The train screeches around the bend. Inside the coach I can feel the excitement build.

“Hey! Matrix is going Topside!”

“Sharp, dude. And Dan the Man? Him too?”

“Yeah. Any minute now!”

Lebo aka Matrix and Daniel Molefe aka Dan the Man are going to train-surf. They do it often, mostly on the journey home.

Lebo in his black beanie, climbs out the window like it’s no big deal. The rush of wind whips his school-tie up the side of his head like a noose. He smiles and winks one last time. Then he hauls himself up until only his takkies dangle at the window. Then even his takkies disappear.

“Matrix! Matrix! Matrix Reload!” Everyone cheers.

I feel sick with terror. Doef-da-da-doef! There is a heavy banging on the train roof above us.

“Party on!” yells Dan the Man. He is already halfway out the window with his shirt filling like a balloon. “The Matrix is jiving to the music of the pylons, dudes!” And then Dan the Man disappears to join Lebo in his dancing Topside. There are more cheers around the coach. Doef-da-da-da-da-da-da-doef!

“Ndaba, it is the best feeling in the world!” Lebo tells me when I ask him about his train-surfing. “All those bare live cables around you. Three thousand volts, bro! Three thousand volts each! And those cement bridges coming at you! If you duck too late, your head will be smashed! Like a watermelon! Meanwhile the wind is rushing right through your brain. Blowing away your troubles. I tell you, bro, it’s true freedom! It makes you feel so alive!”

Lebo’s girlfriend, Precious, is standing close to me, surrounded by her friends. “What a man! Hey, Precious, you are the luckiest girl in the world with Matrix for your boyfriend! How does that feel, girl?”

And now all eyes are on pretty Precious from Grade Eleven SD. She giggles and covers her mouth with her hand. But her eyes are shining with joy and pride for her boyfriend.

I wish I could make Masego proud too, I think. “I wish I could make her eyes shine like that. But would I ever have the courage to get up on the train roof? Would I ever be brave enough to train-surf?”


Tell us what you think: Do you think Ndaba will train-surf to impress Masego?