Mzansi Stories : Leeto: The story of a young black man
Showing posts with label Leeto: The story of a young black man. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leeto: The story of a young black man. Show all posts

Monday, February 1


The story of a young black man Chapter 12

Leeto: The story of a young black man

Payback is a b****

Chapter 12

“And the undisputed tag team of Hebron Tech is, The Tripartite Alliance”, Molefi ‘Splash’ Makgobo said as we entered the class. Many learners laughed with the others applauding for our taking the stand against the school bullies. Instead of letting all this attention get into our heads, we just ignored it—we were all excited that we were not expelled for a serious school misconduct such as fighting. Ofentse Motshweneng, also well-known by his street name, Batista, and his friends were feared by the whole high school. They bullied learners so much that they literally defined the term school bully. Batista and his friends had done it all, from robbing other younger and weaker learners of their monies and valuables to beating other learners up for even looking at one of their girlfriends, let alone talking to them.

What we had done was a miracle; we had proved to the whole school that we were anything but afraid of Batista and his crew. Of course we did not expect the whole thing between us to be ended by one stupid grown-ups’ meeting with the headmaster. These guys were capable of worse; they could follow us home if they wanted to and just as we’re half way between our houses and school, they could beat us up. “If that ever happens, we’ll cross the bridge when we reach it; I am not going to worry myself about that now”, I thought to myself. “So, tell me boys”, Splash asked us, “what’s your crew’s name called?” Tshepang looked at him and said, “Didn’t you already call us by a new name or something earlier? What was it? Oh, I remember now, you called us The Tripartite Alliance. But isn’t that name taken already by the alliance between the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP in our country’s politics?”

Splash, who seemed clueless of what Tshepang was talking about, turned his attention onto Samson. “You know champ”, he said to Samson, “you truly upheld the name of your counterpart in the bible very high, hey. You do know that there was a Samson in the bible, who was also a bad-ass like you?” Samson said nothing and just ignored him. I didn’t blame him though, if there was one person who contributed to the fight taking place, it was Splash. Splash had been the bearer of threats from Batista to Samson; who knows, maybe whenever he went back Batista, he made stories up about Samson’s willingness to take on Batista in a fight. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Splash was trying to cook up another fight between us and Batista that afternoon.

When he realised that he was getting nowhere with Samson and Tshepang, Splash turned his attention to me. “You know Journey Man”, he said to me, “the whole school thinks that you guys were just lucky as you stood no fighting chance against Batista and his friends”. Splash seemed to have an immediate nickname to anyone he met. My name, Leeto, means ‘journey’ in all the Sotho languages and as such, I had already been given a nickname—Journey Man—by him. I didn’t want to give Splash the same courtesy that Samson and Tshepang had given him of ignoring him or simply being rude towards him, I wanted to teach him a lesson he would never forget so that he never has to start a fight between other learners ever again for his self-amusement. “Tell me Splash”, I said to him, “before I tell you anything, please confirm to Samson and Tshepang what you had told me last weekend; they seem to think that I made that story up”.

“What are you talking about now, Journey Man?” Splash asked me. “I told them that story about how you got your very first wet dream”. I said this so loud that I got 100% of the class’s attention. “So, in your wonderful dream”, I continued, “What kind of panties was Masego wearing?” Of course I was lying; Splash had never told me anything about a wet dream of his. Masega was the fattest girl in our class, wearing a good size 44 in jeans. “What!” a girl’s voice said in shock from the front of the class. It was Masego Kutumela, the subject of my fictitious story, my lie. Splash let out a silly laugh, out of humiliation and said, “Ha, ha, ha, very funny, man”.  “Oh, I remember”, Tshepang said, who had also joined-in the joke, “he said she was a maroon set of matching bra and panties”. The whole class burst out laughing; Splash on the other hand was trying to defend himself however it was a little ‘too little, too late’ at that stage. “How dare you dream about me, boy”, the chubby Masego asked, furious as I had never seen her before. Splash defended himself by denying the whole thing however Masego was too angry to listen to him. “After school, you better run, boy”, Masego warned, “because if I ever catch you, you’ll be sorry you ever dreamt of me in the first place”. “Guys”, Splash pleaded with us one more time, “Would you tell Mrs Fat Albert here that you made up the story now and that she’s not my type”. Since we wanted to get back at him by teaching him a lesson, none of us either gave Splash that satisfaction. As Ma’am Sefate entered the class for her first period of the day, Masego whispered in Splash’s ear and said, “I will be fucking you up this ‘after school’, pervert! You better start running”.

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Wednesday, January 27


The story of a young black man Chapter 11

Leeto: The story of a young black man

A nail-biting meeting in Mr Nkomo’s office

Chapter 11

“Leeto”, my mother said, “I just got off the phone with Mr Nkomo; what happened at school yesterday? Is it true that you were involved in a fight?” “Eish mama”, I began to speak, “Batista was trying to pick on me and my friends; what else was I supposed to do?” “Who or what is Batista?” my mother asked. “He is…” I tried to answer however I was cut short by my mother. “Save it, I don’t want to hear it; you’ll explain everything at the meeting”, my mother snapped at me. My mother was furious; I had seen her angry before but not like this. My mother took a bath while I wandered around the yard, trying to come up with a good story that might not result in us getting expelled. On the contrary, Mr Nkomo had warned us the day before not get involved in any criminal activities especially now that we were Grade 12 learners. Fighting is a criminal act that is stated in the constitution of the Republic of South Africa that, if tried and found guilty of it in a court of law, is punishable by paying a penalty and/or serving a prison sentence, let alone getting expelled from school. All these thoughts went through my mind as I prepared myself for the meeting.

Instead of walking to school with the boys on this day, I was going to have my mother for company throughout my entire walking trip to school. I suppose Tshepang and Samson also experienced the same problem. On our way to school, mom was just going on and on about how I had disappointed her and how she was going to ask Mr Masango not to work with me on weekends anymore. “Ah mama”, I said, “What does this have to do with me and Mr Masango working together?” “Everything”, she said, “This has everything to do with you working with Mr Masango on weekends. Instead of being at home, learning some manners, you’re out there working. I wouldn’t be surprised if you said you had learned some of that behaviour from other men at the hardware who fight for customers”. “Mom”, I said to her, “I think you’re blowing this whole thing way out of proportion; you’ll hear when we get to school what really happened yesterday”.

