Mahlobo may stop at nothing to shut us up
Friday morning. I’m lying facedown on a table with about a dozen needles in my back, waiting for my torturer, who’s silently and ominously moving around the room somewhere beyond the edge of my peripheral vision, to hook them up to a wall socket and hit me with a jolt of electricity.
The sweat is pouring off my head, down my face and off my chin, courtesy of a late autumn Durban heat wave and the stabbing pain about three-quarters of the way up my spine.
My mind starts to wander, heading for the beach rather than the pain. It works for a couple of seconds and my body is up on a wave and the wetness on my face is ocean spray, not my own liquids. The first burst hits and I’m back on the bench, spinal muscles clenching. For a second, I lose my bearings and I’m no longer in the hands of the chiropractor, who is trying to sort out yet another spinal injury.
My pain-fuelled imagination – and welldeveloped sense of paranoia – take over and I’m a prisoner of one of State Security Minister David Mahlobo’s torturers.
My mind runs riot and I’m deep in a dungeon beneath the University of Zululand’s Ongoye campus, where the real dissertations are kept, getting worked over, as Mister T – as his varsity bras used to call him – releases his grip on the two Thai “masseuses”, who double up as his bodyguards, for long enough to order my torturer to increase the voltage.
I scream in agony as Mahlobo’s minion nods assent and spins the dial clockwise with the enthusiasm of a DJ at Eyadini on No Regrets Monday. I narrowly avoid soiling myself as the minister and the Ling Ling twins giggle at my suffering. Mahlobo shuffles closer. I can smell his rank breath, but I can’t see his face as he asks me again about the source of the Facebook pictures of him groping a series of hookers in a brothel owned by one of his alleged mates and rhino horn smuggler/pimp/drug runner.
I steel myself, anticipating an interrogation in terms of Dirty Dave’s Cybercrimes Act. I know Signal Jammer will stop at nothing to find out who exposed his gropey tendencies online and brought his happy endings to an end, as it were. Davey’s mal enough about it to pass his own law, so I’m expecting the worst.
A buzzer rings. The needles in my back stop pulsing. I come back to earth. Mahlobo’s evil henchman transmogrifies into Dr Angela Pastellides. I suck in air and relax. For now.
He asks me again about the source of the Facebook pictures of him groping a series of hookers