Johan de Kok leaned in closer to Ninja, nodding for him to go on.

Ninja shook his head, looking ashamed for the first time. “One of the girls that Bishop’s main connection, a guy called Stapura, had taken was Pulane’s younger cousin, Lebohang. She had gone missing and Pulane was distraught. Pulane told me that Lebohang was last seen when she went for an interview at a modelling agency that promised her big things. She told me the name of the agency was ‘Afrocentric Modelling Agency’ and I remembered Bishop once had flyers on his person with the same name. I put two and two together and realised what they had done.

“I confronted Stapura. Do you know what he told me?”

Johan shook his head. Ninja’s eyes were on fire with hatred now.

“He said ‘You should consider yourself lucky that we didn’t take your precious little girlfriend too, she would have gone for so much money on the market. So if you think about telling on us, remember you’re in this too. We will make sure you go down with the rest of us. And to me it seems like you have a lot to lose: your sweet, sweet girlfriend and your naive father. Don’t you think I know about the donations made by Bishop to his church? How can I not know about it. So you better think twice before you open that big mouth of yours or else the ship sinks with all of us.’”

“You couldn’t leave, yet you didn’t want to work with those people. How did you get out of the situation?” asked Johan. He checked the voice recorder – it was still going.

“Well I didn’t. In fact it got worse. They forced me to take not only diamonds back across the border but the girls too, and dagga. It was dangerous work. Those poor girls, we had to hide them in the truck whichever way we could …” Ninja put his head in his hands and was quiet for a moment. When he looked up again, Johan could see him fighting back tears.

“I thought I would never find a way out of the situation in Lesotho but as fate would have it our operation would come down crumbling at our feet. At the time I didn’t know the facts, those I only found out later.

“One day Bishop’s connections were arrested at the border. They blew the whistle on everyone, including me. My father didn’t escape either. All the money from the illegal operations was sitting in his church fund. Bishop had framed him.

“The only good thing was that they freed those girls and Lebohang went back to her family. But Pulane was finished with me when she found out what I had done … I was locked up.” Ninja sighed and shook his head.

Johan looked at his watch. They only had about twenty minutes left before he would have to leave.


Tell us: Could you see a way out of the situation for Ninja?