“I never fully appreciated how difficult it is for a woman to get a boyfriend that she can consider a long future with. Getting a man to sleep with her is as easy as breathing but getting that man to not sleep with others and stay with her is where the problem lies!” Mike Maphoto
There is a mistaken belief by most people, male and female alike that a woman in this world can’t defend herself or fight for what’s hers. On the one hand if a woman fights hard she is called a ball breaker, iron curtain, difficult, stubborn you name whereas if it’s a man he is a fighter, ambitious, strong, steady and all these nice words that we women made for them. I did not say men made it because the pedestal men are on was creating by us and our failure to recognise that we are just as great in any field. I have been in enough situations where people advise me that I must get a man to fight for me, the way that grits my tits though! At times I back down but in an occasion like this where I am being told I am getting a warning for refusing to do something that is not in my job description then these people did not know who I was. It’s not about being stubborn or refusing to bend to authority but I know why I come to work and what my job is.
“What do you mean lawyer now?”
She asked me now. It took her by surprise!
“You know very well what my job description and one of those things is definitely not being a tour guide to new interns. You know this too! I work for a company not that woman and unless that company tells me that I have been demoted to that job then I will keep quite. A verbal warning is as good as on your record and if we have to go to the disciplinary committee then we will go but I will not be bullied!”
I told her. I was about to say just because the intern was white but I actually realized that would be over kill.
“Ok I hear you but don’t forget I am also just doing my job and my job here was that I was instructed to give you a verbal warning. You have rejected that warning, which really I advise against and now I have to take it back up where I am sure they will more!”
“You do that! I will also call my lawyer so that whatever happens next nothing will be lost in translation!”
I told her. That’s the problem with these people; they don’t think we can fight for ourselves. Most people when angered like this would then go home and pout but I was going to my office. I wanted them to come tell me that they were suspending me to my face and on what grounds. Remember when we were kids and your mother would say go take the belt so I can hit you with it for being naughty? Well, we were not kids anymore so rest assured I was not going to leave on my own accord without telling me why.
“Good morning guys!”
I said cheerfully as I entered the office. I was not going to go to the bathroom and cry, for what? I was going to stay here and wait and see what would happen next!
“Morning, I wanted to ask what happened to you last night! I called you a million times and your phone was off!”
Rhudzani said to me.
“I lost my phone! I left it on my car roof when I was packing groceries into the car and it fell! So pissed off at myself!”
I told her. I had lost his numbers and now he won’t call me. I will have to speak to Miriam to try getting them back.
“Good morning guys!”
Nicolene said walking into the room. She was bubbly and happy when I was gloomy and sad. Interns don’t have offices; they work in an open kind of environment.
We both said surprised by her giddiness! Bloody agent!
“I was almost late hey. Would have set a bet example of myself because I am never late!”
She continued unnecessarily. I can choose to be bitchy towards her today or be nice and say sweet things to her.
I was so tempted to march to Susanna’s office to ask her what she was on about because the more I thought about it the more the disrespect I felt! I was not scared of losing my job because I had good qualifications and experience. In fact I had been head hunted a few times and I had turned them down. I had enough contacts to know that if I was fired. I wouldn’t land on my ass. As a woman you should always have options and this is not limited to the men you date. Knowing your worth is not a phrase you use just for how badly men are treating you but also for your value in society!
“Did I say something wrong?”
Nicolene asked me as I guess I was not nice after all.
“No you didn’t but I just got a warning from H.R.because I did not give you the tour yesterday. I don’t give tours, it’s not my job! Now I am calling my lawyers so that they can show me where it is I went wrong!”
I said. I was emotional. I wanted to cry but I was not going to give this Becky with the good hair that satisfaction!
“I am sorry to hear that! I am not the one who…”
I knew what she was about to say and felt a bit unfair to her for being a bully.
“Don’t mind it, it will be sorted out! Susanna will come give me instructions on what to do! I am downloading a copy of my contract so that she can show me how I was wrong!”
I said. I did not wait long for 20 minutes later Susanna was there. I think H.R. Had not told her that I was not taking it lying down.
“Lungile, please take Nicolene around!”
She said with a smile on her face. This woman was really testing me. I wanted to curse at her in Zulu but waste of words.
“Sorry Susanna I can’t, got reports on my table and I thought we were doing CSIR prep today!”
I said. She was a bit baffled and I saw turn red in front of me. I did not forget to smile as she had. I guess she was telling herself that if only H.R. Had done its job but that had. Not worked out for her as much as she wanted. She stomped off in the direction of H.R. I was not being difficult; I really had a lot of work. We all have quotas and a certain amount of work we had to get through in a cycle. I was not going to be held back by doing someone else’s work.
“Lungi, I see I am causing problems and I don’t want that, if it’s right by you can you recommend me to someone else who can show me around.”
