The story of a young black man Chapter 2 - Mzansi Stories

Wednesday, January 6


The story of a young black man Chapter 2


Leeto: The story of a young black man
Chapter 2

My friends, Samson and Tshepang

Since I had no plans to wake up early in the morning on the Sunday, I decided to sleep a little bit longer. “Leeto! Leeto!” my cute four-year old niece, Lethabo, shook me, “mommy says you need to wake up as today Reverend Ratlhogo is paying us a visit at church”. Lethabo is my older sister, Virginia’s, daughter. Virginia had fallen pregnant at the age of 16 and had since dropped out of school because of Lethabo’s ill health at the time after her birth. “No”, I said angrily, “I am tired; tell mama that I am not going to church today, I’ll go next weekend”. Lethabo stood up from the floor, where I was sleeping, and I could vaguely hear her telling my mother everything I had just said to her.

I pretended to still be sleeping whilst my mother and father argued about whether or not they should let me sleep or wake me up so that I could come with them to church. “Philemon”, I could hear my mother saying to my father, “that’s what he said last weekend. Do you have any idea about when last Leeto went to church with us?” My mother was a deeply religious person; I think that our family’s poverty is what had made her to be this way. I guess you could say, this was her way of believing that one day God was going to rescue us out of our difficult, poverty life. “Let him sleep”, I could hear my father saying in my defence, “next weekend I’ll wake him up myself; that work he’s doing with Mr Masango is not child’s play, you know”. “Okay”, my mother said, accepting defeat, “if you say so”.

The family left at about 08h10 for the 9 o’clock morning service. It was my father, my mother, Virginia and Lethabo, my younger brother, Phemelo, and my youngest sister, Seipati who were all going to church that day. Since my father’s 1992 Toyota Cressida broke down two years ago, the family had been walking to and from church on foot every Sunday. Our church was located in Hebron, opposite some primary school there and was a good 40-minute walk from my house, that was if Virginia carried Lethabo on her back and my mother carried 6-year old Seipati, otherwise they would have taken at least two hours to get there. Shortly after the family had left, I got up so that I could clean the house.

I got up and the first thing I did before I could even brush my teeth was to switch on the radio so that I could listen to Sounds and Stuff Like That, a Metro FM show hosted by DJ Wilson B Nkosi. I just loved listening to that show, especially on Sunday mornings when the whole house was away to church. In fact, I made excuses Sunday after Sunday not to go to church partly because of this show. After brushing my teeth, I made myself a cup of coffee and drank it while I was busy cleaning the house. When I was done with the house, I took out a few vegetables from the mixed vegetables pack I had bought the previous day and began to peel potatoes, pumpkin and the cabbage so that after church, my mother does not have to start all the work from scratch.

Shortly before midday I heard a knock on the door. I went to see who it was and noticed that it was my friends, Samson and Tshepang. “Hey buddy”, Samson said, the most talkative of the two, “how’s it going?” “Hey guys”, I greeted them, as I stepped out of the house into the scorching hot sun, “Come on! Let’s go sit under that tree”. There was a medium-sized peach tree in our yard that provided a well-needed shade on hot summer days. “No buddy”, Samson said, “we’re not here to visit, we were just on our way to the bus depot to go buy Tshepang’s father’s weekly bus ticket. Are you not going to buy one for your old man?” “No”, I replied, “he buys a monthly bus ticket at the beginning of every month. Anyway, whilst you guys are here, I might as well take this opportunity to stretch my legs and accompany you there”.

“Great”, Samson said, “I’ve been waiting for the chance to show you Tshepang’s girlfriend”. Tshepang, who was naturally shy and less talkative finally broke his silence, “Don’t listen to this moron, Leeto, I don’t have a girlfriend”. “Well, if all goes according to plan today,” Samson said, with a devilish smirk on his face, “that girl can be your girlfriend before the end of this day. I don’t see the reason as to why you should suffer in silence; clearly you’re in love with her”. Tshepang looked at me and said, “Leeto, Samson is just being silly, come on let’s go before your parents get back home”. We left my house and began our stroll to the bus depot.

As we were waiting on the queue to buy Tshepang’s father’s bus ticket, Samson whispered in my left ear and said, “There she is”. Tshepang must have heard him because shortly afterwards, Tshepang had frozen in fear. I don’t blame him though; this girl was quite a looker, she was beautiful. She was short, curvaceous, had long, black, shiny hair and a fair skin complexion to add to an already complete package (she was what people refer to as, a yellow bone). “Go on, Tshepang”, Samson said to him, “go and introduce yourself to her or would you prefer if I did you the honours?” By now, Tshepang was shaking and sweating at the same time. When Samson tried to leave the queue so that he could go to this girl and her friends, I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and said, “Don’t even think about it”. I was expecting Samson to put on a fight however he didn’t; he only said to Tshepang, “You can thank your lucky stars that Leeto is here with us today because had he not been here, this was the day you would’ve spoken to this chick once and for all”.

We left the bus depot after ten minutes and hurried back to my house. I was relieved to find that my family was still not back from church yet—I know my mother would not have been pleased had they found the house all alone and unlocked.

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