Chapter Fifteen – A Visit to Gogo
Lindiwe Buthelezi ran her hands over her face as she sat upright in bed in her small bedroom in Mamelodi East. Was she losing her mind? As pleasant as her dream was, it was also freaky. Was it a sign of her future? Was she going to get married to a white man and live in a plush suburb in Pretoria once equality had been reached for all and the New South Africa had come to pass?
She would have liked nothing more. Hang on a minute, how did Ma Albertina Buthelezi end up in her dream? She hadn’t seen her mother for quite some time and out of the blue there she was, in the middle of Lindiwe’s potential future!
Lindiwe had never drank alcohol in her life, but how she longed for a stiff whisky Maybe it would things fall into place. No, Lindi, stay disciplined, she thought. She made her way to the kitchen and boiled the kettle to make herself a cup of coffee.
She knew what she had to do. Albertina surely knew much more about the ANC and Nelson Mandela. It was a long shot, but maybe Albertina had heard of persons who planned on eliminating Mandela. Lindiwe needed to know the identity of these individuals before things took a turn for the worse.
Everything in Lindiwe’s dream had seemed so real but had yet provided more questions than answers. The white Lindiwe or Linda was married to a white man and living in upmarket Pretoria in the New South Africa?
How far off was this from reality? How soon would Nelson Mandela be released from prison to become South Africa’s first democratically-elected President?
Next, why was Louise Burrell still in her dream? Surely the CNN political reporter would have been back in the US by this stage?
Thirdly, why was there no sign of Pieter Erasmus in her dream, unless… No, Lindi, surely not, she thought. Unless Pieter was the man that she was to marry!
Ouch! Lindiwe tried to pour some boiling water from the kettle into a coffee mug but her hands were shaking so much that some of the hot water landed on her wrist, leaving a burning sensation.
She glanced out the window and noticed that the rain clouds had been replaced by marvellous sunshine. Her next glance was at an old clock above the kitchen door. It was 10h00. Time was flashing by. Lindiwe needed to wash and hit the road as she had promised that she would meet Louise and Pieter at 11h00 at the Vosloo Grill.
Lindiwe abandoned her coffee idea and poured the water into a stainless steel basin. Houses in the townships were not like those in the suburbs. Very few had bathrooms and almost none had hot water cylinders. People washed by heating water in an urn or kettle and pouring it into a basin or plastic bath thereafter, some cold after was added and in you jump for the washing part to take place.
White people would surely see this as highly inconvenient but this is how it was in the townships. Few complained or new any better.
Once she was done washing, Lindiwe went through her daily routine of taking the basin the back door and out into the yard where she poured the used water down a drain.
Then it was time to slip into a pair of jeans and a pink blouse, before working some red lipstick over her lips. She tied her short hair extensions back into a ponytail and was good to go.
Lindiwe grabbed her small handbag and headed out the door, before locking it.
As much as she was looking forward to catching up with Louise again, the previous night’s dream was still flashing through her mind.
God must have sent Louise and Pieter into my life for a reason, thought Lindiwe. Two white people (one Afrikaner male and a female from the US) sent to connect with a black teenager from Mamelodi. Why, Lord why?
Until she had that answer, she wasn’t keen on meeting with Pieter alone. At least that is what her common sense told her. Her heart was telling her another story.
Lindiwe made her way down the damp street and to the taxi rank. Once inside a taxi, she was able to apply more thought about how to handle the meeting with Louise in Pretoria. She needed answers and was hell-bound to get them come hell or high water. The former might come first, she thought as the situation was becoming more complicated by the day. Who was the man who was on a mission to eliminate Mandela and push South Africa to the brink of civil war? It would be Black vs White but it didn’t have to be this way!
Lindiwe stepped off the taxi and made her way towards the Vosloo Grill. By chance, she bumped into Louise Burrell at the entrance.
“Hello, Louise, let’s go to the coffee shop next door, as I don’t want my bosses here to know more about my life than they should,” said Lindiwe with a smile.
