Madimabe had never thought that one day she would put on the SAPS uniform and ensure that people are safe. She had far-fetched dreams when she was young. She dreamt of becoming a doctor, but due to financial impediments, she found herself carrying a gun most of the time.

Initially she detested the job and would often ascribe it to her name, which means ‘bad luck’, but as time went on she developed a love for it. She took pride in the fact that she actively participated in the eradication of crime, which remains a grave social ill in our country.

However, at home things were not as hunky-dory.

Her husband, Lesiba had a huge drinking problem. He was a teacher at a local school and everyday after school hours he would go to EDDY’s tavern. He drank like a sponge and whenever he was drunk he liked to fight people. This behaviour did not only end in the tavern and streets, at home he was greatly feared, especially by her daughter Thato.

One day he came home very drunk. Madimabe was on night shift and Thato was busy studying for her Grade 11 final examinations. He found a meal Madimabe had prepared for him in the microwave. It was Pilchard stew and pap.

He took the plate and threw it against the floor and yelled, “Is this woman crazy, how can I eat pap and tin fish when I am working? Thato! Thato! Where is your mother?!” He asked furiously.

Thato was trembling with fear and couldn’t speak clearly.

“She went to work Papa,” she managed with a trembling voice.

When her father staggered and slumped onto the couch, she gingerly walked around him and picked up the scattered shards of the plate.

The following day Madimabe came back home tired after a hectic night of patrolling the streets of Alexandra. When she opened the door she was welcomed by a glowering look of her husband who was still half-drunk.

“What happened to the money I gave you for groceries woman? And why didn’t you tell me you were working night shift yesterday!?” Lesiba shouted.

Madimabe was utterly shocked. She was fed up and managed to retaliate. She was tired of being treated as a punching bag.

“Look here Lesiba. You call the measly R200 you give me money for grocery! What about money for societies? What about Thato’s school fees? What about the socks you are wearing!”

Lesiba swelled with anger and couldn’t believe that his wife had just called him by his name instead of ‘Papa’. He heaved heavily and he floored his wife with a fist. He then pressed her against the floor and started pummelling her face with endless punches.

“You think because you are a policewoman you can talk to me the way you want woman! Even my mother never spoke to my father like that, she respected him and knew her role as a wife!” he shouted.

Thato, who heard the altercation from her room, was in her school uniform wailing – trying to pull her father off her mother.

“Let go of my mother! Let go of my mother!”

With the help of her daughter, Madimame was able to get to her feet. She pulled a gun and pointed it at Lesiba. She was bleeding profusely and just when she was about to pull the trigger, her daughter let out a bloodcurdling scream, which deeply touched her and she put the gun away.

Lesiba yanked opened the door and fled.


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