“You’re a thief!” said Sbu, shocked.

“No,” said Mandla. “Don’t talk to your elders like that! I’m a businessman. I buy things, I sell things, I just don’t care where they come from.”

“Stolen things,” said Sbu.

“What does it matter?” said Mandla. “It’s not like I’m stealing them. They’ve already been stolen. I just sell them, like any businessman would. I see it as an opportunity. And it’s an opportunity I’d like to share with you. Do you know why I came back to Cape Town?”

Sbu stayed silent.

“I came back here for business, yes, but also because I need someone here that I can trust completely. I need family. I need you, Sbu. I’d like you to work with me.”

“No,” said Sbu.

“You could make some real money, Sbu. You could move out, get a house of your own. Get a car. I promise it.”

“No,” said Sbu. “I’m sorry. You’re family so I won’t stop you. But I can’t help you.”

“Why?” said Mandla. “Are you scared of the police?” His face was in shadow, but Sbu could tell that he was smiling.

“No,” said Sbu. “It’s just wrong.”

“It’s a lot of money,” said Mandla. “Does it really matter where it comes from?”

“Yes!” said Sbu.

“Really? It’s not like you haven’t benefitted from crime, Sbu. Where do you think the money for those shoes came from?”

Sbu looked down at his sneakers.

“uTata paid for them!” he said. “Through real work.”

“Tiling floors?” said Mandla. “What kind of work is that? No, that’s not enough money. Your father has help.”

“What kind of help?” asked Sbu.

Mandla leaned in, and spoke next to Sbu’s ear. “Ask him.”

Image: Michiel van Balen, CC-BY

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is Mandla right? Is there anything wrong with selling on stolen goods?