IN this craft of journalism, there are a lot of things we go through to bring our readers breaking news stories, writes Buchule Raba.
On Wednesday morning colleague Palesa Seete, the editor Mr Abdul Milazi’s personal assistant transferred a call to me that she thought the person on the other end of the line had a great story for Sunday World.
I answered the call and the person I was speaking to sounded so immaculate and well-groomed, he answered: “Good morning sir!”.
The gentleman then went for the jugular, informing me that he has a story that will shock the life out of me, “WHY METRO FM SLOGAN CHANGED - SOME TOP PEOPLE AT THE SABC ARE STALKING HIM”, he declared without flinching.
His utterances traumatised me and saddened me at the same time because he was telling me crap, but I patiently listened.
He told me he can’t divulge more on the phone and we need to meet. I agreed to meet him in Newtown.
As I arrived at the set place and he was not there. I called him to ask where he was. He told me that he was approaching me, I asked what he was wearing and he said a white cap.
Not to be judgmental, I immediately threw my note book back to the car because I could sense there was no story and I am being taken for a big ride.
His dress code, he wore worn out leather shoes, a pair of jeans that has seen it all and a cream jacket.
He looked rugged you would swear the African sun shines on him alone. His eyes were so red, it was though they were blood soaked and his nails were dirty and not taken care of.
I had to pull myself together and listen to this soul, I asked: “So what's the story?”
“So what’s really happening between you and the national broadcaster?” I asked, he seemed confused.
“When I was in Limpopo people wanted to know my business. I saw my life being duplicated by Generations, Muvhango and Isidingo,” said the man in his 30s.
In my attempt to reason with him, I gave an example of the Zodiac sign.
“So if a star sign tells you exactly what you going through, you' ill say people are duplicating your life?” He touched his rather gravel face and admitting he understands my question and it actually makes sense.
“I think the SABC is using some people to get information from me. I can't even speak on the phone because they’ve bugged it,” said this man, who spoke in Durban, Johannesburg and Eastern Cape accents at the same time.
I was getting annoyed and feeling uncomfortable at that stage. “Do you think I would have the nerve to call the SABC spokesperson Mr Kaizer Kganyago and ask him about what you are telling me?, I asked him.
“Are you aware that I will look stupid? I have a credibility to maintain and I’m not going to write any story about the nonsense you are telling me.” I told him.
The man said he fully understands but his life is a mess because his work has been stolen over the years and that two major clothing retail stores had fired him.
He told me that T-bo Touch of Metro FM talks about him everyday on his show. “He always says that he knows my every move. I am very popular in Daveyton and he is using me to get listeners,” he said.
I stopped short of bursting into laughter and truly felt pity for the man as he was going on a long, senseless, name dropping, ego trip. The man definitely regards himself as a celebrity of some sort, but he is a sick soul and needs help, any help, psychologically or otherwise.
So I was interested to find out other things T-bo Touch was saying about him, he could tell me but said he does not mention him by name.
Immediately thereafter I could sense the man has some form of mental illness.
He told me he is going to hang the people that are leaking his whereabouts to dry and then press charges against them (HE KNOWS THEM).
I told him that as soon as he done with hanging them out there to dry, there will be a breaking story and he must call me, he agreed.
By then, I already imagined a headline: “MAD MAN STALKS SABC BOSSES!”
Then I thought to myself, if this is the trauma we have to go through to get our respectable readers news stories, I will take everything all in my stride and move on with my life.
As we were about to part ways, the told me he wants “Zaka” (money) for taxi.
I told him that I do not carry cash around. What surprised me was the fact that his cellphone was loaded with airtime as he was calling me all the time.
He said “sh*t will hit the fan because he is planning to take the SABC to task...”.
I told him he must take the story to a popular daily because they would love it.
I thought to myself, this man thinks life revolves around him but as they say, only time will tell...