After completing his final Grade 12 eams, Brighton Habeenzu was taken by his distant uncle from Kwacha, Kitwe. It was during this time when he was introduced to illegal emerald mining in Lufwanyama, as the job was what kept his uncle and family surviving. Since he was encouraged that it could help him raise money for college, Brighton was not hesitant to try.
Some people are blessed with luck, and during one of those weekly camping at Kagem, Habeenzu came across a decent piece of emerald which he tightly managed to keep a secret until they returned back to town. He was to sell it alone to the Senegalese buyer whom his uncle’s team usually sold to.
As everything went to plan, Brighton had his scheme executed out nicely, walking away with a cool K20,000 from the precious gem he hid from Kagem. Little did he know the Senegalese had double-crossed him.
In the evening, as per tradition, Brighton’s team went out for a drink, all five gentlemen went out into the neighbouring shanty compound, St. Anthony where thy would find all sorts of pleasure including cheap women to help them relax.
As it was getting late, Brighton’s uncle was the first to be excused as he needed to go back ‘to his family’ and would not drink any more than enough. Habeenzu was to remain, drink a few more bottles and finally take his woman to a private room and spend his night there.
As the two walked, laughing and teasing each other, a bright spotlight hit Brighton in the face and for a few seconds he was blind. Before he could put his mind together, someone had already grabbed his backpack, as well as his phone from the pocket. Then two more held him tightly from behind.
His sight slowly came back and he knew he was under attack. He couldn’t see the girl, only five strong men around him. The robbers searched his bag, but only find a T-Shirt and a wallet that had his NRC only less than K100.
“Iwe ka ch***** indalama shilikwisa?” one of them exclaimed, revealing a 3.5-barrel sub compact pistol.
(Hey Kid, where is the money)
“I don’t have any more money than you have taken…”
“We know the Senegalese gave you 20 Pin mwaiche!” The man fumed while hitting Brighton with an uppercut. “Bring the money or you die.” Two more punches followed.
As the punches sunk into Habeenzu’s ribs, he forgot he was in Kitwe so his Tonga clicked in.
“I don’t have it! Ino nkaambo ka bulwanzi bwa covid buliwo, ichintoolo cisambala bukoko cakadambila kuti tabatambuli mali ono mebo dakatumina muluwaile luyobola mali.”
Luckily, one of the robbers could understand Tonga, so he explained that since there is covid, the bar Habeenzu was drinking from told him they don’t collect cash so he deposited all of it into mobile money…
“Ataa!” One of the robbers fumed, as he hit Habeenzu with another punch. “Okay leta phone kuno, tupele na PIN otherwise nalakuputulako umukoshi… Twalaya fumya fwebene.”
(Jeez, give us your phone and Mobile money PIN so that we can withdraw the money, otherwise I will cut your throat)
“Simucard jenjiyo ilimuluwaile ndokadinyanga mebo.”
(The simcard is the one in the phone u just grabbed from me)
“Who got his phone, bring it here.” The robber demanded.
“Yaba, sorry boss nimfumyamo simcard, nachiposa mumufolo umu…” apologised the other one.
(Boss I removed the simcard & threw it in the drainage)
“Yaba! Find that simcard now”
After trying to search in the water drain, they could not see it since the water there was dirty and mostly changed its colour. So after savagely beating him, the robbers realised they were running out of time, and they resolved to just kill Habeenzu and move on.
But Habeenzu suddenly had an idea, “Please don’t kill me. I can get you that money once I replace the simcard tomorrow. Spare my life please… You will have the money I swear but let me live.”
The robber leader realised this could work. So, he ordered Habeenzu to have his simcard replaced in the morning and hand it in by evening.
“Mubwesesheni akachola kakwe, emuli regi, but just know that we are keeping an eye on you. We know you and we will find you so don’t even try to act smart.” The Robber leader warned him.
The following morning, Brighton knew his life cannot be spared twice so he packed up all his clothes and was ready to go when his uncle interrupted him:
“Where do you think you are going?”
“Am leaving for Choma uncle, I am going to see my mother….” Brighton replied.
“What?” His uncle fumed, “You are not going anywhere boy until you have that simcard replaced.”
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