Imagine driving down the freeway then in the car next to you there is a woman who
clearly is being held against her will. There are two big men with her and she screams for help. You are a female yourself and alone. What do you do? The car they are in has no number plates. Do you follow the car or wait; do you put it on Twitter and ask people to retweet for help? That was my dilemma right now. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time and she had not necessarily called for help but she was in trouble. I called Simba but the dudes’ phone was off now.
“Simba I went to see your sister and I think she is in trouble!”
I told him.
“Why did you go there? It’s what she always does! She shacks up with a guy, things go sour then she makes it seem like it’s him with the problems. I have rescued her from three different guys and when I got them arrested she dropped the charges on all of them. One of them even tried to stab me and still she was angry at me for intervening!”
He told me not even bothering to hide the frustration in his voice.
“Wait are you saying you are not going to go help your sister?”
I asked him I disbelief. In my head I was asking myself what kind of a man this was but let’s be realistic, there are people who are so far gone then don’t want or need rescuing.
“If course I am going to help her but I can assure she has a way of doing things on her own!”
He reassured me. I felt guilty for pushing this line because he obviously knew her better than me as I barely knew about her. That man’s voice had terrified me though but I could not call the police on things I don’t know so let me not get ahead of myself.
“Thank you. I know it’s not my place but your sister needs help. I don’t even know why I am drawn to her but there is more to her situation so please don’t give up on her!”
I pleaded with him. I am not even sure he was still on the line. I was grateful that he did not ask how I had managed to contact her or her me considering that he had not given me her number. As I was driving into
“Good morning! How are things today?”
I asked him.
“Things are still a bit hectic. We are still all in shock and no one actually believes that all this happened!”
He said to me.
“I know when are you guys going back to Venda?”
I asked him.
“Most likely Thursday but there is going to be so much traffic as the ZCC people are going to Moria for Easter!”
He said. Goodness I had not worked for so long I had even forgotten about holidays. It was Easter and the traffic to Limpopo was as bad as the traffic from Johannesburg to Durban come Christmas. There is a migration to the church rivaled only by that of Zulus going home come Christmas time!
“That’s going to be a hectic trip and it will take plenty of hours because you know you can’t speed with a hearse!”
“Its no problem I will be coming with my sister and my friends.”
I told him. There I was making plans for my friends yet I had not even spoken to them. I was not going for this funeral alone though that’s for sure. Thohoyandou is very far, 5 hours from Johannesburg and that’s if you do not stop in Polokwane. I knew this because Rudzani always told me how much she dreaded going home.
“I only go to Thohoyandou for Christmas and that is after I have accumulated at least ten leave days so that it’s a full two or three week holiday! I can’t go for long weekends! It’s also very hot and I am no longer used to that!”
I could actually hear her voice saying this and it made me pause for a moment.
“Thank you for the support!”
He said snapping me out of the moment. I drove to my place now with tears in my eyes as I could not stop seeing that girl in my head. I had to stop at the garage so that could cry properly for her.
“I am so sorry!”
I told her right there in my car.
“I am so sorry!”
I was not ok. I had thought that I hated her but the truth is I did not and what made it worse was that I knew the role I had played in all this. Acting like I had not taken the things she loved the most was me being aloof and. Proud because someone people love and love hard, she was one of them.
Someone knocked on my car window startling me. It was one of the petrol attendants,
“Are you ok maam? You have been crying since you got here and I thought I should get you a cup of coffee or something!”
The man said. At first it did not register what he had said. The man had kind eyes.
“I am fine. I will be fine thank you!”
I told him.
“Maam I have no doubt that you will be fine but if I let you walk away looking the way you do and in this emotional state I would be just as bad as the situation that led you to this moment.”
He said to me.
“My name is Monde and I am the supervisor here!”
He said. It was only now I noticed his badge and that his uniform was slightly different from the others.
“Can I come in?”
He asked me. Now in Joburg you never allow a stranger into your car let alone a man and you are a woman. We live amongst such evil that you never ever let your guard down but right now I was so lost and raw I told myself that if it was my turn to be raped, robbed or killed so be it. I opened for him and he came round to the passenger side.
“Did you lose someone you love or something you love?”
He asked me.
“Both! I lost two friends at the same time. One was also my colleague and the other was a friend I met through her my colleague!”
“But before losing them everything has been falling apart in my life lately I just don’t know what to do anymore!”
