Requiem for a Saffer Re
Mark is a white South African with an expensive European dream. So when he is offered £10 000 to traffic cocaine from Lusaka to London, it seems the perfect way to fulfil it.

 

 

 

Mark was beyond annoyed that he missed the train back to Brockley. At that time of night, it meant that he had to catch the N87 bus to Aldwych Drury Lane, then walk 180m to Aldwych Somerset House and wait for the N171 to Dalrymple Road. It was all very annoying, he thought, and unnecessary. What would have usually taken about 40 minutes then took him an hour and a half. What an absolute nightmare. It was little consolation that he at least felt safe in London. At least there he didn’t have to worry about getting mugged or killed like he would in Joburg. Even so, safety was little consolation. He was absolutely sick of buses and he just wanted to get home.

He was returning from a visit with an old school friend of his, Brad, who he hadn’t seen in years. After Brad matriculated, he didn’t even waste his time in Africa. It was ‘straight to Europe’ for Brad, to the developed world, to where things worked and people didn’t care to shoot him for his car or reject him for his skin colour. Ironically, Brad had never been shot for his car in Africa nor had he ever been rejected for his skin colour, but that was only so because he left before it could happen to him. That’s how he explained it.

No doubt, Brad had done very well for himself in the four years that had passed since his African evacuation. He had just got back from Greece, he told Mark, where he had spent two weeks baking in the Mediterranean sun. That wasn’t all. That year alone, he visited Amsterdam, Prague, Italy, Portugal and had even gone Camel riding in Morocco, which he described as horribly uncomfortable but worth every ache that it had given him. It was Mark’s ambition to one day see desert stars just like that. That was one of the countless advantages of living in Europe – the awesome destinations that were just a hop away.

It wasn’t only the trips around Europe that impressed Mark most about Brad or his adventure expeditions to North Africa, but his Wimbledon house too that he rented all on his own for what Mark thought must have cost an absolute fortune. Brad, you see, didn’t ‘do roommates’ he explained so it meant that a large and comfortable three bedroom place was his to enjoy all to his self. He even owned a car – in London nogal – a small vintage red Mini which truthfully didn’t really suit him. His oversized arms looked better equipped for a Witkoppen GTi or a Van Buuren RS, but as Brad explained it: ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do,’ before quickly and deliberately correcting himself – ‘Or should I say, when in London, do as the Saffers do!’

Mark wasn’t sure how Brad afforded his lifestyle.

‘Logistics,’ he told Mark, ‘I’m in logistics.’

Mark wasn’t sure if that meant he was some sort of driver or if a worked for a freight company near Heathrow, but whatever it meant, it certainly paid well. So well in fact that it was actually the reason why Mark had made contact with Brad again and why he had gone to visit him that night in Wimbledon.

You see, Mark had arrived in London six months earlier and was really struggling. Unlike Brad, he didn’t find living in London easy at all: He worked in a call centre, which barely made him enough for his monthly rent, never mind the adventure trips to Morocco or the skin baking jols in Greece. He was properly struggling and to compound it, he hated what he did. His Public Relations Degree, which he had worked his ass off for at UJ, wasn’t doing him good whatsoever in Europe. Wherever he applied, he was rejected. So yes, living in the first world was not as glorious for Mark as it was for Brad and that’s precisely what Mark wanted to change. All he needed was a little help.

‘Ja, of course I can help you, Boet,’ Brad generously offered, ‘The guy I work with might need an extra hand or two.’

‘Doing what?’

‘The same. Logistics.’

‘But what is that?’

‘Well. Meet with him first. Then you decide. Maybe this Friday? He’s quite close to you. Brixton side.’

 

 

 

That Friday, Mark met with Brad’s colleague. It wasn’t quite the formal ‘logistics-type’ meeting that Mark was expecting.  It took place in a dark club in South London, one where Vodka bottles dispersed the blue light that shone through the tables beneath them. His colleague’s name was Kanu and the first meeting with him was as shady as the setting suggested.  Kanu was west African looking but spoke with the roundness of the Caribbean. In the infrared, his eyes and teeth shone lumo against his jet black skin.

