“Hamba o yo landi ibandi ewardrobeni!”
There is not a single black child that is not familiar with that phrase! Black parents are legends at this. They will tell you to go take a belt knowing truly well they are about to beat yourself with it. Sigh. It’s something that you can’t quite ever forget. You start crying as you walk to the wardrobe and when you get there you try console yourself by looking for the belt you think is the softest or that will hurt the least. I recall this story because right now I was sitting in the back seat of a police car about to go and get killed. Your life does not flash across your eyes at this moment more like the fear cripples you. I see why grown people shit themselves when faced with extreme fright.
“Please don’t do this! I have money, I can give you money!”
I begged him.
“Even if you gave me money how long do you think I will stay alive after that! Sorry my sister I don’t need your money!”
He said as though it was such a matter of fact.
“I am sure you can make a plan. You are a cop after all.”
I said to him and it was not meant to be insulting.
‘That’s just it, as a cop I am not allowed to have nice things. The moment I buy something significant with that money I get investigated. You clever people will go put it on social media and tag your minister to investigate me! You are happy when I am suffering on the streets and can’t even feed my kids!”
He said with disdain. I had never quite thought of it that way and what he was saying is true. A policeman would be crucified on social media the moment he shows off anything that is remotely wealthy yet when we are in trouble we beg for them to come.
“It’s not what I said. I don’t want to die please!”
I said and I broke down into tears. With my hands handcuffed I could not even wipe my tears.
“I don’t know why you are suffering because all the boss wants to know is where Azwindini is! If you answer that he will let you go but if you don’t then definitely you will sleep in the ground tonight, permanently!”
He explained to me.
“But I was being honest I don’t know where he is. All I know is that his brother is Mbilahelo, the detective from IPId that came through to the scene where the property was stolen. He took him the other night. That’s all I know and if you want to find him he is the one you should ask not me!”
I explained again and that was the truth. I had no idea where Mbilahelo stayed so even that I could not answer when he asked. The car phone suddenly went off. The cop was dialling someone,
“Is it done already?”
That was Mthobisi’s voice on the other side.
“No boss it’s not. We have a problem!”
The cop explained.
“What is it?”
He asked from the other side.
“Azwindini is the brother to the detective from IPId! It will be a very bad idea and I can’t emphasize this enough it will be a very bad idea to kill either him or her for that matter!”
The cop said actually slowing down his car to a standstill. There was hope.
“That will bring too much heat our way and with everything going on I don’t think we need that. I have something much much bigger planned for everyone. Drop her off!”
He said and the phone clicked. He hung up.
“This is your lucky day!”
The cop said turning around immediately. He came out of the car and walked to the back to open the door.
“I know Mthobisi well enough to say this is not over. I pray you keep that cop of yours happy and alive because if he is not in the picture this would have ended very badly for you!”
He explained to me as he undid my handcuffs.
“But I am innocent!”
I protested yet again.
“Its not about innocence, you were in the wrong place at the right time with the wrong person!”
He said to me. I honestly did not know how to judge this cop. He was evil because he was about to kill me but he was nice when he was giving advice. It’s like those partners that cheat on you but tell you how much you mean the world to them. Those snakes who you invest everything in because they are so convincing. That was this cop; he had a way of talking that made him sound good.
“Can you at least drop me where I can walk at a garage? Please don’t leave me here like this!”
I asked him.
“I will do you that one favour but you need to do me a favour as well, stay out of Mthobisi’s way!”
He warned as he drove me. I was not going to argue and instinct said I must ask him to drop me at home but I was so scared as is. He drove to that Wanderers area and I knew it because this was close to the hotel that I had gone with Sfiso. He drove off immediately. The road he dropped me, the one that leads to the hotel in question is full of prostitutes. I was crying at this stage because I was scared and cold.
“Sisi are you ok?”
One of the ladies of the night asked me.
“No, I have been robbed. I need to find a phone where I can call my sister!”
I told her. They were a group and literally all wearing lingerie or rather as little as possible. On another day I would have judged them, ignored them even because somewhere it is written we must judge prostitutes but today they were my saviours.
“Here use my phone!”
The one who was talking mostly said and continued to her friend,
“Remember I told you that there is a cop car that robs people! You said I was lying!”
She was saying when I dialled my sister’s number. It was the only number I knew by head. She picked up,
“Oh so now you are talking to me!”
She said cheekily.
“I am in trouble. I was kidnapped. Please call Mbuso and ask him to call me on this number please!”
I asked her. I did not want her involved because from what I had learned already Mthobisi and his people targeted everyone.
“Why don’t you call the police?”
She asked me surprised.
“Please do what I ask! I will explain later!”
I told her. She hung up.
“I am waiting for them to call me back!”
I told the lady.
“No take your time. Do you drink? Here, this will calm you down!”
She said handing me a ‘nip’. I don’t know what else to call it. Its strong alcohol in a small bottle often drank by drunks. I was about to drink from a bottle that was handed over to me by a prostitute.
