Mr Jailor Manby Montle Moorosi, illustration by Nolan Dennis, images by Danielle Clough / 13.12.2010
The long arm of the law does not always guarantee an awesome hand job. In most cases it never even uses its arm but it prefers to fuck with its long, hard, pimply purple excuse for a cock. And boy does it like to fuck hard.
One can never say they understand the real South Africa or even the meaning of human relations if you havent been to South Africa’s magistrate courts, in one way or another. I wait apprehensively outside the Cape Town magistrates court under a false pretense. I’m looking for an entrance of some sort, both as a story lead and a real entrance to the building.
It stinks outside the cells, alongside the road. It’s that all familiar smell of piss, wine, cum and deprivation. The atmosphere is sweaty, claustrophobic, tense. It’s almost as if I’m locked up inside, there’s noise everywhere. All I can see are young women and children and a couple of men shouting at the sky. Is everyone on tik out here?
“Moosa can you hear me?”
Is she praying? Is her God Moosa? Is this Hinduism or the Kabbala? I don’t know, but I can hear Moosa answering her prayer. Everyone in the street can and they raise up their eyes.
“Marsha! Marsha! I’m here!” Moosa is talking to his lady friend through the tiny iron mesh patterned bars which are impossible to see through. All Moosa can do now is imagine Marsha dressed in her civvies. She has free access to cigarettes, she is going home tonight to watch <em>7de Laan</em> and faces a much smaller possibility of being gang raped. But on this sunny day in Cape Town, even God can get fucked.
They keep shouting each others names for what seems like an eternity, Marsha is with her two children, one is a girl of about 8, the other, a boy of about 5. The little girl is quiet but the little boy keeps tugging at his mother’s dress with his chubby brown fingers, snot on his lip and he’s cying.
“I want to talk to daddy, I want to talk to daddy, mommy!”
I wish I knew how to clearly convey that Kaapse accent in words because most likely you won’t understand how something so funny can be so sad.
I once saw a homeless kid singing Ricky and Ricardo’s “I love you Daddy, bom bom bom, bom bom bom, you are my hero.” I laughed, but I felt like crying.
The last thing I heard Moosa say was: “Do you have any entjies?”.
I go into the court house and I’m told they’ve closed for lunch and will only be open in an hour, so I’m objected to more broken telephone conversations on the pavement. I take a seat on the curb in the only place with shade that isn’t occupied. I haven’t showered and I have to deal with my repugnant self all over again. While I’m sitting on the curb a white guy who’s dressed like a Jehovah’s Witness, long brown hair and a white Ackermans collared shirt, asks me for a cigarette. I lie to him and tell him I have none. I move away to sit with the crowd under the tree and end up offering them all cigarettes.
“Daniel, is Yasser there? Yasser?” A pretty woman says with an indifferent and mildly angry look on her face. She’s been here before.
A few feet away from me I hear a very different accent. A new shade of Cape deprivation. I first saw the dreadlocked, dark complexioned, white golf shirt and khaki cargo shorts wearing man inside the court, outside the holding cell entrance, before they closed. He was arguing with one of the policemen about giving a parcel to one of the inmates.
“You can’t be here, you must go.” Says a burly cop.
“I just want to talk to her, I have dis ting.” In his hands is a grey plastic bag.
“Do you want me to take you out for you?” Said the cop threateningly.
They both catch me watching them and I quickly walk away.
Now he is outside, his demenour clearly shows his frustration, the same frustration I get when I talk to Nigerian drug dealers over the phone.
“What? I can’t heeer you!”
“Dey say I can’t give you de bag, I’m going to talk to Butt”. I don’t know if he really said “butt” but it sure sounded like it.
“What?” Leila replied.
“I can’t give you de bag, I’m waiting for Butt.” Was it Botes, Botha or even Beukes who knows, he wasn’t selling me weed so I didn’t bother trying to decipher his words.
“Leila?, I can’t hear you. De’s a car here, I cant hear… Leila?”
This carried on for the duration of the one hour break but then as if God came down at a trance party and somehow made it rain, Leila finally understood what the guy was saying. Leila had a coloured accent.
“I can hear you!” Her voice sounded like happiness. Her voice sounded like an angel with clipped wings. I silently shed a tear and thought about my ex-girlfirend and the time I was locked up. I wish I never did that to her, she was my only friend.
“I’m going to Pollsmoor.” Leila said.
“Okay, i’m going to give the package to Butt, de’ es tobacco there too. ‘Butt’ will give you de money.”
All the guy wanted to do was give his girlfriend money and tobacco for once she got to Pollsmoor to serve her sentence. His love for her brought him to this obscene freak show of a converstaion. A place where people are exposed to the brutal yet deceiving reality that love does exist, reaffirmed in times of blood, sweat, tears, shit, piss and saliva – through bars in a wall.
Court is adjourned and I have placed myself in whatever court room tickles my fancy. Court 36, I don’t want live past 36 so it sounds good to me. It’s a divorce proceeding, fuck. My mind reverts to paranoia, was I cheated on in my last relationship? Fuck the torture, I walk out and risk being charged with contempt of court, which a small part of me hopes will happen, then I can finally prove to everyone that I do want stab everyone I see.
In court 14 I’m surronded by Xhosa women with children and an obese white man dressed in civilian clothes who is actually a policeman. He plays with the children, in his black patch work leather, handing out high fives. He begins to tell everyone waiting outside the court that he’s here for his brother’s trial, who he says has been worngfully arrested and detained for the last 5 weeks.
Yes, even the brother of a white policeman can get fucked. the policeman’s brother emerges from the holding cells beneath the court looking like he had just woken up in Narnia. He had soft facial features, did not look intimidating at all, in fact he looked a bit like he had some sort of mental handicap, his eyes were empty and I got the feeling that he did not actually understand the siuation he was in. His nails were black and dirty and he wore worn blue jeans and a faded white t-shirt with purple stripes.
“Hou jou bek. I’m not talking to you!” Shouted the fat black lady magistrate with her Winnie Mandela-esque wig and glasses.”What are you here for, eh?”
“My brother.” The cop said sullenly.
“So keep quiet then before I hold you in contempt of court.” The Magi answered.
“He was in the wrong court? What… ?” the Magistrate goes morbidly silent, yet retains the ambiance of ambivalence. The power of a twisted authority.
“Let him go.” She says eventually.
Slowly the situation dawns on me. The poor retarded dude was locked up for five weeks because he went to the wrong court. Now there’s a story. I try to get some statements from the public prosecutor, a young and fairly handsome coloured man. He seems keen to divulge the information
but then the Magistrate threatens me with contempt of court, and I scurry out like a rat even though the trial is adjourned. Jesus Christ, I almost got one of those lethal hand jobs too.