“Okay,” said Airtime. “Check this out. Are you ready?”
Song nodded distractedly. She aimed her video camera at Sbu’s team as they passed the ball up the field at the Sea Point Promenade. She got a great shot of the other team’s goalie catching the ball. The spectators at the side of the pitch cheered and groaned.
“It’s a film about a guy who gets hit by lightning, and somehow it turns him into the world’s greatest football striker. He can kick a football so hard that it goes through brick walls and stuff. And off the pitch he uses his power to fight crime and generally kick ass. He can knock down a hundred gangsters with a single ball, bra! What do you think?”
Airtime waited for Song’s response to his idea, but she didn’t say anything. She kept her camera pointed at the pitch. One of the refugees on Sbu’s team, Jamala, had control of the ball and darted between the oncoming opponents. Two defenders descended on him. At the last second before they tackled, he kicked the ball across to Sbu, who headed it to the net. The goalie leapt sideways and caught it mid-air. The crowd cheered.
Airtime stepped in front of Song’s camera. “We can call it ‘The Lightning Striker!'” he enthused.
Song lowered the camera with a sigh, and stopped recording.
“Airtime, I’m not going to make an action movie.”
“Of course not,” said Airtime. “WE’RE going to make an action movie! You and me! You dig?”
“How about no. The company leant me this camera so I could make a documentary about these refugee soccer players. Anyway, you don’t know anything about making action movies.”
“Ndiyazi,” he said. “That’s why I want to learn.”
“Is that what this is about?” said Song. “You want to use the camera?”
“Well, if you insist,” said Airtime, grinning from ear to ear.
“Will you be quiet for a moment if I show you how?”
“Dude, what’s my name?,” said Airtime, putting his hand on his heart.
Song took the camera strap and put it around Airtime’s neck.
Song’s dog Ithuba woke up and looked up expectantly, but neither of the humans had any food, so she rested her head back down on her front legs, and whined.
“Don’t break it, okay?” said Song. “It’s expensive.”
She showed him what the buttons did. “Here’s record, here’s the zoom, here’s the aperture – to make the picture darker and brighter…”
After a few minutes Airtime had the hang of it, and started filming the match.
“Check it out!” he said, shaking the camera. “They’re playing during an earthquake! What professionals. Mad skillz! One of them might even be… a Lightning Striker!”
“If you’re going to mess around…” said Song, reaching for the camera.
“No, no, I’ll do it properly,” said Airtime, aiming at the ball. One of Sbu’s team-mates kicked it in a long arc up the pitch.
Ithuba woke up again and saw the ball flying through the air. Her instincts kicked in and she raced onto the pitch, barking.
“Ithuba! Come back!” Song called, chasing after her.
Ithuba was surprised when five football players ran up behind her, also chasing the ball. She tucked her tail between her legs and ran from them, yelping. Song chased her across the pitch, avoiding the players.
“Ithuba!” she called.
Ithuba curved around and ran off the pitch. As she passed between the spectators, a middle-aged man in a tweed jacket reached down and scooped her off her feet. She yelped in surprise, and trembled in his arms.
Song ran up and the smiling man handed Ithuba back to her.
“Thank you,” she said.
“No problem. She got a bit excited at the game. I can understand. These players are on fire!”
Something about the way the man spoke made Song look at him again. He had a round face and pockmarked cheeks. There was something very familiar about him.
“I’m sorry,” Song asked. “Have we met before?”
Image: Development Works Photos, CC-BY-NC
WHAT DO YOU THINK? If you had a video camera, what kind of film would you make?