‘Kanu?’

‘Me main man,’ replied the Jamaican, ‘Tek a seat.’

‘My friend Brad said I should meet you here… about some extra work?’

‘Yes. Please, tek a seat. Drink wit me. You like rum?’

‘Ja, sure,’ replied Mark. He hated rum, but hell, it was free.

While he sipped it, he gently bobbed his head to deep reggae. Cool place, Mark thought. He couldn’t think of one quite like it in Joburg, at least not in the areas he’d be jolling. If anything, he thought, the night unfolding would at the very least be quite the story to share with his friends back home, one for them to salivate over as they pieced together their own European dream. As stories went, it wrote itself.  Just then, a girl joined them, a pale-skinned Irish one with dark eyes and dark hair. She greeted Mark with a smile and took her seat next to Kanu. She lit a cigarette. She was pretty – real pretty – and Mark wondered where she fitted in. The answer came quick enough.

‘This heer is my girl, Maggie,’ Kanu introduced her, ‘Once you go black you never go back, am I right?’

Mark laughed. It was polite to do so.

The music slowed to lounge-pace and for an hour or so Mark and Kanu chatted as if they had been friends for years. They spoke about the Premier League mostly. And briefly about the rules of rugby, which Kanu didn’t understand. Mark explained them. Then, they spoke about rum – Jamaican rum – and then brandy. Kanu was intrigued that the South Africans mixed it with Coke.  Kanu was especially welcoming, thought Mark, but the reason Mark had come to see him hadn’t yet come up. Mark had the feeling that if it were to, it was Kanu who should mention it so, in the meantime, Mark just went about his night, politely drinking Kanu’s alcohol. Maggie, ‘his girl’, seemed especially nice too and when Kanu was distracted with passer-by friends and their private conversation, she hosted Mark quite superbly:

‘So, you work for Kanu, d’ya?’

‘No,’ Mark replied, ‘Well, I don’t know really know actually. My friend, Brad, sent me here and said that he might have some extra work for me. So, ja, not entirely sure.’

‘So you’re a Saffer too, like Brad?’ Her Irish accent was as strong as the rum. She really was very pretty, thought Mark. Wow.

‘Ja, I’m South African.’

‘So, what brings ya to London, then?’ she smiled. Her smile was captivating.

‘Well,’ Mark started, ‘It’s kind of a long story I suppose. South Africa is, well…’

‘Full of crime? A dump? That’s how Brad describes it so no offence…’

‘Ja, well, it’s not quite that…’ Mark stumbled, ‘It’s just that, you know, it’s good to be in Europe you know?’

‘Well, it can’t be that good to be in Europe,’ she smiled, ‘If it was that good then ya wouldn’t be sitting here, would ya?’ she winked.

At that moment, Kanu stood and finally turned to business: ‘Come my friend, follow me.’

Mark stood and followed him to a deeper set room where thick walls muffled the sound they left behind. There, a table of cocaine lines and cash greeted them and Mark was asked to sit again – and again Kanu politely offered him rum. Mark grew anxious.

‘So you want to work for me, do you?’ asked Kanu.

‘Yes,’ Mark replied. He had the feeling that it was too late to say no – ‘Well, it would be great if you could help me out with something extra.’

‘Don’t we all need a little some-ting extra?’ Kanu laughed. Then, between his haunches, he leaned forwards and sniffed a cocaine line clean from the table.

‘I like Brad,’ he continued when his sinuses were clear, ‘He is like all Africans – a hard worker. A hustler.’

Mark nodded. He wasn’t so sure if Brad’s understanding of African was quite the same as his colleague’s.

Kanu continued: ‘You see, da Caribbean is becoming a bit too busy for men like me. How do I se, it’s a bit difficult to do business der now. So, I find myself doing more business in Africa. Africa is da future.’

Mark sipped his Rum. It was horribly clean. Horribly vulgar. He was dizzy from it. But hell, it was free.

