Roger Daniels was Andrew's friend and roommate at the hostel where all bakery workers who came from far resided. How they came to be comfortable with each other in one room was still a mystery to both of them. All they knew was that they became good friends since the day the Portuguese bakery owner hired both of them at around the same time. It was on the same day. They shared the same story of how they got the job, they both came, saw the sign that said there was no job and both waited outside for the manager's car to come and requested work from him in person. They both had been assigned the same job in the bakery and told they were hired primarily because of their perseverance, and secondary for their abilities.

Roger was a staunch, though questionable religious fundamentalist, almost a Calvinist, who didn't believe in sex before marriage, but did go to clubs and drank liquor. He was not the type to develop sexual interest once he had two or three pints to drink. He was unlike many men. He also hated fights and would rather retreat to his bed and sleep when tipsy instead of chatting other men’s women and provoking fights. Andrew would tease him and say that he was a misogynist. "Just talking to them can't be all that bad chana" he would try to convince him to change. Roger would look at him, smile and quote a verse, "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"
"A man doesn’t need to be led into temptation chana, he will find his way there" Andrew would argue.
"And so, I am not going to lead myself into any temptation, I rather stay away from anything that can bring me closer to it" Roger retorted. Most of the time that would end the debate, for time being.

Andrew always reminded him that he came across a hypocrite and apostate to him. That was an allegation and accusation Roger did not argue. He did not even question its merits since there were lots of things he did not like about Andrew as well but which he was not going to question or put on trial. Roger's only recognizable vice, he would tell himself, was his undying love for Cape Stein and a regular joint of marijuana. He was not the one for sins of the flesh but still kept friends who were into those sins.

Andrew shrewdly manipulated Roger's only weakness one cold winter evening in June when he gave him a pound to buy himself a Cape Stein and a couple of joints in the township and to stay there until the next day. He told him something in the line of making new friends or getting lost sheep to God’s flock. Roger was a good young man who did not ask many questions, especially the ones which’s answers he already knew. He was too good for his own goodness since even though he referred to sex before marriage as adultery he never tried to do anything to halt the proliferation of such behaviour.

He was a true disciple of Shaolin who managed only his own affairs and believed in the power of the martial arts, same as Andrew. He was the one who helped Andrew find a gym that followed the discipline of kyokushinkai after they became friends. He didn't care much what Andrew did with his life. Apparently, Roger did not even know or care that Andrew had planned to spend the night with girlfriend Rebecca, who judging by her fright that night had never slept out and had never been left alone with a man, but her father who she figured was fuming at her absence back home. However, she loved Andrew with all her fist-sized heart and was prepared to be disowned, the same way her sister Lorraine did.

Lorraine, Rebecca's elder sister fell for a man at the age of eighteen who she met one day in a bus to town. She loved him so much that one day the man proposed that she come and visit him at his place of work. Lorraine knew how she was raised. Her mother and father always emphasized that good morality was to be the backbone of their family. They went to great lengths to instil in their children the need to respect the commandments of god. But on the day that she felt love overwhelming her, Lorraine forgot all that and followed her heart. She decided to lie to her parents that she was going to visit a friend in the outskirts of the town who was not feeling well. She was allowed to go, but due to a reason only known to her parents but her, they found out that she never arrived there. Information she gathered from Rebecca was that her so-called friend allegedly called their home late at night wanting to talk to her. That's how they knew that she had slept somewhere else, and her reason for lying was obviously that she had slept at a man's house. She only did it once and faced the wrath of her family once and for all. She slept out once and was booted out of the four-roomed house.

Rebecca didn't understand then why a young woman whose father worked hard and took abuse from racist white bosses to put food on their table could one morning wake up, not choose to contest the expulsion from the house but take it gracefully, pack a single suitcase and leave all that behind. She failed to understand how the love of a man alone could really erase all the love and unity that existed in the September household. She didn't comprehend such a sacrifice, all for the love of a man. What she knew with explicit honesty was that her family was not a poor bunch. They were better off by Troyville standards since Mr. September was a municipal bus driver and Marlene, her mother, a social worker at the local National Administration Department office.

Rebecca didn't understand why intelligent Lorraine found it easy to move into an overcrowded filthy hostel with a Xhosa man from the Transkei and give birth to kafferkinders (kaffir children) when she could have chosen Eric, or Bennet or Paul or even Llewelyn, who although he smoked joints was however coloured and an insurance for pure blood in her babies' veins. She told herself that as good as she did not consider herself a racist there however was a serious need for the coloured population to multiply and not be obsessed with multiracialism before they could number a staggering seven million.