I did not even hesitate as I took the sip. I was not ready for it. It was so hot it made me cough. My chest was burning even.
“Jesus is Lord! What is this?”
I asked her and she just laughed.
“Don’t worry it will steady you!”
She said calmly patting me on the back like you do when a baby is crying. I was definitely crying inside too the way this thing had shocked my system to life. As that was happening the phone rang.
“I think it’s your person!”
She said as a car pulled up and called over one of the girls.
I said immediately. I was looking at the car that had stopped praying that it was not the cops again. It was not. It was a client.
“Yes it’s me. Your sister just told me what happened. Where are you?”
He asked me.
“I am by the Wanderers!”
I told him.
“I am with Simba right now we tried to follow the cop car but lost it. We are on our way to you right now! Which side?”
He asked me.
“By the ladies. I am standing with them as we speak!”
I told him.
He asked me. I was not about to say prostitutes.
“Just behind the mall, on the road to Protea Wanderers!”
I explained like that.
“She is standing with the prostitutes, I know the place!”
Simba said in the background.
How did he know that?
“Ok we coming. Ten minutes tops!”
He said hanging up the phone. I gave the lady the phone back and took another nip. This time I did not cough at least. As I was standing there at least six cars stopped and all of them man who were clearly married. If only married women knew what happened in the dark after they went to bed, sigh!
Ten minutes later Simba’s Range Rover drove towards slowly. Two of the girls even whistled as it slowed down.
“He is mine!”
One of them said assuming it was a client.
“No ladies that’s my ride!”
I said politely. I guess I had cost them a customer tonight. As soon as the car stopped Mbuso jumped out.
“Lungi are you alright!”
He asked me coming over and hugging me. You could literally touch the fear and anxiety on his face.
“I am fine! I just want to go home. No police please I want to go home.”
I told him, of which he nodded in agreement,
“Simba come say thank you to these ladies who helped me so much tonight. I swear if it was not because of them I don’t know what I would have done!”
I said noting that Simba had chosen to stay in the car and I think I knew why. He was so uptight being near prostitutes would probably turn him into salt.
He said very much reluctantly. He came around and took out his wallet to give them money,
“No sir that won’t be necessary!”
The lady who helped me the most said to him! Why was he being so rude? Mbuso was not however he gave them all hugs imagine. Simba was already walking back to the car when someone said,
“Simba! Long time!”
One of the prostitutes I had not really spoken to said. She was probably mid 20’s dressed in a micro mini skirt and a bra only which was one size too small. It made her ample breasts threaten to spill out.
“Lungi let’s go!”
He said walking away immediately towards the car.
The girl who had been helping me said. It was indeed and were it not because I wanted to get out of here right now I would have asked more questions but I didn’t.
“Thank you so much for everything. I will call you tomorrow I promise!”
I told her.
She hugged me.
“Here is my card!”
She said sweetly. Prostitutes nowadays have business cards? I took it and got into the car. Simba literally had a vein in the middle of his forehead. He was pissed off. I am sure if I touched his forehead it would be boiling.
“What happened Lungi? Why didn’t you go to the police station?”
He asked me.
“Those cops work for the person who put the things in my place…”
I started to explain. I told them the whole story of what had happened and was only disturbed by my sister when she called Mbuso to check if I was ok. He only managed to say yes before I think her phone ran out of airtime.
“Thank you so much for coming.”
I told Mbuso when we got to my place. As I was with Simba Mbuso left for his place. I now had to go and be confronted with all that furniture that was in my place.
“I figured we will move it back tomorrow. It was already too late to organize anything else!”
Simba explained to me. Even now exhausted as I was that was not the story I wanted to hear!
“Who was that girl?”
I asked him. We were alone now and there was no running away.
He asked me as though he did not already know.
“Don’t treat me like I am stupid!”
I snapped at him.
“You don’t want to know!”
He said. What the fuck now? Was he trying to make me look stupid! Was he trying to be Trevor Noah telling me I don’t want to know?
“That prostitute who called you by name! Who is she?”
I asked him again. As a woman knowing that your man was sleeping prostitutes should be quite disheartening and already Simba was on that sliding scale. What the hell!
“She is my sister ok! She is my sister!”
He said very coldly.
I was confused!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you very much for the platform to share our problems.
I am 29 years old, educated and working. I have been working for four years now. I used to be ‘fat’ and lacked confidence but I put work into myself to lose weight and to look good. Note I was a virgin until the age of 25. With my transformation I started attracting lots of guys. The problem is I became a serial dater. I get bored quickly with people and after a few dates or a short space of time in the new relationship often I find myself wanting out. This happens with even guys I liked first for a long time. They all start to look shallow and boring. I want stability in my life and I don’t know how to get it. The last guy I dated was a doctor, witty and fun. We were together for 3 months when I just started to dislike him. One moment we were cool and the next I totally did not enjoy his company. What is wrong with me? Is this normal? I don’t want to live this life I have been living but I also don’t know how to stop myself from falling out of ‘love’ with these guys.
Please help me find a solution.