I was the price tag on his arm; I had to look the part. Keep your head high Barbie, smile Barbie, do not look ordinary Barbie, and do not screw this up. This is the big one. Look at this man. Who would have thought? I can’t screw this up. Dingaan Dlanga? I have hit the jackpot!
A white, big man came towards us as we went in through the vestibule door entering the hall for the Gala dinner.
“Mr Dlanga! What a pleasant surprise. I’m glad you came.” Said the fat man. He then ogled me, and then said to Dingaan -“And who is this gorgeous young lady?”
It’s Audrey. My name is Audrey; all though everyone prefers to call me “Black Barbie.”
I am a foreigner in South Africa as my home is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I am the first born of four children and I’ve never had the privilege to meet my infamous father. My mother died when I was twelve years old. That was when my lonely Aunt decided I should come live with her in South Africa and leave my siblings at home with my grandparents.
I am supposed to be having some sales job as I’m responsible for my siblings back in Addis Ababa. But that is not Audrey. Audrey was not meant to work her nails off. Audrey was meant to stay beautiful and sparkle.
Since I was little; I loved the lavish lifestyle, and he luxury that came with it.
Whenever my mother would come home with shiny jewellery; I will put them on and parade for her. She would apply makeup on me and act as if we were on TV. “You are so beautiful my baby. Turn around, turn around my Audrey. Smile….oh, you look like a Barbie doll. You are my Barbie girl. You are going to be a star!” my mother would say proudly; and I would parade with my head high.
From then onwards; I walked around calling myself “Barbielish.”, “Barbie girl.” and “Barbie doll.”
And now I am twenty four years old; and I am still Audrey the “Black Barbie.” because my mother said so.
When they say I look like a Barbie doll; they are not lying. I am the living proof of Barbie. I look like a living doll that just came out of plastic wraps. All I have to do is smile and wave.
I was thirteen years old just a year moving to South Africa to live with my Aunt when I got a presenting job on ‘Teens Mzansi’. I was earning and sending money home!
My Aunt pressed on school. So I went to a private multiracial high school as a teenage celebrity. I passed my Matric and I was done. I hated school. I am meant to smile and wave. At twenty, I had to bid farewell to Teens Mzansi, grow and I became a runway model.
My aunt then finally got herself a man, and they moved to London. I did not have to move back to Ethiopia. South Africa is like my second home.
Dingaan grasped my waist before responding him, – “You know I couldn’t turn down the invitation Jose…uhm this is Audrey. She is my date for tonight.” Date for tonight?
“Oh please to meet you Audrey.” the man said smiling at me; along with that gave a furtive look at my cleavage. Dingaan noticed and surprisingly smiled as if he could chuckle. The fat man then called a guy over who I assume was a waiter.
Living in South Africa; or as some call it “Mzansi”; – has been an interesting experience. I have managed to create various relationships and friendships. Some solid, some not so perfect. Some beneficial, some not so beneficial.
For instance; i met my house mate and friend Senhle at a fashion show just when I wanted a place to stay permanently with reasonable rent. She had a four bedroom house which she needed three other people to help with rent.
That’s when I met a fashion designer and friend –Omowumi, through her. Then came a student called Portia; desperate to find a place out of campus.
Just when I was getting used to sharing a bathroom with three other girls- came Senhle’s younger sister Kamohelo. Like that was not enough; Portia’s twin friends Shirley and Charmaine came to live with us.
So we live in a four bedroom house; but we were seven in the house. We call ourselves “The Circle”. We share EVERTHING. It is not particularly a camaraderie one would aspire; but we are a coalesced ball of fun.
When the waiter approached; the fat man then said to Dingaan- “This young man will show you your table. Again, thank you for taking time off your hectic schedule and coming here. It is such an honour Mr Dlanga.” they shook hands. “Don’t fret about it Jose. It’s my pleasure. I couldn’t miss a charity event for anything.” they exchanged smiles.
And all I could sense was that the heels I was wearing were causing a certain twinge to my feet. When am I ever going to learn not to listen to Omowumi?
I was dressed up in a light plum and an extremely bulging cocktail dress-courtesy of Omowumi. But the jewellery and the seven inch black stilettos were mine. “My friend, wear these ones. A hot girl in very high heels is attractive to these men. Trust me o! I know!” said Omowumi. And there I was.
We sauntered behind the waiter. Someone was speaking at the podium. I assumed he was important by the way people were listening to him.
Dingaan pulled out a chair for me. One of the richest men in South Africa has just pulled out a chair for me. Lord tell me this is a dream.
I explored around the hall and everyone looked attentive, polished and posh. From politicians, lawyers, brokers; – all there to spend money over dinner. Keep your head high Barbie. Do not look ordinary. I went over my rehearsed mantra. This is the rich-riches event. This is where we come fishing; this is where “The Circle” hunts.
I wasn’t the only price tag that night; I could spot a few. How fake we all looked. And how boring and tedious it was going to be, as always.
“Let’s just go rub shoulders with those rich B.E.E men and who knows; maybe three or four of us can score together.” is what Senhle said at last week’s function, and I did. I scored Dingaan.