‘Have you ever been to Zambia before. To Lusaka?’

Mark shook his head.

‘Well,’ Kanu continued, ‘You’re in luck because I have a ticket to Zambia for you leaving next Sunday. You go with my girl Maggie to Zambia, you have a good vacation on Safari, have a party, pick up a bag for me and bring it back to London. You mek some good money.’

‘How much?’

‘Ten thousand. Cash.’

It was a huge amount in Pounds, but in Rands it was life changing. Imagine what the money could do for his life. Imagine what it could do for his European dream. Maggie smiled. Surely it couldn’t be dangerous he thought. Why would Brad send him here if it was – he trusted Brad. And why would Maggie come if it was risky? Surely Kanu wouldn’t risk ‘his girl’.

Kanu then stood and handed Mark an envelope. Inside, there was £500 – an upfront payment for loyalty Mark assumed.

‘Some good will to you, my friend’ Kanu winked, ‘Enjoy ya night.’

Then, before he left, he gave Mark’s hand one last squeeze:

‘And don’t you go touching me girl,’ he said, ‘You touch me Maggie, I kill you.’

 

 

 

The next Sunday Mark met Maggie at Heathrow all packed and ready to go. It really was happening, he thought. He hadn’t dreamed it.

‘Lusaka,’ she said, ‘I love it there.’

‘Oh, you’ve been before?’

‘Yea,’ she replied, ‘With Kanu. I love Africa.’

Mark suddenly felt better. He had been sweating about his decision all week; he spent hours fine-combing the internet for the consequences if caught. Drug traffickers nabbed in the UK or Zambia faced a terrifying reality and for nights he could hardly sleep thinking about it. He called Brad to speak about it but he wouldn’t really. All he said was that his life was better for it.  So, when Mark finally saw Maggie’s smile at the airport, it was the first real relief that he had felt all week because again he thought: Why would Kanu send her too if it was dangerous?

The flight to Zambia was ordinary except for everything: He was flying to Africa with a beautiful Irish girl who just seemed to get more perfect the more she spoke. They were going to collect a bag of drugs and bring it back to London. What had changed? From bouncing around the sweaty N187 to cruising business class to Lusaka via Cairo, Mark wasn’t sure if he had stepped into a sexy action thriller – or a reality sequence of bad actors and banged up criminals. All he knew was that the money was worth it and that the girl was pretty. Gorgeous actually, he thought, absolutely gorgeous.

Their week in Zambia was quite gorgeous too until it ended. Just an hour from Lusaka, the pair were booked into a five star nature reserve that offered it all. On the Monday, they tiger-fished together and caught nothing. Mark was just happy that Maggie was adventurous enough to join him – just his type of girl, he thought. On the Tuesday they safari’d and Maggie opened up a bit: She told him that she had made her way to London for drama but her life had got ‘side tracked a bit’. Kind of like his own, Mark thought. On the Wednesday they just lay at the pool and that evening they found themselves silent in the presence of a thorny sunset when an elephant came to sip while they swam – Maggie certainly looked lovely in the sunset. Thursday, they hiked a sunrise hike through the Zambian veld and stood quiet and still upwind from a rhino. Why hadn’t he done this more in South Africa, Mark thought. Friday, around a campfire, they enjoyed the stars together. Friday they kissed. Friday they made love. By Saturday, Mark was sure that he was in love.

In bed together that night, they stared at each other:

‘Let’s not do this tomorrow,’ Maggie whispered nervously, ‘Let’s leave here tonight and catch a bus to South Africa. You can show me where you grew up and we could stay there together. Cape Town. What about Cape Town? Cape Town is beautiful.’

‘What’s wrong?’ Mark asked, ‘What’s bothering you?’

‘Nothing,’ she paused, ‘It’s just that…’

‘Is it Kanu you’re worried about? Kanu doesn’t have to know about us. Not yet.’

But It wasn’t Kanu who bothered Maggie. Something else did. And as the moonlight struck Mark that night, gently as he slept, she cursed herself for what she was about to do.

