“‘Shuddering muscle walls’! Oh, Josh, you are a scream.” So says my dear sister, Thandeka, the next time I visit her in Soweto. “You think you are such a sex-machine. But you know nothing about women. Let me shine a little light into your dim understanding.”

She always tries to break down whatever confidence I have built up. But what does she know!?

My sister Thandeka is still trapped in the electricity-challenged township. Whilst I have been flying high: to Paris, to London, to Bangalore. With my all-embracing, lightning-conducting fingers that can coax any foreign piano to orgasm. Or any foreign woman for that matter …

“The Answer is in your eyes,” I tell Kali now, as she sits golden in my small flat. Golden and alien and mysterious and enticing beyond bearing. Somehow the Regulations seem small-minded. Like Ilsa’s mother: “A black man, Ilsa? Races should not mix this way. It is bad – bad for everyone.”

Yes, I could coax any foreign woman. Like Doreen of the grey eyes – grey as the London street outside her basement flat.

“Yes, Josh. Yes … now!” Her gray-pale legs squeezed around me. “Oh, Josh. You are the best. Is Africa full of men like you?”

So, on behalf of my colonized forefathers, I brought her to screaming point once more. While outside in the gray English rain, gang warfare erupted. That was in the early days, when the eruptions still seemed isolated, concentrated in large cities where psyches are naturally stretched to breaking point and aggression is never far below the surface.

“Like animals in a zoo,” the sociologists explained. Back in the days when explanations still seemed possible.

“Brought her to screaming point!?” My sister Thandeka again.

You would think that my sister would show a little respect, considering the expensive ornaments I brought back for her from London, for her cheap Sowetan sideboard.

“My dear brother, all women are actresses. Don’t you know that? Well-paid or poorly-paid, we are all actresses. How much did you pay this Londoner of yours? How much did she get out of you?”

But what does Thandeka know? She cannot afford to pay her electricity bill. Every time I am back in Soweto I have to settle it for her, using up my UK pounds, my American dollars, my German euros.

I must confess though: when I left Doreen’s London bedsit, my wallet seemed lighter. I went back next evening to discuss this slight problem. But, Doreen lay dead and bloody on her threshold. Half in and half out of the gray fog, her pointless eyes staring southward. Towards Africa where the ‘best men’ could be found.

I shrugged, went back to Cape Town to await my greatest triumph: Carnegie Hall! Except that gig was cancelled.

It was about that time that the first Luthanians arrived. Full of wisdom and disbelieving compassion for our poor, violence-wracked planet.

Luthanians, go home! So read the placards of marching protesters. We don’t want your lies. We don’t want your fake peace. We don’t want your pretend-compassion.

Not that the protest marches ever lasted very long. Within half-an-hour, sometimes less, marchers would be turning on each other. Bloody placards made pillows for bloody heads.


“The Answer is in your eyes,” I tell Kali again, struggling to breathe. She is so close! So close, and yet so far away.

Damn those Luthanians with their ridiculous, cruel Regulation Number One. So like that ridiculous, cruel apartheid law of long ago in my country.


Tell us what you think: What does Regulation Number One say?