Just a week after this conversation, Mr Bheki Mbaza arrived and came to live with Namhla and her children. She was over the moon. The boys were still trying to adjust to the stranger’s sudden presence in their house, but Pumpkin was already liking the new ‘father-figure’. Mr Mbaza somehow filled the void of a father in her little heart.

“You see, Pumpkin, I have two boys but I have always wanted to have a little girl. A little princess,” he would say to Pumpkin. This would make Namhla’s heart melt.

The day Mr Mbaza arrived Lwazi sat down with his friend, Lwandile. Actually Lwandile had sent him a message before they arrived at the cooking school.

“I heard something man, I am not sure how to say it to you,” Lwandile said, drinking a bottle of cool fruit juice. Looking at Lwazi, he closed the lid, waiting for him to say something.

“That guy. The one you said your mother is hooking up with. He is going to be to your step-dad, right?”

Lwazi took a bite of the apple he was eating, but remained silent.

“That guy is pushing drugs, mfe’thu. Actually he is into a lot of things that are not good, mfe’thu.”

“Who told you that?” Lwazi snapped at him.

“You know mos, i-grootman yam ispana daar e-danyana, you see. So apparently one of his sons is there in prison and he plays it big there, pushing drugs and stuff and he also works along with some of the prison guards.”

“What? So this guy is into drugs? Dammit! I knew something was not right with him,” Lwazi dropped the half-eaten apple, his hands shacking with anger.

“Yeah neh. So he stays at your house, right?”

“Yep. And he expects me to address him as ‘father’. Never!”

“His older son, they call him Nja-yamathambo, Dog of bones. For short they call him Nja yam. He owns a bar in Gugulethu and they use Bheki’s house to push things from there.”

“So no wonder he came to stay in our house? Pretending to love i-oulady!”

“Hey Sonny, from what I have heard that guy has had some hard brush-ups with the law, but then he is packed with loads of moola. Even the police are running around inside the palm of his hand.”

“Yeah neh, that is hectic. I don’t even think my mom would believe me. She is so into this guy,” said Lwazi shaking his head. “Her friends all think he’s a catch too.”

Truth be told, Mr Mbaza was quite easy on the eye. He was well built and had a smooth baritone voice – the cherry on top. Women would go weak at their knees just hearing a ‘hello’ from him. He was a very promising businessman, his mother would tell her friends. Although she couldn’t exactly say what he did. He went to work at his ‘office’ and sometimes stayed late to meet clients. But he brought money home and she needed financial security.

“Oh God, please let me keep him. I love him to bits,” Namhla used to pray out loud while doing her make-up in the bathroom. She had now bought several kinds of expensive wigs and colourful artificial nails. She was trying to look her best, the competition seemed high for a man like Mr Mbaza.

Mr Mbaza owned one big garage station and had other business dealings. He was also the chairman of an organization that he formed, called Sikhula Sonke, that he said was aimed at grooming youngsters to be entrepreneurs from a young age. There were lots of quite young and beautiful ladies who were members of this organization.


Tell us: Do you think Lwazi should tell his mother about his suspicions about Mr Mbaza? What do you think might happen if he does?