Just before sunset Sbu, K8, Airtime and Song made their way to Sbu’s uncle’s house. They ended up in pairs, with the girls walking a few meters ahead of the boys – Song still didn’t want to talk to Airtime, and Airtime had noticed that there was a weird vibe between K8 and Sbu.

“What’s up with you and K8?” said Airtime.

“What do you mean?” Sbu snapped. “Nothing’s up.”

But he looked very uncomfortable. Airtime decided to change the subject. After all, he had problems of his own.

“What do you think it’s going to take for Song to forgive me? Maybe I should give her the hundred rand.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Sbu said. “It’s dirty money. From criminals. She wouldn’t want it.”

When they got to Mandla’s house, the party was in full swing. In the dusty patch in front of the house a big spit-braai had been set up, and next to it two of the trestle tables from inside were loaded down with crates of drinks. A whole sheep was turning over the fire.

There were groups of people, mainly guys, hanging around the braai and the tables and coming in and out of the door. Nearly everyone was holding a drink.

A guy in a peaked cap blocked their way as they approached the braai. He had bad breath and wide gaps between his front teeth.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he said. “Private party.”

“It’s cool,” said Sbu. “We’re invited.”

“Cover charge,” said the guy, holding out his hand. Some of the guy’s friends gathered around him, grinning.

“What do you mean, ‘cover charge’?”

“Fifty rand each.”

The guy’s friends laughed. Sbu nodded. The guy was clearly messing with him. He tried to walk away.

The guy grabbed Sbu’s arm. “I said fifty rand!” he shouted. The men behind him stopped laughing. This was getting nasty.

“We didn’t bring money,” said Sbu.

“Yeah? I bet you did,” said the guy. He reached into Sbu’s pocket.

Image: Paul Jacobson, CC-BY-NC-SA

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you think the hundred rand Airtime has is dirty money? What should he do with it?