“Men cheat because of opportunity. If he is outgoing and you are not, the opportunity will always present itself. That girl at work that’s too friendly with him for example will most likely end up sleeping with him. Why do you think most men cheat with the friends of their girlfriends or wives? It’s because you continuously flaunt them in front of him and allow him to befriend them! Never do that! Your friends are your own and have no business being in his phonebook!” Mike Maphoto
Reality is something that humbles you even when you have built all these walls around you and tell yourself how powerful you are. South African women are at a point in their lives where they are starting to demand more of their rights and personal freedom from men. Be honest though, it’s mostly university students because they can congregate and most working women sit on the hands and watch. Some admire them whilst others wish they could have done this in university and more still think it’s pointless. Unfortunately most men don’t get it as they sit back and wait for us to break and what’s worse in this is that they don’t even have to lift a finger to do it. As a collective we have a strong voice but once we have left the picket line, the chanting is done with our voices gone, and our shoes worn out from the toyi toying we still have to go home and face reality. The reality is men have most of the power. It’s not a black thing only, in any culture black, white, Indian you name it. Our power as women comes with conditions such as, at work you can fight for your equality and no man should be above you but when you get home you must cook for your husband and take care of the kids. Why? It’s not because he demands it but because you know that even the girl next door you grew up with will come lie at his feet eager to please him. We destroy each other as women because someone else will always want your man! You then tell yourself that you know what, I can do it on my own, I don’t need a husband but reality is your body has needs. Yes you can go a year without getting laid but eventually you will succumb to a one night stand possibly to someone in a relationship and when you are done with him you feel cheap and disgusted with yourself. Some of us are lucky enough to have good jobs such as the #antiblesser doctor girls but how many of us are them? Most of us, in the real South Africa are hustling from month to month and that gets worse when you have kids. You end up selling Herbalife and Avalon to substitute your income even when that useless husband is still there now imagine him gone! The fear of being alone is such a great motivator and I have seen old people, they only exist because they have children and grandchildren to love them so if you don’t have kids you don’t have insurance for the future! Crap, that was a mouthful. I cried myself to sleep.
In the morning I was not looking forward to going to work. I really was not. With the tension there yesterday and how painful I felt within me over Sfiso, I was not in the mood for Susanna and her antics. However, I was never one to show my cards when I was done so as soon as I walked out of my car I let out the biggest smile I could master. Never let anyone sense any weakness in you otherwise you become fair game.
I said when I walked in. I was early today but somehow they had come in before me again. Maybe I was missing the memo.
They both said. The intern was still in my office! I don’t understand why. By now she should have her own cubicle.
“Are you ready for CSIR?”
She asked me.
“CSIR? Shit is it today?”
I asked her.
“You are joking right?”
She was surprised that I had forgotten because I have always wanted to go there and see what they are researching. I remember on Monday I had been told about but it was all these distractions that had made me forget. I was so annoyed with myself.
“What do I need to know?”
I asked Rudzani. She laughed and briefed me. Her man was far away meaning Rudzani was always at work on time and with her things in order. When you don’t have those distractions it’s very rare to mess up and miss deadlines. I noticed it was the married ones, or ones in relationships that were often late or had drama. She briefed me on everything she could in the space of thirty minutes because we had to go.
“Susanna is not coming anymore, it’s us three?”
Rudzani said when she went to call Susanna. I don’t mind her not going but I certainly do mind the intern coming with us. She did not even know her way to the bathroom yet now she was important enough to take to a conference meeting where we will be representing our unit. That can’t be right. By the way she was dressed it’s like she knew she was going already. What really was going on here?
“Ok guys let’s go. I say we use one car, it makes more sense! I am so excited, only one week in the job and already on outings!”
She said. It was wise yes so we drove in my car. I was not going to allow her to drive us there. I was suspicious of my intern which made me very uncomfortable. You want to work with people you can trust and the problem is this would cause tension in the office as there were other interns more senior than her that had not been chosen to go. Rudzani did not say anything but this was so like her, she would rather bury her head in the sand.
“We are here guys!”
I said 45 minutes as we pulled in. It was a big convention if the parking lot was anything to go by. I had already forgotten about my feud at this stage and had to focus on the job at hand. We got our accreditation and were allowed to go in. There were many important people including head hunters because this was where all the important people met in our industry.
“You guys are on table 15!”
Our usher said to us as she led us in. It was a formal event with speakers and the like. That was either interesting for you if you understood what they were actually or boring if you came here looking for a lively event.
“There are so many hot guys here!”
Nicolene said. She was right about the many guys here but the hot part, well, that was not quite right. It was mostly white guys which was a definite no no for me no matter how hot they looked. White guys don’t look at thick girls like us; they want the half starving, dark like starless night blacks who more often than not are into this Afrocentric look. They truly go native at that point. I grew up knowing that bringing a white home would be my way of getting disowned!
“Look at that one in the blue suit, he is looking our way!”
She said pointing out to some guy who was more geeky than hot. She can’t be that blind and I am sure he was looking elsewhere. I paid no attention to him as I listened from speaker to speaker. It was not as nice as I had hoped unfortunately.
