam was screaming at them but I was so stunned I could not speak; none of this was making sense to me. When I looked up believe it or not, that black car, the one with the broken number plate and an old white lady drove past!
“Look there is that car again!”
I said to the officer. He looked up and saw it too!
“What the hell is going on?”
He asked taking out his gun. I think he believed me but I am not sure because five minutes later I was in the back of the police car being driven to Brixton Police Station.
“Possession of cocaine is a serious offense!”
He told us.
I was crying.
I was scared.
Who the hell was this Mthobisi guy?
How the hell did whomever put that in my car know that it was my car?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
You are the best writer ever. I know we praise you often enough but my God Mr. Mike you are outstanding. My favourites by order let’s see Zulu Girl Goes to Jhb, Missteps, Young Employed and Single, Confessions then Realities. Fellow readers that’s my order of favourites what’s yours?
I am 19 years old and still live at home. About 4 years ago my father was diagnosed with cancer. At the beginning they said it was incurable and all that. My father wasted away to such a point where he was skin and bone. My mother catered to him day and night and hell she even lost weight doing so. Fortunately the chemo worked and he recovered fully. Two months ago I found out that my father was having an affair with a colleague from work. I confronted him about this with all the questions of how could he do this with all mum had done for him. I told him so much nonsense because I was angry. He did not hesitate to tell me that when he almost died he had so many regrets of things he never got to do. I was so disappointed. I then told my mum and to my surprise she said he was seeing the other woman with her blessing. They still come home (my mother and father) and sleep in the same bed. Why can’t I look at them the same? I am so miserable and unhappy with all this. Am I being selfish? How can your parents be sleeping with other people and its fine?
What should I do if I can do anything at all?