So I have to tell you all about this strange, crazy night – the night of 16 September in the year 2041. Yes, that’s right: the year two thousand and forty-one. I need to describe the night in detail, blow by blow.

Even if I don’t really want to. I wish I could pretend it never happened.

It’s a night that has shaken me to the core of my being. I will never be the same again. It is also the night that has destroyed all hope for the future of Earth. There is no salvation coming, after all!

But the night didn’t start off as a disaster.

No! It started off with such faith, with me believing that I might end up the hero. Imagine me, Josh Zondo, Son of Soweto, Hero of Humanity! How impressed my sister Thandeka would be. Finally!

But things didn’t pan out that way. In fact, I hope my sister Thandeka never hears the details. She would laugh herself into a seizure.

“Oh Josh!” she would cackle. “What did I tell you? You should have believed me from the start!”

Maybe, though, maybe I must explain first so that this will all make sense? About myself and my background, for a start. Yes, that is a good plan. At least I can put off talking about that night a while longer.

So, where to begin? Maybe outside the shack where I was born and raised – there on the littered outskirts of Soweto?

I started off as a skinny kid with grubby knees and a torn T-shirt. But already I was different from my peers.

While my mates played soccer and dreamed of being selected for Real Madrid or Man United, I sneaked into the nearby mission church, where they had a piano. A battered, old, upright piano – but the cool smoothness of its keys, the intense vibrations of its strings, were ecstasy for me.

The piano – my first, and my greatest love!

You can keep your electronic keyboards, your Kawais and your Rolands, your midi connections and user interfaces and your volume controls. Give me an honest piano every time. I touch her smooth notes, skin-to-skin, and her response is instant and true. We become one, she and I. There are no motherboards or electric cables interfering. Coming between us. No speakers or amplifiers.

With a piano, what you put in is exactly what you get in return. The same as with women. The pastor’s wife took pity on me, there in that old church, with its broken windows.

“Let me help you, dear. Let me show you how things work, how noise can be transformed into harmony.”

She taught me the rudiments of music on Friday evenings while my mates sneaked into shebeens. Or were initiated into gangs. Sitting close beside me so her knees nudged into my right thigh. She smelled beautiful, the pastor’s wife, I remember. The touch of her fingers over mine was softest silk.

So, early on, music and sex intertwined in my soul in a double passionate longing.

“Concentrate, Josh,” she whispered, her breathe soft on my cheek. Teaching me words like semibreve and trill. And arpeggio and crescendo. The words tasted sweet as forbidden fruit on my tongue. Our own private pornographic language in the dimly-lit church. Until her husband came in, all bluster and dog collar and demands.

“Cora, you must arrange those flowers. The wedding is scheduled for nine tomorrow. No time to dilly-dally! Tell that child to go on home.”

She taught me well, though.

“You are a natural, Josh,” she said. “Music pours out of your very soul.”

And she got me a full scholarship to a private boarding school. Where the music teacher, Miss Heywood, of the highest heels and lowest-cut tops, introduced me to Beethoven and Bach. And jazz.


Tell us: Do you think music is sexy? What type of music?