“Life is too short to be crying over someone who does not love, appreciate and respect you. You cannot force someone to love and appreciate you. Learn to rebuild your life and move on.” – Madzala Mbombi
They say for as long as you are on this earth, you will never have a place to hide no matter how fast you run. When I landed in Joburg I thought all my problems had evaporated. I mean, I had survived the most traumatic ordeal ever. The last thing I expected was people with Nigerian accent tailing me. I didn’t expect Ifechi to locate me. It was in a public place, I knew he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. I walked faster and he followed me threatening to shoot my head if I don’t stop. I knew he was bluffing. Luckily I saw a police car as I was about to turn at corner Smit and Simmonds streets. I ran to the car. I looked back and Ifechi was nowhere to be seen. Nxa what a coward!!!! There was no one in the police car, there were probably out buying pap and steak at Africa Cuisine.
I quickly ran to my flat. I went to the security guard and told him I lost my keys. “Lalela la wena ntombazana, I don’t work for you. Next time you go to your other boyfriends, please tell your Nigerians to stop coming here. They have been looking for you the whole morning,” the security guard said. I felt as if his words were spiced with second hand oil. It was quite clear Ifechi and his gang were informed of my disappearance and they were looking for me all over. I feared for my safety. I knew they were going to hunt me down and do something bad. I asked the security guard to give me the spare key to my flat. He handed it to me while complaining in more than five languages. I apologised and headed to my apartment. It felt so good to be at home.
I wanted to call my mom but had no means to. I couldn’t risk leaving my place because I knew those people were looking for me high and low. I tried to take a nap but couldn’t close my eyes. I knew I was on a hit list. I decided to make a plan to leave my flat undetected. I wore an old wick that I stole from my mom and very dark shades. I looked like those bubblegum disco musician of the 80’s. I also wore an oversized t-shirt and put a cushion inside to make it look like I was pregnant. I knew it was risky but I had things to do. I wanted to deactivate my bank card and report my ID missing. You cannot have a peaceful life when you know criminals have your very important particulars. Identity fraud is a very popular crime in South Africa.
I checked all sides before exiting the building. I scanned for suspicious vehicles and people with big heads. When I was happy Ifechi was not there I walked up via Biccard Street to one of Bo-My-Friend’s shops. I bought a cheap smartphone and a Vodacom starter pack. I also bought data and airtime. I used all the money I had with me. I walked back to my place without anyone noticing me. I called Vodacom to do a sim swap and they helped me very fast. Within two hours everything was running smoothly. I logged on my banking app to check if the cents I had were still there. Lucky nothing was taken. I deactivated the card and ordered a new one immediately. You must respect the power of technology. I called my mom to tell her I missed her. She asked why my phone was off and I lied that I was mugged. “I told you not to go to Joburg and you forced things. That place is not safe,” she said.
I cut the call short. Immediately after talking to my mom my phone rang. It was Marcia asking if I was still alive. I told her I was alive but still in KZN. I knew she wanted details of what happened the previous night. Gossip is girls’ second man-made ‘nature’ after faking orgasm. I logged on Facebook after talking to Marcia. There was a funny inbox from someone who was not my friend. His name was Unache Okpara. His message went “My name is Una and I work for Ifechi. He paid me to look for you. I saw you leaving your place earlier wearing funny hair but chose to leave you alone. I don’t want to kill you. Ifechi has betrayed me and I want him to pay. I want you to help me take him down.” At that stage I didn’t trust any person from outside South Africa. I didn’t respond to his text.
While I was busy trying to make sense of the message, a private call came in. “Hi, it’s Una. You just read my message. I want you to trust me. I know it’s not easy but you have to. If I wanted to kill you I would have done so when you went to buy a phone earlier. I followed you. I want us to take Ifechi down so we can have peace of mind,” he said before I could say hello. I asked him where he got my number and he said Ifechi. I regretted doing a sim swap. I asked how he was planning to take Ifechi down and he told me he was going to use me as a bait. I refused on the spot. I hung up. I decided to switch my phone off. As I was about to shut down a call from my mom came in.
“Hello Pali-Pali. Now I see where you took your good looks from”