U-Amahle uyizonda ngenhliziyo yakhe yonke imihlangano yangoMsombuluko ekuseni yase-Umlazi Herald, iphephandaba lomphakathi lapho eyintatheli khona. Selokhu wadilizwa ekubhaleni izindaba ezinohlonze, phecelezi i-hard news, uzizwa sengathi ikhono lakhe lokuphenya izindaba alisetshenziswa ngendlela efanele. Uzakwabo ohlezi eduzane naye edeskini, uThami, yena impela lo owaqeqeshwa u-Amahle ezinyangeni ezimbalwa ezidlule, uyena obhala izindaba ezinohlonze manje. Noma ezwa sengathi ikhono lakhe alisentshenziswa ngendlela efanele uyamamatheka njengoba kungena umhleli wephephandaba, uSmangaliso.

“Sanibonani! Ngizosheshisa ngoba ngiphuthuma emhlanganweni nabaphathi,” kusho uSmangaliso. “Yiziphi izindaba enizilandelayo?”

“Mina ngilandela amacala amathathu azongena enkantolo namhlanje. Elokubulala, elokuphanga kanye nelokuntshontshwa kwama-cable agesi,” kusho uThami. “Emuva kwalokho ngizohlangana ne-press officer yase-Umlazi Central Police Station ukuzwa ukuthi ikuphi okunye okwenzekayo. Ingitshele ukuthi kunemidwebo yabasolwa abafuna sibashicilele yona. I-press officer yase-Umlazi South Police Station nayo kukhona enakho.”

“Kuhle lokho, Thami! Sekuhlangene konke lokho kuzoligcwalisa uhlangothi lwezindaba ezinohlonze kuleli sonto,” kusho uSmangaliso. Uphendukela ku-Amahle. “Amahle, wena usiphatheleni?”

“Kuningi enginakho. Ngizoya e-Ray of Hope Orphanage, ngibhale ngomsebenzi abawenzayo. ‘Letters to the Editor’ wonke sengiwenzile. Kanye ne-‘This Week in History’ nayo ngokunjalo. Kuzovulwa umtapo wolwazi kwaD kusasa, nakho kuzongena ezindabeni zaleli sonto. Ne-rehab center nayo ine-function ngoLwesithathu. Nginazo nezindaba eziningi zemidlalo ezasala ngesonto eledlule. Ngiyacabanga ukuthi lizogcwala iphephandaba lethu.”

“Nazoke! Uyancomeka umsebenzi wenu,” kusho uSmangaliso. “Thami, qhubeka. Amahle hlala kancane, kukhona indaba engifuna uyilandele.”

USmangaliso ubuka i-tablet yakhe. Njengoba uSmangaliso ebuka i-tablet, inhliziyo ka-Amahle igcwala ukuthukuthela. Ulikhumbula kahle kamhlophe usuku adilizwa ngalo ekubhaleni izindaba ezinohlonze. Isizathu zokuba adilizwe ukuthi waphenya iqiniso wabe esebhala ngalo uma eselitholile. U-Amahle wabhala indaba eyakhomba ikhansela lendawo ekukhwabaniseni kwezimali kwenziwa ama-tender. Ikhansela nabavikeli balo bangena nezicabha emahhovisi ephephandaba, bathembisa ukulimaza izintatheli, bamangalele iphephandaba.

“Nazoke, ngayithola lento engiyifunayo,” kusho uSmangaliso. “Umasipala umemezela i-festival yomculo. Bazomemezela lokhu kwabezindaba emahoreni amabili. Nawe ngikudinga ube khona. Kukhona okuyindaba abangithumelele khona kodwa ngifuna wena ube khona, ungitholele amazwi abo ambalwa ukuze unike indaba impilo njengoba ujwayele ukwenza.”

U-Amahle ubhala phansi konke okushiwo uSmangaliso.

“Amahle, ngicela ungithembise ukuthi angeke ususane namuntu lapho engikuthuma khona. Uzolalela ukuthi kuthiwani, ubuye ubhale indaba. Ungabuzi lembuzo yakho ejulile, please.”

“Kulungile, Smangaliso.”

U-Amahle ulinda kanye nezinye izintatheli ehholo. Emuva kwemizuzu engamashumi amathathu, i-press officer kamasipala ithatha umbhobho.

“Siyaxolisa ukunilindisa isikhathi eside. Sesiyaqala ngodaba esihlangene ngalo manje.”