Nicolene said. I think she was now starting to feel self-conscious seeing that it was tense because of her.
“No my dear, come on, chill, we will get to it!”
I told her. Five minutes later someone was sent from H.R. To call Nicolene. Later own I saw her being shown around by the right department. I guess someone had finally done their job correctly. Susanna avoided me like the plague but I did not care. It was not her mother’s company, black or white so I was not scared of anything!
I had not even had enough time to savour my victory when a familiar face walked in. Now as a single woman, sometimes even a married one, you are not worth your weight in salt if you don’t have a Steve Urkel in your life or past. This is someone who completely adores you and loves but even if he is the last man on earth you will not date. My Steve came in the form of Daluxolo Petros, eish! He was my colleague at some point but he changed companies so that he could pursue me from outside as it was not allowed to fraternize at work. Yup, that’s how much he loved me. I have not mentioned him before because that’s how much I did not count him as a contender nor recognized him to such an extent that Baleka Mbethe would be proud of me.
He said cheerfully as he walked into my office. I was alone at this stage and he really was not the person I wanted right now.
I said. His eyes would light up every time he saw me and everyone in the office knew he was in love with me. Even at his homestead, somewhere deep in the Eastern Cape I am sure they had heard about me.
“I got worried when I could not reach you last night, is everything ok?”
He asked me. You know there is a very fine line between stalking and showing that you care, Dalu was borderline. I want to say he was harmless but you never knew with people.
“I lost my phone that’s all!”
I said curtly. Oh, I am ashamed to say, when he was around my mood soured. There are people who no matter how hard you try you can’t be nice to. Your conversation is often mean and curt and you not doing it on purpose just that the words just come out. Dalu and I had that relationship. He would be sweet and I would be well, mean!
“Oh I am sorry! Can I get you a new one?”
He offered sweetly and I recognised that but for some reason what came out was,
“I can afford a phone Dalu, thank you!”
He seemed stuck on what to say and he smiled, said ok cool then walked. He liked me so much he struggled to make conversation with me all the time which just made my dislike for him even worse. I had told him that I am not interested several times but the man was just relentless.
“I bumped into Dalu, has he been to see you?”
Rhudzani said when she walked in. It was like an office joke as everyone knew about Dalu and how he worshipped me.
“Yes I saw him!”
I told her.
“You really should give that guy a chance! He is so sweet!”
She said! One woman’s sweet guy is another woman’s ex nightmare, stalker or whatever! Just because he is good to you doesn’t mean he was good to the ones before you because if he was, why are they exes?
My landline rang.
“Good afternoon! May I speak to Miss Mbatha please?”
The person was very formal but I was not sure what this was about.
“Miss Mbatha this is John, I work security at Melrose and we found your phone!”
The man said. The relief I felt at that moment. I wanted to jump up and down. I had not lost my man after all, well not my man but I still had his number.
“You can come pick it up from the office!”
He said after I had stopped thanking him profusely. I know Jhb is full of criminal and bad things happening but even in this city of criminals you can still find angels in the dark.
“Thank you. I will do so at lunch!”
I said. I was not going to wait for after work because what if he called? The thought made me laugh to myself. I did not even ask how they had got my office number. At lunch I drove to Melrose and thank heavens there was no traffic! I found the office and got my phone.
I checked my phone to see if I had had any missed calls or messages. I had one from Miriam and that was it! Not even from Daluxolo ouch but that was not the call I had wanted!
He had not called me! The way my heart sank though! It was like these modern girls at Kong or Harem when a blesser walked in and picked another girl who is not them!
“He didn’t call!”
I whispered to myself!
I screamed silently.
What do I do now?
Do I call him or wait still?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
I would like to comment you for the wonderful job and a little confession is I used to be obsessed with your work. Brilliant!!!
I am 21 and my mother’s first and only born daughter, so you can imagine the trouble I’ve caused with this. However I am all grown up now. My mother is a single mother of 3 and is 40 years old. My father left mostly because my mum provided more than him financially and he had someone else. At the beginning of the separation my mother didn’t take it well shem, it was not a nice phase in our life, she lost weight and she could not sleep at night but she kept us strong and we never went to bed hungry, I can say she was a super woman through it all (if she didn’t have a heart attack then I don’t think it’ll ever come). She has now moved on with her life and has come a long way. She is ready to start dating again because she is still young. I hope your readers can help me find my mother a date. My siblings and I have come up with a little list of a suitable date for her… He must have a job, his own children and maybe divorced or widowed, he must also live around Limpopo and the surrounding provinces. The women in our street are not fully relaxed with her because they fear she will take their men but she’s a God fearing woman. My e-mail address is LPFEKK@gmail.com
I hope I’ll get positive results and advice.