 We arrived at school at just before 07h30 where we found Tshepang and his mother already there. “Morning Sylvia”, my mother greeted Mrs Marumo, Tshepang’s mother. “Morning to you too, my friend; how are you this morning?” Mrs Marumo greeted my mother back. “I could’ve better been much better but thanks to these naughty boys, we’re here now. How are you doing yourself?” my mother continued. “I am not doing too bad”, Mrs Marumo answered my mother, “I had a chat with Tshepang and instead of being completely angry and disappointed in him; a part of me is proud of him for standing up against bullying, especially when it was his friend who was being bullied”. “Oh, is that so?” my mother asked. “Yes mom”, I interjected, “That’s what I’ve been trying to explain to you this morning but you kept on not giving me a chance to”.

My mother looked at me and said nothing. As learners began making their way to their classes, we waited next to the staff office until 08h30—the time our meeting was scheduled to start. Whilst waiting for the meeting to start, we were joined by Samson and his mother as well as Batista and his father. The only person who neither brought their parent nor pitched for school was Batista’s friend, Godfrey Sisonke. As a result of this, poor Batista was left all alone as our parents spoke about grown ups’ stuff whilst Samson, Tshepang and I spoke about the things we could have spoken about had we not came to school separately, with our parents. Samson seemed to have forgotten that the whole thing was started by one sick joke that Tshepang and I had devised.

Mr Nkomo invited us all into the office at around 08h27 so that we could start with the meeting. “Good morning, boys, and parents”, he greeted us as we entered his office. We all greeted Mr Nkomo back, who, at this time, was busy going through a file he had on his table. When he had found what he was searching for, Mr Nkomo asked each and every one of us to relay the details of what had led to us fighting. Batista jumped at the opportunity to be the ice-breaker, and said, pointing at Samson, “This jerk called my girlfriend on her cellphone and harassed her. When my girlfriend reported this to me, I wanted to ask him why he had done such a thing. It wasn’t my intention to fight with him, I only wanted to ask him where he had gotten Ntombi’s cellphone numbers from and why he had harassed her however he and his friends ganged up on me”.  Mr Motshweneng slapped Batista at the back of his head and said, out of disapproval, “Is that how your mother and I have taught you to speak especially when there are adults around?” Before Batista could reply, Mr Nkomo politely asked Mr Motshweneng and our parents to refrain from using physical violence when they want to punish us.
After Batista, we were all given an opportunity to tell our side of the story. Mr Nkomo, followed by my mother and lastly, Mrs Lehabe, tongue-lashed me and Tshepang. They all warned us not to do anything like that ever again, emphasising that it could have resulted in our friend, Samson, getting in harm’s way because of our stupid joke.  “You boys are setting a wrong example to your juniors in the lower grades”, Mr Nkomo lashed out at us, “Your actions are inexcusable and had your parents not begged me, over the phone, not to expel you, I could’ve done just that. Mr Nkomo took out four A4 documents, with our names on them and showed them to us; “NOTICE OF EXPULSION” the documents read in big, capped and bolded letters. Mr Nkomo then took the documents and tore them up to pieces except Godfrey Sisonke’s.

“Had I not torn those expulsion letters down, all of you would have already been on your way out”.  “But sir, it wasn’t my fault, they all ganged-up on me…” Batista tried to defend himself however was quietened by his father, “QUIET! Can’t you hear Mr Nkomo is still busy talking?” Despite Mr Nkomo’s earlier plea, Mr Motshweneng had even grabbed his son, Batista, by the collar of his shirt but Mr Nkomo asked him to calm down so that he could finish up the meeting. “I trust this is the last time we have such a meeting, am I understood, boys?” Like disciplined officers in the army, we all answered in one uniformed voice, “Sir, yes, sir”. “Okay then”, Mr Nkomo concluded, “I think we can all file this meeting as being a successful one. I thank you for taking time off from work and your other commitments to attend this meeting. On that note, you are all free to go, except for you boys; your classmates are waiting for you”.

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Monday, January 25


The story of a young black man Chapter 10

Leeto: The story of a young black man

No fighting at school

Chapter 10

Batista threw me a vicious slap across the face because I was the last person to open his mouth during the confrontation. As the buffed guy’s powerful slap almost knocked me to the ground, the crowd of learners began to cheer. School learners from all over the world love fights; they simply live for these moments. Everyone had their cellphones out, shooting the video of our fight with this guy. I must say, Batista’s slap almost knocked me out cold, fortunately I could save face by not falling to the ground and fainting—that would’ve been really embarrassing. Tshepang threw a punch against Batista’s chin however that had minimal effect on the big guy as Tshepang was also slapped across the face. Batista’s slap to Tshepang was so vicious that had there been caves nearby, its echo could have been heard in them. The slap’s force was enough to knock Tshepang on the ground, much to the pleasure of the cheering onlookers.

Samson pushed Batista to the side before he could launch more attacks on me and Tshepang. Batista then grabbed Samson by the throat and said, in a scary, sadistic voice, “I want to teach you lot a lesson today; I want to beat the crap out of you all”. As Samson was struggling to free himself from Batista’s grasp, I came to his rescue by kicking Batista on the hip. Tshepang, who was now getting up from his fall earlier, had a brick in his hand. “No Tshepang, don’t!” one of the onlookers warned. Luckily Tshepang listened to the onlooker’s warning and dropped the brick. I am glad Tshepang listened to the onlooker because had he thrown the brick and missed Batista, that might’ve resulted in a very serious injury to one of the onlookers. I mean, it was bad enough that we were fighting just outside the school premises.

Tshepang threw a few punches onto Batista, who by now, was trying to get his hands on Samson, his main focus for the day. I also took the opportunity to throw a few weak upper cuts and jabs to a tired-looking Batista. Truth be told, we were all tiring up by now because it was, after all, a long, hot day in class, except maybe for Samson, whose day was much shorter than normal. Batista hit me with his big elbow on my forehead and I fell to the ground. Since I had no breath left in me to stand up and carry on with the fight, I decided to grab Batista by his right leg in order to restrict his movement. Tshepang and Samson took this opportunity to kick and punch the, now exhausted, muscle-head until he give-in and collapsed to the ground.