U-Amahle akakukholwa akubonayo uma i-press officer yethula umuntu ozodlala indima yokuba umxhumanisi we-festival. Umuntu ozoba umxhumanisi nguRay Mthalane. Yena impela uRay Mthalane owaduma ngesikhathi kushona abasebenzi abangu-25 ngesikhathi kubhidlika i-shopping mall eyayakhiwa inkampani yakhe. Uphenyo lwathola ukuthi uRay Mthalane unecala ngokungasebenzi ngokuphepha kodwa akazange aboshwe noma akhokhe isinxephezelo emindenini yabasebenzi abashona. Yena futhi uRay Mthalane owahlanganisa enye i-festival yomculo eminyakeni emibili edlule. Leyo festival yaphula amarekhodi ngokwenza imali kodwa abaculi abazange bakhokhelwe.

Ulandela uRay Mthalane emuva kokuphela kwe-press conference. Umlandela bagcine bengene endaweni yokupaka izimoto engaphansi kwebhilidi. Umakhalekhukhwini ka-Amahle usephaketheni lehembe, uthwebula i-video evela njengoba eyithwebula kuFacebook.

“Ray Mthalane!” kumemeza u-Amahle.

URay Mthalane uyaphenduka, akhumule izibuko zelanga ezicwebezelayo. “Hello, beautiful,” uphendula emamatheka.

“Sawubona, Mnumzane Mthalane. Uzizwa unjani ngokuzihambela ngokukhululeka, uthole eminye imisebenzi kumasipala kodwa imindeni yabasenzi bakho abangu-25 abashona ngenxa yobudedengu bakho ingakaze inxephezelwe?”

URay Mthalane udidekile. Kumthatha imizuzwana embalwa ukubona ukuthi akuyona neze intombazane ezidlisa satshanyana le.

“Uzizwa kanjani ngokugebenga abaculi? Bazikhandla becula kwi-festival eyahlanganiswa uwena kodwa wangabakhokhela imali yabo. Ngicela ungitshele ukuthi uzizwa kanjani ngakho konke lokhu engikubuzayo?” kusho u-Amahle.

Ukudideka okusebusweni kuRay Mthalane kuphenduka ulaka.

“Hheyi wena doti!” kumemeza uRay Mthalane. “Uyazi ukuthi ukhuluma nobani?”

Ugijima esondela ku-Amahle, aphakamise isandla efuna ukumshaya. Kodwa okushiwo u-Amahle kuyamshaqa, ame nse.

“Kwenze lokhu ofuna ukukwenza. Ngiyakucela ukuthi ukwenze,” kusho u-Amahle. “Ngiyakucela ukwenze. Khombisa umhlaba ukuthi awuyena umkhwabanisi kuphela kodwa uphinde uhlukumeze nabantu besifazane. Yebo, le-video ivela kuFacebook njengoba ngiyithwebula.”

URay Mthalane ubona umakhalekhukhwini ephaketheni lehembe lika-Amahle, ahlehle ngokushesha. I-video ka-Amahle ebuza uRay Mthalane isabalala umhlaba wonke. Ama-likes nama-comments afika ezinkulungwaneni kungakapheli imizuzu engamashumi amathathu.

Kukhala umakhalekhukwini wakhe. Uyabona ukuthi uSmangaliso lo omthintayo.

“Yini edala ukuthi ungalaleli?” kusho uSmangaliso ngezwi elivevezela ngokucasuka. “Yini ungafuni ukulalela, Amahle?”

“Ukhuluma ngani, Smangaliso?”

“Ngikutshelile ukuthi ufike laphaya ulalele, ubuye ubhale indaba!”

“Ikhona lokho engikwenzile, Smangaliso. Ngiyabuya manje ehhovisi ngizobhala konk-.”

“Manje i-drama eyani, Amahle?” kungenela uSmangaliso. “Eyani yonke le-drama oyenzile ngoRay Mthalane?”

“Hawu, Smangaliso! Bekufanele ngimbuze lemibuzo. Futhi ngaphandle kwalokho i-video ikwi-personal account yami, Sma-”

“Hhayi ke, abaphathi bephephandaba bathi ngikutshele uqoqe konke okungokwakho edeskini. You are fired with immediate effect!

***

Sitshele: Ngabe uRay Mthalane waphunyuka kanjani emuva kokuba kushone abantu ebhilidini elalakhiwa inkampani yakhe? Waphunyuka kanjani emuva kokungabakhokheli abaculi?