An African man bobbed his head joyously to a jazz song playing inside his Toyota Camry. His thumb tapped the manufacturer’s insignia engraved on the steering-wheel as his eyes worked the dark road that was only brightened by the headlights of his speeding vehicle. In a flash, the car lights caught sight of a black lady walking in knee-length boots on the side of the road. She had long legs and a petite waistline.

The driver’s head turned around watching this lady until she disappeared into the background as the Toyota glided right up ahead.

Though attractive, the lady unsettled him. The driver did not understand why a beautiful woman as she, walked alone untroubled at this time of night? But it was too late for worry; he had stopped and reversed for her.

Troubling him more were her old-style clothes and colourful plastic wrist bangles that made her look like a dancer from a 80s pop group. At first the driver had thought the woman was a decoy probably used to lure unsuspecting motorists before armed robbers leapt out of nowhere to ambush their victim. In his prime he did not think twice before getting a woman inside his car, but now with age and widespread crime, a man couldn’t be too careful.

He tried to come up with small talk but it was pointless and now he couldn’t wait to drop her off – wherever that was. He’d guessed her age to be around twenty-five at the most; the reason he substituted the jazz music for a popular radio station.

The stranger sat on his left for kilometres without a word but time and again glanced warmly at him and smiled. Her permed hair touched the headrest of the leather seat; he worried about the grease it would leave behind. Her nourished thighs toyed with a man’s imagination because she sat in such a relaxed manner that had in turn made her mini-skirt hitch a bit back up her legs.

The whites of her eyes were milky and the iris very black. They were beautiful and pure, like a baby’s. He returned a smile.

At number 23 Mpoki Street in a Johannesburg township, a housewife hummed a hymn as she stood ironing over a board in her lounge. She had been absentmindedly watching the afternoon news on the television in front of her. The news was not of any importance to her until a visual of a secluded grassy area appeared showing a white abandoned Toyota Camry surrounded by police and journalists with cameras.

Instantly, the picture seized her attention for she recognised the car’s number plates. And slowly, she became almost certain that it was their family car. She reached for the television remote and increased the volume at the moment when the screen shot zoomed in on a fashionable female anchor holding a microphone. She began delivering her report in Setswana:

“The body of a man, presumably in his late forties was found not far from this car; police say the man was half-dressed when they first arrived here. It is still unknown why he was killed because according to the police nothing was stolen from him –”

The face of the housewife twisted nastily out of shape for she was overwhelmed by sudden anguish that drew tears from their well. She cried before the reporter could say, “– Police are still investigating.”


Tell us: Have you ever received bad news from an unexpected source?