Seeing that her boyfriend was on a brink of his first-ever defeat at the hands of ‘nobodies’ in the school, Ntombi jumped in and bit Samson on his shoulder. Samson pushed her away and then punched her right on her left eye. Some onlookers must have grabbed hold of her because afterwards, I did not see where Ntombi had disappeared to. Trying to save their friend from further humiliation, Mandla ‘Iron Man’ Nzimela and Godfrey ‘Bill Goldberg’ Sisonke, ignored Batista’s request for them not to get involved and joined-in the fight. “Oh shit”, I thought to myself, “now we’re seriously going to get beat up. I mean it took the three of us to get one of these guys to the ground, now how are we going to tackle these two, especially Iron Man, who was even bigger than Batista. Boy was I worried for nothing because Samson already had a plan up his sleeve.

“Ah! He just stabbed me with something sharp!” Iron Man screamed in agony. Samson had just stabbed him with a ballpoint pen on his left arm. As Samson moved in, trying to draw more blood from the big guy, someone grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. “Let go of me, you…” Samson demanded, however was interrupted when he saw who it was who had just broken off the fight. It was Mr Masemola, our business economics teacher. “You boys are in a lot of trouble”, he said. “Lehabe, Marumo, Motshweneng, Nzimela and Padi”, Mr Masemola instructed, “follow me to the principal’s office now!”  Mr Masemola also dispersed the crowd of learners before leading us back into the school premises. “Sir”, Batista said to Mr Masemola, “Even Goldberg, I mean, Godfrey Sisonke, was part of the fight”. “SISONKE!” Mr Masemola screamed for Bill Goldberg, who had mixed-in with the crowd and was now also walking away with the other learners, “I SAID, COME WITH ME TO MR NKOMO’S OFFICE OR ARE YOU DEAF?” Bill Goldberg submitted to the instruction and followed us to Mr Nkomo’s office.

As we entered Mr Nkomo’s office, his personal assistant, Bridgette ‘Miss Lovely Legs’ Mohube was busy tidying up her table. “Hello again, Bridgette”, Mr Masemola greeted, “I know it’s late however I would like to have a word with Mr Nkomo; it’s rather urgent”. “Okay”, Bridgette replied, “He’s free, you can go in”. We found Mr Nkomo busy reading something on his computer, could’ve been an email or something. Before Mr Masemola could say anything, Mr Nkomo said, “Let me guess, another fight? Relax, Mr Masemola, I saw the whole thing through my office window. Boys, I want to see all of you tomorrow morning in my office together with your parents at 08h30 sharp”. After that, Mr Masemola instructed us all to go straight home and not get in any more fights.

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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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Wednesday, January 20


The story of a young black man Chapter 8

Leeto: The story of a young black man

After school is after school

Chapter 8

“Leeto, are you done?” my mother called out for me as she answered the door, “Your friend is here”. I grabbed my school bag and went to the door. To my surprise, it was only Tshepang waiting for me outside. “Morning Tshepang”, I greeted him, “Why are you alone this morning? Where’s Samson?” Tshepang didn’t say anything to me; he just appeared to have been very nervous. “What is wrong with you, buddy? Are you sick or something?” I asked him. “No”, Tshepang replied, “I’ve been to Sammy’s place, it’s locked, this time around, from the outside. I think he’s already left for school”. “Oh shit!” I said, “Are you thinking what I am thinking?” “Yeah buddy”, Tshepang answered with a nervous and shaky voice, “Sammy boy has left early for school so that he can see Ntombi before the school starts. We better hurry; maybe we might be lucky enough and catch him before Ntombi gets there”.

We started walking very hastily however ended up running as we wanted to stop Samson from making the biggest fool out of himself. On our way we saw Vincent, an eleventh grader we knew from soccer so that we could ask him if he had seen Samson or not. “Vincent, have you by any chance seen Samson?” I asked him. “Yes”, Vincent said, “I saw him about 20 minutes ago getting into a taxi; I wondered what had happened to you guys when he took a taxi to school today instead of walking with you”. “Okay”, Tshepang said, “thanks man”. We continued to run to school with the desperate hope that we would get there just in time to tip off Samson about the lie.  It was a bit of a difficult run because we were simply not geared up for the task; first of all, we had school uniform and school shoes on, which made running seem impossible in them; and secondly, we were both carrying school bags full of thick textbooks, which made running extra tough.

It must have taken us about ten minutes to get to school because when we got there it had just passed 07h10. “Shit”, I said to Tshepang, “Can you see that big gathering of learners at the school gates, Tshepang?” “Yeah buddy, I can see it”, Tshepang said, “I only hope Samson is not getting beat up or something”.“I think we’re too late, man; I really fucked up this time”, Tshepang said, in shock. When we reached the crowd, the learners seemed to have made some kind of a circle. Tshepang and I moved closer to see for ourselves what the gathering was all about and alas! It was Ntombi telling Samson where to get off. Poor Tshepang was just sitting there, defenceless, while Ntombi’s friends and other learners laughed at him.

“Excuse me! Excuse me!” Tshepang and I said as we pushed our way into the middle of the circle of learners. “Aha!” Samson said, relieved to see us, “Guys, please tell everyone what you told me yesterday”. Tshepang and I looked down in shame and said nothing. “Ntombi”, Samson said, “Didn’t you ask Tshepang and Leeto yesterday about where I was after school? Well, didn’t you?” Ntombi looked at us, with her beautiful, angel-like eyes and said, “What did you, losers, tell your friend? I mean, I don’t even know you, why would I bother talking to low-lives like you?” “Come on guys”, Samson said in a desperate voice, “Speak up now! Didn’t she ask you about me yesterday?” Tough as it was, Tshepang answered and said, “No, Sammy boy. We made up that story so that we could cheer you up; we hated seeing you as devastated as you were yesterday and had to come up with something to cheer you up with”.

