There is a theory that says a leopard can never change its spots. I don’t know how
true that is but I know that if you allow people to bully you they will never stop. At some point you stand your ground. The world is full of bullies and these Jumbes were bullies. This woman said she was on her way to my house without an invitation from me. It was like I did not matter in the decision making yet this was my house and my space. They scared me yes but I was not going to be intimidated.
I screamed hitting my steering wheel. She swerved a little which made me realize she had to park to let me think straight. I asked her and she did without question.
“This is not happening this is not happening!”
I whispered to myself hoping maybe I could wake up from the nightmare that was my life. I was not going to do this and in all honesty I did not need the brand of drama she could bring my way. I needed help in this because this was not something I could do on my own. I was not a gangster and I was not a cop either. I needed help from the only person I knew would be able to but the timing of this was not right.
I said as soon as he picked up the phone. To be honest it did not even ring that much too start with.
“Hey, I was actually about to call you. It’s been hectic today and I am sorry I have been quiet!”
He said apologizing to me from the get go. Men when they are trying to get you into their pants are often so apologetic. It is as though you tell them that you are keeping tabs on them.
“No you are a busy person especially today of all days I know!”
I said already feeling defeated by what I had to ask. He had already lost his brother now I was asking him to risk his life for me even before his brother was in the ground.
“No it ok today like I never knew that my mother was so hectic and worse my family, they are the worst people in the world! A Venda funeral is like watching all comedies and dramas at once because everyone wants a say and everyone all of a sudden hates each other!”
He started to tell me. His voice was quite coarse and that could only be from exhaustion considering how his day had gone.
“It’s amazing I never actually knew that my aunts and uncles were fighting her until today and guess what they are fighting about, what my brother should wear when we bury him!”
He told me and even I found that odd. It was only the beginning of this and should his mother make the decision since he was not married.
“Goodness it must be hectic for you then but it’s your culture so I don’t know how you guys conduct things!”
I told him.
“Yeah you are right. I am just so tired. Sometimes you wish that your life was different and these people were not part of your life really!”
He said and the sad part is that he meant it. He had so much on his shoulders and I adding to it was truly cruel.
“What’s up? What’s on your mind?”
He asked me when I had kept quiet to think through telling him or not!
“I am sorry I know it has been hectic but I had no one else to call and you the only person that can help me!”
I told him.
“What’s wrong Lungi? Is everything ok?”
He asked me suddenly getting serious.
“No its not and again I know my timing is extremely selfish but I really need you. Mthobisi is back again!”
I told him without hesitation. I knew I wanted to protect him but that was not how it had penned out.
“What does he want?”
He said getting serious.
“It’s not him directly he sent his wife to do his dirty work. She wants me to cook drugs for them and I am scared that if I refuse this time they won’t be that nice!”
I told him.
“What? Are you sure?”
He asked me out loud. I think the tone in his voice was the biggest surprise.
I asked him a bit surprised too that he would question me on whether I was sure or not. Why would I lie about such a thing though?
“Well we have all suspected that Lesedi is more involved in operations than she let off so this is big! She always seems so distant from what’s going on and you know how people always blame the husband yet here it is that she is in it as well! I am in shock!”
He told me. Well he needs to get out of that shock as soon as possible and tell me what to do because she was a job for the police not Lungile Mbatha.
“Big how? I need your help. I don’t want to anything to do with her!”
I told him immediately.
“Ok I will make a plan. I have to warn you though that you need to take this seriously because if indeed she is working with her husband you have to take their threats seriously!”
He advised. He had used the word ‘seriously’ twice as though I did not know how bad a situation I found myself in.
“I know that’s why I am calling to ask you for help!”
I reminded him. He seemed reluctant to help and that action man he always was around me was nowhere to be seen or felt.
“Yeah I know but the problem is I have to report this to my office as we are not using normal police on this guy. He has too many in his pocket so that would put you t risk. You have to take the meeting though and agree to do as they say because that will live you alive at least. I don’t have time to mobilize people I trust to you so on this one it’s important that you take the meeting!”
He said mentioning the one thing I feared the most. I could not believe that he had just said that to me because I was not going to be used as bait.
“I know you are in mourning right now Mbilahelo but I can’t believe you just said that truly.”
I told him.
