The Ndundulu Invasion – Chapter 3 – Unanswered Questions

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MantzariscoverBongi hated it when suddenly his ex-school friend called him out of the blue and asked him to meet him for drinks at ROOM 319 , at the ROYAL HOTEL.He knew that his friend was a little bit shy at been seeing at the ZULU JAZZ CLUB , but sometimes he overdid it. Everything was forgotten however when he entered the spacious room and saw his old friend relaxing on the comfortable lounge watching American wrestling and sipping greedily a double scotch on a tall glass as usual.

It was sometimes incomprehensible in Bongi’s mind how Gapon Khumalo had reached the pinnacle of a career so fast after 1994 and suddenly became the envy of everyone in Section D Umlazi, who kept complaining still that he owed them money from the old school days. They complained bitterly that even though the Ramaphosas and the Motsepes always ensured that that they spent time to their old townships the same was not true of the new Black Diamonds in their city, like Gapon, especially him. Their main theme of conversation was that now he had made it and lived in the suburbs, he had forgotten his Umlazi roots. This was described as arrogant, uncalled for and incomprehensible in their language.

All these things became instant memories for Bongi as his eyes travelled momentarily through the opulence of the double room, decorated with kitschy, but well painted African art, red Persian carpets and expensive duvet covers.
The pleasantries became almost exaggerated when Bongi discovered that the old mate had stocked the mini fridge with at least two dozen HEINEKENS.
Bongi let him talk for three minutes at the most . Gapon spoke slowly, seriously and in a calculating tone, almost like reciting a three line poem in Standard three in front of the Boere inspector of schools.
There was silence, momentarily.

After a while he looked at Gapon, his eyes searching his friend’s wrinkles.
“Repeat this again, nkosi (chief), I fail to understand.”
“We have reliable information that the headquarters of the Chinese Intelligence Mission in KwaZulu is in Ndundulu, the village outside Melmoth where you’re doing your research.”
“So you got me under surveillance, bru (brother), that’s very interesting. On my side, I have this to say, and listen to me carefully: Tell your informant and your laarnies (bosses) that you are all maal (mad), nkosi.
“Listen, Mfundisi, when we talk reliable, we don’t talk RELIABLE CD Warehouse here, we talk reliable informer, full stop.”
“Why Ndundulu?”
“You’ve told me that you have read the Bible of Intelligence, remember?”
“By way of Deception”, right, so what are you saying, Gapon?”
“Now listen carefully and recollect, page 34 to 35, sub-section C, paragraph 5, footnote 24.”
“Carry on.”
“The MOSSAD , Mfundisi , the supreme intelligence agency since the death of Julius Caesar, stabbed in  the neck by his right hand man Brutus and his spies, tells us clearly that you locate your headquarters in places that are far away form the eyes and the nose of the enemy, pay attention, mfundisi, the eyes AND the nose.”
“I understand, nkosi, but why Ndundulu, the communication channels will be difficult to ….”
Mfundisi, the Chinese are not stupid, there is electricity at Ndundulu, communications are intact, and my bru, now listen to me carefully. We are very alert to the fact that the Chinese know how our intelligence operates, they got us checked, they know how good we are, right? They know we have the urban areas checked, hence they move their headquarters to the rural areas, hence Ndundulu, you understand? The source has confirmed that the person heading the intelligence network is a Mr. Hu who runs a general dealer’s shop called CHINESE TEMPEST or something like that. Surname not confirmed.”
“CHINESE TEMPEST?”
“CHINESE TEMPEST.”
“Whatever you say, but how do you know that this Chinese spaza (small shop) is not a franchise of a bigger spaza in Empangeni, or Escourt.”

