D Siders

Talk Radio

Previously...
A group of activists had vandalised Buhle Zungu's office.

When Grace awoke, Brendon had already left for work.

She luxuriated in the warmth of the bed.

She lay back, enjoying the ripple of sunlight that crossed the room, bathing the bed in a warm golden light.

 

She and Brendon were enjoying something of a ‘second honeymoon’ period in their romance.

The pregnancy had shifted the goal posts of the relationship somewhat, and Grace was pleased with how it had altered Brendon’s behaviour.

He’d become more attentive in his manner, more caring, more loving, and definitely hotter in bed too!

He was holding up his side of the relationship nowadays – sharing chores, cooking dinner when Grace didn’t feel like it, taking more care in every aspect – she was happy.

 

Grace only had to be at work at 1 pm, so she decided to have a rather lazy morning.

As she swung her legs out the side of the bed though, she felt a cramp in her stomach.

Was it because of what they’d eaten last night?

They’d gone for Indian food with Emma, and it had been very spicy.

She walked to the kitchen, and put an espresso pod into the coffee maker.

 

Again, the spasm in her tummy cried out.

It felt like a sting, a twist of the guts.

She decided against her coffee. She opted instead for some herbal tea.

I need to stay away from spicy food for a while, she thought.

 

She climbed back into bed, annoyed at the fact that she felt unwell.

She flipped her laptop open, read some emails, worked a bit on the alcohol budget for the Lesay.

The herbal tea was fragrant, and soothed her agitated stomach a little.

She hoped she wasn’t coming down with a tummy bug or something.

Simon had caught a 24-hour bug about a week ago, and he’d complained how he’d spent an entire night throwing up and wishing himself dead, more or less, so violent it had been.

I’m so not in the mood to get sick now, thought Grace.

 

At 12, she took a shower.

That was what she needed.

She walked into the bathroom, twisted the hot water tap. The water jetted out, hissing.

She stripped her underclothes off, tossing them in a heap on the floor.

She stepped into the shower and was immediately soothed by the hot spray of water massaging her shoulders.

 

She didn’t notice one thing – she wasn’t paying much attention.

If she had been, she would have noticed a few spots of blood on her underwear.

 

Meanwhile…

 

Claire was in the recording studio of the campus radio station.

After putting up a few posters around campus, calling for action against the divisive statements of the SRC head, the radio station had asked her to come for an interview, and she’d agreed.

 

She sat with an Economics third year called Joel.

He was a tall Jewish guy, with a thick beard, and glasses.

Claire liked him.

She’d spoken to him at a couple of parties, and they’d always gotten along.

He had a great sense of humour, and was really smart.

 

“We’re here with Claire Campbell, creator of the ‘Down with H8’ posters y’alls have been seeing around campus. Say hey to the listeners, Claire.”

Claire cleared her throat, and spoke into the microphone. “Hey everyone,” she said.

“So, Claire, as I understand it, you take exception to the comments made by Buhle Zungu, head of the SRC. You think her views are prejudiced. Would you like to elaborate?”

“Yeah. So, to be clear, I think everyone is entitled to their beliefs. And I do believe in freedom of speech. But freedom of speech is a delicate thing. You need to use it responsibly. You can’t just go round saying ‘I hate blacks,’ or ‘down with the Jews,” and then say, oh, it’s freedom of speech. That is abusing that freedom.”

“I agree,” said Joel, nodding. “Are you ready to take our first caller?”

Claire gulped. “ I guess so,” she said.

“Well, ready of not, here they come! Hello, caller, are you there?”

A faint crackle on the telephone line, then a voice came through.

“Hi, yes, this is Kagiso.”

“Hey Kagiso,” said Claire.

“I just want to say that I’m just so tired of these gays always making a scene and asking for special rights. Why do I have to hear about it the whole time?”

Joel made a face, mouthing ‘sorry’ to Claire.

She smiled.

“Hey Kagiso. Ok, so, it’s like this. Gays and lesbians aren’t asking for special rights. They’re asking for EQUAL rights. Because at the moment, they’re not equal. They’re denied their rights in many countries all over the world, because of their orientation. So they’re not asking for special treatment, just to be treated the same as everyone else. It’s not hard.”

Joel nodded appreciatively.

“Next caller…hi, who’s there?” asked Joel.

“Hi, this is Gerard.”

“Hey Gerard,” said Claire.

“Um, the problem I have with gay rights is, do you think it’s right to expose children to this? It might lead them over to this lifestyle. That worries me.”

Claire wanted to laugh. Joel was laughing, but covering his mouth with his hand so that it was not audible.

“Ok, so, Gerard. You can’t catch being gay. It’s not like the flu. You’re born gay, end of story.”

“But,” interrupted Gerard.

“But nothing. One doesn’t become gay. That’s not how it works. If you believe different, you’ve been misinformed, sorry.”

She rolled her eyes at Joel.

“Are they all so stupid?” she mouthed silently.

Joel shrugged, his eyes full of mirth.

They took the next caller.

 

“Hi,” a rather prim, high voice said. “This is Buhle Zungu.”

Claire’s eyebrows shot up.

She looked at Joel for what to do next. He shrugged.

“Are you there?” asked the voice.

“I’m here.”

“So, Claire Campbell. You’re the one behind these posters. Did you know that my own posters from my office were ripped off and destroyed?”

Claire didn’t. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I’ll believe that when I hear it from your own mouth,” said Buhle’s voice. “In fact, I have a challenge. Meet me on the student plaza, in one hour. We’ll debate your little gay rights thing, in public, in front of people. Ok? Let’s see if you’re brave enough without your little posters. You game?”

Claire swallowed.

She didn’t know if she was prepared to meet this person.

 

What should Claire answer?

 

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