Samson’s face had now turned ash-grey from Tshepang’s answer; he had just been humiliated. By this time, the circle had gotten bigger as more learners who were coming into the school also joined-in the circle to see what was going on. “And you, stalker”, Ntombi said, pointing her finger directly into Samson’s face, “I don’t know how you got hold of my cellphone numbers but you WILL delete them from your cellphone this instant”.  “Well missy”, Samson said, in one last desperate attempt to save his, already, tarnished pride, “You can’t tell me what to do with my phone; I’ll keep your numbers as long as I want to”. As the circle grew bigger and bigger, so did Ntombi’s boyfriend and his friends join-in. “Hey B”, one of the boyfriend’s friend said, “I think it’s your girl who’s been bothered in there, man”.

“Ntombi”, a big, baritone voice called-in, as the speaker entered into the circle, “What’s going on baby? Are these morons bothering you?” “As a matter of fact”, Ntombi replied, “they are, baby”. Now this guy was huge; he was about 1.85 metres tall and had even earned himself a nickname in the whole school as Batista, the famous American WWE wrestler. Batista deserved his nickname because he was one of the few boys who lifted weights in school. As Batista was approaching us, we heard a car horn, hooting at us, making the crowd disperse immediately. It was Mr Mpanza, the Biology teacher. “What’s going on there? EVERYONE, TO YOUR CLASSES NOW!” No one replied; all the learners just ran into the school yard, every learner running to their classes, as instructed. In the midst of all the noise that the learners were making, I could make out Batista’s big, baritone voice, saying to Samson, “After school is after school, boy”.

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Tuesday, January 19


The story of a young black man Chapter 7

Leeto: The story of a young black man

When days are dark…Tshepang will lie to cheer you up

Chapter 7

After the whole class turned him into a laughing stock, Samson stormed out; he didn’t even take his school bag with him. I suppose Ma’am Sefate and the headmaster thought that maybe he had gone to the restrooms or something, that’s why they didn’t even bother asking about where he was (the school bell rang fifteen minutes after his incident to signal that the school was officially out). Tshepang and I looked up for him everywhere however he was nowhere to be found. “Shew, I knew Samson was ashamed of his middle name”, I said to Tshepang, “but I didn’t know he was this ashamed of it”. “Who wouldn’t be?” Tshepang jokingly said, “Kolobjana, after all, means piglet or little pig in English, you know”. “Yeah”, I said to Tshepang as we began our walk home, “but don’t you think it would be a good idea to check up on him at home? Maybe he had an emergency; that’s why he rushed home without even waiting for us”. “I think so too”, Tshepang said.

When we got to Samson’s house, the house was still locked. We took turns knocking on the door however there was no answer. I told Tshepang that maybe Samson had decided to take a different route home, walking one of his ‘girls’ home. “Yeah, maybe”, Tshepang said, “but wait, the kitchen door is locked from the inside; can you see the key through the key hole?” “Yes”, I answered as I leaned over the door to get a closer look into the key hole on the door handle, “I think I see it too”. We walked around the house and straight to Samson’s bedroom’s window. “Hey Sammy boy”, Tshepang said, as he knocked on the window, “.  Are you in there, buddy? It’s us, we came to see if you’re okay”. “I am fine”, Samson answered with a sobbing voice, “Please go away!” “Not until we see you first”, I said to him. “Okay, hang on; I am coming”, Samson said as he began making his way to the kitchen door.

When Samson opened the kitchen door, his eyes were red from all the crying he had been doing that afternoon. “What’s wrong, Samson? Why are you crying? Did someone in your family die or something?” I asked. “Yeah”, Samson replied. “What?” I asked, out of shock, “Who is it?” “It’s me”, Samson replied while wiping tears and snot with his hand, “I did. Tell me! Which girl would be stupid enough to go out with a guy named after a baby pig?” “Are you still on that name thingie from the class today?” Tshepang asked, as we began to laugh. “Sammy boy, had you stayed a bit longer, you would’ve heard that your name is nothing compared to those of other people’s”, Tshepang said, “Do you know what Ofentse Diale’s other name is? Constable. Like really? Who names their child that? ‘Excuse me, what’s your name, sir’ ‘Oh, my name is Ofentse Constable Diale’” I laughed and so did Samson. “That was not the worst of them”, I said, “There was also, Terrence Raditsebe Mmutlane, Kefilwe Hairbrush Manyaku, and lastly, Richard Tšhukudu Kgoadi. So, you see; you’ve got nothing to worry about”.

“Anyway”, Tshepang said to Samson, “that new chick with the plaited hair was asking about you”. “Really?” said Samson, appearing more excited than he had ever been that whole afternoon. “Yes, of course she did”, Tshepang replied. I wanted to tell Samson that Tshepang was lying to him however Tshepang winked at me, signaling for me not to blow his cover.  Samson was very pleased to learn about this delightful news. If there ever was anything that could cheer Samson up was when he was told that a pretty girl had a thing for him. “So, what was she asking about me?” Samson excitedly asked. “Nothing much, she only asked what had happened to our ‘charming’ friend, that’s all”, Tshepang continued to lie. The thing is, Tshepang didn’t want to make up lies that were so far-fetched even Samson himself would not believe in any of them hence he kept his lies short and simple. “YES! YES! YES!” Samson said, basking in a glory of his pride and vanity, “I knew Ntombi liked me; I could tell from the very first time we made eye contact me and her”.

“Well Sammy boy”, Tshepang said, “Now that we’ve seen that you’re alright, we’ll make our way out”. Before I could say anything, Tshepang grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and said, “Come on partner, let’s get out of here; I have dishes waiting for me at home”. “Okay, Samson”, I said, “see you tomorrow, pal”.  As we walked out, I told Tshepang about how I didn’t think his way of cheering Samson up was such a good idea. “Can you imagine how embarrassing it will be for him if he ever runs onto Ntombi before we tell him all this was one big joke? He’ll never forgive us, I promise you”. “Relax”, Tshepang said, with a playful voice, “I’ll tell him myself first thing tomorrow morning. I just could not bear seeing him like that”. “Well, if you say so”, I said to Tshepang as we parted ways.

