Township life

2010-11-10 00:00

THIS is a portrayal of township life and the short-cut means by which people generated income back in the day. Brothers Dhlamini and Vilakazi Bhekuzulu discovered at an early age that going into the “heat” was the only way to success, thanks to their uncle Babalaza, a respected yet feared drug­lord who paid them a few cents to deliver dagga to his clients.

Years down the line the brothers hook up with Big Bang Bongani, and the trio work “wonders” in the liquor smuggling operation. Business is good but the three get greedier and hook up with the likes of the General, another big shot in the crime industry who has a soft spot for Dhlamini.

It is the General who guides Dhlamini towards opening his own Cookboys from the manufacturing, processing, right up to the delivery stages. Somehow things get nasty and Dhlamini is forced to flee Jo’burg to Pietermaritzurg where he falls in love with Zsa-Zsa, the daughter of a crooked lawyer and they eventually get married.

Their marriage is not a happy one as the sgebengu (crook) is made to choose between his married life, his son and the criminal lifestyle. Whenever things get messy Dhlamini will run to the General who always has an ace up his sleeve.

Vilakazi, the older brother, later dies in an accident after his vehicle is sprayed with AK-47 machine gun fire by a rival gang. This, after they have stepped on the territory of trigger-happy Boy Faraday.

In between the years of his criminal life Dhlamini is sent to London by the General to work at a restaurant. Legitimate ways of making money are “unfashionable” for him so he gets into drug-smuggling but that too get him into trouble with London’s own druglords.

He ends up in Swaziland where he opens a restaurant and pub, but later the criminal life catches up with him. It is worth reading the book to find out how it all ends. Chris Ndaliso


African Cookboy

David Dinwoodie Irving


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