In Soweto, Dawie and Thandi sat quietly inside the lounge of the Masusu’s apartheid era built house which had since been refurbished with interior improvements such as floor tiling and decorated ceiling.

Seated on the opposite couch was a glum-looking teenage girl who was breastfeeding a baby. The young mother’s exposed breast made Dawie uncomfortable and as a result had his eyes glued to the blank flat screen TV a position away from mother and child. He checked his plastic watch.

“She’ll be here,” the young mother said without taking her eyes off the suckling tot. Then without alarm she called out, “Lerato! Lerato!”

“Yeh!” a childish voice shouted in reply from the kitchen.

“Did you tell granny the visitors are in a hurry?”

There was a squeaking sound like that of an opening door. The sound must’ve delayed Lerato’s response; but moments later she arrived.

“She’s here,” the young mother murmured to the quests.

Voices mumbled indistinctly in the kitchen, of the two, one was no doubt Lerato’s; then the voices went quiet. The police members’ anticipation was broken by the appearance of a woman of about seventy coming in though the archway. Her gait was unstable for she walked with a slight limp. She hobbled into the lounge with her eyes cast down. Thandi and Dawie followed her movement until she slumped next to the young mother.

She welcomed the guests as they appreciated her gesture. Her head was covered with a doek in the colours of the South African flag, there was a gold wedding band in one mid-finger of her shrivelled hand. Her face told of unrelenting suffering that must’ve thrashed her for years. The sight saddened Thandi.

The police member was explaining the reason they were there when slowly the woman’s mind tuned out of the present as Thandi went on briefing her about the cases she and Dawie were working on. Thandi also mentioned Scotch and the young lady who gave him the telephone number that had since necessitated the meeting.

“Dulcy is my daughter,” said the old woman, gravely after composing herself.

“She died many years ago, it was in 1989, April if I’m sure.”

With some obvious curiosity Thandi roused herself from the couch.

“If I may ask mama, how did she die?”

Mama sighed at the depressing memory.

“She was raped and killed by a man who gave her a lift.”


Tell us: What do you think about the unexpected ending of this story?