Running errands on a Saturday morning, racing between lessons and hardware stores, not a moment to lose, and I hit a JMPD roadblock.

With a crack in the windscreen splitting the road apart, and a temporary license, it’s not long before I’m out of the car and standing on the hot tar while he searches my boot.

“It’s not me, it’s K53” says the chubby guy from Polokwane as he pokes through flip-chart paper, a childhood arsenal of bamboo swords and the occasional shoe – the flotsam of many a cleaning expedition.

Finding nothing, and now frustrated, I’m ordered back into the car.

He comments curiously on the radio station, but when I tell him I’m an isiZulu teacher he laughs and leans further into the cabin of my little red Mazda. He says, in perfect isiZulu:


“Ngivela kwaZulu-Natal, baba.”

“Oh… uyazi ukuthi senza kanjani eGoli?”

And then his right hand reaches further in, pointing at my wallet.