By Thembelihle and Itumeleng
“Move out of the way, Blackie!”
Hearing that nickname everyday was painful. It jabbed my heart to think nobody would know my real name. It skinned me alive that I was leaving a legacy as ’Blackie’ and not Dineo Mmobe.
I was tripped “accidentally”. I was shoved into the lockers by them “accidentally”. I was nudged in the ribs, punched in the face and kicked in my abdominal cavity…”accidentally”. Everything that was done to me was an “accident”.
Accident my foot!
They did all of this to me to hurt me both physically and emotionally. They did this to me intentionally. They did this to me to bring me down to my knees, looking up at them looking down on me; begging for mercy from the master just like the olden days.
I’d never give them the satisfaction of doing so. Those days when blacks had to crawl for survival; be looked down upon to make them feel inferior, are over. No more fears, no more hurt…
“Hey, Blackie,” I heard behind me.
I spun around at the sound of my name” and saw the three top-dogs. The Shepherds leading the flock towards my suffering. The three guys I despised, because they’ve always hated me. I despised them with a burning passion which I embraced wholeheartedly. They thought that they were delicious meat that every female wanted a bite of in our school. Sadly, the female population did want a piece of them.
Did I mention my reasons for hating whites? Well, firstly, I hated them for Apartheid. That was enough reason for me to hate them. I know everybody said that we should forgive and forget, but that was impossible for me.
Secondly, the bullying. Being in this school made me the black Chesnutt among the white ones. I was the easiest to spot with the contrast of our skins.
My third reason, you ask? Well, there was one in three words…Johan, Corben and Pete. Okay, I guess that was four words.
I rolled my eyes as secretly as I could and turned my back on them which I believe was a terrible mistake. I was sure that if I didn’t I wouldn’t have been in the bloody mess I was in. I was already late for my Afrikaans class and I didn’t want to get into more trouble than I was already in. Let’s just say that Mr van Der Merwe and I weren’t on good terms. He was white, and I wasn’t.
Before I could take my first step my elbow was grabbed onto and yanked back, spinning me around to face the Alpha, the pack leader in the eye, Johan. My stare turned into a venomous glare that would send the devil himself crapping his pants, but not Johan. He just smirked.
Knowing that it was of no use wasting energy on narrowing my eyes, I threw a look over my shoulder, spotting the second in command of the pack smirking, Corben. Pete was just leaning against the red lockers with his arms folded. He didn’t even glance at the scene about to unfold as he typed on his iPhone.
“I said hey Blackie!” Johan’s deep boer accent got my attention focused on him again.
“Okay,” I answered, monotonously.
“Aren’t you going to greet?” He narrowed his electric blue eyes at me.
“Um…hi?” I made that sound like a question.
He seemed to appreciate my greeting, because his smirk just widened more. “You know, Blackie-“
“Dineo.” I interrupted him which made him glare at me.
“Blackie, you caught my eye.” He said, emphasizing my “name”.
I would’ve have told him that he didn’t throw an eyeball at me last time I checked. He was crazy to think that I’d catch a gooey organ like an eye. That would just scar me for life. But I was sure he wouldn’t appreciate my lecture about throws, catches and gooey organs.
“Have I, now?” I asked. “Well, can I give the eye to you later? I have an important class to get to.” I sidestepped him, but he just moved blocking my way again. “Come on, Johan! I know that you don’t care about your education since you’re rich and yada-yada-yada, but I need school. I need to lap up all the information fed to me.”
“Like a dog?” he questioned. “The animal and yourself do have the same qualities in a way.”
“Can I please-“, I started slowly. Before I could finish my pleading a shiver ran down my spine.
Not the shiver of excitement, but one of fear. The cold metal pressed deeper into the side of my neck and that’s when my blood ran cold.
Corben was holding a knife against my neck.
“C-Co-Corb-Corbe…” I couldn’t utter one word with the fear I was trembling in.
“Now, here’s the deal Blackie,” Johan started. “I need you to help me, help you. You know?”
“No I added immediately.
“Anyways,” he ignored my negative reply and carried on, “We need you to get a package for me in a dumpster.”
My eyebrows furrowed in confusion. ”What?”
He sighed irritably. “You don’t expect me to repeat myself, do you?”
“Well, can I borrow a handkerchief so I can clean my ears, because I could swear I heard you say that you needed me to go and collect a package for you at the dumpster.”
