Let’s be honest, if someone is earning r25000 a month after tax in South Africa they are considered to be doing really well. That’s the salary of 2 teachers or 2 police man. If you consider this a teacher will be paying for a car and maybe even a bond on half this money so before I call Sam a scrooge I have to face reality. South Africans we are poor yet rich at the same time. In South Africa the amount of things you can do on r25000 a month are quite staggering. Don’t be fooled by the price of these shoes in South Africa I can buy way more things on that money than here. That’s a fact. If you shop for things so expensive how then will you be normal in a 9 to 5 job? It’s impossible. Unfortunately as a girl, a young one at that, those were not the thoughts going through my mind and I think Khanyi’s as well. We wanted more when we did not even have one thing yet.
“I never want to be poor again!”
Khanyi said to me out loud. Thank God the shopping assistants were not that close to us. I am sure there were used to people coming into their shop like this.
“You know what, I thought I loved shoes but it’s like when you grow up in a dusty place and your choice of boyfriends are rural boys, you think they are gorgeous until you meet the boys from the suburbs!”
Khanyi said in a whisper and we both laughed. I totally understood. For many people Aldo is a sign of success, not Nine West, are they even still there is for pretentious people but Aldo that’s for everyone who also has a rewards cards from Edgars. I used to think shopping there for a shoe for r1000 was showing of and stunting but ah, in this shop one shoe could buy 25 pairs there.
“I am even afraid to touch!”
I said as we moved forward to the proper shoes now, no more things from the sales section I am not a government employee!
“If we don’t touch here we might never touch again.”
She said and I agreed. There was a beautiful pair of shoes I saw and it was going for 3500 AED. When I did the maths it meant the shoe went to r14000. I even had tears in my eyes. I didn’t grow up poor but I am going to say it like this, when you grow up poor seeing a price like that is like being back slapped in the face by a child. The disrespect in that speaks volumes. I felt violated by that price but the shoe was the type were if someone dared you to walk naked in public to get you would do it five times just for control. I loved it.
“I think we should leave before we do something stupid!”
I said to Khanyi with a hoarse voice. I did not mean it, I did not want to mean it but it had to be done.
“I agree but I am calling Nokwanda to ask her for money.”
She said. I laughed again so hard. I was laughing not because I was happy but because my poverty with so much money in my pocket actually embarrassed me. I had 25k and I could not afford one pair of shoes I mean where have you ever heard of such.
“I am serious. She wants so badly to be my friend so I am going to ask her. My dad only gave me r5k so what can I even buy in there for that much!”
She said thoughtfully. Money mends bridges that’s for sure because with the way she hated her step mother this would be a big move.
“I am not going to spend until Sam gets here!”
I told her. My logic was that if he saw that I was a good saver he would add more money for us. I have to include her in this equation because she was here and it would be rather cruel if I left her out.
“Do you think he will add more money?”
She asked me.
“Well he should if he still wants part of this!”
I told her and she laughed.
It was already late and we were hungry. We went into a few other shops before we bought food and went back to the hotel. I had seen enough for one day and this draining heat was no help either.
“We going to sit by the pool right?”
She asked me. I had never actually realized that when you travel with one person, because that person is the only person you know there especially so far from home you become super close as you rely on each other for everything.
“I could do with a swim hey. I think today I sweated a bucket!”
I told her. I was going to shower before this but with us deciding that we are going to swim all that was forgotten.
“I am sure we can also eat there!”
I told her. Within 15 minutes we were ready to go to the pool. When we got there were people there as well. It was not full though just a few girls of all races.
“Maybe eating here was not a good idea!”
Khanyi said seeing that no one was eating but did I care, no!
“Dude unless anyone stops us we do it.”
Finding one of those pool chairs. We ate quickly though so the level of discomfort for her was not prolonged. I finished first and went to throw my waste in the bin and wash my hands in the bathroom.
“Hurry up so we can take pictures!”
I told her. The scenery was beautiful. I think me rushing her annoyed her a bit because she responded loudly in Zulu. There was a bunch of girls sitting close to us and they heard her. One of them stood up and came to us.
“Are you guys South African?”
The girl asked us. I mean honestly Khanyi was speaking Zulu was there ever an answer more obvious than this.
“Yes we are!”
“Guys, fellow South Africans!”