Lindiwe checked her wristwatch. It was 11h02 as she walked behind Louise into Rita’s Koffeekroeg (coffee bar). Two ladies, both in the fifties, sat at a table near the counter and gave Louise some up-and-down looks.
“Dink jy dis haar huisebediender saam met haar (do you think that is her maid with her)?” said the grey-haired woman with pink highlights in her hair, to the other with reference to Lindiwe.
Clearly, the woman thought that Louise was bringing her black maid for tea.
“Ja nee, dinge verander hier in Suid_Afrika vir die slegte (yes, things are changing for the worse here in South Africa),” replied the other woman, who got caught out staring at Lindiwe, by Louise.
Lindiwe had not even noticed the two women looking at her.
“So, you are not going to believe this, but I had a dream last night and you were in it,” began Lindiwe, as she leaned forward on the table opposite Louise.
“Oh really, please tell me that I was married to some rich gentleman and that I was not a lowly CNN political reporter,” joked the American woman.
“Actually, in the dream, I was the one who was about to get married to some rich white guy and wait for it, Louise, I was white in the dream,” said Lindiwe.
Louise howled with laughter.
“I will tell the waiter to take it easy on whatever they are putting in your orange juice because it is making you go crazy,” said Louise.
Wow! Lindiwe’s eyes broadened as if she had just seen a ghost.
“What is wrong, Lindiwe?” asked Louise in a state of panic.
“You are not going to believe this, but what you said now about what the waiter and my orange juice is exactly what you said in the dream,” remarked the law student.
“Come on now, surely not,” said Louise, as she straightened the collar on her blue blouse.
“No, surely,” replied Lindiwe.
“Well, did you at least get to work out who you were going to marry in the dream?” asked the CNN reporter.
“No, we were sitting in a restaurant in Pretoria and I was being served by an Afrikaner called Koos, who owned the place,” quipped Lindiwe.
“It was freaky, Louise, you don’t understand.”
The waiter arrived and Louise ordered two cups of coffee and two slices of chocolate cake.
“It is on me,” she said with a wink to Lindiwe.
“I think all this Mandela detective work is finally getting to you,” commented the American.
Lindiwe puffed out her cheeks.
“Either something big is about to happen here or I am going mad,” said Lindiwe.
“Do you want to hear the next bit of my dream?” asked the law student.
“Hit me,” replied Louise.
“I haven’t seen my grandmother in quite some time, but there she was in my dream, telling me to embrace my situation as it is what I always wanted in life,” explained Lindiwe.
The waiter brought the coffees and cakes and Louise waited for the young woman to leave before continuing the conversation.
“While all of this was happening, you, Louise Burrell, told me that you got your exclusive interview with Nelson Mandela after he had been freed from prison, and had since become the President of South Africa,” said Lindiwe.
“Don’t you get it, Louise, what I saw was the New South Africa. It is not far off, I can feel it. I pray that is what is going to happen and that somebody doesn’t…”
Louise put a piece of chocolate cake on to her teaspoon and paused before raising it to her mouth.
“That someone doesn’t what…?” she asked.
“That someone doesn’t eliminate Mandela and ruin it all,” answered Lindiwe.
“Oh, come on, Lindiwe, surely the wheel of life has turned too far to allow such a thing to happen?” asked Louise rhetorically.
Lindiwe shrugged her shoulders.
“Tell me more about your mother,” requested the American woman.
“Albertina Buthelezi did her best to raise me and …” began Lindiwe.
“Hang, on, let’s get this straight, so Albertina is your mother?” asked Louise.
“Well no, but yes, but no,” replied Lindiwe, as the spirits of Lindiwe Senior and Lindiwe Junior seemed to be clashing in her body.
“Lindiwe, you are going crazy,” giggled Louise.
“You don’t understand, Louise, I need to get to Albertina,” snapped Lindiwe.
“She is the one who can answer all our questions, Louise,” said Lindiwe.
“She used to work…”
“Good morning, ladies,” interrupted a familiar voice.
“Fancy, bumping into you here.”
