Bhekani feels like his heart is threatening to beat out of his chest as he knocks on the front door of Bra Shakes’ house. Fear and guilt is overriding his mind. He doesn’t have all of Bra Shakes’ money. He has not told his wife he is in financial ruin. He has been neglecting his family. He has lied to his principal that he is sick, so he can be absent from school.

The tall, muscular man answers the door and lets Bhekani in.

“Bhekani! I love a man who keeps his promises,” Bra Shakes says, smiles his gold-toothed smile and exhales cigarette smoke.

“My brother–”

Bra Shakes quickly frowns. “I’m your brother all of a sudden? I know that tone, Bhekani, and I don’t like it. Where is my money?”

“That’s why I’m here.”

“So get on with it. Put the money on the table and count the R19 500 you owe me right now!”

“I’m sorry, Bra Shakes. I just couldn’t get the money together. I only have R3 000 right now. Please take it. I’ll pay the rest when I get paid,” Bhekani pleads.

“Do you think I’m playing games here? Do you think you can do as you like with my money? Do you remember what I told you would happen if you fail to pay me back?”

“Yes …”

“Good. We are going to take your furniture and appliances. You’ll only get these things back once you pay me in full. Hand over your car keys.”


“One of my guys will drive your car. You will be in the truck with my other guys.”

“But, Bra Shakes, is that necessary? You know me, you know where I live, where I work. There’s no need for all of this. I’ll pay you the money when I get paid.”

The muscular man lifts Bhekani with ease. He ruffles in Bhekani’s pockets and finds the car keys. Two more muscular men appear from the kitchen and grab Bhekani on either side. They hold him while Bra Shakes stands up in front of him.

“This is for making a fool out of me. Nobody makes a fool out of Bra Shakes!”

The last thing Bhekani sees before he blacks out is Bra Shakes’ fist rushing out of nowhere to knock him out.

Bhekani wakes up when the truck is parking in front of his house. He is in the truck, groggy, sitting between two of Bra Shakes’ henchmen. Another man is driving Bhekani’s car. There are more men sitting in the bin of the truck. The man driving Bhekani’s car presses the gate remote control. Bhekani cannot believe what is happening as the gate opens and the truck reverses into the driveway of his house.

Sbongile is in the kitchen, cooking supper, when she hears the rumble of a truck driving up the driveway. Bhekani is flung through the front door, followed by a group of menacing men. The pot of boiled vegetables drops out of her hands when she sees Bhekani’s bloody nose.

“Bhekani! What happened to you? And who are these men?” Sbongile exclaims.

It is just luck that their children are not home, having gone to attend the birthday party of their neighbour’s child at a Spur in Pinetown.

“I’m sorry, Sbongile,” says Bhekani, wiping away the blood dripping from his nose with the sleeve of his shirt.

“Why are you apologising, Bhekani?”

As Sbongile stands confused, Bra Shakes’ men get on with what they came here to do. They start lifting furniture and unplugging appliances from electric plugs on the wall.

“Please forgive me,” says Bhekani.

“Bhekani! Why are these men taking our furniture?”

Bhekani doesn’t answer, he just looks at the floor. Regret is all over his eyes when he glances at the men taking the new sofas, the dining room table, and the TV.

“Leave my sofas alone!” Sbongile shouts and swings a dish cloth at one of the men.

“Get out of my way, lady! Get away from me otherwise you’ll get hurt!”

“Let them take the furniture, Sbongile. These men are dangerous,” Bhekani sobs.

She watches in shock as the men load the furniture she has worked hard to buy onto the truck, and leave. Bhekani is a bundle on the floor, tears tumbling down his face. He keeps staring at one spot on the floor.

“Explain, Bhekani! Explain to me right now! What is happening?” says Sbongile.

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me,” says Bhekani.

“I don’t want your apology! I want you to explain to me what is going on!”

“I borrowed money from Bra Shakes because I had to give my family back home money and I needed to give you money so you could pay deposit for the sofas. Now I can’t pay back the money. That’s why Bra Shakes sent his men to take our furniture. But we’ll get it back as soon as I pay back the money.”

Sbongile just looks at her husband, broken on the floor, his nose bleeding.

“How can you do this to us, Bhekani,” she whispers, tears filling her eyes.

Tell us: What do you think Sbongile should do now?