I was not born poor but I cant say I was born rich either. My parents are both teachers in Mooi River halfway between Johannesburg and Durban. Its a beautiful quiet little town where nothing much really happens except for the occasional memulo (for those who don’t know its a coming of age ceremony for Zulu girls), weddings and yes funerals. Funerals are the order of the day as almost all girls from here who moved to either Johannesburg or Durban seem to die mysteriously. Those who do not die, thank God, bring back their babies here because they say life is too expensive and fast to raise a baby there because they never seem to want their babies. Funny enough these girls when they come back they all seem so expensive with Brazilian, Peruvian and Malaysian weaves that I am told are worth five thousand rand a piece. Is Peruvia a country by the way? They all have designer bags and shoes I don’t even see in Drum magazine. And their lips have so much lip gloss it shines from a mile away. life must really be expensive ke! The grandparents go around with their grandchildren with pride but we all know the shame it brings when your daughter brings home a fatherless child for this is KwaZulu Natal after all. Yes I do not stay in the rural parts of it but its still deeply cultured with rules and traditions that go deep.
How can I describe the sensations that swamped me when I passed my matric and Wits accepted me to study Law. We all grew up seeing long queues at universities for students looking for space and here I was receiving mail in my post to say come hither daughter of Shaka you have qualified. I was scared and excited at the same time. I had even received a full scholarship and all i had to do was maintain good grades. Yes I knew it would be tough but I had come this far why stop now. My parents though excastic for the fact that I had passed did not seem to share the same joy I had for me to be going to Johannesburg. For a moment there i thought I was not going to be allowed to go but eventually my mum convinced my dad that i had been raised right and I would not bring home a package or some foreign guy he allowed me to go. I promised them that I would not become a statistic like other girls for I was smart and ambitious.
I didn’t get residence but through one of the girls who stays in my neighborhood I got a place in Braamfontein. She told my parents that it was really convenient for school was a mere ten minute walk in an area where 80% of the people are students. She neglected to mention what the rest were. I was leaving in South Point. Both my parents escorted me to school the day I moved in. My dad drove his Chevrolet Cruze and i preferred it because it meant i could carry more things from home. My dad had refused for my mum to make me a packed lunch because he said it would make the car smell and besides times have moved on. My mother was insulted by that comment and snapped at my dad who just walked away as though he had not heard her. She did however insist on the cookies she had baked the night before and that I didn’t mind because my mum could bake like a woman possessed. I remember leaving home and getting onto the N3 highway. For some reason I felt I was victorious, I was triumpant, I was on my way to the city of gold and the world was my playground.
My mum had insisted that my dad drive a hundred after we drove past an overturned Roadlink just 20km out of Mooi River so you can imagine how long the trip was. Fours hours later we were driving into Jozi City baybee. I updated on Bbm status that I had finally arrived in the city of dreams of which the girl that had arranged a place for me to stay responded by asking me when my parents were leaving because she is taking me out tonight. I wasn very outgoing but considering that it was Friday why the hell not. My dad being my dad had decided that they will help me settle in during the day and drive back around seven when the roads were empty and most certainly my mother would fall asleep. This way he could break all speed records getting home. He had refused to sleep in Jhb because tomorrow was the big derby Chiefs vs Pirates and being a true bucanneer the game started at 10am the following morning with a braai at his friends place. I told my friend, lets call her S for in future she would prove to be a snake and a slut but that’s a story for later, i told her if its after 8 then we could go. She laughed at me and said “Akekho ophumayo ngemuva kuka 11 sesi lol Welcome to Jozi”. I laughed and my mum asked me why i was laughing but i told her it was a private thought.
I checked in and S came to welcome me in. My parents were happy that she was there to guide me. My mother called her my big sister for at home she was such a decent child and had been the head of our Sunday School and Youth Choir. I am Methodist by the way. When she walked to greet us she was wearing a Maxi skirt. Dignified to meet my parents. After two long hours i couldn’t wait for my parents to leave for they were nagging. My mum did my bed, unpacked my suitcases everything for me. Now she was the one worrying and fussing whilst my dad was impatient. An old friend of his from Mondeor had called and said he must come say hello so he wanted to leave. So 7 o’clock became 5 o’clock and we said our goodbyes. I wont lie i actually cried because this was the first time i was away from home. i wasn’t crying because of fear more out of excitement and anxiety at the same time. S laughed at me but reassured me that she had gone through the same emotions. She took me for supper downstairs and we had Kfc. Its right at the foot of my building how convenient. Around 8pm my mum called saying that they are driving home and i told her that i will be going to bed soon because the trip had worn me out. We said our goodnights.
At 1030pm S came to my room to check if i was ready. I was wearing my hip-hop outfit (trend back home), skinnies with sneakers etc. You know the teen high school uniform for going out. We all look like lil Wayne wannabes. Looking at her i felt stupid! There she was in a short ass white dress that was so tight i felt it would tear. Later i would learn it was the JHB night uniform and it was called a freakum. We are the same height but in her heels she towered me making me look even smaller and more pathetic. She laughed and said we are not in Mooi River anymore I will have to change. I told her I did not have any such clothes and she said don’t worry i will hook you up. We are cousins after all she said and told me that will be my story from now onwards. I readily agreed because my naivety had shown just now. She went to a room and came back with yet another short dress. I have worn short dresses before but i felt so naked and exposed. I could feel the fresh air go to my privates unabated and thank God for my matric dance they had taught us how to walk in heels. I just looked expensive. I had a weave on which back home we commonly call “razor” you know the one which short and is flat but curly at the back. She told me that by the end of the week this must go because here it was called “kasi weave”. SHe told me to rather stick to braids or my hair if i didn’t want weave. i was an eager student and dint wanna look rural so i absorbed it all. I asked her where we are going and how we were going there. She told me not to worry…
At eleven she got a call and she said lets go. When we got outside I was stunned. I am not a car person but outside was a white E63 AMG waiting for us. I am not stupid i know what that is. its more expensive than my house and four others on my street combined. I was so impressed by the calibre of friends she kept. Couldn’t wait to meet them or maybe i thought to soon… Out stepped this man old enough to be my father with muscles everywhere even on his head. S ran and jumped on him happily and he said in one of those accents you hear on AfricaMagic “I see your cousin has finally arrived… hi … I am Ada Orunu but everyone calls me Tiny!” i think i blacked out for a second there for i could hear myself in a distance whisper