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Friday, January 15


The story of a young black man Chapter 6

Leeto: The story of a young black man

Samson’s embarrassing moment in class

Chapter 6

Time seened to be moving at a snail’s pace on Tuesday as compared to that of Monday—I guess it must have been because the normal school operations had commenced. At 12 o’clock, midday, the bell rang to signal lunch time. From the money that Mr Masango had paid me on Saturday, I still had about R85 left on me and so I went with Samson and Tshepang to Auntie Kedibone’s stall to go buy lunch. We went there to buy some s’phatlho. To those who are not familiar with it, s’phatlho is a famous South African fast food dish that is made from a quarter of a loaf of bread, normally white bread, and a few ingredients inside the bread, including atchaar, deep-fried chips, polony, cheese, as well as a choice between a deep-fried vienna, Russian sausage, fish or beef patty (at an extra cost, of course). There are places however that are known to include ingredients such as minced meat, fried steak, butter beans, baked beans with mayonnaise, and so on.

Tshepang and I normally took turns buying for one another because, unlike Samson, we didn’t have both parents working, who gave us R20 pocket money every single day. For some strange reason, lunch always seemed much shorter than the 45 minutes we were given—I guess it had something to do with the long queues that we waited before being served at Auntie Kedibone’s food stall. Finally, after getting hold of my s’phatlho, I devoured it in a blink of an eye as I never have breakfast in the mornings and are normally starving by lunch time. When I was done with my s’phatlho, I washed it down with a defrosted Cool Time iced-juice, which was sold on the streets of Hebron for only R2. The boys who normally sold Cool Time iced-juice advertised it as, setimamollo, which, loosely translated from Sepedi or Setswana meant, a Fire Engine or fire extinguisher. Cool Time earned its nickname from its refreshing prowess to cool down a person on a hot summer’s day.

After lunch, the bell rang and we all headed back to class. S’phatlho made one sleepy after lunch because it contained a lot of starch; white bread, deep-fried chips and the sugar from the Cool Time all made us more constipated than full, that’s why after the lunch break, half the class yawned from being sleepy. “How I wish we can get free periods for the rest of the afternoon,” I said to Tshepang, “I am too sleepy to listen to a teaching lesson now”. Tshepang looked at me, smiled and said, “Amen to that, brother”.  Hardly a minute after having wished for some break for the rest of the afternoon, in came Ma’am Sefate with Mr Nkomo, the school principal. “Good day, class”, Ma’am Sefate greeted us. “Good day, ma’am” the whole class greeted, as we stood up. As learners, from a young age, we were taught that whenever addressing a teacher or any grown up who had just entered the classroom and greeted us, we had to stand up.

“As you can see, class”, Ma’am Sefate began speak, “I am here with Mr Nkomo; we’re here to physically count how many students will be registering as matriculants for this academic year. Once we’re done with the counting, Mr Nkomo will take all your names and will be forward them, together with the subjects that you’re registering for, to the office of the regional MEC of the Department of Basic Education”. The whole class was dead silent at this stage, not because of the fact that we all feared Ma’am Sefate  for her strict conduct, but because reality had just checked in—that matric year had just officially begun—even to the biggest denialist of our class, the playful Mr Samson Padi.

“Okay class”, Mr Nkomo began to speak, “as your class teacher has already said, my duty here is to record the number of all learners who will be enrolled for this academic year as matric learners of Hebron Technical and Commercial High School. Bear in mind though that your name in my list does not guarantee you a seat in the final national matric examinations; you all have roles to play in ensuring that. Your roles will include, attending all your academic activities (even if it’s on weekends when your teachers requests for you to), respecting your teachers, and staying as far away as possible from criminal activities during school hours, after school hours and on weekends, is that understood?” “Yes sir”, the whole class responded in a uniformed voice. “Okay then”, Mr Nkomo continued, pointing to the learner sitting on the first desk on the first row of our class, “Let us begin with you, young lady, shall we!”  “My name is…”, the first learner began to speak however was interrupted by Mr Nkomo before she could even finish introducing herself, “Oh, and please class, refrain from laughing at one another’s middle names; I know some of them can and will obviously be funny”, Mr Nkomo warned, in a playful voice and a naughty smile on his face. The whole class burst out laughing except for the ever-serious Ma’am Sefate.

“My name is Pricilla Lindiwe Mngomezulu”, the first learner finally introduced herself. Whilst learner after learner introduced themselves, Tshepang and I couldn’t help ourselves but laugh everytime we looked at Samson. No one else in the school, except for me and Tshepang, knew what Samson’s middle name was. Of course, he didn’t tell it to us personally; we once saw it in his house when he forgot to remove a photocopy of his ID on his bed. We had used it against him ever since whenever he started getting on our nerves, threatening to tell the whole Erasmus and school who his name was. This was the only way we could control the ‘sometimes uncontrollable’ Samson. Today was definitely D-Day for Samson and he knew that he wouldn’t be able to talk himself out of this one. Even if he had asked to go to the boys’ restrooms, he would still have to state his full name before the whole class when he got back.
“Ben Kgaka Moloi”; “Gladys Mmatjie Selepe”; Bongani Glycerine Mavuso”, and so learners went on and on, introducing themselves. Finally, our turn arrived, “Harold Leeto Marumo”, I said, sitting down thereafter. “Tshepang Sebastian Lehabe”, Tshepang introduced himself, looking rather a little embarrassed himself with his middle name. Then the big moment came; the moment Samson had to introduce himself and for the whole class to hear. Samson stood up and faked a hoarse voice, claiming that he was coming up with flu that severely affected his vocal cords. The whole class began to laugh because we all knew he was lying as his voice had been normal twenty minutes earlier. Ma’am Sefate angrily snapped at him and said, “PADI, THIS IS NEITHER THE TIME NOR THE PLACE TO BE PLAYING YOUR FOOLISH GAMES; GIVE US YOUR NAME NOW!” “Okay ma’am”, replied Samson, with his voice back to normal now, “Eh, Samson, Samson Kolobjana Padi”. The whole class burst out laughing, this time including Ma’am Sefate herself. As for Mr Nkomo, who naturally had a sense of humour, he was laughing so hard, tears were streaming down his cheeks.
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Wednesday, January 13


The story of a young black man Chapter 5

Leeto: The story of a young black man

Leeto’s wet dream

Chapter 5

That Monday night I could not sleep; all I could think about were those naked girls from the blue movie that Samson had shown to Tshepang and I earlier. What I did thereafter was to picture naked some the beautiful girls I knew—Palesa and Sylvia from school, Mirriam and Ipeleng from church, and Sibongile and Refiloe from around my block. I tried to picture how these girls would look like naked, whether they’d be as hot as the ones on the porn DVD or not. Needless to say, all my thoughts got me as horny as a virgin bull during mating season. I thought of touching myself however dismissed the idea as I was worried that my 9-year-old little brother, Lemogang, whom I slept with on the floor, might wake up and catch me in the act.

