Paramedics bring Nandi back to consciousness. She opens her eyes, sees tears streaming down Thando’s face, and wails.

A policeman taps Thando on the shoulder and says, “I’m sorry to say this while you are in this state, but you need to come with me to the police station. The detectives must take a statement.”

Thando is confused, trying to digest these words, when he feels another hand tap his shoulder. It is Mam’Thembi, his friend from the library. Mam’Thembi wipes tears from her own eyes and says, “Go ahead, Thando. Help the police with their work. I’ll take care of Nandi.”

Thando gets into the police van. He feels nothing but loss as the van travels down NO Paradise Road to the police station.

“Take a seat. A detective will be with you shortly,” says the policeman when they enter the charge office.

A whole hour passes while Thando sits in a state of disbelief on the charge office bench. The giggling of two female officers snaps him out of this state. They chat and laugh while certifying documents. Thando’s sorrow quickly turns to anger.

Why don’t they drop what they are doing and attend to me? My sister, who played the role of a mother and friend, has been brutally murdered yet they chat and giggle like nothing happened, he thinks.

He approaches the charge office counter.

“Yes,” says one of the female officers, without even looking up at Thando.

“I’m here to see a detective,” says Thando, wiping away a tear.

“About what?” the officer asks.

Thando hesitates.

“Speak up.” The female officer still does not look Thando in the face. She shows a message on her phone to the other officer. They laugh.

“About my sister’s murder!” Thando shouts.

Both police officers look up at Thando. They see the seething anger in his eyes.

“What’s your sister’s name?” says the female officer.

“Zikhona Gudluza.”

The female officer pages through a register of sorts and says, “Sit down. The detective is out. We will call you when he is back.”

The officers seem concerned for a while, speaking in soft tones while serving other people. Sometime later Captain Qinela, who heads the police station, appears behind the charge office counter.

“Thando Gudluza,” he calls out.

Thando stands up.

“Come with me,” says Captain Qinela.


Tell us: Have you ever had to deal with the police? Were they polite or disrespectful?