 

 

 

The next morning happened quicker than Mark thought it would. A bakkie was there by 11 – not long after they woke – and it sped them deeper into the bush to the collection point. In the clammy heat, the pickup was cold and without a word. There were two bags – Mark was handed his and Maggie hers and in minutes they were off again.

Driving to the airport, Mark became overwhelmed. He began to sweat – flashes of what was to come swished by him in the passing highway veld. Would he, like these drugs, end up used up? His desperate pale self looked to Maggie for comfort but she stared the windscreen down in a reunion with her own demons. Was she as nervous as he was – or was she used to it all by now?

‘I need to vomit,’ he blurted out in panic, ‘I’m going to vomit. Stop!’

‘Use the window,’ ordered the driver, ‘I’m not stopping.’

Maggie stroked Mark’s back as he hurled his insides from the moving bakkie. He couldn’t wait for it all to be over. God knows, he would never do it again he promised. This was his first time and his last.

Waiting in the customs line to the boarding gate was even worse. Mark shook violently but Maggie, in a parallel line, seemed quite calm. To comfort him, she threw him a smile that promised him it would soon be over. It lied. Brad, the prick, he thought, as his hindsight rushed from the future to warn him. Kanu, his prick ‘colleague’. And Maggie! Maggie, that little bitch. Before her smile was wiped clean from her face, two khaki-dressed Zambian officials were alongside Mark and he was yanked from the line. As it happened, Maggie then slipped right through customs and disappeared. Not a soul stopped her as she boarded that plane as he, the decoy, collapsed into his nightmare, banged up and busted like the sucker he was.

 

 

 

Two weeks and three days passed in a filthy Lusaka cell before he finally saw a face that he recognised. It was his father’s:

‘What were you thinking?’ asked the old man who had driven up from Johannesburg when he finally got word.

‘They set me up Dad. The girl – Maggie. And Kanu. And Brad! Remember Brad Andrews? From Fourways High. He was in on it too. They used me as bait, Dad– as a decoy!’

‘I don’t care you little idiot,’ his father seethed, ‘You just couldn’t move to Europe and stay there. Now you’re stuck in prison – in Africa – for God knows how long. Your life is destroyed!’

‘Please Dad, I beg you,’ Mark begged, ‘Please get me out of here. I can’t stay here. I can’t rot in Africa!’

But begging did nothing for Mark in Africa. Neither did lawyers. All they did was complicate and charge for the inevitable that was LIFE. That was Zambian law if caught and there was no convincing otherwise. As the decoy, Mark was caught with only 150 grams of coke while the rest, kilograms of it, was safely trafficked to Europe. As he knew it, his life was over. So, over, he prepared himself for life in a Zambian prison on a continent he had fled months earlier.

As time passed, he learnt his way around it, around the faces and characters of the people he was never meant to meet. There was the wise and old Assegai, the ancient man who didn’t know his age. He had spent his life in that prison for stealing tobacco from a white man’s farm when the country was still called Northern Rhodesia. The bureaucracy had not been kind to Assegai and he had been left there to rot, a fixture among fixtures. There was Jonas too, the hefty built Zambian in his fifties who had been part of the Robin Hood gang that had terrorised Lusaka throughout the 80s. Terror was relative Mark learnt and he grew to really respect Jonas. He was brutally perceptive, with a real sense of the social injustices that had put him there. He lectured Mark about it often and Mark came to understand the poor black man in Africa as he had never understood him before.

There were others too. There was Dubula – a hardened murderer in his thirties who, Mark heard, had killed a Malawian in Choma. He didn’t like foreigners and certainly not white ones – he once attacked Mark for being the great-great-great-grandson of the colonial, David Livingstone. Others inside included rapists and drug dealers – thieves and corrupters – molesters and paedophiles – all the scum of Africa’s earth who just like Mark were African criminals. Filthy African criminals left alone to mingle and rot.