I eventually passed out after midnight and was woken up by the best sensation ever in my underwear in the early hours of the morning, before even my father could wake up; must’ve been before three o’clock, I think. My whole underwear was wet. “Oh shit!” I thought to myself, “I’ve just had a wet dream”. My mind was still blank at the time, maybe it must’ve been the wet underwear distracting me because I could not remember the dream no matter how hard I tried to. I got up and made my way outside to the toilet to go take a leak (urinate). I also used the time to take off my underwear, wiped off the rest of the ‘man juice’ from the tip of my penis with it and went back to sleep. Oh, before I forget, I rolled my ‘dirty underwear’ and put it in one of the pockets of the boxer’s shorts that I slept in; I was, after all, going to wash it in the morning after I had taken my bath. I then went back to sleep.

 I slept peacefully thereafter, almost as peaceful as a new born baby in its mother’s arms. I didn’t even hear my father wake up or when he left for work, as I normally do. I was woken up by Virginia who also had to wake up in the morning to prepare her daughter for crèche. “I thought I’d wake you up today”, Virginia said to me, as she gently shook me by my shoulder, “Mom told me that you overslept yesterday”. “Thanks”, I said to her, “and a good morning to you too”. Virginia only smiled and went on to prepare water so that she could bath Lethabo. Whilst waiting for Virginia to bath Lethabo so that I could use the very same washing basin to take a bath in, my dream from last night all came back to me.

My dream flashed like a movie before my eyes; in this dream I saw myself walking into the school principal’s (Mr Nkomo’s) office. Mr Nkomo has a personal assistant, Bridgette ‘Miss Lovely Legs’ Mohube. Of course, ‘Miss Lovely Legs’ was the nickname that Samson had suggested we call Bridgette by, among the three of us; other than that, no one else knew about it. Bridgette deserved that nickname because she had a body and legs that would make the likes of J.Lo and Beyoncé furious in jealousy. She was beautiful too, a yellow-bone with long, shiny, naturally-brownish hair. I didn’t know much about her except that she was renting a house with her boyfriend somewhere in Soshanguve and was originally from Zeerust. As for her age, I didn’t know it for sure, but I’d say she was either in her late twenties or early thirties.

Anyway, back to my dream; in this dream I walked into Mr Nkomo’s office and found Bridgette alone in the office, busy with some paperwork. It looked like it had been during school holidays because neither the teachers nor the learners were there; the whole school was empty. Bridgette invited me into the office and when I sat down, she stood up. She was wearing white tights and an old, worn-out Minnie Mouse T-shirt. I could see Bridgette’s nipples visible on her shirt, which meant that she was not wearing a bra. Bridgette looked at me and said, “I am so horny, you have no idea how wet I am down there. Oh, by the way, I am also not wearing any panties under these tights; you can put your hand in if you don’t believe me”. Even in my dream, where I was supposed to be a fearless stud, I was a nervous wreck. I was so scared, I was shaking. Realising that I was never going to come to her, Bridgette came towards me, took my hand and slid it in her tights. Before my hand could reach her ‘cookie jar’, before I could even tell whether she shaved or not, I was woken up by my ejaculation from the wet dream.
As I lied there, smiling alone in my little moment, my joy was cut short by Virginia, “Here, you can take the washing basin now, I am done bathing Lethabo”.
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Monday, January 11


The story of a young black man Chapter 4

Leeto: The story of a young black man

Samson’s surprise to us

Chapter 4

The first day of school didn’t go as bad as I thought it would. The last school bell rang at exactly 2 o’clock and within three minutes thereafter, the school yard was full of learners again, the same way it did that morning. I waited with Tshepang at the school gate for Samson who had gone to hit on a new girl. We grew impatient and decided to leave without him. “Hey guys”, Samson shouted, running after us, “Wait up!” Tshepang and I didn’t stop walking, we just walked a bit slower to give Samson some time to catch up with us.

“So”, Samson said in excitement, “did you see her, boys?” “Who did we see, huh Sammy?” Tshepang asked him. We didn’t have to ask him; we already knew what Samson was going to say us—he was going to brag to us about the girl he had just been chatting to a few minutes ago. “My new girlfriend, of course”, Samson said, with pride-filled eyes. “Oh, I see”, Tshepang said, “and did she give you that kiss you’ve been telling us about this whole day?” “No”, Samson replied, “she’s new to the school so I already anticipated her being shy, that’s why I didn’t even bother to ask for one”. Tshepang and I said nothing; we only laughed at Samson stupidly.

“What are you, morons, laughing at?” Samson asked, “If it makes you feel better, I’ll kiss her tomorrow, after school; you boys can be my audience”. “So tell me”, Samson continued, “What are your plans now, boys?” “I’ll be going straight home”, Tshepang replied. “That goes for me too”, I said.  Samson looked at us, grinned, with a kind of a devilish look in his eyes and said, “Boys, do you want to see how the female form looks like?” “What are you on about now, ladies’ man?” I said to Samson. “I am talking about naked girls, boys. Do you want to see them or not?” “Let me guess”, Tshepang interrupted him, “You expect us to believe that you’ll get all your girlfriends to strip down naked on the busy streets of Erasmus on broad daylight for us to see? You’re talking nonsense now”.

