It’s a bright and sunny day in eSikhawini, North of KwaZulu-Natal, and this clique of young boys is lazily soaking themselves in the sun deliberately avoiding all chores in their households. It’s the schools’ Easter holidays and “they deserve the break” they argue and they are often separated during school days so they deserve a hangout as well without any “selfish” orders from ever so demanding parents.
Sphephelo Madlala is a control freak always doing whatever possible to set trends within this group of theirs, “Danoneh tsa Banna” he calls his gang. He had been to Johannesburg in the previous summer holidays and he found Sotho language rather interesting and he liked the idea of him being the only one who understood it. Having to explain that choice of words to his friends was a good boost to his overly protected and high valued ego. In his mind he imagined all crew members being wealthy superstars and very lucky with ladies. How else could they enjoy their life without company of beauty queens, mind you they must be slender and look exactly like those models and stars he saw on magazines and television. Of course ladies would be so grateful of an opportunity to being in love with the Danoneh tsa Banna, they would be so cool and “too loaded” for words, such a good catch to ladies.
The group was in heavy discussions on what happened in school, especially on number of ladies chased and how thrilling those rushes were. Undeniably the whole team still had no girlfriends, but that should not be for long. He quickly got tired and was embarrassed of having to say the same thing as the previous year. He was the leader so he needed to come through for the team, or so he thought.“Madoda, I am so over being single. Ubushimane bodwa lobu and our group will get no respect. Did you see those boys form the H1 Section? They are sharp. Girls love them because they are so cool. We need to find out what they do better and work on it so we can take their girls” Seeing seriousness on Sphephelo’s face Sizwile downplays this comment and says, “Haw Brazo, why would you worry about girls in H1? Focus on your neighbour Simkile, have you noticed how she lights up when she sees you? Bro you better do something or she will lose respect.” Out of all members of his group this was the member S’phephelo was watching closely as he felt he could push him over in his leadership role whenever he liked, Sizwile wanted nothing of this shaky power.
As much as Sizwile, whose surname was Dlamini, liked the idea of chasing girls he was humbled by his elder brother Mnqobi, currently studying in Ongoye who was at the prime of his womanising days. The man was so smooth all ladies literally turned enemies to get into his BMW Gusheshe and his friends too. As for their dress sense, WOW!!! He couldn’t have asked for a better brother, he thought. Whenever he asked his brother about girls he would tell him, “Women are not attracted to a broke man lil’ bro. If you want good quality women you must focus on making money first and they’ll be queuing for your attention”. Sizwile respected his brother and valued his opinions as he clearly enjoyed ladies’ company more than his peers who evidently looked up to him.
That was easy to believe, as his brother was always occupied by a string of high quality women. Of course quality being women looking as if they were going to high profiled photo shoots or events just for the front seat of his brother’s car. Ladies could not afford to drop the ball as her alternates were almost as perfect. Indeed this was the desired life to any man with balls. Sizwile idealised his brother who regularly teased him of his name as an initial point of defeat to girls. The name “Mnqobi” was fashionably popular with girls whereas the name Sizwile sounded weird and boring, he argued. This is why Sizwile had decided that Sizwe would be a better name for him as that was most popular name with the girls; at least his brother approved this name. The next step was to get his peers using this name more often than his parents’ given name.
“Bafwethu”, he said, “we need to forget about chasing after women and chase after money. Girls will literally fight to be our girlfriends”. Please note that I do not like to be called Sizwile, I think it’s too old. Rather use the name, Sizwe, instead. The group had a laugh and decided that was cool. Sphephelo decided his name was too cool so he shortened it. Although Ntozokwenziwa did not like any change to his name he gave in to peer pressure which saw him being named “Ntokzeen” while Zenzele voluntarily chose the name “Zakes” as a more streetwise name for him. The group agreed to use these names whenever around peers since parents would throw tantrums over that fresh change of names. Ntozokwenziwa Gasela argued that the group needed to study and forget the useless habits like that of chasing after women. Deep down Ntokzeen was fascinated by women but the stage freight would get the better of him before he could say, “Hi” to the girl of his dreams. Yes, he did have a girl he liked but had kept it a secret watching her every move and admiring from a distance. As much as he pulled an ’I don’t care about women” front his friends in the Danoneh tsa banna group could see right through him and laughed at his actions regularly, whenever the subject arose or whenever they had very little to chat about.
Zakhele Ndlela (a.k.a. Zakes) was a laid back person always going with the flow. Because Sphe always came up with ideas he would, just follow him. Not because he was being bossed around but because he chose to, or at least he thought. Zakes secretly wished the boys would consider Sphe’s proposal of taking girls from the H1 Section from those arrogant boys who thought they were hot shots. This is why he brought the discussion back to life. “Majita we need to re-look into this H1 issue, those girls are as good as ours. We have a few smooth operators here, like Sphe (Sphe gives an arrogant smile).
Boys agreed to washing up to later go H1 Section where they would jointly court any girl they met irrespective of whether she’s dating or not. In fact if she dated a local boy it would be even more interesting since any fight can be won, indeed this was good confidence at its best. Boys went back to their homes and washed and changed. Ntokzeen forgot to lock the gate and had to go back to his house. It was not far from their meeting point he supported. Now Ntokzeen had another type of granny, a very clever one who always messed plans up whenever the crew was on some “irresponsible missions”.
