‘I’m a virgin eunuch’ is how he introduced himself. I saw lips moving but could not hear a word; it was the raucous of my heart that blinded my ears. ‘Abany’ abafazi bayakwazi ukuzala’ is what I wish I had said but I couldn’t, looking at him deafened my mouth. They must have made him in December; December is a month of prosperity and jubilation. A month of bonuses and stokvel payouts. It’s as if life is once again smiling at us, the sun is out, everybody is in a celebratory mood, most people are getting ready to go back home in the villages for holidays. His parents must have been on leave, not rushing anywhere when they made him, it couldn’t have been a morning delight – I’ve seen quickie babies; not a pretty sight and they tend to be on the short side.
‘Yes, your clan name, you have one, don’t you?’ He flashes a smile with teeth that look like he’s spent years in the hands of an expensive orthodontist a perfect backdrop for the well-manicured beard.
‘uMsuthu, Memela, Nontuli.’
‘Ndingu Ndzaba, uMwelase, uGase.’
You never expect to meet people like him e Rands but there he was. As if he read my mind he explained his presence at the Rands; a friend from Johannesburg wanted the Rands experience, he pointed at three three guys seating around a table with a bottle of Johnie Walker Blue label and a mountain of meat. They must have been in their late forties early fifties which I guessed to be his age.
‘Come with me, Memela.’ He took my hand led me to the parking area, I shivered , folding my arms shielding myself from the cold. I caught a whiff of his cologne- the smell of intelligence not like the scent from the main road in Parow that screams low brow.
He opened the door to a black G wagon and sped off without asking whether I wanted to go or not. I WhatsApped friends to let them know I’m safe. He didn’t say much in the car, he joined the N2 towards Cape Town, took the M5 off ramp towards Muizenberg and then turned right on that road that goes to Kirstenbosch, he made one more turn and then he yielded in-front of a house to open a gate. He stopped the car, jumped off to open the passenger door.
‘Come’ He ushered me inside the house.
We ended up in a room one floor up with an oversized sofa facing a spectacular view of mountain and forest. Seating in that sofa it looked like I was starring at a massive framed piece of art. He offered me a drink, I opted for cappuccino seeing that he was going to drink tea. He started fire and sat next to me, close enough to feel the heat from his right thigh.
‘It’s serene out here, should I get you a blanket?’
‘No, thanks, I”m warmer now.’
‘Then try to relax, I just want to hang out, I’m not planning to have my way with you; not that I will be able to even if I wanted to.
‘What do you mean?’
‘I want you to keep me company?’
‘No, I meant the last part of your sentence.’
‘Oh that, I told you I’m a eunuch, remember!’
‘As in those people in the bible that tended to wives of kings.’
‘Not quite, I was fifteen when I jumped the border to take arms for her; to fight for her dignity.’
‘Were you in exile?’
‘I was in Tanzania, I almost died for her, maybe death would have been a cheaper price to pay’
‘You’ve lost me.’
‘Diagnosis was a penile gunshot wound’
‘Nooo! Sorry that came out wrong.’
‘I’ve tried all sorts of expensive interventions to no avail’.’
’So, you’ve never…’
‘I’ve never known a woman in a biblical way, I have a flaccid, deaf penis that’s like a toy gun- it looks like a real gun but can only spew water.’
‘I am so sorry.’
‘Don’t be, she’s compensating me for my inflictions.’
‘I sell her like a prostitute to the highest bidder.’
‘Haybo bhut’ Ndzaba!’
‘I’m serious and then you have these foolish imbeciles calling us looters; where were they when we were forced to have our fists as pillows, when we were putting together pieces of blown up friends, walking for days and when hunger became our friend. Where were they when we were deep in trenches surrounded by death not knowing whether we’ll make it out, fighting the enemy and diseases and the dis-eases of leaving in tents. I’ll tell you, they were in comfortable beds, stuffing their faces with amagwinya enjoying seven coloured meals, obese with lust and in a perpetual state of intoxication. We went out to get freedom for them and now they expect us to force feed them with it and force their eyes to see how they can extricate themselves out of the squalor, are we to be blamed for their castrated ability to do things themselves?’
‘What about the poor, surely the people that stayed have their own scars and it’s not as if the guys that jumped the border took apartheid with them.’
‘When I left the country Memela I was running away from the threat of facing death in the hands of settlers and I had the noble idea of fighting for her instead. I earned the right to eat first, to treat this country’s coffers as my spaza shop. They had the luxury of being home with family and friends. What did we have, huh! I’ll never know the joy of being with a woman and fathering a child.’
‘Tell me though, don’t you think Africa is slowly getting to a point where it will solve its own problems?’
‘The day our mental emancipation rises, there’ll be no stopping her.’