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”.

*      *      *
Read More

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”.

*      *      *

Read More

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.

*      *      *
Read More

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”.

*      *      *

Read More

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”.

*      *      *

Read More

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 T┼íhukudu 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.

*      *      *

Read More

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.
*      *      *

Read More