My phone rang and the number I knew now, it was Sfiso. Did he say he was leaving in the morning or evening? I could not remember now. Instinct said ignore it but curiosity told me to pick up. It was just shortly before lunch so I stood up and went outside.
“I didn’t think you would pick up!”
He said when I picked up the phone. Well I had, so what now!
“I did. Have you left yet?”
I asked stupidly which was an obvious answer considering he was still using an SA line.
“Nope, my flight has been moved to tomorrow morning. I was wondering if you will therefore be available for dinner tonight.”
He asked me. Think fast Lungi, think fast?
“Can I get back to you on that one? Am at a conference right now and I am representing my company so I don’t know what time we will finish!”
I told him which was true in a way.
“I hope you agree because to leave things like this between us would be a travesty!”
“Did you change your flights with the hope of getting to see me?”
I asked him boldly.
“Yes I did and I have no regrets. I don’t like making enemies so for me this was my one chance!”
He said. It was the sweetest thing ever if he had any luck of getting my forgiveness.
“Ok fine I will make a plan. Will get back to you and this time I pick you up not the other way round. I don’t trust your car!”
I said before I hung up. I was already telling myself what a bad idea this was and somehow I was not excited. As I walked back in people were on lunch already. There were queues by the catering people but Rudzani texted me saying she will bring me food! As I sat down the white guy I mentioned earlier approached my table.
He said to me smiling. I looked sideways to make sure he truly indeed was talking to me.
“Yes what about him?”
I asked him.
“Oh sorry that’s my name!”
He said as he stretched his hand. Really now! Skinny white dude wanting to talk to me.
“Oh sorry, I am Lungile!”
I said to him making sure I bring out the best Zulu accent I can master. White people don’t like that. They prefer girls who speak like they swallowed a presenter from 5fm.
“Oh Lungi, nice to meet you!”
“No it’s not Lungi, its Lungile!”
I corrected him. I was so not interested so I might as well give him my dragon lady side. What did he want mara?
“I noticed that your friends left you and figured I could keep you company till they come. Is that fine with you?”
I was tempted to say it’s not fine but then that would have been too rude. I was taking out my frustrations about Sfiso on him.
I told him. He started talking about work and things that his company did. It was actually quite fascinating. I told him about the research I was doing and what it was like in my job. Rudzani and Nicolene even joined us at some point and he did not leave. He was funny to some extent but you could also sense the seriousness in him.
“I hope I got that right! I notice you the quiet one, you have hardly said a word, am I talking too much?”
He asked her. She had been quiet, just smiling and grinning like a child overwhelmed.
“Nope, don’t talk much that’s all, he said!”
Nicolene on the other hand went all out. He actually was a good looking chap, well-educated and well spoken. He was not proud either which is saying a lot about these men in my industry. The girls decided to go to the bathroom leaving us alone together again.
“There are so many women in this place, why did you choose me?”
I asked him.
“Well it was simple really! You were the one who clearly likes me the least if I change your mind about me then everyone else will like me!”
He said something which did not even make sense. Maybe he liked Nicolene so he thought I was his way in. She was pretty after all!
“Well I am not in the game. I am taken.”
I lied. He smiled and he said,
“That’s good. I am not here for you. Your friend on the other hand!”
He said. This guy though. How did he expect a black girl to hook him up to a white girl?
“Ok then. When they come back again I will make you guys talk! I don’t play match maker though, so don’t expect any favours!”
I told him. Why couldn’t there be a guy who was dying to talk to me who would ask one of my friends to introduce us? Will I forever be the bridesmaid really?
“I will leave and you can talk to her! Is that fair?”
I asked him.
“Yes that’s fair but please take your other friend with otherwise we back to zero!”
He said. Ok then. We did not get a chance to plan as within five minutes they were back.
“Rudzani let’s go talk to the guys at Labour Lab. I want to ask something about their presentation!”
I said out loud. As she stood up he stood up too and said,
“No, take Nicolene and since she is an intern she has much to learn…please!”
He said and that’s when I got it, the girl he was here for was Rudzani! This was going to be interesting.
“Yes that’s a good idea. Rudzani please watch our things we will be back!”
She started to protest but I pulled Nicolene who was confused by all this.
“What just happened?”
She asked me as we walked away.
“Nothing, but that guy is about to get a rude awakening!”
I said and we laughed. My mind was already on Sfiso tonight! What were we going to do? He is married but my sister had said its fine?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Hi Mike and your readers.
I enjoy reading all your blogs so much I can’t wait each morning. Please post this in one of your blogs maybe one of your readers can assist.
I am a guy on my mid 20s and have a NDiploma in Industrial Engineering completed 2 years ago. I was able to get piece jobs and saved some money so this year I am doing my BTech which I should complete in November. I am desperately looking for a proper job, even if its not towards IE as the kind of piece jobs I get limit me towards going to attend on weekends(after asking to be off 2 weekends I get let go). I won’t tell you about my sob story as I know we all have them, I just need someone who have some influence in some company to give me a break.
PS: I have my CV already on at least 5 websites and I am actively applying but with only my in-service training experience I usually just get regret letters. If anyone can help, Mike can give you my email address or just leave yours to Mike.