Teko desperately needed to Xaba to attend to him. He felt stranded in the bush...
Xaba had just attended to Teko's scar.
They all sat outside, behind his hut, with Teko's cousin present.
Xaba advised the initiate to let some air in, around his groin area. It was meant to speed the healing process up.
"You see what I told you," Xaba boasted. "You're healing up nicely, son. By the end of the week you'll be a hundred percent."
"You said that last week," Teko replied, examining his penis. It didn't look right to him, and it hurt like hell. "Thando, please check this out, bruh." He asked his cousin, in desperate need for another opinion.
Thando sat closer, taking a peak. "Yeah, you're good. It looks like that when you're healing. Congratulations, brother."
Xaba lit a cigarette, adding in his two cents again. "I know my job. I told you, everything is sorted ..."
"You've got nothing to be proud about, Bawu’ Xaba," Teko hissed, covering up now. "You're never here."
“You’re never here to help or give advice, but you claim you’re so brilliant at this.”
"Now you watch your mouth, BOY! Is this how you show your gratitude?"
"Gratitude? Really? If Thando wasn't here I would’ve probably died."
"Or ran away to the hospital. You're a coward," Thando teased, rolling a weed joint.
"I don't like your tone, Teko," Xaba cautioned. "You need to be very careful!"
"With all due respect, Bawu’ Xaba, I've been here for three weeks. I've only see you four times. Let’s be real - you didn't circumcise me. Thando did."
Thando froze, about to light his blunt up. What the hell is Teko on about? He thought, cringing. “Leave me out of this, dude.”
The elderly Xaba stood, struggling with his knees. He grabbed his goatskin satchel and knobkerrie off the ground. "The ancestors must be turning in their graves. I've never been so disrespected by an initiate before. This is an absolute first."
"Teko apologise," Thando whispered.
"I won't, I'm sorry. This is why so many Xhosa initiates die. Negligence!"
Xaba turned to Thando, displaying a sorrowful look. "Do you hear what this boy is saying? I wash my hands off him. Tell his uncle I won't be returning here, or even to the welcoming back home ceremony. I’m done," he concluded, limping away.
"Bawu’ Xaba don't do this," Thando pleaded, puffing out smoke, and going after him.
Xaba yelled out, clearly livid. "The boy is healed now, he doesn't need me, so he's cussing me out. It's fine. Ungrateful bastard!”
Teko shouted back. "Bawo Xaba, am I lying when I say you only came here only three times, excluding the first day? Am I false accusing you, old man? "
"I KNOW EXACTLY WHEN TO COME AND WHEN NOT TO, LIGHTIE. DON'T TELL ME HOW TO DO MY JOB!"
Thando trotted behind Xaba, begging him to stay. His asks fell on deaf ears.
“Teko has just invited the wrath of the ancestors,” Xaba explained, getting into his 4 x 4 bakkie.
“Could you please hear me out, Sir. Teko is just a bit frustrated, that’s all.”
A non-responsive Xaba started up his engine, and sped off.
Thando, deflated and saddened, walked back to Teko, behind the hut again.
"Chap, don't give me crap about what I said. Xaba needs a wake-up call. Many initiates will benefit from this beef we've just had today. Xaba needs to take this more seriously. It isn’t a joke. This is life or death – the dirty old fart."
Thando sat beside Teko.
He stretched his arm for a handshake. "I agree with you a thousand percent, cousin. Way to go."
They stared in each other's eyes, shaking hands in agreement.
A proud Teko felt like a real man.
Olwethu had taken some time to visit Teresa, that afternoon. She'd heard something disturbing about her dear friend, and clarification on it.
Teresa shared a two bedroom cottage with a church friend. It was a neatly kept place with Christian images and crucifixes all over.
Olz sat in the TV area with Teresa, drinking coffee.
T was happy to have Olwethu around. It meant that she was taking her Christian journey seriously.
She loved to teach the word, to new born-again Christians.
Olwethu felt uncomfortable about what she’d learnt. She urgently needed an answer. "T, there's something I wanna ask you, friend."
"Shoot. That's what I'm here for," Teresa responded, taking a sip. She assumed Olwethu had something to enquire, regarding scripture.
"It doesn't have anything to do with religion and stuff." Olz explained, trying to handle it with finesse. She had to walk on eggshells for this one, as she placed her cup aside.
Teresa turned to her. She'd caught her attention now. "What's up, Olz?"
"I have someone running my tavern, back home. His name is David ..."
"Okay ... we'll chat about selling liquor, just now - but carry on."
"Yeah, that's kinda my point, exactly."
"I wanna chat to you about selling booze, and that sort of thing."
"What are you saying, Olz?" Teresa asked, growing tired of the cryptic talk.
"David was at the liquor board recently, updating our license. He uh ... he tells me that apparently … apparently your mom also has a tavern in Jikaville."
Teresa dropped her head, looking away.
"And apparently there's also a gambling spot at your place - with dice, roulette, blackjack and stuff."
"What's your point, Olwethu?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all. I'm not judging,” Olz clarified, sounding open-minded. “I just wanted to know your side of the story. When Dave told me, I called him a liar and hung up on him. You’re Christian and righteous and stuff, so I assumed your mom is too."
Teresa facial expression told a tale of shame and embarrassment. "It's true."
"Yeah, it's true, Olz. That's why I'm trying to get a bursary. I have to get away from it all. I can't keep accepting the money - even if it's from my own mom."
Olwethu couldn't hide her genuine shock. "Oh my word, I thought David was lying."
"He isn't. After my dad died, we were kinda stranded. He left nothing behind for us. My mom had to start from scratch."
Olz took a supportive role - condoning it all. "It’s nothing to be shameful about. Your mom’s a fighter. That's what I'm talking about - a hustler. I respect your mother, dude. She’s doing what she must."
"Yeah sure. But it doesn't make it right. It's still the devil's money."
"Liquor and gambling ... It's evil. It destroys lives. I can't be a part of it."
"That isn't fair, T. Your mom is looking out for you, feeding you, paying your school fees."
"Oh yeah, whatever happened to being a nurse, a social worker or a school teacher? Respectable jobs!"
"You sound like a spoiled ungrateful little brat right now. It isn't cool."
"What did you say?" Teresa asked, offended and staring Olwethu dead in her eyes.
"I said, your mom is working her butt off, and all you can do is mock her. You're spoiled T, and it isn't cool."
Teresa stood, livid. "I think you should go, Olwethu.
"Teresa, your mom is doing the best ..."
"OLWETHU PLEASE! You don't know anything about my family. Please leave," Teresa ordered, walking over to the door and opening it wide.
"Unbelievable!" Was Olz’s response. She casually sipped the last of her coffee, grabbed her wallet, stood and walked over to the exit. "Not everything has to be about good and bad, T," Olz explained. "Sometimes it's just about survival." She stepped out, turning around to face her friend. “We all have to eat, somehow.”
"Even if it’s the devil’s meal, right? Olwethu go home please."
It felt like Olz was enjoying it, and it killed Teresa inside.
"Girlfriend, it's nothing to be ashamed of."
"By the way, I heard you're back to selling drugs again, back home. I hope it's just a rumour. You see, I also have ears back home. Bye bye Olwethu."
Olwethu froze, speechless, with a dumb look on her, as Teresa shut the door.
Will there be consequences for Teko's insolence? Is it the end of Olwethu and Teresa's friendship?