Samson looked at us and said, “Both of you, shut up! Just come with me to my crib”.  Though reluctant, I just could not sit this one off; I wanted to see what new trick Samson had up his sleeve this time. Between the three of us, Samson has always been the less predictable one. This is the guy who once hid his father’s false teeth away on the day of his father’s year-end function at work just because the old man refused to give him extra money so that he could pay for his date for their trip to Derdepoort Resort on one year’s December 16th. Being the meat-lover that he was, Samson’s father, Samson had told us, didn’t talk to him for the rest of that week because he could not indulge in the free meat at their year-end function due to the absence of his false teeth.

Samson lived with his parents, who both worked for SAB Miller manufacturing plant in Rosslyn. He also had an older brother, Thabang, who stayed at the student residence of the University of Pretoria in Hatfield and came home every second weekend of the month to do laundry. “Come in, boys”, Samson invited us into his house after unlocking it. Whilst we made our way to the dining room, Samson quickly ran to his bedroom. “What do you think he’ll show us”, I asked Tshepang. “I have no idea, Leeto; let’s just wait and see”, Tshepang replied. Samson emerged from his bedroom after a minute with one hand visible and the other hidden away. “Guess what I am holding in the other hand”, Samson asked, with a face beaming with excitement. Before we could take our guesses, he showed to us what he had in his other hand and said, “Voila! Now prepare yourselves because you’re about to have the best boners of your lives”.     
“What’s that?” Tshepang asked, in confusion. I also wasn’t sure what it was that got Samson so excited. “It’s a blue movie, boys; a porn DVD that I had stolen from Thabang’s bag when he was here at home this past weekend. “You what?” I asked in shock. “I borrowed it from T-Man’s bag but I know him, he hasn’t even noticed that this one is missing because there are so many more where this baby comes from”, Samson replied. “Okay then”, I said, “Put it in, I want to see what’s on there”. Samson switched on the DVD player in the dining room, put the DVD in and said to Tshepang, “Quick, go and lock the kitchen door with the key, I don’t want any nasty surprises from my parents; they do, after all, have a tendency of arriving home earlier than normal”.

We all sat down on the same couch and watched as the blue movie started; Naughty Cute Cheerleaders, its name said. I had seen my sister naked before once when she was bathing and the Emmanuelle soft porn movies that etv broadcasted on Saturday nights however I had never seen anything that hardcore before. The whole room fell dead silent as we all got absorbed into that virtual world—I suppose that all of us were picturing ourselves naked with those very same beautiful girls in the blue movie, doing things to them that our parents would never be proud of us should they ever catch us doing. The movie lasted for about one and a half hour and as soon as it stopped playing, we heard Samson’s mom’s voice, greeting their neighbours. We all stood up as fast as we could, with Samson rushing to eject the DVD from the DVD player whilst Tshepang went to unlock the kitchen door.

“Hello boys”, Samson’s mom greeted us. “Hello Mrs Motshweneng”, Tshepang and I greeted her back.  “We were here for homework and now we’re leaving”, I shamelessly lied to Samson’s mother, out of guilty conscience. Samson came back from his bedroom and said, “I am sorry mom, I didn’t do the dishes like you had asked this morning; can you believe it, they gave us group tasks, on the very first day of school”. “It’s okay, Sammy”, Mrs Motshweneng replied, “I’ll do them; you’re matriculants now, it is normal for your school workload to increase. Anyway, say pass my greetings to your mothers for me, okay boys”.  “Okay Mrs Motshweneng”, Tshepang and I replied, while stepping out of the kitchen. Thank God we all had our school bags in front of us to block the view, otherwise Mrs Motshweneng would have seen our erected members on our greys trousers, all thanks to her son, Samson.

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Friday, January 8


The story of a young black man Chapter 3

Leeto: The story of a young black man

Monday blues

Chapter 3

I woke up Monday morning at 06h40 with a hammering headache—relax! before you jump to the conclusion that it was a hangover (or babalas), it wasn’t because I don’t drink alcohol.  I had gone to bed after 11 the previous night after watching the three-hour long epic movie on etv, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. My father had warned me that if I didn’t go to bed early on Sunday night, I was going to have a terrible Monday and boy, was he right! My answer to him was, “Dad, this is the final chapter in The Lord of the Rings trilogy; remember the past two Sundays I watched the first two movies of the series, namely The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers?”  “Yes, Leeto”, he had answered me, “however you were still on school holidays when those two movies were on TV at the time, now you have to wake up in the morning tomorrow as the schools are opening”. Of course he was right however I didn’t listen to him as two-thirds of my concentration was in the movie itself.

I got up and realised that my father had prepared warm water for me before he left for work at 04h45. The water was now lukewarm as it had boiled almost two hours ago. I switched the electric kettle back on whilst I went to brush my teeth. Fortunately, my school uniform was ironed-up and ready so I had one less thing to worry about this morning. Before I could take a bath, I noticed that it was now 06h50. Under normal circumstances, I wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning as I attend Hebron Technical and Commercial High School which is a good 40-minute walk from my house. Of course, the distance seems like nothing when I am with my crazy best friends, Samson and Tshepang. I decided to bath quickly so that by 7 o’clock, when my friends come to collect me, I can be all ready for my first day at school after the long December school holidays.

Samson and Tshepang showed up at around 07h10 and we had only half an hour to get to school as the bell rang at 07h40. “Shew”, Samson said, as we walked to school, “I wonder how many ‘freshers’ will be hot girls this year”. I looked at Tshepang and said, “There he goes again”. Tshepang said, “Sammy, you should be worrying about more important things, my friend”. “Important?” Samson asked, “What could be more important than hooking up with a hottie after school today?” Tshepang looked at me, then back at Samson and said, “Whether we will make it this year; you haven’t forgotten, have you? It’s our matric year, you idiot!” Samson looked at us and said, “Guys, I’ll start worrying about matric around March but for now, it’s all girls, girls, and more girls for me!” Tshepang and I laughed as Samson went on and on about how he’ll be kissing a new girl before the end of the day.

