Chapter Nineteen – A Night in Mbabane
Was Ma Albertina, the community feeder, being arrested? That is what people in the street near the Albertina Buthelezi home were talking about as they saw the police vehicle parked in front of her property. What had the woman done that had drawn the attention of the apartheid police? Had she stolen flour to bake the scones to feed those who knocked on her door? Or was her water and electricity supply at her home connected illegally? Why did the men in blue want to speak with Albertina Buthelezi?
Pieter stepped outside the house and immediately saw a group of youths standing on the opposite side of the street. He realised that they were casting looks in his direction from time to time.
“Vir wat kyk julle (what are you looking at)?” he yelled and the youngsters scattered. This was Black and White at its best!
Lindiwe followed the cop out of the door, with Albertina Buthelezi right behind her.
Once at the police vehicle, Pieter realised his next challenge. He could really not drive around with a black person in the front seat of the vehicle. He went to the back of the police vehicle and unlocked the door of the cage compartment inside which the cops usually placed criminals.
“In you go,” he said to Lindiwe.
“You are crazy, I am not a criminal,” retorted the girl.
“It is just until we get out of Pretoria otherwise people, both black and white, will talk,” explained the Lieutenant.
Lindiwe was very hesitant to go with the plan but seemingly had no choice.
Three of the youngsters who had been shouted at by Pieter, watched from a distance.
Oh, so it isn’t Albertina Buthelezi who is in trouble but rather one of her family members!
Lindiwe, through the cage wire of the police vehicle, bid farewell to Albertina, as did Pieter, and the police vehicle began to make a way down the street and eventually out of Mamelodi.
It would be another hour before Pieter felt that he and Lindiwe were well away from being noticed, and he pulled the vehicle over on the R21 road to let the girl out of the back cage compartment.
“That was quite disrespectful,” said Lindiwe, who was quite shaken up, as the vehicle’s shock absorbers were close to non-existent.
“Sorry, but we can’t take any chances,” said Pieter.
Erasmus, did you just say ‘sorry’ to a black person? You must be getting soft!
Pieter’s mind returned to reality as he opened the passenger door of the vehicle for Lindiwe to climb inside.
Pieter was grateful that the road was pretty quiet as this made his trip sitting next to a black woman that much easier and less suspicious.
It was a good few hours of chit-chat before the Lieutenant tried his luck for a breakthrough.
“Lindiwe, who do you think would want to kill Mandela?”
The girl thought long and hard over the question before answering.
“The attack could come from someone in the liberation movement who wants to get to the top of the ranks at the expense of Mandela, or for that matter it could come from the apartheid South Africa side to put a wedge in possible talks between the government and the ANC,” she said.
Pieter was impressed with the maturity of the answers. He felt comfortable that Lindiwe had not yet worked out that it was he, Lieutenant Pieter Erasmus, who was on a mission to execute Mandela.
“How long do you think it will be before apartheid falls, if it ever does?” he questioned.
“The pressure from the world on the South African government to change their ways must be immense, so the sooner the better, but in reality, I would imagine it could be a good ten to twenty years before change happens,” said Lindiwe.
“I am sure that change will happen. God hates oppression, just like he hated seeing the Israelites being oppressed by the Egyptians all those years ago.”
Pieter nodded. He had never thought of the Israelites vs Egyptians scenario and again, he was impressed by the way that Lindiwe thought things through. Was he wrong to go with his parent’s thinking of: “Die volgende swart persoon met n idea, gaan die eerste swart persoon met n idea (the next black person with an idea will be the first black person with an idea)?”
Suddenly, Pieter hit the brakes of the vehicle.
“What is wrong?” asked Lindiwe.
“We are nearing the South African-Swaziland border post. You will need to jump into the back of the van again?” said the Lieutenant.
“I thought the Swazis don’t believe in apartheid?” asked Lindiwe.
“Yes, but the Afrikaners this side of the border do,” replied the cop.
“Once we are well over the border, I will let you back into the front of the van.”
The swap took place and Lindiwe felt slightly embarrassed as the South African border control officials looked at her through the caged windows of the vehicle as if she was some sort of animal.
She refused to look back at the oppressor. In fact, now that she thought of it, Pieter was the only member of the oppressor that she looked at or spoke with. She had no white friends at the university. This was the power of the mindset of apartheid. It was Black and White or as the ANC and the Nationalist Party would call it – Black vs White!
On the other side of the border, a Swazi man who stamped Pieter’s passport seemed more interested in what was on the television screen that why a white cop was bringing a black South African girl into Swaziland.
Soon the South African police vehicle was on its way in the Republic of Swaziland and Pieter drove for a good twenty kilometres before stopping to allow Lindiwe to move to the passenger seat in the front of the vehicle next to him again.
As the vehicle navigated the way over the mountain towards the Swaziland capital city of Mbabane, Pieter could only think about how things would go pearshaped if Mandela was killed.
“If only we knew the identity of the man or men who was so keen to kill Mandela,” he muttered.
“Tell me about it,” replied the girl.
1994 would be just a number without Mandela. A Mandela-less society could see apartheid going on for a good numbers of years more, before another leader of his stature came to the fore.
If Pieter was not one hundred percent sure before, he now believed wholeheartedly that Lindiwe did not know of his intentions to eliminate Mandela.
Lindiwe cleared her throat
“You never actually told me just why we are going to Swaziland?” she said.
“Well you never told me that you have a boyfriend,” he replied.
