Lion of Soweto

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: African Romance Stories

It came to her mind that she must thank Bandele who provided her with those items. The happy girl picked up her handset and dialled his number. She thanked him for the new phone and the gifts of the previous three weeks. She mentioned each item found in the package and how well they suited her.

Chapter 12 (v.1) - Chapter 12

Submitted: May 16, 2017

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Submitted: May 16, 2017

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At Margaret’s house, the feeling was that of elation. While Sheline went into her room to rest, Margaret’s kids were excited to have received gift items from a man they hardly knew. The poor kids couldn’t remember when last they were so rewarded by anyone.

Margaret was pleased to see her children in a joyous mood. Since her last ‘husband’ left, she’d been the one looking after them. It had been tough playing the roles of both parents. She was only an admin officer where she worked, and her salary was meagre. She did her best to make them comfortable, but she could only do what was within her means.

She thought for a while about the reasons Bandele had been kind to them. It was evident that he was interested in Sheline. The first time he offered them a lift, they turned him down. Since he came again, he must have a special attraction for her niece.  

Why was he interested in the young girl and not herself? She would have willingly grabbed the chance to be his mistress. All the same, she felt happy that Sheline brought her good luck since her arrival in Soweto.

Margaret then recalled that the young girl was married. She also remembered that she had an argument with her mum about giving her away in marriage very early. It was partly the reason she didn’t attend the wedding ceremony in Bulawayo.

Sheline’s mum had convinced her that Moyo was a gentleman; that he was hardworking and trustworthy. Margaret had to agree. After all, she wasn’t an expert in matrimonial matters; no man had ever put a ring on her finger. The one seen on her finger was bought at the local market.

She spared a thought for Moyo and the future of his marriage to Sheline. She doubted if the marriage would work. It wasn’t the first time that young couples would divorce. She too got separated from her boyfriends two times already, and there was nothing wrong with it. Husbands and boyfriends are two sides of the same coin, she imagined.

In her mind, she doubted if Moyo could properly take care of Sheline the way Bandele would. They were far apart from each other. After her studies, she would be too classy for him. Her taste and circle of friends would change, and she would yearn for a better companion.

The young man had taken advantage of Sheline’s youthful naivety to propose marriage to her too early. She concluded that the marriage might not last. But she would not be the one to encourage her niece to leave her husband. She would be neutral and watch as events unfold.

Inside the room, Sheline pressed her lips together for a while deeply in thought. She then decided not to unpack the gift package given to her by Bandele. She’d thanked him after receiving them, though.

At first, the young wife wondered why gifts were shared when there was nothing to celebrate. She was suspicious of Bandele’s seeming generosity, and resolved that she won’t touch the package.

Receiving gifts from men that were not relatives could come with some expectations. Since she wasn’t yet sure about what the rich man wanted, she would wait and see.

What got her even more suspicious of his intentions was that she received a bigger package than Margaret. It was apparent that he wanted to date her, but she was a married woman. She wasn’t supposed to be following men around.

Her stay in South Africa was to study and return to Zimbabwe to meet her husband. Her mum had warned her several times against changing her lifestyle in South Africa. She was told to be careful about the kind of friends she kept. Just within two weeks of arrival, she had started receiving gifts from a church member.

As various thoughts went through her mind, Margaret walked into her room and asked.

“Sheline, why have you not opened the package?”

“Aunty, I have concerns about it. Why was that man suddenly generous? Remember that the young girl told us unpleasant stories about him. We are not sure yet what he wanted to achieve with the gifts.”

“Would you believe the words of a silly young girl or accept gifts from a Heaven-sent gentleman. Remember that I also refused to be lifted in his car the first time that he came to us. Then, we met him in the church praising the Lord with us. He even knows other Presbyterian Church parishes where we’ve not been. What else do you need to prove that he is a man of God? People like to condemn others quickly. He was just being condemned by those who didn’t know him well enough. Those who claim to know him have not seen him at the church. How many people did you know that showed love by spending their money like that? Did you see how the church members were looking at us today? We were the centre of attraction, and we looked very special. Don’t you like that kind of prestige? He has promised to pick us up from the church every Sunday and yet, you don’t appreciate that? God would not come down to bless anyone; He would only send people to you. If you decide to kick your angel away, it is your problem.”

Her aunt’s words hit her to the marrows. There seemed to be a valid point in what she said. Many times, they stood by the roadside for almost an hour with no taxi in sight.  The man made a promise to pick them up from the church weekly. That would make the tortuous Sunday trips easier.

That day that Bandele dropped them off, in less than ten minutes, they were home. She was sure others would still be struggling with how to get home. She decided to play along with her aunt. If the man was just interested in bringing them back from church, that never hurt anyone. She would be vigilant and watch his next moves. For now, his gifts would remain sealed.

***

The smooth execution of their plan got Molefi some accolades. Bandele called him a genius at how everything went well. He was given several bottles of wine for his feat. Bandele thought that Molefi deserved a raise in salary and went ahead to increase it by fifteen percent. Molefi was ecstatic at the news and felt encouraged to do more.  

 For the next two Sundays that followed Bandele fulfilled his promise. He kept on going to the church to pick up Sheline and others. The experience was always joyful for them, as the man changed the cars he drove to the church.

