The story of a young black man Chapter 9 - Mzansi Stories

Friday, January 22


The story of a young black man Chapter 9


Leeto: The story of a young black man

The confrontation

Chapter 9
“How I wish I was a superhero so that I could hold back the hands of time; how I wish for after school to never come”, I thought to myself, “and better yet, how I would’ve stopped Tshepang and his stupid game before it landed us all in the trouble that we now find ourselves in”. Poor Samson had been quiet the whole day; he never even said a single word to either me or to Tshepang. We didn’t know whether he was quiet because he was angry with us or whether he was deep in thought trying to figure out how he was ever going to get out of the mess he was in, all thanks to his two ‘best’ friends. Even when some of our classmates were mocking him about his middle name; that did not seem to have an effect on Samson who would’ve normally mocked them back.

When the bell rang to signal lunch break, Samson remained in class. Tshepang and I apologetically bought him s’phatlho and Cool Time iced drinking juice however he did not even touch them when we put them on his desk, not even a simple thank you. I don’t blame him though; we deserved the treatment he was giving us that whole day. After the lunch break, word had already begun to spread around the whole school that Batista and his friends were planning to beat up Samson after school. In situations like this, the only way Samson was going to get home safe and unharmed was if he would report Batista to any teacher or the principal before the last school bell rang. Samson did not do that because among learners in any school in the world, reporting a bully to a teacher is seen as confirmation that one is weak, that they cannot stand their own ground.  This, in retrospect, would invite future victimisation from other bullies from within or outside of the school.

Since we did commercial subjects, that is, Accounting, Business Economics, Economics and Mathematics, we were all put in Grade 12 classroom B. The other two Grade 12 classrooms, A and C were for learners doing Physical Science, Biology, Mathematics and Geography, as well as History, Geography, Biology and Biblical Studies, respectively. Apparently, Batista was also a repeating Grade 12 learner, in either one of the two other classes. Other learners in our class, like Molefi ‘Splash’ Makgobo had suddenly become Batista’s messengers. Splash would go to Batista’s class and when he came back, he would go straight to Samson’s desk to tell him what Batista had said. “Little piggy”, Splash would pretend to whisper into Samson’s ear however also make the whole class to overhear his messages to Samson, “I am told that you’d be getting a choke-slam from Batista, a DDT from Mandla ‘Iron Man’ Nzimela, and a spear from Godfrey Sisonke, a.k.a Bill Goldberg. All this time, poor Samson would be quiet, pretending to be busy writing something in his books.

Trrng! Trrng! Trrng! The school bell rang and by now, it seemed, Samson had already made peace with the fact that he was getting beat up that afternoon. He stood up from his chair, slowly packed his books into his school bag and made his way out. Tshepang and I didn’t let him see us but we were behind him when he went outside. “Oh shame”, a group of girls said as Samson walked towards the gate, “is that the poor boy who has pissed Batista off so much? Look at how skinny he is; he doesn’t even have a slight fighting chance against Batista or any of his friends”. Much as we didn’t like to admit it, those girls were right; Samson was just a skinny tiny boy and Batista, on the other hand, was a mountain of a boy.
When we got to the gates, the crowd had already gathered. Batista had already taken off his white school shirt, handed it to Ntombi and was waiting for Samson in only his vest, exposing his bulging muscles. “Finally”, Batista said, “the coward arrives. I want to beat you up so bad that you only shit blood this evening”. The cheering crowd went mad when they heard Batista say this. Poor Samson was a nervous wreck by now; he knew that he was moments away from an embarrassing beat up. The furious Batista approached him and before he could push Samson, Tshepang jumped in. “Batista, my man”, Tshepang pleaded, “if there’s anyone who deserves a beat down here, it’s me. I made a sick joke that involved your girl and Samson and I am sorry for it”.

Batista looked at Tshepang and then at his friends and said, “First I’ll start with this one”, pointing at Samson, “and then I’ll finish up with Mr Attorney here”. “Well”, I intervened, bravely so, “why are you leaving me, the State Prosecutor, out? If you’re fighting my friends, then you have to fight me too”. “Well, well, well”, Batista said, “this just got interesting. Guys, you don’t have to get involved in this; I want to teach these three clowns a lesson they’ll never ever forget”. The whole crowd had quietened up by now, waiting anxiously to see who, between us and Batista, would throw the first blow and start off the fight. My heart began to pounce as Batista began to make his way straight towards me. “Shit!” I thought to myself, “me and my big mouth; why did I have to show off by playing the hero now”.

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