He wasn’t the only South African there either. There was Johan, an Afrikaner in his fifties who had been arrested in ‘91 for smuggling ivory from Zimbabwe. Johan was bitterly racist and from early on, Mark didn’t associate with him in case the others assumed they were the same. And then of course there was Cameron – coloured Cameron – a fool in his twenties who just like Mark had been lured by an Irish girl called ‘Ciara’ who he too had met in a Brixton club for ‘extra work’. That bitch, thought Mark. Cameron’s family now lived in New Zealand and when they had heard what he had done, they cut ties with completely. At least Mark still had visitors, he supposed, but only his Dad ever came to see him. His mother refused to speak to him. So, as it was so, he expected nothing different from his Dad when he visited him that final afternoon, 3 years and 14 days after he first arrived in that hell.

‘I have news,’ his Dad whispered, ‘Pack your things. Tonight we leave.’

Mark didn’t register. He was numbed by his circumstance: ‘What?’

‘Be awake at 2am. The guard will let you out then and I will be waiting out front. As soon as you’re out you jump onto the back of the bakkie, you close the canvas and you don’t move until I say you can, a’right?’

Corruption is Africa’s greatest gift and is easiest unwrapped by rich men. Mark’s father was a rich man and after years of wrangling, he finally managed to bribe the right sequence of officials from Zambia to South Africa to create this moment. Mark thanked his privilege. Corruption was poisonous yes, but extraordinary too, and however it was done, it was done. So, Mark’s eyes remained wide open until the gate was unlocked that night like his dad had promised. And as he had promised, Mark was rushed from that hell at a pace of knots towards the Botswanan border. There, Mark remained entirely still in the bakkie’s bin and listened as Zambian officials circled the bakkie. One even lifted the canvas to look at Mark but did nothing. It was clear that his father’s deals ran deep and thick and very soon the bakkie was ushered onto the ferry to cross the Zambezi. Beyond it, the freedom of Botswana.

For much of the trip through Botswana he thought of Maggie. Or was it Ciara? What would he do to her if he saw her again? Would he make love to her like never before – or would kill her, the lying bitch? He thought of Jonas, his fellow prisoner and friend – his mentor on the inside. Would he ever see Jonas again, he wondered. He doubted it. Mark’s passport was abandoned and his name smudged red. With it, his travelling dreams dissolved, his European adventure never to be fulfilled. What would his life be now, he wondered. If he was stuck in South Africa, what would that mean for him and his future? What would it be like being stuck in a place that he was always told to flee? Thoughts for a long Botswanan road…

At the border into South Africa, Mark disappeared into the bakkie’s bin one last time and again, he was circled and spied on. Again he was freed. South Africa at last.

 

 

 

His first weeks back in Joburg were numb ones. He was a convict without a name and without a purpose, filled with memories that he was never supposed to have, filled with stories no one ever wanted to hear. In the windows of the malls he grew up in, he was reminded of his failure, of his newest isolation on the tip of the continent. Oddly, it felt as if he had never left Johannesburg so it felt stale – and old – and unmissable – drenched in a fragrance of the unlovable. In his whiteness, Joburg had re-welcomed him hollowly – but as a criminal in Africa, Europe would never welcome him again. He was stuck and sickened.

At his very lowest, he got a call from the tip of the continent. Cape Town’s offer was the closest to Europe he would get.

‘Hey Boy, it’s your Uncle Mike here. How you feeling?’

‘Fine,’ Mark supposed, ‘As fine as I can be.’

‘Listen, I spoke to your dad. Why don’t you come down to Cape Town for a while. You can stay with us. I need some help at the factory. Maybe it will be a new start for you. What you say?’

It was his last chance for redemption.

That night, Mark packed his bags and made his way to the promise of Cape Town, to the tyre factory where he then worked as a salesman to help his Uncle. It was a thriving business in Wynberg, which wasn’t a far trip from Tokai’s pretty suburbs. He joined Uncle Mike’s family there – his cousins – a pod of four who lived in the foothills beneath Elephant’s Eye. There was Uncle Mike, his wife, their Matric daughter Tamzyn-Lee and her little brother who Mark affectionately and always called Boeta. Mark was offered the outside room, his own little place with its own little entrance.

