“Got your address off that form you filled in when you entered The Pit contest,” Banzi tells me when we meet up two houses along from my place. “Your phone digits were there too, but I reckoned it would be nicer to talk in person … Not so sure your mother thought so.”

I look at the way his dreads are caught up in that little fountain on top of his head.

“My Ma has a lot of prejudices,” I laugh. “Dreads being one.”

But damn, he looks sort of classy with that stripy scarf wound round his neck, keeping out the July cold. His glasses sparkle, super-clean, not all smeared like some people’s.

“And rap another? Sorry, but I let it out. Couldn’t keep my mouth shut, raving about your style last night.”

I shrug. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll make some sort of peace. Some time. Maybe when I win next week?”

His smile widens. “Like what I’m hearing. Confidence.”

“’Cept I’ll be a nervous wreck on the night.”

“All the great performers suffer from nerves. So, what I wanted to tell you? I checked with Die-Mond first, that I’m not giving you an unfair advantage, by letting you know. Man said it’s fine. I picked up that you were wondering about your beat for next week. We can set up a track for you, only you don’t get to choose or hear it beforehand. It will be something mainstream, and you’ll to need to fit your flow into that.”

“Brilliant.” I’m thrilled. “That’s how it should be. I’ve decided rap should just sort of come out, you know? Like I know what I want to say, but not exactly how I’ll say it on the night.”

“I can’t wait.”

I laugh. “The only real preparing I’m doing is checking out some words in my old school dictionary and also online. I mean, some of the big names are so clever, the way they use words. Did you know mendacious means untruthful? Eish, I guess you did, clever person like you.”

“Who says I’m clever?” There’s this warm, teasing note in his voice.

“You look clever.”

“Because I wear glasses. People always think that, but it makes no sense. If my eyesight improves or I get contact lenses, will I look stupid?”

I find myself studying his face. He does look sort of intellectual in those glasses. He looks a lot of other things too, and I love how his skin gleams so softly.

He catches me staring, and my face fires up, but his smile makes it okay.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter how he looks. What’s important is how he has come across, from the little I’ve had to do with him. He’s someone calm, and he cares about other people.

I wish Mongezi was more like that.


Tell us: Is Khaliso being disloyal, wishing Mongezi was more like Banzi?