She didn't understand the power of love until when she felt Andrew's motions on top of her sweating-trembling body, between her chrome parted thighs. She experienced (and attached a name to the feeling) for the first time why men have, down the years killed for women and vise versa. It was then that she vividly understood why in the William Shakespeare tragedy Romeo and Juliet, Romeo opted to die than to be separated from girlfriend Juliet.

Andrew was not bad as a lover, his caring during the whole activity was what some novels she read called exceptional. After they were through with it she felt that she wanted him closer, to hold her, comfort her and tell her that sex was not all he wanted from her. He was there to tell her that and more. Andrew, in the waning heat of post-coitus passion swore to stand by her to the very end, an end that was inevitable. Rebecca didn't believe him, since her sister Lorraine told her that men tended to say things, especially in that moment of surrender that they didn't really mean, but just came to their minds for reasons only known to men. Lorraine said that sometimes men say what they know that their sexual conquest wants to hear, and it comes from the tongue, not heart.

However, her doubts were cast aside two months later when Andrew was excited by the news that she missed her periods two months in succession. That had never happened to her before since she had her first period at thirteen-years-old, and never coupled with nausea and morning sickness. He was understandably happy that she was pregnant, she was sad because then Mr. September wanted her out of his home and his family's life. He said he didn’t want to hear her call him “father”, ever again. That broke her heart more than being driven out of the four-roomed house. Being evicted was bad enough, but being disowned was gross.

She moved out and went to live with Andrew at the male-only hostel. That was illegal too. The bakery's management confronted Andrew after finding out his secret, it resulted in a dispute that ended with Andrew being fired from his job and moving to Daveyton in the East Rand. Rumour was that companies in Benoni were hiring but to no avail. Andrew was out of a job with a pregnant girlfriend and a child on the way.

Word of Andrew and Rebecca’s defeated position in Daveyton flew fast to Mr September. Realizing how difficult the situation was for the two people he loved to hate, Mr. September, who wanted to set an example to all his children that misbehavior results in expulsion, though Rebecca never learnt from Lorraine’s case, however arranged a job for Andrew so that he could take good care of his daughter and his grandchild, who was still on the way. All his talk of disowning Rebecca was put to the test. He stipulated that his conditions for the job were that Andrew and Rebecca married first and he made his daughter an honorable woman. He was not ready to conform to government legislation that forbid people from different races from marrying. He looked at his daughter being more on the black side and Andrew being light complexioned as an added advantage. He remembered the Goliath girl who was married to a Zulu man from Newcastle without the magistrate objecting to such a marriage contravening the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1967.

Marriage was all he wanted for them. For Mr September it was also something they both wanted and got on a warm September afternoon as Rebecca's parents, Andrew, Rebecca and his friend Roger stood at the Magistrate's Office witnessing the two lovebirds tying the knot. Whether their matrimony contravened the Immorality Act as amended or not conveniently beat them. Fortunately for them as well even the magistrate did not mind or care, or probably immorality and prohibition of mixed marriages were the two modules he failed at Law School. What they knew was that, though it looked like a marriage of convenience, to them it was genuine for the simple fact that they loved each other and whether the Act applied or not, it was neither here nor there.

Before their signatures had even dried on their marriage Certificate, Andrew was already a bus ticket inspector, touring the municipal district, meeting all kinds of people and taking abuse from unsavory commuters. Commuters, especially blacks, tended to overestimate what they did for a living every time they compared themselves to others. Blacks, bad for them, harboured a tendency of using other blacks in beaten positions as barometers of their own success. They perceived ticket inspectors as being stupid blokes who ran away from school while their own fancy job was to sweep the streets of a city they were not even allowed to spend a night on. He hated the job primarily because other blacks made him feel inadequate, but needed the money to feed his family.

In 1975 love alone couldn't put food on the table and a smile on Rebecca's face. He knew that babies didn't eat love, but healthy nutritional foods which cost lots of rands. On the autumn of 1976, they awaited their first child's arrival with lots of anticipation. Their first child, a lust born was a daughter they named Evelyn. She looked very much like her aunt Lorraine, with curly black hair that could have simplified her naturalisation if she opted to be classified black later on in her life. She had brown round eyes that revolved frustratingly everytime her father, in his grey uniform bent down to pick her up whenever he came home from work. Both parents came from families with lots of children and they wanted the same for their own child. They could both remember how, in the swinging sixties, lunchtime was more like a carnival. Andrew remembered Christmas in Kanyamazane, with cousins and nieces having come all the way from as far as Messina to share in ten loaves of brown bread smeared with red jam and served with tea savored with condensed milk. They wanted the same environment for their children. They could foresee Evelyn' s Xhosa, not Swazi speaking cousins from the Transkei having come to their home for Christmas one of the days.