‘We start 8am tomorrow, sharp,’ Uncle Mike told him, ‘We leave here 7:15 latest so we can open up the shop, a’right?’

‘Sounds good,’ Mark replied, ‘I look forward to it.’

Mark did look forward to it, and did so every morning from that day forward. It was nice having a purpose in the mornings again and at each day’s end when the Muizenberg waves were just right, him and Boeta would go surfing together.  Beneath its peak, when the water was not too cold and not too warm, offshore and glass, everything seemed at peace in Africa, a peace that Mark wished that all here could one day find, Jonas too and Dubula and Johan, the old African prisoners of his yesteryear whose faces never faded from his guilty memory.

But there were other great things about living in Cape Town too besides his newfound peace and purpose. Tamzyn-Lee’s best friend was a pretty Wynberg Girls’ girl who enjoyed visiting even more since Mark arrived. Her name was Blake, and on some afternoons Mark and Blake would make their way to the beach to chill, or to the forest, or to the backyard, or to the lounge, or to wherever they could to enjoy each other’s company. On her 18th birthday they went to a movie together at the Labia. They caught an early train into Cape Town and afterwards wondered the streets for hours.

It was a buzz was Cape Town that night and it was difficult for Mark to imagine that he was ever once a prisoner, a real criminal like the rest of them there, like Jonas and Dubula and Johan and all the different types of Africans that were still shackled to that place. Above him, the Southern-cross shone as clear that night as it did in Zambia and he told Blake all about his adventures and memories, from the South London club to the week with Maggie, to the criminals who he strangely missed and the ones who he did not. Oh Maggie, he thought. If only she could see him now in his new city with his new and pretty Blake. What would she think of him now, while there in London on the bus, all closed-up and sweaty and stuck in her European nightmare. What would she think, he wondered. What would she say?

One picnic together at Silvermine he and Blake hiked to Elephant’s Eye. It was a sweaty but enjoyable hike and when they arrived they posed for selfies together in the shade of the cave. It was to become their own cave, their secret place to disappear to, to look down from at the prettiness of Cape Town’s south and be together. There, Mark’s European disappointment steadily faded into the greyness of the Cape Mountains and further still into the pretty pool of Blake’s green eyes.  With her, he fell deeper into the comfort of his new home and began to wonder why he left South Africa in the first place. What was the reason, he tried to remember. What was so scary, he tried to recall.

‘Do you think we will be together forever?’ Blake asked that day, ‘Here in Cape Town?’

‘For as long as the Cape Mountains rise above the town beneath us,’ Mark smiled, quite poetically, ‘This will always be our place.’

 

 

 

Weeks afterwards, the sun disappeared westward behind Table Mountain’s long and fat back as it always did but Tamzyn-Lee, his cousin, was not yet home. She had gone running said her mother and hadn’t yet returned. She was late. As the papers wrote it, she was never late. Mark’s stomach tightened and knotted. What would Jonas think about this, he thought: Could he explain the injustices that created murderers? And Dubula, a murderer himself: Would this even be too much for him? What would Johan think in the silence of the forest she left behind? Would he find comfort in his hate?

Tamzyn-Lee was dead, murdered for a cell phone. Strangled by African anger and neglect. Strangled for a cell phone.

Silence in the Tokai.

 

 

 

In the weeks that followed the family degenerated into a ghost of itself, into a depression of deep-breathing cries. Uncle Mike numbed himself with the routine of his work, and his wife in the memories of her photos, which she picked through on the lounge floor in broken, white wine tears. Boeta lived as he had always done, but quieter, in the respectful silence of younger siblings. As for Mark, he rode the wave of it all, and comforted where he could, hugging and crying as support for his family – a dark time indeed.

One afternoon Uncle Mike arrived home with his daughter’s ashes in a jar.

‘Pack your bags,’ he said, ‘We’re going.’

‘Where?’