“I am sorry hey but it’s about keeping you safe. I will come to you in about 2hours as it’s still very busy here! Lungi I need you to listen to me, the last thing you want is for them to know you are talking to the police about such a thing. It’s a rather big thing for these people finding a chemist meaning that they will keep you a secret!”
He advised me and this time I knew I was on my own for now. Take the meeting he had said!
“Ok then but this is a bad idea!”
I told him as she started the car at my instruction.
“Don’t worry you will be fine. You can agree with them for now and we will get you out!”
He said. I told him I will do it before I hung up. This was the dumbest idea I think I had heard in a while but he said it could save my life and better yet that of my child. I was thinking straight now. I drove the rest of the way home half expecting to bump into that woman on the road. My phone rang as soon as I parked. It was my aunty.
“Lungi I was throwing the bones and I can see something is wrong are you ok?”
She asked me. How do you tell a person you have gangsters headed your way without sounding paranoid and crazy?
“I just have a few problems that’s all and with this funeral I have to go support Mbilahelo and Rudzani because I knew them both and now how do you choose one over the other?”
I told her. I was not telling the whole truth but I was not lying either as its how I felt.
“Yes I thought you would reach that problem. Ask for protection and guidance and you should be fine!”
I had her phone make a beeping sound,
“I swear these people are stealing our airtime at Mtn. My airtime is finished I will talk to you later!”
She said. If I could tell you about the mobile network companies and stealing airtime I honestly wouldn’t stop. In South Africa we are really being taken for a ride by these people and now that VAT has gone up they will increase other things too which are not even part of it.
“Ask for help!”
I said out loud. She meant I should ask the ancestors and I had a bit of an idea. I sat down and started asking for help.
“Please I need you right now!”
I said over and over again. My aunty had given the basics of what needed to be done when you ask for protection and she had given me some snuff and taught me how to do small things. For a moment there I spoke in English and only when it hit me did I start doing it in Zulu. I introduced myself again to my ancestors and I asked them to come and meet me….the rest of the details of our conversation are private unfortunately.
Fifteen minutes later I stood. I was actually feeling refreshed for some reason and ready for whatever entered there. Idle minds are the worst thing so I decided to call Simba to check if he had killed his sister already.
I asked him as soon as he picked up.
“Yes everything is fine. I will call you later!”
He said and did not even entertain me long enough. I dozed off on the couch as I waited nervously. I don’t even know how long I dozed off for but I was startled by a loud knocking at the door and I jumped straight to my feet.
It had to be her.
I could feel my heart pumping hard against my chest at this stage. She was late and Mbilahelo had not come in the two hours he had promised.
The knock came again.
“I am coming!”
I shouted out.
“Should I take a knife?”
I asked myself as I walked to the door. I decided it was too late I should have done it earlier. When I opened it was not her but Mbilahelo. I literally jumped into his arms.
“Thank you for coming I was so scared!”
I admitted to him without hesitation.
“She has not arrived yet and I have been waiting for hours. Maybe she changed her mind I don’t know!”
I explained to him.
“I am also so relieved that it was you at the door not some scary woman!”
I told him.
“I don’t know if you have heard, Lesedi was in an accident on her way here!”
He explained to me. I just stared at him blankly.
“You are kidding me right?”
I asked him.
“Nope! She won’t be coming to you anytime soon!”
He said and with that he gave me a hug. Inside me I had a little voice ask out loud in Steve Urkels voice,
“Did I do that?”
And no worries ama2000s won’t understand because with us family used to matter
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you so much for having shared your time with us for so long. It’s been a pleasure so far reading your work and I wish you many blessings going forward.
I am 36 years old and I was married at the age of 23 in a church that allows for polygamy. My husband has always been a kind and sweet man who has taken care of me and our kids from the beginning. He works hard and does not drink or smoke. He is attentive and all around a good man. A few weeks ago he started talking about taking a second wife. The custom is that I have to help him choose the right person. He comes and tells me who he wants and I approve of her before he takes the necessary steps. I love my husband so much and the thought of sharing him is no longer sitting well with me. He loves our church and so do I but something in me on that has changed. Before I understood it was our way but I don’t how to handle this now. There is a woman he has seen but he has not showed me yet. I am already jealous and find myself wishing her dead. I can’t go to the pastors with this because it will look bad so guys, Bhuti’ Mike please advise me how I can stop this from happening. I don’t even know what to say the way I am embarrassed at going against the church I grew up in and loving so much.