“Ja, ufanini?” (What do you want?)
Mike is taken a back by this question. He explains that the landlord sent him to do maintenance on the building.
“Uphi uSpijo, ugxothiwe?” (Where is Spijo, was he fired?)
“Andazi, unxilile” (I don’t know. He’s drunk)
Diliza looked at Mike suspiciously, he sized him up, frowned and noticed he wasn’t carrying a toolbox. He looked too clean to be a maintenance guy with his manicured dreadlocks and soft- looking hands. Something wasn’t right. Mike felt the silent scrutiny of Diliza, a short man standing in front of him with his hand slowly clutching the door. Mike acted quickly and pushed Diliza in, forcing his way into his den.
I watched around the corner fearing for Mike’s life. The door was wide open and I could hear them struggling from the corridor. I reacted and ran down catching the door frame to swing myself into the room and shut the door close! Mike had the man pinned down on his back and sat on his rib cage with one hand trying to control Diliza’s untamed hand and the other clasped at his neck.
“Sanele, umeleni? Give me the rope!” Mike reminded me of the gravity of the situation, as I stood there frozen witnessing a scene I felt powerless to control. I reached into my bag for the rope and as I pulled it out a knife fell to the ground. I looked at Mike like I was the livestock that was about to be butchered by this knife.
“Fuck Sanele, I can’t hold him longer!”
I moved to steps towards them and tried to give the rope to Mike of which he sneered at me and said, “I’m doing this for you. You better help yourself and get your hands dirty. Start tying him up!”
It wasn’t that Mike had faith in my rope skills; it’s just that I stood there helpless while he didn’t even have to be in this situation. Both his hands were occupied and all I could do was watch. I took a deep breath of courage, parked my fear behind me and dove to the challenge. I grabbed the knife and flicked it towards his face. He stopped struggling and laughed.
“What are you going to do little lady? Uzithembe ngani?” (Where did you get your courage all of a sudden?).
With these words, I felt pressure build up in my ears and a rapture of my own words blurted out:
“Voetsek! Thula Mgodoy’!” (Piss off, shut up mongrel) I was angry really angry. I had gone through enough this week. I was tired of being a victim of men, defeated men who had no respect for women. Men who thought it was in their power to take what they want and leave, men who felt entitled but had no balls to find out what privileges (or lack thereof) their actions afforded them. Men who objectified and felt they could command me because of my skin colour, the size of my wallet, my nationality, my looks… Fuck, it was all because I am a woman! A WOOOMAN!
Dainty, breasts and ass, breasts and ass. Considerate, breasts and ass, breasts and ass. Wasp’s waists, breast and ass, breasts and ass. Polite voice, breasts and ass, breasts and ass. Oh let me not forget my vagina! Because that is what it all boils down to. I am victimized, disrespected, dismissed, disregarded and objectified because of a piece of anatomy that does not dangle between my legs. Then when all this is said and done, I am labeled as an Angry Black Woman! Gee, I wonder why?
Well my polite, gentle nature exited the small window in the darkroom and the fear that was still parked behind me followed. There, bold and strong stood Goldi, in front of this man who was no longer sure who he was talking to. I saw a sjambok next to his table. I handed Mike the knife and went to get it. I tripped on an open bag that was under the table and small green booklets, cards and other things fell out. I went to the ground and picked up one of them. It was an ID. There must have been about 20 of them before I found mine. This man-made a living out of stolen IDs. Enraged, I tied Diliza up making sure that he would not escape what I was about to do to him. Now I was feeling very generous, he was going to pay for it all.
He stole my ID, LASH! He shouts. “Sisterrr, askies man.” (Sorry sister).
That was the first apology I had heard from a man who had done wrong in a very long time. Why did it have to be at the hand of violence of them (men) not me (women). I was not done, I whipped him for the man who slept with me and stole my wallet, the incompetent police and making me come out here to deal with this shit. I must have whipped him 16 times before the neighbours barged into the room with pots and sticks manhandling Mike and myself.
Diliza was pleased that his community had come to rescue him. He pleaded that they punish us to make an example of us to any outsiders who came to this neighbourhood to cause trouble.
I interrupted and told the man next to me to look in that bag and see what Diliza had been up to. The neighbours looked at each other. Diliza still trying to save himself insists that the bag came with Mike and myself. I tell the man to look in the bag and he will also find my ID in there along with other stolen IDs. The man searches the bag and finds my ID. I tell them the truth that Diliza threatened me and demanded money for “finding” my ID. He is a thief!
The community shakes their heads, and chat among themselves as to what to do with him. Someone shouted, “Akashe!” (Let him burn!). The elders tried to control the crowd and agreed that form of punishment was too severe. The mob pulled him out of his room while he was screaming still hurting from the wounds I was responsible for, though I have a feeling that was the least of his worries. The crowd grew bigger as children gawked and giggled, adults asking what happened and people gathering rocks that they could find around them.
Mike was quiet and my fuel was burning. He looked at me and said Sanele this is not right. Goldi (I) looked back with revenge in my eyes and said he deserves it.