Short Story


By Lawrence Kadzitche


It is my first time for me to go outside Malawi. After promising a quarter of my training allowances to the fat frog of a training officer, I find myself at Kamuzu International Airport waiting for the big bird to carry me for a three-month company sponsored training course in South Africa.


“Take care of yourself,” my wife says as she sees me off at the airport. “Don’t let girls eat your allowances.”


Well, she says that just as a formality. I am happily married to her and cheating is something that has never entered my mind even in a nightmare. “I’ve got you, my beauty; why should I look for other women?”


“I’m not joking,” she says seriously. “I heard that girls in Johannesburg do not want to see Malawian men with money with eyes only.”


If that is the case, then I they will be grossly disappointed. I am going to Johannesburg for training and not to chase after women. To my wife I say, “That’s not true. Women do not propose to men…”


I arrive in Johannesburg. I confirm that that her admonitions were true when I go to have a drink in the bar of the hotel where I am staying.


“Hello!” a voice purrs in my ear.


I turn my head and instantly get blinded. Standing beside me is a very beautiful girl. I blink in the glare of her radiant beauty.


“I’m Nomsa,” the girl introduces herself. “You’re from Malawi, not so?”


I stare at her, my mouth frozen in an “O”.


“Let me buy you a drink, dear,” she says going to the counter.


My eyes follow her as she waltzes to the counter. She has a buxom behind of a size that I have never seen before and all this is stuffed into a pair of trousers that fits her like a second skin. And as she moves, it moves as if it has a life of its own.


She comes back with the drinks and sits by my side. “How did you know I come from Malawi?”


She rolls her eyes. “Very easy. Malawian men are handsome.”


I laugh. I know it’s just her ploy to start a conversation. But it works. I fall into the grove.


“Well, it’s your lucky day today-you’ve found yourself a handsome Malawian.”


She kisses me on the cheek. My body tingles with pleasure. But I remember my wife’s warning. I tell myself I have to be careful with the girl. Obviously she has found out from the hotel staff that I am a visitor from Malawi and is out to get into my pockets.


But as I have said, women are not my weakness. In addition, I heard of a certain guy who went to Singapore and for services rendered just in a day, a prostitute gave him bill equivalent to all his allowances. I am not going to make a similar mistake. I am in South Africa for training and not women. I have my beautiful wife back home.


We chat. She is easy to talk to and very jovial. But I have made up my mind that she will not see a cent of my cash. As the time nears midnight, I know it’s time to make my getaway.


“Excuse me,” I say getting to my feet. “I’ve a call to make.”


That’s how I escape. The next few days I do my best not to meet her. She is always leaving me a message and a cell phone number at the reception for me to call her. I ignore her.


However, I bump into her at the hotel reception the following week. She hugs me affectionately. “I’ve been leaving messages at the reception; why were you not calling?”


I stammer that I did not get the messages. “I was very busy,” I add.


“Ok. Let’s meet in the bar this evening.”


I agree although I have no intention of meeting her. Of course, Nomsa is beautiful and something pulls me to her like a magnet but she is a prostitute. I am a faithful man. Therefore, I have no intention of getting involved with a prostitute, beautiful or otherwise, in this foreign land.


So that evening I hide in my room. When I meet Nomsa the following afternoon. I lie that something had held me up. The following days I keep a sharp lookout so that she should not see me.


You may wonder why I don’t tell her off. As I have said, she attracts me badly. It is taking all my will to resist her advances. I would find it difficult to give her a no. My hope is that she will just give up.


And that’s where I am wrong. The following Saturday, I am holed up in my room when there is a knock on the door. When I open the door, Nomsa stands outside, her hands in the pockets of her coat.


“Let’s take a walk; there is something we must discuss,” she says seriously.


I can’t object, can I? I had expected her to be angry with me. On the contrary, I am surprised to see that she is in very high spirits. I am to find out the reason very soon when we arrive at some secluded spot.


She suddenly blocks my way and faces me with eyes full of contempt. Gone is the smile. “Man, who do you think you are?” she asked asks me in a voice as cold as ice.


The question takes me by surprise. “I don’t understand.”


She laughs. It’s a dangerous laugh that makes me shudder. “I asked you who the hell you think you are?”


“I…I don’t understand your question,” I repeat.


“You know what I mean unless you are more foolish than you look,” she snaps. “Where do you think I’ll get money to feed myself in this dog eat dog city?”


I don’t have a ready response.


“I get money from men like you. Now if you give me one silly excuse after the other where do you think I’ll get money for food and rent?”


Is that my problem? I want to ask her. But something warns me that asking her that question would be a very unwise thing to do. I shut my mouth tight.


“You see those guys?” she asks, pointing.


My eyes go in the direction of her finger. Sitting on a culvert are two shirtless youths. One is smoking a marijuana spliff while the other is sharpening a switch blade with a small file. Both have bandanas tied so low below their eyes like blindfolds. I know thugs when I see one and these are ones to the bones.


I still keep my mouth shut. There are other things that one is better not commenting on.


“If you’ve heard that in Johannesburg there are tsotsis, those are the ones,” Nomsa announces proudly. “So, it’s up to you. If you don’t want to eat your money with me, I’ll set those dogs on you. You’ll be lucky if they steal your money without giving you a memento to remember them by for the occasion with that knife.”


I look at the girl. She’s dead serious. I don’t need to be reminded that the female of the species is more deadly than the male. And really, I reason that it’s all my fault. If I tell my friends back home that I was robbed simply because I was running away from a beauty for fear of being unfaithful to my wife they would recommend that I get committed to Zomba Mental Hospital.


I cast a glance at the tsotsis. They are glaring at me from under the bandanas. I don’t need any more encouragement. I put my arms around Nomsa and plant a huge kiss on her lips. From a sideways glance I see the tsotsi move away while grinning!



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Lawrence Kadzitche

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