‘Not sure yet,’ replied his Uncle, ‘We’ll see.’

The family and Mark drove from Cape Town that night inwards towards the Karoo, and further still northwards until everyone slept in the car except his silent Uncle. At a town with a name too obscure to remember, Uncle Mike turned left into the darkness and continued on beneath the stars. At sunrise, they stopped and stretched. Then Mark took over.

‘Where are we going?’ Mark asked but no reply. So, he drove further and further and further north still trekking through the Cape like his ancestors had once done – Karoo scrub thickened and thinned and morphed to desert until eventually tar gave way to sand and a river halted their course. It was the Orange – and in that part of Africa it was chiselled through deep set canyons. Beyond it lay the deserts of the Namib and the freedom of another world.

They were a family fully alone.

‘Is it peaceful enough?’ asked his wife, ‘Is this it?’

It was. They removed the ashes from the car, the bits that were left of their daughter, sister and cousin. Then, each one cried for the tragedy that had befallen them until the tears oddly turned to caring laughter and echoed throughout the canyon. Uncle Mike handed the ashes to Boeta and the boy released them into the river. Gently, they all watched as the water carried Tamzyn-Lee westwards to the Atlantic and with it, her forgiving spirit. Peace, thought Mark. Peace at last.

 

 

 

Days later Mark met with his Blake and they hiked their way to their spot above it all – their spot of peace – Elephant’s eye as it peered outwards. Blake looked pretty of course, but her eyes were red from crying:

‘I have to tell you something,’ she said, ‘My dad has put in a transfer to Australia, to Sydney. He doesn’t think we’re safe here anymore since Tamzie. We leave next month, as soon as my finals are done.’

‘For good?’ Mark asked. Of course it was for good. What a silly question that was.

Ahead of them Cape Town criss-crossed in wine estates, then suburbs, then townships, then farms, then mountains, then the South Africa beyond it – passed the Orange – all the way to the Limpopo. To the right, the coastline swept inwards behind Muizenberg’s peak and jutted out again at its finest Point – Cape Point. To the left, hiding behind the mountain was a city that had been built hundreds of years before then, an ancient one of colour and spectacle and Springbok green. Somewhere inside it was the murderer who had done this, the murderer who had spoilt it all.

Just then, the moment fluttered away like a movie’s end and the camera zoomed outwards before fading to black. A deep, ghostly reggae rang out and Mark put his arm around Blake as she sobbed. Maggie was right thought Mark as he stared out at it all.

Cape Town really was a beautiful place.

 

‘Requiem for a Saffer’ is part of The Short Story Collection and is copyrighted here by its author, Kyle Brown. Published 1 January 2017.

 

 

Episode I | The Beginning and the End
South Africa is destroyed in a nuclear attack. Everyone is dead. Everyone except Victor Vilikazi.
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Episode I. Chapter 3 | Demons, Awaken
When Victor awakens, all seems normal except for the scars. Come, the demons.
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Episode I. Chapter 4 | Brother in Blood
Victor and Frans were once brothers - but all that is left now is blood. Blood and khaki.
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Episode I. Chapter 5 | Mommy Damned
Yolandi reminisces about her mother. The memory haunts her, like a mourning ghost.
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Episode I. Chapter 6 | Ancestors, Arise
Yolandi's blood line is an African one with secrets. Secrets about a war. About time travel. About death.
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A Short Story: Requiem for a Saffer
Mark is offered £10 000 to traffic cocaine from Lusaka to London. It's an easy way to get rich.
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Episode II. Chapter 7 | The Colony
Somehow Jenny awakens in Cape Town. Cape Town, 1808...
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Episode II. Chapter 8 | Abandonment
Victor makes his way to the rehab center. Nothing is left, nothing but burnt memories.
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Episode II. Chapter 9 | The Death of Him, of Me
Jenny, the traveler, changes colonial history for the first time. It would not be the last...
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Episode II. Chapter 10 | Filthier
Victor finally finds Lelie. She's alive, only momentarily, glued to the underside of Joburg's filth.
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