COACH MASUKU: There’s a reason why we give you all a punching bag when you join us. The idea is rather to take out your frustrations on a punching bag than on loved ones because… (lifts both arms up towards the now seated men)
MEN: (in unison, some laughing) We all need a healthy outlet!
COACH MASUKU: That’s right! (clapping) Thank you, Kevin, for sharing that important breakthrough with us, and Kobus, thank you for availing yourself to help a brother in need. Would anyone else like to come up and share something?
MZWANDILE: Heita gents…eish…kunzima. (Wrings the bucket hat in his hands) Ku sho ukuthi I’ve served my time, I’ve paid my debt to society, kodwa umphakathi man…They just won’t let me live my life. Why won’t they just let me live in peace? I’ve learnt my lesson, paid my dues. I’m not the same guy who was arrested 10 years ago for housebreaking and assault, GBH…but they keep tormenting me. I remain ko danyan’, just with no bars.
COACH MASUKU: Say more, my outie.
MZWANDILE: Eish… (rubs the back of his head with the palm of his hand) Just the other day ncosi decides to take his mom’s car for a spin with his bras without permission. Next thing you know, makgata are banging on my door. Maki o da le yena, looking at me accusingly.
(The men grumble in disbelief.)
MZWANDILE: You know, when I was released, we were assigned ho spana le community to help us reintegrate, ‘yabo? I really thought that after ho spana ko the local green groza and helping out in the communal garden that people would give me a second chance, mara maki…eish maki man!
HAROLD: (after raising his hand) Who is this Maki? Is she like an ex? And what about the rest of the community?
MZWANDILE: Yoh! Hell no!
COACH MASUKU: (chuckles) Maki is slang for a neighbor, Harold.
MZWANDILE: Anyway…hayi, kunzima, gents. Abantu bayangiziba. People walk on the other side of the street when they see me. In the taxi bo sista give me shifty looks and hide their goetes. Right now my car wash is struggling to pick up because…
MAKGATHO: Ho, you’ve got a car wash?
MAKGATHO: I’ve got an idea. I know someone who owns a few taxis. I can ask him to maybe come through with his drivers and show some support.
MAKGATHO: For sho, mfo!
HAROLD: How about we throw a relaunch party?
KEVIN: For a car wash?
HAROLD: (arms raised) Why not? We can do something simple, like a kissing the nyama with a couple of salads and drinks.
(A few men laugh hysterically.)
COACH MASUKU: Harold, it’s chesa nyama. (smiles at Harold) I have a contact who might be able to sponsor some drinks. This is great, gents! You are coming up with solutions and showing real measurable support.
KOBUS: I make a mean poitjie!
COACH MASUKU: OK, so Mzwandile will get back to us with a couple of possible dates, and those of us who have cars will come through and show support. Can we also commit, whoever can, to go through and work alongside Mzwandile at the community garden maybe once or twice a month? My thinking is that maybe if the community sees him as just a normal guy trying to live his life, maybe if they see our support, they might be willing to give him a chance. What do you guys think?
(Loud cheers of approval go up.)
MZWANDILE: Ahhh, gents…I can’t believe this…Yoh! Angilahlekanga. Sho, gents! (with a big smile)
(Men clap and chat loudly amongst themselves.)
Tell us: What do you think will happen next?