Knowing the profile of Ntokzeen’s grandmother boys reluctantly agreed to waiting for Ntokzeen while he went to lock the gate. They remember times Ntokzeen and his granny messed nice drinking times for the whole group when she crushed any group meetings on that time complaining that it was late for young boys to be around, not forgetting the day she made all group members to breath out to her face so she could pick up any cigarette scent in their mouths. If they were guilty the sentence was beyond their imagination, fortunately they were in the clear. Indeed the boys became very worried as Ntokzeen seemed to take more than expected.
After 15 minutes Ntokzeen came out but the granny was with him too. She asked them where they were going. Sphe created some story she understood and further gave Ntokzeen money so they could go via a supermarket since she needed some groceries. Boys were beyond excited, this was a small price to pay from this ever so investigative old lady. This was a good sign, this meant their trip would bear beautiful ladies. Indeed the boys left and found a couple of girls who were at the shop. Sphe and Zakes tried to make moves on them, girls ran away and the boys chased them. Girls ran for their lives and it dawned on the chasers that perhaps these were not the only girls around so they turned back to the shop to meet the other boys who had all sorts of paranoia. In essence the trip was cut short as they needed to be out of there as soon as they could, in case the girls came back with their elders looking for them since they had been naughty.
The trip back was too quick as the reality of being clapped was closer to them than they had anticipated, thanks to the two culprits (Sphe and Zakes). When they got to their neighbourhood boys decided to chill at Zake’s home as no one was home except for the domestic worker. One major reason was to reminisce on the confidence booster they just had, they went to H1 and came back having “spoken” to two girls, the same girls that were chased to their homes by Sphe and Zakes. The chat was too enjoyable as they argued who was wrong and how they could have done it better; how those girls would want to see them in future. The conversation was full of praise of the two for bravery and the pressure was exerted on the other two team members who decided not to chase girls in the first place. Ntokzeen was relegated to his granny to return the groceries.
When Ntokzeen returned he must have been ten minutes into the conversation when they all were stunned by the sudden appearance of the girls with one elderly lady with them. All three boys except for Ntokzeen ran away. When the girls saw this they then came into Zake’s home and the girls confirmed that Ntokzeen had been there but did not chase them. They confirmed with the domestic worker where the other boys lived whilst visiting their homes in the process. Apparently the kids knew all of these boys as they all went to church together and had come with elders in the neighbourhood and saw these boys hanging out. Fortunately for Ntokzeen and Sizwile they were laughed at by their elders since they had done nothing wrong. Zake’s mother on the other hand was furious and ordered both Zakes and Sphe to her house and gave them a beating so they learn never to be such cowards in future, she said. They became such a laughing stock of the whole neighbourhood with local girls running hard whenever they see them.
In the midst of all that the group noted that the ever so feisty granny was quiet on the matter, she just left it alone. This happened until the last day before the school re-opens where the granny casually made a joke to Ntokzeen and his sisters. “Schools are re-opening at least this mischievous Ntozokwenza’s group will focus on school books and not chase young girls with their spare time but study. Please note that I will not pay any bail for you when you get arrested Nto, don’t ever chase anybody. If a girl runs it means she was taught well end knows that she’s young for chatting to boys, respect that. In fact that’s a real wife material you’ll need a woman like that when you are a man, a woman who won’t go around playing buddy buddy with other men”, she said. Ntokzeen and his siblings were tongue tied with the laughter coming out only when the old lady had left the dining room.
The news came to the ears of Sizwile’s brother and he played it cool until a week before school re-opening when he had a hangout with his friends and their girls. It was just a lazy Sunday which Sizwile brother, Mnqobi’s crew decided to turn that day to a “Fun Day” relaxing nicely with babes on his home’s lawn at the front yard. Mnqobi’s mother has a very soft spot for her sons. As a single parent she has become very happy with her two boys staying in school and more proud of the elder brother leading by example by going to University.
As a result she would allow him to do anything including drinking with friends, “at least they are here infront of me,” she would tell herself whenever thoughts of doubts surfaced. There rumours that the neighbours did not approve of so much free will being given to young boys, “Mnqobi and Sizwile” by their mother considering what Mnqobi would do, driving in a flashy car at his age. When Mnqobi’s father passed away he left a BMW 3 series which was subsequently taken by Mnqobi since he had a license. The mother had a lift to Ngwelezane Hospital where she worked as a sister nurse and would catch a lift with neighbours or catch a taxi to church and she was not complaining.
While Mnqobi was hanging with his friends Sizwile came passing from his friends, one of the jokers of the crew shouted, “So how are brothers afraid of chicks doing Sizwile” Sizwile paused and responded in shock, “I beg yours?” He went on, “I’ve never even seen you accompanying just the local girls to the Tuck Shop at the corner” The whole crowd including Mnqobi laughed and Sizwile felt belittled and too shy and started slowly drifting away past the section of camp chairs with laughing boys and girls his brother’s age. Seeing how his brother was being ridiculed Mnqobi decided to intervene, “man you are so outdated, Sizwe’s crew are smooth operators lately they recently had a mission but I won’t tell…tell them young brother. “What happened in H1 lil’bro?” he asked with tears in his eyes from laughter. Sizwe responded with a shy smile, “We went after some girls” His brother laughed so hard that he signalled to him to leave so he could catch his breath. He then told the crew the whole story and they all laughed. Sizwe at this time was peeping through the window at his brother doing gestures that helped clarify his story to his friends, much to the laughter of everybody who was there.