Lindiwe looked up into the eyes of a beaming Lieutenant Pieter Erasmus.
The cop, dressed in casual clothing, noticed the two middle-aged Afrikaner ladies at the table opposite, staring at him.
“Nog een wat dink dat die swartes is mens (another one who thinks that the blacks are human),” whispered the one lady to the other.
Pieter heard the comment and couldn’t argue with it. After all, he was the aggressive, ultra-racist Lieutenant Pieter Erasmus, who was trained to eliminate black uprisings for the good of his country!
Yet, something didn’t feel right. What was happening here, thought Pieter.
He needed the black Lindiwe Buthelezi as much as she needed the white Pieter Erasmus. Louise was just the middle lady, making up the numbers.
“It is like deja vu, with you appearing unannounced each time,” said Louise with a smile.
“Be careful what you wish for,” said Pieter with a wink to the American.
“Oh, I am not wishing, I am just surprised,” said Louise.
“Ja nee (yes), that is what all the woman say,” replied Pieter, as he placed his grey jersey down on the table in front of Lindiwe.
Lindiwe was stunned. Was Pieter flirting with Louise or was it the other way round?
Of course, unbeknown to Lindiwe, Pieter was just sticking to his strategy. He needed to make Louise think that he was keen on her, but actually, he needed to stay as close as possible to the black girl.
“En jy (and you)?” said the cop, looking at Lindiwe.
“When are you planning on telling me the true story of why you are so interested in getting to Mandela?” he asked.
Lindiwe shot a glance across at Louise and the American got the message. It was a psychic exchange of Louise, whatever you do, don’t tell Pieter about Albertina!
Louise shot a psychic message back via body language. I got it, Lindiwe.
“I am just a South African girl who is interested in the goings-on locally and abroad,” replied Lindiwe.
Pieter’s eyes started to rage.
Yes, right. I was born at night, but not last night. This girl was hiding something and he was going to find out what it is even if it is the last thing that he does.
He would need to watch her movements closer than ever before. Pieter was convinced that the apartheid regime was holding Mandela somewhere in Cape Town other than Robben Island.
So with Lindiwe being back in Pretoria, she couldn’t possibly be looking to shoot the ANC man, he schemed. If she wasn’t planning on killing Mandela, then why was she so interested in him?
“You seem so insistent on finding out what we know, why don’t you tell us why it was so important for you to follow an American reporter and a black South African girl all the way from Cape Town to Pretoria,” said Louise.
Pieter’s eyes lit up and for a moment it seemed as if he was going to lose his temper.
What right did this foreigner have in asking him what he was doing on this case?
He had punched many a man’s lights out for asking much less.
However, he needed to keep his cool and not cause a scene in front of Lindiwe. Pieter didn’t want the black girl to think that all Afrikaner men were punch-hungry, dominant-minded individuals. To hell with Louise, it is Lindiwe that I need!
Lindiwe gobbled down what was left of her chocolate cake and swallowed the last few mouthfuls of her coffee, before pushing back on her chair.
“Guys, I really need to go, I have a load of things to do,” said the law student.
I bet, thought Pieter.
Lindiwe thanked Louise for the refreshments and left at speed.
Pieter turned to leave as well.
“Where are you off too?” asked Louise.
Pieter shot a glance at her.
He hadn’t liked Louise Burrell from the start and didn’t like being questioned by her.
“Some of us have to work,” he said, as he headed off.
Louise watched him walk away and noted that he headed off in the opposite direction to Lindiwe.
This was Pieter’s plan to get around the corner and then do a u-turn to follow the black girl without Louise knowing.
“Dis Swartgevaar hier (it is Black Danger here),” said the intelligence unit man over a pay phone to his contact in Pretoria.
Erasmus was weer saam met daai Amerikaner en die swart meisie by n koffee plek in Pretoria. Ek volg hom heeltyd, moenie worry nie.the intelligence unit man
(Erasmus was again with that American and the black girl in a coffee shop in Pretoria. I am following him the whole time, don’t worry).”
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