“One call, I’ve got a right to a call,” I say at the cop station.
“Haai wena, shut up!”
“My brother is a journalist for the City News.” One cop stops. “Lindela Dlamini,” I say proudly. I feel in my pocket for the slip of paper I shoved there this morning. I dial the number that I got from inquiries this morning. A man answers, “Yes?” I turn my back to the cop and clear my throat. I try to sound confident.
A wave of relief swamps my pain. “I’m so glad you’re home.” Thank God my life exploded on the weekend. It’s like my mother said, there’s a blessing in everything. I straighten up, try to sound official.
“This is Mzingisi Dlamini. I’m calling from the Langa police station.”
“I’ve got something for you. Can you come down and fetch it please?”
“What’s this about?”
“I can’t say on the phone, Sir. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to come to the station.”
The cop pushes me into the cell. I stand in a corner and try to look casual, yet dangerous. Inside I cringe at the dark, drugged eyes of some of the others. I fight my panic. I must be out of my mind. I could have called my brother to come down and prove that the recorder was his. I could have been out before I even went in! There’s a huge guy with dreads and bloodshot eyes, sneering at me. I try a Khuzani move. I flash him a cheeky smile. The guy gets up slowly. Someone up there’s looking after me. As the big guy reaches me, the cop shouts through the bars, “Mzingisi Dlamini!”
A thin man waits in the charge office. He’s got a pressed, purple shirt and clear, bright eyes. “Kekana,” he announces. It worked! Mr Kekana came out of his castle at the edge of Langa. I check him out carefully. Is he good enough? I decide that I like his eyes.
“Mr Kekana, they’ve confiscated a recorder from me. The music on it belongs to you.”
The man looks puzzled.
“Who are you? What music is this?”
“Get the recorder, and you’ll see.”
“I haven’t got time for…”
A desperate temper seizes me. “It’s music. Not drugs. Not bombs!” I order the cop, “Show him.”
The cop looks to Mr Kekana. Mr Kekana nods. The cop hands the recording device to Mr Kekana. He switches it on. He expertly finds a search button on the side. He waits a few moments while it rewinds. He holds it carefully to his ear, like it might explode.
Anela’s voice escapes, defiant and smooth. It brings a rebel beauty to the bare, ugly place. It fills the stale air with fresh, real feeling. Anela’s song brings a gleam to the thin man’s clear, clever eyes. I watch as it grows to an excited glow. “Who is she?” He whispers. This is the best thing that I can say about this day. Mr Kekana is so impressed that he speaks in a whisper.
“She can’t help composing. It’s like breathing.” I say. “Will you produce her music?”
Mr Kekana forces himself to turn the music off. In his eyes I read nothing but respect. “I will,” he says.
I give him Anela’s name and number. I say, “Can you do me one favour? Can you call my brother and tell him where I am?”
“Of course.” He treats me like I’m someone important, not a tsotsi or a stalker. The trust of a stranger has come twice to me this day.
Tell us what you think: What has Mzingisi discovered about himself? Now that he has completed his plan, do you think Mzingisi has finally fallen out of love with Anela?