Before Sbu could react, someone nearby coughed. One of the guys from the braai approached, holding a phone. He was a tall thin guy with a shaved head.
“Good news,” he said. “We’ve made a sale.”
“Why are you interrupting? Can’t you see I’m talking to my favourite nephew?” Mandla gave Sbu a friendly slap on the shoulder. Once again he was a picture of warmth and cheerfulness.
“I’m sorry,” said the tall guy. “They’ve got the truck ready. We have to move the goods tonight.”
“Sbu, forgive me. I must deal with business. Why don’t you take the evening to enjoy the braai. Talk to my people. Think about my offer, all right?”
Mandla and the other man went back around the house. There was a plain white delivery truck parked on the road in front. Mandla quietly spoke to the driver, and then rounded up some of the men at the braai and led them into the house.
Sbu rejoined the others, who were grouped together away from the fire. Airtime rubbed his hands together to keep warm.
“Aight,” Sbu said. “I’m sorry. You were right, all of you.”
“What went down?” said K8, putting an arm around him.
“Nothing. He’s selling stolen goods, like you thought.”
“So all that stuff in the house…?” said Song.
“Was stolen,” said Sbu, finishing her sentence. Song took out her phone and started dialling a number.
The men Mandla had gathered together were coming out of the house, carrying the boxes full of stolen goods. They walked past, ignoring the Kontax crew.
“So what are you going to do?” asked Airtime.
“Nothing,” said Sbu. “There’s nothing I can do. Come on, let’s get out of here.”
As they walked past the guys carrying boxes, the terrible-toothed Joseph reached out and grabbed Song’s arm.
“Hey babeza. Uyaphi? Leaving the party so soon?”
“Let go of her!” Airtime shouted.
“I didn’t get to know you. Who are you calling?” Joseph asked, ignoring Airtime. “Someone important? Your boyfriend maybe?”
He snatched the phone out of her hand. Airtime tried to grab it, but Joseph already had it to his ear.
“Joseph!” said Mandla, coming out of the house. “I told you to leave them alone!”
Joseph’s eyes widened.
“Are you listening to me?” said Mandla.
“Listen to this, Mandla.”
He held up the phone. Through the receiver, on the edge of hearing, came the words “Thank you for calling the South African Police. If you need to report a crime in progress…”
“The police,” said Joseph. “She was calling the police.”
Image: Capt Piper, CC-BY-NC
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Was Song right to call the cops? What would you do if you were her?