Text: Botsotso Mabhalane
I am generally a reticent cynic disguised as hardened remnants of staples such as pap found at the base of a cooking pan post event – colloquially is’khokho. Growing up in my hood, you could not afford an association with indulgent terms of reference such as isnayi, lamthuthu or moegoe – which is fundamentally a scanty smacked idiot. Oolova bendawo would have had you for breakfast. It being the eve of payday, many will be leaving Egypt into Kanana, though only for a moment. Many a man will disappear this coming week for all sorts of reasons. Bazofaniswa abantu kuleviki as my aunt would say. “I could have sworn I saw him at Capello’s with a long-legged somebody” will be the sort of phrases making rounds as wives and girlfriends pound pavements in search of their lost men, much as will oolaqasha (loan sharks). The noun nja as was spewed by a pick hoe wielding aunt-Barbara from back opposite last month will be common speech to oomakhi whether in the bourgeois quarters of Johannesburg or the plebeian backdrop of my hood – because my people are just that, my people. Leopards and spots.
Bra Dan had been discovered in a rather compromising position with one of his wife’s stokvel associates in a back room somewhere. His wife of fifteen years in the resident rummy aunt-Barbara plainly lost it as she chased after him down our dusty boulevard, pick hoe in hand, screaming obscenities. Clearly Sis’ Nancy was a stokvel member for reasons non-related to the stokvel. As Bra Dan later stood locked out with nothing but his boxer shorts, checked socks and Crocket & Jones shoes on, my unforgiving cousins frantically rolled on the floor with laughter. I was meanwhile trying to untangle the conundrum of an outright bare chap having been chased down the street with nothing but his socks and shoes on; and the technicalities surrounding the amount of time he’d had to put his socks and shoes on versus at least putting his pants on when he was found out. My cousins seemed additionally amused by this as I delved deeper into this particular experience. Bra Dan is in his early fifties and a Casanova of sorts you see – at least at funerals and related ceremonies where he’d put to work his antique pick-up lines. My cousins who’ve experienced the wrath of his tongue still speak rather unaffectionately of his unrehearsed vintage lines but then of course, what do they know about the art of macking? After all, today a drink sets you on the right course with no room for interpretation.
Bra Dan is the milk-stout drinking sort and had not been seen or heard from since receiving his 13th cheque mid-December. Though rumours of his sightings at places with disco lights were making the rounds, it was apparent that no one really knew of his whereabouts. A case of missing persons could not be opened with the police either as people are known to get lost without warning or explanation in the month of December, only to return home in January when the festivities have ran their course and dried up bank accounts. Known for her supreme sarcasm, my mother had quipped earlier that day about Bra Dan possibly having picked up adolescent problems. In her words, he suffered from ‘late adolly’. Do note dear reader that where I come from adolescence is an ailment and not necessarily a time period in one’s life as defined by biologists. Darkie problems, don’t ask.
One has to give it to kasi jezebels like Sis’ Nancy though. They clearly know how to wrap a man up like a gift box, literally. As I too look forward to being wrapped up by Mrs. Botsotso this weekend for bringing home the bacon, I keep the ‘adolly’ sufferers in mind as I know they will be attending ‘After Festive’ parties in large numbers. When they return on Monday, I will be in front of the queue kamashonisa because as frequently alluded to by our very tuneful president, “yi-hi-hi-nde lendlela esiyhambayo!”