Township Tsotsi 3/4

By Drum Digital
07 August 2014

Vusi didn’t think of himself as a criminal, not really . . .

He didn’t want to talk any more. Now all Vusi wanted to do was go home to his family. But he still didn’t have any money for food. Maybe he could visit his friend Shadrack, who had a good job, and borrow some groceries from him.

Bongani pretended to be counting his fares. He didn’t look up at Vusi. The woman still looked at him in an unfriendly manner. Vusi gave her one of his best smiles. ‘‘Believe me, mama, I’m an honest man and would never take something that didn’t belong to me.’’ He hoped he wouldn’t land up in hell for lying so badly.

But he wanted to change his ways, and this was the best way to start. The hard expression in her eyes softened slightly. Then, to Vusi’s relief, she smiled. ‘‘Hawu, yes. I’m a lucky woman. Ngiyabonga, fana wami.’’ Vusi felt 10 feet tall. This was much better. He felt like a man again. Not like a common thief. Bongani gave him a very cross look as he left the taxi rank.

That was all right. He didn’t want to walk the same path as Bongani any more. Vusi didn’t want to have a heart that was hard and cold toward his very own people. He reached  a small brick house with a neatly mowed patch of grass in the front yard. He knocked on the door. It was opened quickly by a small boy. His large brown eyes regarded Vusi solemnly. ‘

‘Umfaan, where’s your father?’’ ‘‘He is at work.’’ ‘‘When is he coming home?’’ ‘‘Soon. At six o’clock.’’ ‘‘Good.’’ Vusi decided to stay there for a while. Then when he’d seen Shadrack, he would leave and go home. He sat in one of the armchairs and felt very sleepy. He was tired from all the snatching, running and hiding.

He was just dozing off when he heard someone come in. ‘‘Hello Vusi!’’ Shadrack smiled at him, putting a plastic bag full of groceries down on the kitchen table. ‘‘Have you had tea?’’ ‘‘No. But don’t bother. I must go home to my family.

But I need food for them, Shadrack. Can you help me?’’ Shadrack’s smile widened. Vusi thought he looked very pleased about something. Maybe he’d had some luck with gambling. Or maybe he’d got a raise in salary at work. ‘

‘You look happy, Shadrack.’’ His friend took out tea, coffee, bread, jam, canned pilchards, meat and mealie meal from the bag and placed them on the table.

Vusi enjoyed looking at the pile of groceries. He was pleased his friend was doing so well. His unpacking finished, Shadrack placed a few tins and a loaf of bread on one side.

To be continued...

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