Lindiwe’s black face turned red with embarrassment.
“I don’t have a boyfriend,” she said.
“Ja (yes), ja (yes), why don’t I believe you?” teased the cop.
“It is true, I don’t have a boyfriend,” confirmed Lindiwe.
“I have no time for drama in my life. For me it is all about studying and taking the opportunities that have been given to me.”
“Well,” replied Pieter, as he chose his words carefully.
“Maybe you will have a boyfriend for tonight.”
Lindiwe stared at him but Pieter’s eyes were firmly focused on the road.
“Oh, so that is why you brought me to Mbabane when I thought that you were taking me to Pretoria?” she joked.
She kept her eyes on Pieter. He was not hard to look at and this time it was her turn to ask questions.
“What about you?” she asked.
“What about me?” he said.
“How many wives, girlfriends or children?” questioned Lindiwe.
“Zero on all fronts, I am just too busy trying to serve my country,” remarked the Lieutenant.
“Oh, yes, I believe that,” she teased and they both laughed.
“What do you believe?” asked Pieter.
“The part about me serving my country?”
“No, the part about you not having wives, girlfriends or children,” replied Lindiwe.
“Well, it is true,” said Pieter.
“There is just not enough time in a day for that but it will happen when the time is right.”
“That is exactly how I feel too,” said Lindiwe.
The sun had long since disappeared behind the mountain pass and Pieter could see the lights of the buildings in Mbabane in the distance.
Now it was time for the cop to play the balancing act. He wanted to take Lindiwe to some sort of decent place overnight, but he was on a lowly police salary.
Once parked outside the Royal Swazi Spa Hotel in one of the main streets in Mbabane, Pieter left Lindiwe in the vehicle and went to the reception desk inside the building.
He read off of a chalk blackboard near the doorway.
What! Special Rates R200 per room per night plus R20 per person for breakfast! Including free massage! Are these people crazy? For that price I better own the room and all that is in it! It wasn’t holiday season. Why were the prices so damn expensive?
Calm down, Erasmus, he thought. Seize the moment!
Pieter returned to the police vehicle.
“So, did you book us two rooms?” asked Lindiwe with a twinkle in her eye.
“This place is full up,” he said.
“Are you sure?” asked Lindiwe and before Pieter could answer, the girl has swung the passenger door of the vehicle wide open and was heading inside the building.
Pieter gritted his teeth. This girl!
He followed her into the hotel building.
Lindiwe saw the black chalkboard that contained the special prices.
“Wow!” she exclaimed.
“Only R200 for a room, but R20 for breakfast and a free massage too. What a cheap deal!”
Yes, if you are not paying for it, thought Pieter.
Before he could stop her, Lindiwe was at the reception desk.
“Two rooms on the special deal please,” she said to the lady behind the counter.
Pieter’s eyes were raging.
“Make that one room with two breakfasts and two massages,” he said.
Lindiwe now had the full picture of why she had been brought to Mbabane. She had feelings for Pieter which she had tried her best to control, but maybe this was a sign from the heavens above that this night should really happen.
“Are you looking forward to the massage?” asked the receptionist to Lindiwe.
The girl grinned. She wasn’t entirely sure what the massage entailed. It was not something that one found to often in the black community. Rather than looking foolish, she answered in a positive way.
“Definitely,” said Lindiwe with a smile.
Something was telling her that this trip to Mbabane was a part of her destiny and would change her life forever. Just how, she was not quite sure.
Suddenly, Lindiwe remembered what her Gogo had always said to her. ‘My dear, don’t trust the white man. I have lived a life of hardship under white rule but I don’t want you to suffer in the same way.’
However, being with Pieter left Lindiwe with a fuzzy feeling deep down inside. He certainly did not come across as the aggressive, dominant white male that Albertina has warned her about.
There was something special about Pieter and Lindiwe was out to take her chance here in Mbabane – the chance that she was unlikely to get in South Africa.
An hour later, Pieter and Lindiwe found themselves in a hotel bedroom together. Black and White together with no boundaries!
The room had all the frills. The silk sheets reminded Lindiwe of the bedroom set up that Gogo Albertina had told her about when she awoke from the explosion at the laboratory.
On the sideboard there was a bowl containing apples, peaches and bananas. There was also a bottle of mineral water with a glass next to it on the pedestal on each side of the double bed. Her mind ticked over. Lindiwe, this is what life should be like!
Pieter began to remove his police uniform and before Lindiwe knew it, he was undressing her.
She didn’t resist. She wanted this as much as he did.
Before long they were both naked between the sheets together. Lindiwe had never in her wildest dreams thought that she would be giving up her virginity to a white man. Here it was happening – Black and White!
As Pieter penetrated her, she yelled ‘Ubaba’ in excitement.
“What does ‘Úbaba’ mean?” asked the cop as he ran his hands over Lindiwe’s firm breasts.
Lindiwe could not believe that she had used that word.
“It means ‘father’,” she explained in a shy voice.
Pieter was stunned but decided not to question her.
Lindiwe fell asleep in Pieter’s arms and the cop began to question the future. Was this how the New South Africa would be? Did it really need to be stopped? Should he continue with the mission of eliminating Nelson Mandela?
Pieter held Lindiwe tight with his left arm around her back and ran his right hand over his forehead. The word ‘Ubaba’ kept running through his mind. He now knew what the word meant but why did Lindiwe use that word? He wasn’t old enough to be her father.
Erasmus, you need to work it out before it kills you. There is something special about this girl!
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