The girls came over to us. They were so excited to be with people from home.
“We got here today and it’s burning.”
The girl who had approached us complained.
“I am Thandeka by the way and that’s my friend Nicole who is running to the toilet as usual.”
She explained when one of the girls suddenly bolted making everyone laugh.
“She ate something that didn’t agree with her and for an ex beauty pageant you would think everything should agree!”
She said. The third friend I didn’t quite get her name but who cares because it seemed as though Thandeka was their spokesperson. It was nice meeting people that spoke the same language as you even though my Zulu was not that good. We chatted for a bit before their dates arrived. I am laughing because there was nothing more cliché than this. They had three Nigerian guys and Thandeka did not even hesitate to say,
“We met on Instagram. He sent me a DM and we hit it off. He booked the flights and I came with my friends on their tab!”
I don’t think there is much that can shame South African girls nowadays because what with our new independence and voice out there, the only people that get shamed are those that have time for it.
“Who brought you here?”
She asked me. Look at me judging clichés.
“My legowa! He will be landing today!”
I said. I thought that because I was with like minded people, gold diggers I would feel free to talk about Sam but these bitches looked hungry. There would steal your man right in front of you. In this life you trust no one. Do you think a criminal trusts another criminal? My phone rang, it was my mum
I said cheerfully trying to make sure that I did not cause a fight.
“I was just trying to make sure everything is fine. Are you ok there?”
She asked me.
“I am fine. I am sitting with the other girls here. It’s fun but hot! Let me take a picture!”
I told her. I was being deliberate with this picture thing because with many girls around and no men here it would look like indeed I had come for the work thing I had lied about.
“Guys let’s take a picture for my mum!”
I told them and they all shouted out in unison,
It was perfect timing. I could hear my mother’s mood loosen up a bit.
“Ok just behave!”
She said and she hung up. I think I had handled that well. She was still mad but at least for now anyway she could believe that I had not lied to her. This would mean she owed me an apology later.
“I am going to wash my hands. Where is the bathroom?”
Khanyi asked me. I directed where I had went and she left.
“What do you do?”
I asked her.
“I am a third year at Wits!”
She said but did not really explain further. I told her I was at UJ and she asked how we had never met before. I think she assumed that I was also dating a Nigerian for some reason.
“My banker is a bit old and married so he does not go out much.”
“I have never dated a that much older guy before I wouldn’t know what to say to him!”
She said and I laughed. She was not rude she said it very sweetly.
“I like foreign men. They have a sense of danger in them and they seem to think only one way, with money!”
She said as Nicole (the friend) and Khanyi came back together. Khanyi pulled me to the side.
“Don’t get mad but Sam just called me. He said he was trying to call you but can’t get through!”
I think it was because I was on the phone.
He had arrived.
He should have stayed in South Africa because the real drama was about to start.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Greetings. Hope this finds you and the readers well.
I am a 17 year old girl; I have two siblings younger than me. My parents both have very good jobs and my father is in the media and a celebrity. The problem is I live in an abusive home. It’s so bad that at least once every two weeks I have to take my two siblings outside to go hide when my parents start fighting. The abuse comes from my mother. She beats up my dad and if we in the house at the time we would get in trouble too. My father is a principled man and often tries to shield us from these things but that does not always work. My mother has a substance abuse problem which she blames my father for it. She says that when they met she did not drink and only started drinking because of him. He has tried to take her for rehab but something always happens to make it not work. He does not go to the police because he is a man I guess so his ego won’t allow but we are all suffering now. We live in fear of our mother and it’s no good at all. The other day my mother threw a vase at my father he had to get stitches. It’s only a matter of time before she kills him. I need my father to step up and be a man. He needs to beat that woman up really good just once which I am sure he could but just won’t. I have told my aunts and when they tried to intervene they were banned from our home isolating us even further. I don’t want to go home after school because I am terrified of what will happen next. I have thought of running away but to where and how can I live my siblings behind. One day when they were fighting I called the police. They came during the fight. Things calmed down a bit and they took my father away because he would not allow his precious wife to be arrested and when they left I got the hiding of my life from my mother. She told me I must stay out of grown up peoples business and blamed me for everything.
I need help please. What do I do? Who do I tell? I have tried everything and I don’t know what to do.