Yesterday I went to shoprite and somehow, I found myself at Ginnery corner. Why is it called Ginnery corner though? We must rename one of the centres of Blantyre to an African name. We would call it “Pa jinale”.
I wanted to buy marshmallows from Chipiku on my way from shoprite to meet a friend. Loss of communication, meant my phone was off, meant a failed meeting. Frustrated, I walked past trade fair, the mighty poly on my way home.
I was thinking of the electricity problem which left my phone off. Can we do something to end these blackouts? Oh yes, we can. I always say “where there is a will there is a way”.
Why don’t we diversify power sources; instead of relying mainly on hydro power, we can invest in solar and wind energy? Then we would split usage into domestic and industrial; industrial for its huge demand would mostly use hydro.
There would be several power stations supplying specific areas and the type of electricity generated for an area would depend on the most feasible form of energy there. If I was the leader of the warm heart of Africa, this would be what I would do. But I am not…
My thoughts were interrupted with the sight of Chipiku. Marshmallows! A smile. I turned and went straight into the Indian owned shop. By the way, have we seriously thought about why our Indian brothers own almost all business?
Yes I called them our brothers- there is no segregation here. But it’s a relevant question from an economic point of view because how much of this money goes into circulation?- if all or most of it is spent in India, we have a big problem.
I was thinking about this as I stood on the till paying for my packet of marshmallows and a bottle of water. The bottle cost me 125 kwacha. Why do other bottles of the same litres cost more? Is there water tapped from heaven? Who should be controlling these prices? I made a sound: scorn. These were angry thoughts.
Chewing on my Marshmallows, one by one, a bottle of water in my hand , walking slowly like the no-plan divas that patrol the town everyday just to bump into guys, pretending they are students or working somewhere, my eyes fell on a young couple walking hand in hand towards me. Look at them, they must be so in love and on to the best dreams for the future.
They do not know what the future holds for them. There are heartbreaks. Heartbreaks. Heartbreaks that come as a side chick and accidental cheating. Is cheating ever accidental? The guy says, “I didn’t mean for it to happen babe. It was an accident”.
The girl, wiping off tears and trying to act like she is in control as if she ever is, replies in a broken, high pitched voice, “accident my foot! What? Like you slipped and your dick fell inside her hole?”
I was interrupted in my thoughts by the girl. Her and her boyfriend had stopped past me. I heard a voice.
“Boss she is talking to you. Don’t pretend like you didn’t hear her! ” said the guy. I smelled tense and anger in his voice. Have I done something, I wondered.
Unsettled, angry, I said in a composed voice, “Me? What did she say?”
“Dude stop pretending! You slapped my ass as we passed! Silly guy! ” the girl said.
“Me? Are you sure?” I replied, completely taken aback. Is this a plank, I wondered. I looked around for any cameras. Might be one of those TV shows, i imagined but it wasn’t to be.
“Dude, that’s my girl you talking to. Apologise and let’s get it over with,” said the guy in a trembling voice. There was anger in there but I could also smell fear.
I couldn’t remember a voluntary act of slapping the girl’s arse. If anything, unaware, I may have come Into contact with her. But I doubted this too. I was sure I didn’t, well at first. I only doubted because the girl’s conviction that I did it finally made me think that maybe I did it without knowing.
I snapped, “I don’t care if she is your girl or side girl.”
“You. Was it hard what slapped you?” I said turning to the girl. She looked at me, perplexed, before she said, “Wonder, this guy is silly!”
“So you are Wonder? Girl, I ask because if it was soft like a palm, it’s not me. I’m holding a bottle in the hand which is next to the side you passed. On the other hand, there is packet!”
They looked at me like kids when their father tells them he has no money and yet they know he actually has- or don’t believe he has not.
At this point, a shabby guy, probably a vendor approached us. Noticing the tension, he said, “chikuchitika ndi chani?”
“Ada awa atimenya thako. Koma akukana! “The girl replied, gratified in her voice probably because she felt she had bought the sympathy of a third party.
It was at this point that I completely lost it and the vendor didn’t help with his next statement, “Man tangopepesani?”
“Chitsiru iwe tachokapo apa! ” Sensing my anger, the vendor walked away and some people had gathered around, albeit at a distance.
The boyfriend said, in the English accent that comes with a weird slang, the type that most guys who regard themselves as high school, upper class , too-good-for-chichewa, too hip hop speak: wassup Bro, how’s it guy? , it’s cool bra…, “Just apologise my guy and this shit is over”
“Siine guy wako. Secondly, i don’t believe in forgiveness, so I don’t apologise. Meaning that if you escalate this issue, I don’t get to let go. So fuck off!” I reiterated.
“What?!” He exclaimed, taking a huge step towards me. As the girl shouted, “Wonder, let’s just go”, the guy had grabbed the collar of my T shirt. The crowd around, made an instant and expected noise; exhilarated and less sympathetic for me.
On my part, I was surprised by the departure of my anger and in its place, calmness. Courage; lots of it. I had sensed lack of experience and street fighting skills in this guy. First of all, hid grab on my collar was downwards at a 90 degrees angle, and he stood a yard off me: amateur work. A fighter would grab at a 60 degrees angle, his hand facing upwards and pull you to him , leaving no space for a powerful retaliation. Second, he just grabbed me and did nothing; cowardly work. A fighter would come with a straight slap or punch.
So I said, “I will count to 3 and if by then you don’t let lose, you will regret.”
1,2,3- the guy let go at 3 and aimed to slap me with his right hand. I anticipated his every move. So I blocked with my left arm and quickly grabbed his hand with my right. A bent and a twist, and he was facing the other side, bent and screaming with pain, “man stop, you will break my arm!” There was a grin on my face. I silently thanked my taekwondo teacher.
The crowd made made a “hiii” sound, someone shouted, “karate man! “, the girl was crying, “please stop this”. I twisted further and could feel the guy’s arm about to snap on the elbow. He let out a scream, “sorry man! Sorry. Sorry. sorry!”
I lessened the twist and said to the girl, “you want me to let him go?”
She gave a quick yes. I said ,”Poyamba wandinamizila. Nde pano, thako lako ndimenyadi. Turn around. I slap your ass and he goes free”. The crowd, my audience laughed. What a bunch of clowns, losers, I thought.
As the girl, turned and bent, I released the guy and he straightened up. I said, “turn around both of you.”
Quickly, I slapped the guy. Then I looked at the girl. She was literally trembling. I remembered my mum’s words, “Never hit a woman”. So, smiling, I offered her a handshake.
“Who slapped your ass?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she replied. I said at last, “I dropped my bottled water and marshmallows. I paid around 900 kwacha for both. I want you to pay back”
The guy gave me a thousand kwacha note. I gave him a 100 kwacha for change and turned to walk away with a huge applause from the crowd. I wondered, “who slapped that girl’s ass or did anyone really slap her…?”