For an adult, a failed business can result in thoughts of suicide. For a young, impressionable person, however, even getting teased on the internet can lead to suicide. Especially when you have been labelled “a slut” and “porn star” all in one week.
An old friend returns
While manning the bar at Sonto’s Inn, Pretty encountered a big spending customer who, by her expensive looking clothes, seemed out of place in a Gomora tavern. The lady ordered the most expensive bottle of whisky for herself and handed out money to complete strangers. While Pretty was still trying to figure out this big spender Sbonga entered the tavern and gasped. A look of recognition lit up his face.
The two childhood friends sat down and caught up, much to jealous wife Pretty’s annoyance. When Sbonga asked her how she managed to get rich, Cleo let him in on a secret.
How I got rich
After showing off pictures of her sports car and modern north coast mansion, Cleo told Sbonga about her investment company, Pusha. Through Pusha Investments, Cleo doubles, triples money deposited by clients. Sbonga was taken in by the allure of instant riches. He too wanted a life like Cleo’s and the respect of a community that looks down on him. Cleo invited him to invest just R1000, a small amount by her standards but a small fortune for someone like Sbonga.
Sbonga makes a killing
Having no money of his own, Sbonga asked his baby mama for R1000, she did not have the money to waste on a dodgy scheme. In fact, Pretty was not the only skeptic. His daughter Tshiamo cautioned him, as did niece Buhle. Sbonga tried to get the money from MaZet but she too thought it was financial suicide. MaZet would know something dodgy if she saw it, after all, she is a professional thief.
Finally Sbonga made a phone call to a friend who sent him a thousand Rand e-wallet. He gave the money to Cleo and within no time she gave him back R3000. He promptly told his daughter to eat as much bacon as she wanted and then he did what all black men do once they make it; he bought new sneakers!
Sbonga Takes a bigger gamble
As Sbonga enjoyed his new shoes, someone was watching him with envious eyes. Zodwa did not need convincing to buy into Cleo’s Ponzi scheme.
What’s that song again? The one our parents played on the car radio during long road trips. No, not Jerusalema. Kenny Rogers, The Gambler, yes that’s it.
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done…”
Every investment is a gamble, even the safest ones. Sbonga broke the first rule of gambling; know when to take your winnings and walk away while you still can. Rather than walk away with the R3000 he got from Cleo, Sbonga and the equally ambitious Zodwa pooled their resources together.
Cleo wanted big investments now. A thousand rands was too little. She upped the minimum to R10,000. Sbonga and Zodwa were still short of the R10,000 mark. So Sbonga did the unthinkable. He stole Mam Sonto’s money and added it into the gambling kitty, as good as suicide. I held my breath… and Cleo came through for Sbonga! Just when I was preparing for Sbonga’s funeral.
Zodwa assured him that it wasn’t stealing if you pay it back. Once you repay stolen money, you “unsteal it.”
After Sbonga multiplied his R10,000, Cleo increased the level enticement. Next investment has to be R50,000. Kenny Rogers is singing — “know when to walk away and know when to run” — and Sbonga isn’t listening. I sense he is about to commit financial suicide.
Justice for Buhle?
After Sisanda admitted to leaking the nude photographs of Buhle and Ntokozo, Principal Dlamini called the cops on her. Absolutely the right thing to do. Apart from the humiliation of Ntokozo and Buhle, it is worth noting that Buhle is a minor. Legally speaking, Sisanda distributed child pornography. Finally Buhle got justice. But as everyone knows, with sex related offences, female survivors always end up doubly victimised. As the police took Sisanda away, Buhle’s classmates turned on her, apparently for snitching. More misery followed.
When the nude photos reached Thathi’s Sandton friends, the former socialite completely forgot that her daughter was the victim. Thathi blamed Buhle for making her the laughing stock of a suburb in which she no longer lives. To add insult to injury, a pornographic DVD circulated with Buhle’s photo as the cover image!
Principal Dlamini made Ntokozo and Buhle issue an apology to the entire school before demoting them from their positions as class representative. Furthermore Buhle and Ntokozo were scratched from the school debating team leaving Teddy – the boy who is always caught in the middle of Melusi Ntokozo fights – with the responsibility to choose new debating team members.
In all of this, Buhle received little to no sympathy from Thathi who told her “I wish I had aborted you.” It is one thing for a young person to be bullied at school but to be verbally abused at home is the worst.
Ntokozo runs away
After an argument with his mother, Melusi demanded that Ntokozo apologize to Gladys. But Ntokozo stood his ground. He got a thorough belting for his troubles. Eish, I am losing count of the beatings Ntokozo has received from his father. Ntokozo finally decided he had had enough. He packed his bag and left, but not before saying goodbye to the love of his life, Buhle.
Unfortunately, Ntokozo was never ready for life on the streets. He camped in one of the Gomora Seconday classrooms. Melusi, Langa and Teddy found him reading a book. After a brief skirmish with his father, Ntokozo agreed to go back home. The boy was never serious about running away. A proper run-away child does not go and spend the night at the very school where his father works.
During Pretty’s war with Mam Sonto over her inheritance, the Molefe sisters had buried the hatchet. But the ceasefire only lasted a week. Hostilities resumed when Pretty sided with Buhle after the child refused to go to school, fearing that she would face more bullying from her classmates. To silence her older sister, Pretty threatened to tell Buhle the “real reason” why Thathi opposed her relationship with Ntokozo. Of course, Pretty is the only one who knows that Langa is Melusi’s biological son and Ntokozo is therefore somewhat relate to his girlfriend, Buhle. This 17 year old secret is about to come to light.
Buhle considers suicide
Everyone in Alex has seen her naked, she has been labelled a slut, strange old men now look at her with lustful eyes. Even her mother says she wished she had aborted her.
After enduring a difficult two weeks, Buhle decided to “join her father.” She wrote her goodbyes, dressed up for death and swallowed a fistful of pills. When the news of Buhle’s suicide reaches the same people who judged her, they will issue another verdict: she overdosed on pills all because of nudes. But the truth is more complex.
Back at school, Teddy, the supposedly “slow learner” had sensed that all was not well. He asked to be excused from class citing a full bladder even though he wanted to go and check on Buhle. With the drugs already coursing through her system, will Teddy get to her in time?
Till next week, my pen is capped.
Gomora airs weekdays at 7:30 pm on Mzansi Magic
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A fan of natural African hair with a love for books and television. If it’s on Mzansi Magic… I’ve probably seen it.
My pen is capped