I told him. I was even shaking the way I was hurting and it felt a bit cold in the car.
“God will never give you a burden you cannot carry! You are strong and right now things may look dark but the light is coming.”
He advised. I could hear what he was saying but I could not see the light. It was not coming anytime soon in my situation.
“I know you don’t believe it now but you are being tested and your spirit will come through. You are stronger than you are allowing yourself to be. Right now you are in mourning but every day from when they go home you will heal!”
He told me. I knew what he was saying was true but for now I was in my funk.
I told him.
“I have to go back to work but don’t forget what I said, you will be fine!”
He told me and he left. I watched him walk away into the garage. He was an elderly man and old people always seem to have wisdom. I never got that coffee because I decided that I should go home and perhaps take a nap. I really did feel a bit better.
I had not even sat down on the couch for 30 minutes when my phone rang.
“Hi. It’s me Tsitsi you called me earlier and you came to my place in the morning. I know I chased you away but please come and get me!”
She said in a harsh whisper.
“Come and get you?”
I asked her.
“I am not coming to that house again!”
I told her.
“That’s fine. I am going to walk up the road and you will catch me on Corlett. I will be walking towards Melrose. Please come before he wakes up and sees I am missing!”
She told me and dropped the phone.
I shouted into the phone.
“I don’t know what you are wearing!”
I said to myself in frustration. I called her brother but he did not pick up the phone. Now I had to turn back to go where I had come from to pick up a person I did not know. As I drove out of my place I could not help but wonder if I could be more stupid in life doing this. Its one thing to go around preaching women must stick together but actually doing it is a mission. When I got to Corlett I decided to go park at the Protea Hotel there so I could call her.
“Have you left yet?”
I asked her.
“Yes I have!”
She said. I could hear from her breath that she was walking very fast.
“Ok what are you wearing?”
I asked her.
“Blue jeans red top. I am carrying a yellow handbag! Are you far?”
She asked me.
“No I am not. I will pick you up in less than 5 minutes.”
From where I was sitting I could actually see the road and I could see her. I waited a bit to see if she was alone or being followed but seemingly she was alone. At least I could breathe now.
I said slowing down the car next to her,
I called her out by name so she could see it was me.
“Please drive before someone comes!”
She said and I was not going to be told twice.
“What is going on? Who is after you and why are you running away?”
I asked her which was pretty dumb question because she had a black eye now which I am very sure was not there in the morning.
“It’s just my boyfriend!”
She said with so much fear in her voice. I am part of that age of women that goes around saying a woman who stays in an abusive relationship is stupid blah blah blah when in reality a lot of us women including those that preach such words also are in abusive relationships. Don’t forget that those who can’t do teach and those that preach often preach from experience.
“How can he be your boyfriend if he does such things to you?”
I asked this complete stranger in my car.
“What else can I do? I have nowhere to go? He puts shelter over my head and I have food on the table. I owe him a lot of money which I must pay back!”
“Is that the reason why you sell yourself on the street?”
I asked her. I went straight for the kill and after all she was in my car.
‘How else can I make R2500 a night to be able to pay him back?”
I sat there in my car stumped,
“R2500 a night?”
I asked her out loud.
“Yes. This is Sandton the whites pay more!”
She said as though it was a matter of fact. This was crazy. I was not taking her to my place though. I drove her straight to her brother’s house!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Forgive me but I really have to ask this before I continue, how do you manage to write everyday like this? I mean even writing this letter to you feels like hard work yet here you are day in day out. You have an amazing talent which should really be appreciated more.
Sir, I am a 27 year old woman that lives in Kempton Park in Johannesburg. I work at the airport as an air hostess for one of the airlines. In my job we don’t get paid much but most of us meet these rich business people locally and intentionally because of the job. Most of my colleagues have three or four such men on their arms and are paying bonds and cars through this. Some are married but nothing stops them. If an air hostess is driving a Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi surely you have to wonder what’s up right considering we don’t earn enough to be in that tax bracket. Anyway now here is my dilemma, I have been resisting the temptation for a while now but I am not making ends meet. I am struggling and I am renting even. This job has a fly by time as when I am 35 realistically I can’t still be doing this. I am not seeing anyone at the moment so should I sell myself like the others. My colleagues are rich to say the least and I am in a job that gives me an opportunity to do so without even being a slay queen on Instagram posting naked pictures or going to clubs.