“You can stop right after that big, cream house over there, Sergeant,” I pointed out where I was staying.
“All right then,” replied Sergeant Daliwe, “I’ll just park here near the gate.” He slowly drove the vehicle nearer to the front gate, parking it near the wire fence.
“Are you living with your parents or siblings?” asked the sergeant as we got out the car.
“No, Sergeant,” I replied, “I’m living with my uncle. He is my guardian.”
“Good then,” replied the Sergeant. “I’ll just have a quick word with him about what happened to you. We don’t want him to fear the worst when he sees you with a police officer on his doorstep.”
I was in full agreement with what the sergeant was saying. Better for him to do the explaining than me to stutter while trying to tell my uncle what had happened.
Sergeant Daliwe gave three hard knocks on the wooden door. It was not long before Uncle Edward opened the door. He looked confused when he saw me standing on his doorstep with an officer of the law.
“Haaibo! Clifford … And now?” Uncle Edward asked with a puzzled look. I was about to try to explain the day’s events when the sergeant intervened gently.
“Good morning, sir. I’m Sergeant Daliwe. You’ve got nothing to worry about; your nephew is not in trouble. I just wanted to come and have a word with you personally. I promise this won’t take too long.”
“All right then,” Uncle Edward replied. “Please feel free, you can enter.” He unlocked the security gate and showed us to the living room.
Uncle stared at me suspiciously as I entered behind the sergeant. Right after we took our seats, Uncle Edward told the sergeant to cut to the chase.
“Sir,” said the sergeant calmly, “your nephew over here – and another fellow from Zone 1 – just escaped a gang shooting down at Mustafa’s General Dealers.”
“What?” Uncle Edward was shocked.
“Yes,” Sergeant Daliwe replied, “it all happened just this morning.”
Uncle looked at me. The look of suspicion he had when we first entered was replaced by a look of concern.
“Cliff, are you all right? Are you hurt or anything?” he asked, examining me from head to toe trying to see if I was badly wounded or had blood on my clothing.
“I’m all right, Uncle,” I replied calmly. “I’m just a little shocked ,that’s all.”
Uncle Edward continued shaking his head, his right hand covering his mouth; he was completely stunned as the sergeant continued to explain.
“They were inside the shop when those bastards entered the shop to rob and kill.”
“Haaibo!” gasped my uncle. “You mean they killed somebody?”
“Not just somebody, sir,” replied the sergeant regretfully. “Two people died on the scene. Mustafa, the shop owner, and another young man were killed at point-blank range.”
Uncle Edward was astonished at what he was hearing. He sat there and shook his head.
“As I speak to you now, sir, the police are busy searching for possible leads. It is a sad reality that so many people have been killed in our township. These young boys in our township are turning into monsters. The gangsters that call themselves the Grizzly Bears have really turned our township into a dump site,” Sergeant Daliwe said.
“Oh, my Lord! I also do not know what has become of Edo-Mill, Sergeant … It was not long ago, probably a day or two, when my nephew and I watched the news on television about the massacre by the gang in our township. Hayi! I just don’t know, this is really a nightmare.”
“Well, like I said, sir,” Sergeant Daliwe responded, “we as the police will deal with this matter straight. The boys helped us a lot in giving us all the relevant information about the scene, despite the state of shock that they were in. I just had to drive both of them back home to ease their stress.”
“I’m grateful for your help, Sergeant. Thank you so much for driving my nephew back home. Lord knows what else could’ve happened if he were to walk back home by himself. I’m grateful that you could help …”
“It’s not a problem,” replied the sergeant courteously. “We as the police are grateful to your nephew for immediately calling us.”
“Cliff,” Uncle said calmly, “pour the sergeant a glass of cool drink, will you?”
Uncle was trying to be polite and courteous to the sergeant for his “Samaritan assistance” in driving me back home safe and sound. But Sergeant Daliwe intervened.
“Ah! No thanks. That won’t be necessary,” Sergeant Daliwe replied. “I don’t mean to be rude or anything, sir, thank you, but I must be going. I left my colleagues at the scene and I told them I would be back as soon as I had dropped your nephew at home.”
“Clifford, my boy,” said the sergeant kindly as he stood up to leave, “thank you for help, hey. You have a rest now and stay safe, okay?”
As we went outside into the front yard with the sergeant, I saw that the neighbours were watching us. Seeing an officer in uniform coming from our house suggested that we were in Big Trouble. I knew well that after the sergeant had left, I would receive a visit from Sandile. This time around it would be Sandile who listened while I explained my shocking experience.
I could see the pain and relief on my uncle’s face as he turned to me after the sergeant had driven off.
“Hayi! Uncle, you know, it was hard to even think that I was going to survive it all. It was just terrible – something I could have never imagined.”
“What is more important, Cliff, is that you are alive and well. Like you say, it was terrible, but at least you are now safe and sound.” But was I?