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Elsie sat next to Chichi at the reception of the Pan-African Heritage Museum. She mumbled aloud what her fingers were banging away on the keyboard of Chichi’s computer.
“The Secrets of Mapungubwe exhibition will close at the end of the month. Thereafter, it will travel to Paris, Istanbul and New York. It won’t be back on South African shores for another year. Don’t miss this chance for your learners to expand their knowledge about one of Southern Africa’s most influential empires. This is an opportunity that is not to be missed, especially for your matric learners who are studying history.”
She leaned back from the laptop, re-reading what she had typed.
“So,” she turned towards Chichi. “What do you think? You think it will convince the kids?”
“Yeah, it’s not the kids that need convincing. They’ll do anything to skip class. The problem is the teachers.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I can’t believe that we’ve only had three schools coming in to see the Mapungubwe display. It just doesn’t make sense,” she added with a shrug.
“I guess it’s just not as sexy as Treasures of Egypt.”
“But it doesn’t matter,” Elsie said, banging her fist on the reception table. “These are our treasures. They ought to be interested in them. I’ll convince them or die trying.”
“Have you thought how your going to send this out?” Chichi asked.
Elsie paused. She hadn’t thought about it. “Good question,” she said. “What were you thinking?”
“I don’t know,” Chichi said, wrinkling her brow. “We don’t have the email addresses of the schools. And even if we did,” she added, “we’d need to make sure they get to the right people. The best is to email the head teachers directly.”
“Damn, I don’t know how we’re going to manage that. We’d probably need the education department, and I don’t know if they’d be willing to give email addresses just like that.”
“Unless — ,” Chichi said, eyes widening.
“Tesfaye!” Elsie finished her thought. “He’s probably got connections there.”
“Most likely. But we need to move quickly because it will take time for him to ask the department and pester them until he gets the emails —”
“They’ll more likely want to send it themselves,” Elsie interjected.
“Which is even worse. That means more delays. So if we are super lucky, the schools will only be able to schedule the tours within three of four weeks time, which leaves us with —”
“Only one week before the thing goes off to Paris. Damn.”
“See what I mean?”
“We actually have very little ti—.” The words died on her lips. The glass doors slid apart and she was suddenly looking at Stan’s tall, skinny figure. He was about the last person that she wanted to see at that moment. There was an awkward silence as they regarded each other in silence.
Elsie shot to her feet.
“Please email that to me, Chichi,” she said, pushing the seat she was in back into the desk. “I’ll get it to Tesfaye A.S.A.P.” She hurried off down the passage towards Tesfaye’s office. Stan, Gugu and Chichi exchanged a look.