“That’s exactly what I said,” he confirmed, looking ever so serious.
This was supposed to be the part where Johan burst out laughing, telling me that I should’ve seen the look on my face-fearful. You would be fearful as well if you had a knife held up to your throat. This was supposed to be the part Corben joined in the laugh though I’d never actually seen him smiling. This was supposed to be the part where I laughed nervously and ran up to the principal’s office and reported the possession of weaponry on school grounds.
Sadly, the world just didn’t agree with me. It instead handed me two stoic expressions from the two boys on a silver platter. The third one had a twitching right eye and a clenched jaw that’d snap if he didn’t stop.
“So what do you say?” Johan asked, giving me an expectant look.
“I’ll give you your eyeball back. Just don’t kill me!” I exclaimed fearfully.
“What eye-“He sighed again. “So you’ll do it?” he demanded again.
“Collect the package,” he answered.
“The one I just told you about.” He looked like he wanted to pull his hair out. Temper much?
”Oh…I can’t. I have ballet classes after,” I lied, naturally.
“You don’t do ballet,” he answered.
“Yes I do!” I argued.
“Okay, Corben…” he nodded at his henchman.
“Gladly!” Corben whispered as the blade started pressing harder into my neck.
“Wait, wait, wait!” I yelled with wide doe-like eyes. “You can’t do this. There’s a camera. You’ll get caught.” I panted to the white device on the ceiling.
“Sorted. Pete is already hacking into the school’s system.” Johan smirked triumphantly.
I groaned with defeat. “I hate you, guys.”
“We hate you more well, I know I do,” Pete spoke for the first time.
“Shut up!” I snapped at him.
Why didn’t I ask them who I was collecting the package from? Now here I was, in a dumpster with my school uniform still on. People who passed gave me weird looks. It’s like they thought since I was black and in a dumpster I was crazy, but I was sure if it was a white person the matter would’ve raised eye-brows.
The warmth of the big ball of gas was disappearing with every passing minute. The cold night air tickled my skin raising goose bumps on my arms and legs. The stench of all kinds of expired food wafted through my nostrils as I inhaled. Where was that man or woman or alien?
Just before I could get any more irritated a tap on my shoulder got me alert and I spun around getting ready to aim for the person’s crown jewels. “Whoah!” He stepped back immediately.
“Who are you?” I looked at the black boy who couldn’t be more than two years older than me.
“Package?” He arched an eyebrow at me and I nodded unsurely.
“Wait, you’re the guy?” I asked, flabbergasted.
“I’m the guy.” He smirked arrogantly. “Wait, what did they say about me?”
“Nothing,” I answered truthfully. “I just didn’t think that a black person would be associated with a bunch of ‘mlungus.’ I held out my hand for the package.
“Well these ‘mlungus’ are helping the community. Not all whites are the same just like all blacks are not the same. We, humans, tend to paint all people with the same brush and it’s not right. Yes, there was apartheid, but we have to let it go. We can’t keep blaming apartheid. I believe in forgiving, but not forgetting. I forgive the whites for what they did to us, but I’ll never forget. Apartheid will forever be in my mind, stored there for eternity.” The guy spoke…
“Okay…just give me the package and I’ll be on my way.” I said nervously.
The guy then gave me the package and I sped home.
“Mama!” I called out as I entered the house.
“Neo, where have you been?” My mom asked. Her eyes trailed down my hands. “What’s that?” she asked. “What’s what?” I looked at my hands and saw I was holding the package.
“Oh…it’s not mine,” I said nervously.
“Give it here,” my mom demanded. Before I could get away, my mother grabbed the package from my hands and opened it.
“Dineo, why do you have this?” she asked shocked.
“What, have what?” I asked confused.
“Diamonds!” she exclaimed angrily.
Diamonds? Those idiots tricked me! They are trying to frame me! Before I could say anything there was a knock on the door.
I walked towards the door and opened it. The entire neighbourhood was at the door (all white) they were yelling; “Thief,thief!”
“I’m not a thief!” I yelled as I felt a tear trickle down my cheek.
They barged in and began to hit my mother and I. Cruel people, I thought. Corben stood next to our curtains smiling at my beaten up body. He then took out a lighter and set our curtains on fire. Everyone dispersed leaving my mother and I to die. I took one last look at my mother’s bruised and probably lifeless body.
“Mama,” was the last thing I said before everything went black.