We got to school just before the bell rang; it was 07h35, I think. The whole school yard was swarming with learners, both old and new. “I’ll have that one before March, that slender one will be my Miss April, oh, and how can I forget my matric dance date”, Samson went on and on, pointing at every beautiful girl he saw. “Good morning, boys”, a man’s voice greeted us, coming from behind us. We turned around and it was Mr Maluleke, the Geography teacher. “How were the holidays, boys?” Mr Maluleke asked. Before we could answer him, he said, “I’ll be expecting A’s from you, boys, in Geography this year, okay!” “Yes sir”, we all replied in one, uniformed voice, as if we had expected the question and, thus, rehearsed our answer beforehand.

Mr Maluleke could have gone on with his monologue however was interrupted when the bell rang. “Okay boys”, he said, “Off you go; go and pick your seats in your new class”. Since we all did the same subjects, we went to the same class. Most of our old classmates were already in class which implied that many of us had passed Grade 11. There were about four learners missing; Phineas Khoza, whom we all knew was not going to make it to Grade 12 for being such a troublemaker in class last year; Lesego Moloi, who had passed Grade 11 however had changed schools after her parents relocated from Hebron to Atteridgeville; Amogelang Moabi, who was never going to pass Grade 11 for being plain stupid; and lastly, Sphiwe Ndala, who got mixed up with the wrong crowd during the December holidays and was arrested for his involvement in a street fight at a park in Mabopane. Other than those four, everyone was back in one piece, including Ofentse Tselane, the class clown, who was the surprise package as none of us expected that he would make it to Grade 12.

“Good morning, class”, the fat and depressing Ma’am Sefate greeted, “I’ll be your class teacher for this year”. “Shit!” I thought to myself, “there’s no way I am passing matric if she’ll be my teacher this year”.    

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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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Tuesday, January 5


The story of a young black man Chapter 1

Leeto: The story of a young black man

A day with Mr Masango

Chapter 1

I was woken up by the scorching heat of the sun at 07h20, piercing through the zinc sheets of our shack; you know how hot early in the morning Pretoria gets. Living in a shack, one is subjected to all cruelness of weather—when it’s hot, the shack is twice as hot and when it’s cold, God help us, even sub-zero temperatures of Antarctica (the world’s coldest continent) cannot compare to those of a shack on a cold winter’s morning. I stretched my arms just so I could shake all the stiffness off; sleeping on the floor, with only an old mattress between you and the concrete floor, never gets easier.

I got up, with the rest of the house still sound asleep to prepare myself for my weekend piece job—I worked with Mr Masango at Cashbuild Hardware Store in Hebron to help load and off-load customers’ supplies on his 1988 Nissan Datsun single cab bakkie. Mr Masango was a 63-year old pensioner who had gotten retrenched from his factory job some eight years ago and had decided to buy himself a this bakkie so that he could support his family with it. This was the only way I could buy myself toiletries as well as ease some of the burden of my breadwinner father. “Leeto”, my mother called out from the other side of the curtain, “are you up already?” “Yes mama”, I answered, “it’s me; I don’t want to be late again. Mr Masango was not happy the past weekend when I got to the hardware store just before 10. He told me that he had to ask another boy there, who works with Mr Taukobong, to help him load a customer’s twenty boxes of ceramic tiles”. “Very well then”, my mother concluded, “let me not delay you”.

We lived in a one-roomed shack that is divided by curtains and old ceiling boards in Erasmus, an informal settlement located next to Hebron, situated between the Ga-Rankuwa, Mabopane and Soshanguve townships. I squeezed the little toothpaste that was left out of its tube onto my toothbrush and quickly brushed my teeth. When I was done, I put on a pair of old worker’s overalls that my father had given to me so that I could not work with, and in the process, damage, one of my last three pairs of pants that I had. When I was done, I washed my face with plain water and since I was bald, there was no need for me to worry about the state of my hair. I then began my six kilometres’ jog to Cashbuild Hardware Store.

I got to the hardware store after only 20 minutes and found Mr Masango still having tea with a few slices of bread smeared with peanut butter and jam. “Morning, Leeto”, Mr Masango greeted me before I could greet him as I first wanted to catch my breath, “I see my words to you did not fall on deaf ears; you managed to get here before the hardware store opens”. After catching back my breath, I greeted him back, “Morning to you too, Mr Masango; how are you doing on this Saturday morning?” “Now that you’re here, I am fine, my son. Here”, said Mr Masango, as he passed me an empty coffee mug together with a flusk of tea, “I’ve saved you two slices of bread as well; have some breakfast before the store opens. It’s month end weekend, it seems we are going to be very busy today so you might as well fill up now whilst you still can”.

I took the mug, poured myself tea and tore the slices of bread up within a minute or two. “Okay then”, Mr Masango said as I took the last sip of my tea, “let’s go inside; they are opening the gates”. Mr Masango drove his bakkie into the hardware store, where we would wait patiently for customers to approach us for our service. The first hour was quiet as it is normal for customers to start showing up for shopping after 9 o’clock. Our first client was a woman from Ga-Rankuwa who had bought a bathroom set, that is, a bath tub, a washing basin, a toilet, and some plumbing pipes. This was an easy start to the morning for me. As a loader/off-loader, my biggest fear is to start the day with labour-intensive supplies such as loading and off-loading building bricks and/or cement. After one has worked with such items, the only thing left to do thereafter is to take a bath and afterwards, take a two-hour powernap. This is the reason why I prefer to save such items for last, just when the hardware store is about to close and we’re expecting no more customers.

My lucky stars must have been with me as, this day, all my work was light.  We had customers who had bought ‘less heavy’ items such as ceiling boards, roofing timber, bathroom sets, electric-cabling supplies, to name but a few. When we were done, Mr Masango took out R350 and handed it to me. “You might’ve noticed that today we dealt with customers from within a 13 kilometres’ radius, the furthest of which was Ga-Rankuwa. When we charge customers, we multiply the distance travelled together with the weight of the items bought, which is why today we made only R900. Don’t worry, my boy, next weekend we’ll hopefully do much better than today”. I thanked Mr Masango and asked him to drop me off at a nearby fruit and vegetable stall so that I could buy my mother a pack of mixed vegetables for Sunday’s lunch. When I arrived home, my father had just gotten there himself from work; it was just before 4 in the afternoon.

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