The Colour of Gold
cells to the police
station offices.
    The white woman
waiting anxiously in Tiaan’s office was middle aged and slightly
    “What can I do
for you, lady?” Tiaan asked. “I’m Captain Tiaan Botha, from the
anti-terrorist unit of the South African Security Police.”
    “Yes, Mr.
Botha.” the woman said. “I’m Nancy Edgecomb. “I was on my way home
from work and, as usual, walked along the street behind the police
station. About fifty metres ahead of me I noticed two black men
carrying a heavy object in a yellow plastic shopping bag between
them. Suddenly they put the bag with its contents down next to the
wall of the police station building and walked away. Why would they
do something like that?"
    Tiaan felt his
body go cold. As calmly as he could, he smiled at the woman in
front of him.
    “How long ago
did this happen, Mrs. Edgecomb?” he asked.
    “Less than five
minutes ago.” the woman replied. “I came here straight away. Those
two men were behaving in a very strange way and I didn’t like
    “Stay here,
Mrs. Edgecomb.” Tiaan said. “I’ll go and investigate. Do whatever
my men tell you to do, but don’t worry. You’re quite safe
    Tiaan walked
briskly out of his office and climbed the stairs to the first floor
which housed the bomb disposal squad. He hurried to their
    “Piet.” Tiaan
said, quietly and calmly. “A suspicious package has been reported
lying against the back wall of the station. It’s very possibly a
bomb. Get going!”
    The leader
turned to his men who were gathered behind him.
    “You heard what
Tiaan just told me.” he said. “There’s a possible explosive device
at the back of the building. Get your equipment and let’s go!”
    Like a
well-oiled machine the bomb disposal squad sprang into action,
moving quietly but quickly out of the office and down the stairs.
Some of the men spread out to organize the evacuation of the
building while others left the police station through the front
door and circled the building, effectively cordoning it off. The
bomb experts moved carefully towards the yellow plastic bag and its
contents. A small crowd of curious onlookers gathered on the far
pavement, but was moved away by uniformed police officers.
    Two blocks away
a small, thin black man stood leaning against the wall of an office
building and watching the activity taking place behind the distant
police station. He had seen the two black men leave their package
next to the wall of the building and briskly walk away. He had also
seen the white woman staring at them and suddenly change direction
and head for the entrance to the police station. He knew with
certainty that the intended bombing of the building had failed.
This was confirmed a few minutes later when he saw policemen
surround the building and move all civilians away. He also saw the
two bomb disposal experts cautiously approach the yellow plastic
bag and its contents. He nodded his head slowly, his thin lips
compressing into a grim, thin line. He turned and limped away,
favouring his shorter right leg to ease the pain that had built up
while he stood motionless. The permanent frown that crossed his
forehead deepened. He desperately needed more time to train and
discipline his recruits. They just didn’t understand all the
intricacies of subversive warfare. They had to learn that they were
fighting a deadly war, not playing a game.
    The black man
with the limp, whose real name was Joseph Matimba, was known to his
comrades only by his code name “Shadow”. A secretive man, Shadow
said very little but commanded respect from all who associated with
him. Rumour had it that he was an extremely brave and fearless man
who had performed incredibly daring feats against the white
oppressors during the student uprising in 1976.
    Shadow had been
twenty three years old when the students rose up against their
white oppressors who were forcing them to do their studies in the
hated Afrikaans language. As he was
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