Their interest in a bigger family was blessed when they got Evelyn a sibling just a years later, a son to harass any young man who would later try to boss his sister around. The boy was named Nelson. He was bubbly and very light complexioned with browning naturally permed hair. Evelyn was also all that, shy, welcoming, and full of glowing love. She resembled everything her mother was to her father. The son was also a stubborn but sheepish individual who couldn't be mistakened for anybody but Andrew's son. Fathers had a tendency of claiming genetic contribution to any child that behaved well, and Andrew was quick to label his son to be the re-incarnation of his innocence before he met his wife and its mother, before he was hired, fired and humiliated. He loved his son so much that sometimes he took him to work with him. However, he never, even once visited Kanyamazane or wrote them a letter to inform them about their grandson and daughter. He often got his letters from Roger at the bakery, the last address that his family knew. All they told him was that all was still well and that his father was ill and that some of his brothers left home and were unaccounted for.
That was in 1976 and many young people were unaccounted for after the June 16 student uprising. Thus, issues of a person being unaccounted for were not something to worry Andrew and Rebecca, it was in all the newspapers like horse racing results.

Five years later they already had three children. Andrew’s life was improved as well. He was now employed as an office clerk and interpreter at a lawyer's practice in Boksburg. What wrongly fascinated him was that he was told, though not knowing, lied to that he was an associate at the firm which meant that he did not have to join a workers union. When he, out of curiousity asked why his name was not reflected on the company letterhead he was misled that he was the associate referred to in Basson-De Villiers and Associate. Such work politics were not really what Andrew would stress about. For him, working for an employer who provided him with full employee benefits was enough. Many people did not get those and that was why they were protesting.

He was finally no longer referred to as a boy like his second born son whose name was a moving tribute to jailed African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela. But unlike most politically-conscious people Andrew didn't have a huge soft spot for Mandela. He was simply content with finally being a father than to can involve himself with the politics of protest of that year. He figured that back in Kanyamazane, his ailing father must have been the happiest man then since he obviously could optimistically picture himself being the new president of the Black War Veterans Club.

However, in 1980, with a bubbly daughter still fresh from hospital Rebecca and Andrew spent most of their time pampering and spoiling her. She was also the first one in the Langa family to return home from hospital to a beautifully furnished nursery. A pink painted room with a small cot and lots of toys to make the toy factories of Hong Kong look like mere retailers. Andrew and Rebecca made their decision then that she was going to be their last child. They named her Marilyn, after a sixties sex icon, Marilyn Monroe. In many ways she resembled the disturbed and lonely Marilyn in looks, including her hair that suggested that it was going to be blonde later on in life. They both loved Monroe when she was an item in the sixties and felt hurt when she finally overdosed on drugs and died. They were one of the millions of fans who, for some time followed every conspiracy theory relating to whether she was killed by the Central Intelligence Agency because she knew a lot or if she really overdosed or was forced to take an overdose to fake her murder. For them, young Marilyn Langa was a re-incarnation of the sex icon, though they didn't intend to make her a sex-animal. They also didn't intend to loose her in mysterious ways that her namesake was lost.
No, religious upbringing similar to that of Andrew's friend from Troyeville, Roger, who was still a bachelor at twenty-seven years, and who recently become a drunkard and weedhead who smoked like a chimney, killing his brain cells in the process. Marilyn was even blessed with greasy soft curly hair similar to that of Cape Coloureds. It also looked exactly like that of Roger, who would have been given the honour of being her godfather if he did not sign a 'til death do us part' contract with self-destruction. Andrew and Rebecca's family was growing and it was the only thing that pre-occupied their mind instead of a self-made drunkard who came to their house twice a month as if it was a religious pilgrimage.


Young Marilyn, spoiled like a brat was to cease misbehaving two years into her childhood when her mother unexpectedly conceived again, with the fourth child negotiating its way into the world and the bratpacker club. The parents were not excited by its coming but since abortion was still a white thing then, the only option presented to them was to bring the child into the world and send Rebecca for permanent sterilization.

Young Nicholas announced his grand entrance into the world on the Friday evening of December 24, 1982 at Boksburg Hospital. Andrew was excited and even bragged, while in the hospital canteen with other new parents about his accuracy at breeding babies, two boys and two girls. However, even though Nicholas completed the puzzle in a big way for Andrew, Marilyn was still the apple of his eye. Young Nico seemed to notice, as he was daily demanding attention with his outburst of tamper tantrums and periodic crying.

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