By the time the police arrived Mr Mbaza was gone. They marched Lwazi out of the restaurant and asked Mr Valentino if he wanted to press charges. Luckily he didn’t but he told Lwazi if anything like that happened again, he would be out.

Lwazi went with Namhla to hospital for a check-up but then she was allowed to go home with some pain medication. Her eyes were swollen from crying. Her kids were so happy to see her – they had been worried, even though Lwazi had sent messages to say where they were.

Lwazi messaged Mr Mbaza to come collect his stuff from their home.

Namhla was still broken emotionally, so she booked herself off sick from work. She spent most of her time lying down in her room, trying to process the events of the past weekend. Mr Mbaza’s phone was off every time she tried to call him. She left messages on his phone, asking him if he really loved her, asking him why did he do that to her. There was not one response from him. After a day of this, she had the courage to go through his stuff.

“Maybe I will find something in this suitcase …” She picked up a small suitcase with some of Bheki’s belongings, but then saw that it was locked.

“Lwazi! Lwazi, come here please.”

When Lwazi walked in she showed him the suitcase.

“I can open that lock with ease. Wait, I will get something from the garage.” Lwazi went out and quickly came back with a sharp knife.

“Let’s cut it, Mama. Let’s cut it open.”

Namhla was speechless. All she could do was sigh and shake her head. She felt guilty for loving this man so much that she never listened to her instincts. Lwazi put the suitcase on the floor and cut it open with the knife.

“Oh my God! Lwazi!” Namhla could not believe her eyes when she saw the stacks of money piled up.

“Look Mama, what do you think this white powder is? Here, smell it,” said Lwazi as he picked up a small money bag filled with white powder. There were about ten packets stashed under the piles of cash.

“I have never seen so much money in my life, Lwazi! Where did he get so much money? He said to me these were business documents, when I asked him what was in that locked suitcase. Oh God, how could I be so stupid?” Namhla started sobbing uncontrollably.

“Sh-shsh-sh! Mama. I know you are devastated but don’t blame yourself. We all make mistakes.”

“I will never forgive myself for putting you all through this, Lwazi. It’s just that when I lost your father, I felt so lonely. I felt a void in my heart. I am sorry, my boy.”

“No, Mama, these things happen. I forgive you. I love you, Mama,” Lwazi embraced his shaken mother for a while, but had to take his arms away when he heard his phone ringing. “Arg, who is that now?”

He said that as he took his phone out of his pants pocket. When he looked at the number his face changed, and he let it ring without answering.

“Who is it? Answer it!” said Namhla. The phone stopped ringing.

“So what are we going to do with the money, Mama? I think we should report him to the police.” Lwazi suggested, even though he remembered the rumours about Bheki being so close with the police.

“I don’t know! I am just scared. I am scared for your lives. What if his people come and make our lives a living hell?”

“Hey, that’s a problem. Bheki is friends with the police, and with that kind of money who knows what kind of people he works with?”

The phone rang again, and again Lwazi was slow to answer it. Namhla looked at her son, suspiciously.

“Who is it? Why you don’t want to talk to him?”

“It’s my father. He has been calling me. Actually, Siviwe gave him my number.”

“I know that Siviwe has been chatting to his father, but why didn’t you tell me that he called you as well?”

The phone stopped ringing.

“I don’t want to talk to that man, Mama. He has put us through so much hardship. He has all the money in the world, yet we struggled so much. We struggled like orphans. Actually, you struggled with us. You worked so hard, long hours, overtime, trying to pay for our school fees and food while he was there, splashing his money over young women.”

“I know, Lwazi, but please, when he calls you again, talk to him. Forgive him. You are old enough now to understand that life has no formula. You can’t go on in life carrying that grudge. Please.”

“It’s fine, Mama, I will talk to him. I will forgive him. It’s fine.”

“I don’t want blood money. Let’s close this suitcase, Lwazi,” said Namhla. “Bheki has to come collect all of his things. I don’t ever want to hear from him.”

There was a knock on the door. Since it was late in the evening, Siviwe and Nandipha ran to their mother’s bedroom.

“Bhut’Lwazi, there is someone at the door!” shouted Nandipha.

“There are two not one, Nandipha,” added Siviwe.

Lwazi and his mother came out, Lwazi leading his mother. As they approached the door, it opened from the outside and two giants of men walked in slowly, looking like gangsters in a movie with black leather jackets and chains around their necks.

Lwazi’s heart almost missed a beat. He knew one of them to be Nja-yamathambo from seeing him on the Facebook account that Lwandile had shown him. He was the spitting image of his father, but with a diamond tattoo right above his right eye.

“Lwazi, right?” said Nja-yamathambo stretching his hand for a handshake.

Lwazi just froze, too angry to respond, and with fear overwhelming him. He thought about his little sister who was already whimpering, hiding behind his mother. Lwazi nodded.

“Ah, they call me Nja,” said Nja-yamathambo.

“The bedroom? Where?” asked the other guy, opening his jacket so Lwazi and his mother could see the shining black thing tucked in his waist belt.

“There!” pointed Namhla. She was shivering with fear thinking that they might shoot her and her children once they saw the suitcase had been cut open.

“I heard a lot about you, Buddy.”

Lwazi kept quiet, looking at his siblings and mother standing close to each other. They were shaking with fear. Pumpkin was crying now.

“Shhh!” Nja-yamathambo placed a finger on his mouth as he said that, looking at Pumpkin. She quickly wiped the tears from her face.

“Hey Dog, come check this, man!” shouted the friend from the bedroom.

“Don’t you move! Stand right where you are,” whispered Nja in his rough shrill voice.

“We did not take it. I swear we did not take not a cent,” said Namhla shivering like a leaf, eyes bulging out.

Nja gave Lwazi such a nasty look that if looks could kill he would have dropped dead right there! Then he followed his friend into Namhla’s bedroom.

Lwazi looked at his mother. No one said a word. Everyone was wondering what was to follow next. Lwazi did not know what to do. He knew one wrong move could cost him one of his family members. So he stood there motionless, waiting to see what was to be the gentlemen’s next move.

In a minute they came out from Namhla’s bedroom, the friend dragging Bheki’s big suitcase and Nja carrying the small one. He had this devilish grin on his face.

“I trust you. I trust that you did not touch this. Otherwise I will be back. And if you even think of going to the police we’ll come for you,” said Nja walking out the room with his friend, leaving the family collapsing in relief. Lwazi quickly locked the door, and then peeped through the window and watched their car take off. They were too terrified to go to the police as they didn’t know who in the police force they could trust. They could just pray that Mr Mbaza would be caught before he preyed on anyone else.

“Let us pray. Come guys, let’s all kneel down and thank the Lord for saving our lives. Come Lwazi, let’s hold hands and pray,” sobbed Namhla.

She prayed. Oh what a teary sorrowful prayer she uttered to her Father above that night!


Tell us: Do you think Namhla should have gone to the police?