Sheline’s initial resistance got weak, on the third Sunday as both ladies got used to Bandele’s personality.  He ensured that Sunday afternoon was fun for them. He would take them to KFC and made sure their lunch was sorted.

“I don’t want you to bother yourselves with the Sunday afternoon cooking,” he’d said.

“You are so kind and understanding,” Sheline replied.

Margaret laughed at her niece’s reply. She knew sooner or later, the young lady would warm up to him. She only needed some time before she fell in love.

Bandele realised that his regular hand-outs and friendly gestures were working well, because Sheline was getting less uptight. He then decided that he would step up his acts.

He looked at Sheline closely and observed that her phone was old and faded. He told her that he would do something about it soon and she was left guessing about what he meant.

The next Sunday, he bought her a new Samsung Galaxy phone. He waited until he dropped them off before handing it over. Sheline was short of words when handed the device pack.

“You mean this is for me?”

“All yours,” Bandele smiled, waving his hand dismissively.

“Oh, I’m grateful.” She moved closer and hugged him in that moment of frenzy.

“I hope there is more we can do for each other. This is just the beginning,” he said.

“Thank you very much.”

“I wish you will visit me at home one of these days. I’ll really want to host you.”

In her happy mood, Sheline had little to think of. If she could get a nice phone like that, what more could he give her?

“I’ll visit you upper weekend. I have to travel home during the coming weekend to see my husband.”

“It’s okay. I can wait till you return.”

“Alright then.”

Her opinion of the man changed after that discussion. She saw a nice guy who genuinely wanted to help. Margaret’s story about him being a man of God became believable all of a sudden. It wasn’t everyone that would share money and gift items without asking for a favour. He was the perfect kind of man to have as a family friend, she thought. She considered him one of a kind.

When Bandele left, she rushed into her room to fetch the package he gave her the first day he picked them up from the church. She’d kept the package sealed hoping to return them if he dared to demand sex. Three weeks had passed, and he didn’t ask such from her. Rather, he’d bought more gifts. She was impressed with his gentlemanliness.

When she opened the package, she found a number of items: a gold plated purse; a Monica Vivanda branded watch, necklace and bracelet; a bathroom deodorant set and plenty of chocolates. Sheline excitedly called on to her aunt to come and see what she had.

“Auntie Maggie, please come and feed your eyes!”

The lady stood up from the sitting room and went to meet her niece. She was surprised at the items Sheline had in her hands. Hers were less glittery, and she didn’t get a wrist watch. She got a bit jealous.

“I thought you were going to throw them away,” Margaret said sarcastically.

“No aunty. I could have returned them if he asked me to date him.”

“Do you still want to return them?”

“No, not anymore. The man means well.”

“Oh, now you know.”

Margaret walked out of the room, feeling vindicated. The young lady had an opportunity to change her status for the better if only she would wake up from her deep slumber and cosy up to the famous man. To Margaret, her marriage to Moyo was more of a burden.

Sheline looked around her and was excited at the gifts showered on her just the first month of her stay in South Africa. She felt blessed. The glittering phone appealed to her the most. The one she had was a Blackberry, and it was old, faded and worn-out. She’d been hoping to get a smartphone whenever she had some extra cash.

When she asked Moyo for a phone, he said it was not a priority. He advised that she must continue to use the Blackberry until she returned to Bulawayo.

The thrilled girl opened the Blackberry phone, removed the SIM card, inserted it into the new phone and confirmed that it was working fine. She got excited and started checking the features of the phone for about thirty minutes.

When she was tired playing with the new phone, she dropped it on the bed and then changed to a new outfit. Her aim was to see how suitable the new jewellery were on her. She put them on, tied the wrist watch, and looked into the mirror. She was pleased with her new look. The lady rolled around twice and then jumped into the bed.

“This is amazing,” she said to herself.

It came to her mind that she must thank Bandele who provided her with those items. The happy girl picked up her handset and dialled his number. She thanked him for the new phone and the gifts of the previous three weeks. She mentioned each item found in the package and how well they suited her.

He was surprised to know that the lady didn’t unwrap his package for three weeks. What kind of girl would keep such expensive bundle of designer jewellery? Sheline must be of a different breed, he thought. His love for the girl went up a notch.

When she dropped the call, her conscience pricked her to put a call through to her husband too. She did and spoke with him for some time. She didn’t discuss the gifts she got from Bandele, though; she just wanted to hear from him.

Moyo was happy to receive a call from his beloved wife. His priority was her school fees and upkeep in South Africa. He was not keen on providing her with luxury items as he strived to make sure that her wish to be a journalist was fulfilled. He spoke with her on the phone every evening after returning home from work. The lonely husband really missed her but was willing to wait until month end.

It had been four weeks already since Sheline arrived in Soweto. She began to prepare for her first trip back to Zimbabwe. Though she was just getting used to the South Africa life, the sweetness of home in Bulawayo still appealed to her. She missed her mum and the neighbourhood of her mum’s residence. She also wanted to be in her husband’s warm embrace. There was a lot to look back to for her, and she saw the trip as a necessary one. 


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