Suit, Black, C.E.O, body guards, good looking and not forgetting loaded. But none of us cerebrated that Dingaan could actually be the fat cat that one of “The Circle” could actually slam. Dingaan is too wealthy. And when I say wealthy; I mean stinking RICH. Tycoon, Magnate, Mogul; whatever you prefer. And he wanted ME.
Dingaan and I were reserved at the front round tables;- at the ‘Gold seats’ were the most distinguished guests sit. On the table were us and two other couples. An old white couple and a black couple in their mid-30‘s.
I took a charily view at them. I recognised the black lady I was sat next to. She was President of an American company. I recognised her because; after scooping that position; she was interviewed on the popular talk show “3 talk” with Noeleen Moho- what what. As “South Africa’s black girl becomes President”. She looked confident and classy.
She, Dingaan and the rest of the Table exchanged greetings. Then the President Lady gave me a straight, firm and forward look of contempt…typical. But I was not there for her. So her ‘two cents’ couldn’t even bother me.
I explored the hall again. One price tag smiled at me. She seemed like an expensive one. Why are you smiling at me? No boo, you know very well making friends is the last thing on my mind right now. I am here for a specific purpose. I then glared at her every inch, and she then stopped smiling. I assumed her dress has crossed many seas. Her necklace, and her earrings I could see America in them. She then raised her left hand to her cheek as if brushing it; that is when I noticed a big shiny rock on her finger. She then whispered something in the ear of her sugar daddy sitting next to her and they both giggled. The bitch was engaged.
I gazed at Dingaan sitting next to me. This man needs to light up. He is so serious and so tense.
“You know that girl?” He whispered
“No, no. Why?” I said
“I know her.”
“No, not that way.”
He giggled,-“She …I see her a lot in these affairs. And if my memory is precise; that is the 5th man I see her with.”
I wasn’t really surprised. Dingaan was my third date on such events; if my memory was precise. Thus, before I went on a break from ‘lifetime support hunt.’ for my recent ex-boyfriend Makgatho; – otherwise known as MK .But I wasn’t counting, who does?
Dingaan looked at me as if thinking about something and said- “You are a beautiful young lady.”
“Thank you.” I mumbled
“No, you are very beautiful.”
He then touched my thigh under the table.
“Thank you.” I repeated and opened my legs for more access. He went up my thighs,-“You are not wearing any underwear.” he whispered in my ear. “I know.” I said under my breath. He then looked at my face again as if flicking around something. He looked at everyone else at our table.
“Come with me.” he said whilst squeezing my hand hard under the table. I obliged and stood up. “Where are we going?” I questioned
“I’m taking you home.”
He kept quiet.
We were now stepping outside. “Dingaan…” I said
He looked at me upset and said-“I don’t do prostitutes. You should have told me you are a prostitute.”
“What? I am not a prostitute!”
“Don’t lie to me girl; and watch your tone with Me.” he hissed
“Dingaan look at me. I am not a prostitute! This is our second evening together and you think I am hooker?!”
“Stop shouting.” he muttered looking at the guards who peeked at us.
“Your friends that evening. No underwear. You looking at every man in that room like fresh meat? I see you…. I’m sorry but I have a very high reputation. Who knows how many men you slept with in there?”
He continued, -“Where are you from again? …Ethiopia? Is that why you came to this country? …to become a street girl? A…a hooker?”
I couldn’t believe it. He looked at me like I was a piece of trash. I cannot screw this up. Do I look like a hooker?
“Dingaan, I am not like that. I am runway model, a celebrity and I have a boutique. I also study business at UJ. And I am here because you asked me to. I’m not what you think I am. I cannot believe you would think that way of me.” I said calmly after having being called a hooker. I lied about having a boutique or studying; but I was certainly not a hooker.
“Okay.” he said
“Yes okay, I believe you.”
He came closer and kissed me on the cheek. “I’m sorry.” he said
“It’s alright…I understand.” I replied stroking his hands.
“Let’s get into the car, its freezing…and these security guards are staring.” he said breathing on my neck.
He gently slid me in the back of his car. It was snugly warm. His driver was standing outside. Dingaan then leered directly into my eyes like he wanted me to see his soul. He brushed my face, and then my hair; he then suddenly appeared serious. “I’m married.” he muttered. I felt like rolling my eyes. Of course you are married. You are a forty nine years old man; I don’t care. I want you!
He continued- “And I really like you. I like you very much. I would like to know you better and take this slow.”
“How long have you been married?” I asked
“And that your wife is supposedly out of the country? That’s why I am with you here right?” I said
“Yes and that.” he smiled whilst brushing my shoulders. “Do you love her?” I questioned
“Uhm no….not really. Not anymore. I …Err we have so many issues.”
“Okay.” I simply replied and slowly kissing him. Damn he smells good.
“Did I tell you how beautiful you look? And that every man in that room is jealous of me?” he said smiling
I responded – “And I think all those women are kicking themselves right now having seen me with you. You are so powerful, mighty, and the most attractive man I have ever met.”
He was; and his accent was to die for. He was fit and strong. That was enough for me. I got myself a MAN.
“Let’s go eat dinner…it was very rude of us to leave the table like that.” he said holding out his hand. “I like you too Dingaan.” I said. He managed another smile. We went back to the hall. He wasn’t tense anymore; I was on his arm again.