Gapon’s eyes penetrated Bongi’s like a Zulu traditional weapon.
Mfundisi, you know I really like you and respect you for emotional, historical and social reasons , but one thing about you guys with the Ph.D.s and all that, you must stop patronise us, bru. You see a man can take so much and no more. Now you talk about spazas, franchises, and all this nonsense. I, Nkosinathi Gapon Khumalo am telling you, the Chinese headquarters in KwaZulu Natal are situated in Ndundulu, the same way they are situated in Upington, instead of Kimberley and Hamanskraal instead of Tshwane. They are masters, Prof, these guys have absorbed the essence and content of Comrade Mao’s military writings and his most important revolutionary diatribe,“On Contradictions” have you read it?”
“No.”
“You’re missing out, I’ll email you a copy, study it, and you’ll need it.”
“Why?”
“Because there has been communication between the Regional and the National Office regarding the issue, with Gapon as the initiator. You have been vetted, you have been accepted, you have been proposed, you have been rubber-stamped .This is because you’ll do the job for us.”
“What job?”
“You’ll discover the inner dynamic, location, function, outputs, outcomes, assessment, monitoring and evaluation of the Chinese Intelligence Headquarters in Ndundulu.”
“Take a breath, bru, you sound like a project management manual.”
“I am a Project Management Manual, bru, that’s why I have reached the top of my chosen profession. I am thorough, meticulous, disciplined, calculating, persuasive, and outstanding. Now think about the offer, my bru. You are an outstanding patriot, an Africanist, well educated, an expert in intelligence. Go through the brief .You will be able to contribute immensely to the success of our counter-intelligence , our internal and external safety and security from the economic and political enemy and you will be a major contributor to the gigantic effort to make the 2010 Major Project  an unqualified success  through your brilliance and talents. To top it all you will get paid for it.”
“How much.”
“R20,000 per month minus 10 percent commission, excluding VAT and taxes. Fifty grand after completing the job successfully. How does it sound?”
“The commission?”
“You’re offering me a job as a patriot. You are the Regional Director of the National Intelligence and you are offering me a job, and you want a R2000 commission, what kind of a man are you, Gapon? What kind of a patriot? What kind of a childhood friend? What kind of an Intelligence handler, because you will be my handler, if I accept that is, am I correct?”
“You are correct, but let me remind you of one thing you seem to forget. It’s pay back time, bru. You remember how selfish you were at high school, you never shared with us, you never womanised with us, you never came for drinks with us, and you were always on you own. Now, I am making the offers, and I dictate the terms, 10% or nothing, bru”.
“Nothing”.
“What did you say?”
“Take the twenty grands and stick it up your arse, Gapon.”
“Oh, that’s how it is now, you don’t want to help the country, that how it is.”
“What will you do Gapon,  will you charge me for high treason?”
“You see, Prof, you start again with me, I come with a humble offer, I make it right for you, you retaliate with your superiority complex and false pretences.”
“Gapon, you make an insulting offer to me, and to top it all you ask for a commission. Do you take me for a hustler, or what?”
“Come on Bongi, you are a hustler; you need the grands the same way the gogo (granny) in Nqutu needs her old age grant money at the end of the month. Check what you can do with this money , fly first class to watch Pirates , register for VIRGIN ACTIVE , which you can’t afford now , visit the most exclusive massage parlours in Florida Road , the sky is the limit, Bongi.”
“No, Gapon, for me this is a matter of principle. To top it all, what do I know about spying on the Chinese Headquarters, let’s be fair to you, and the taxpayers, plus why I must pay the 10 percent commission. It’s immoral.
“Chief, if you get an extra job through your agent, do you pay commission?”
“It’s different.”
“No difference. Now me, Gapon Khumalo I’m your agent. You pay 10% to your agent.”
“You are an intelligence agent Gapon, not a commercial agent.”
“Have you read the globalisation debate, Prof? Globalisation theory tells us that the exchange value as expanded by Comrade Karl Marx in DAS KAPITAL, Volume 2 is the foundation of the globalised world. Our agreement is rooted on exchange value. Only this time value extracted is split both ways. The worker, you, pay the Boss, me, 10% for landing the job. As for skills don’t worry, I’ll give you three manuals and we’ll pay you to memorise them, when you do, you are ready, OK?”
“No, first I don’t want to do it; secondly I do not want to pay the 10%.”
“Make up your mind, Prof, dialectical materialism tells us that the essence and the content are interrelated, you turn down the job, R20000, but in the same breath you say you are not prepared to pay the commission. This, in dialectical terms tells me that you want the job deep down, but you are greedy, you do not want to pay the commission, am I correct in my analysis?”
“No commission.”
“Five percent.”
“Done.”

They looked each other in the eye, searching for something. Nothing  there. No emotion. A good bargain all round.
The exchange value is proven, once again, correct. Only this time the worker was not screwed, the employer is, much against the realities of life and history.

—-

Next chapter: Chapter 4

©  Evan Mantzaris – The Ndundulu Invasion – Rozenberg Quarterly 2013 – ISBN 978 90 361 0201 8

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