THE GIRL I MET ON THE STREET

It been more than three years since she had been home. She came to Durban to find greener pastures (only to find the grass had already been cut down this side). She managed to get a job as a hair dresser in one of the Nigerian hair salon supporting her two children, the boy Thando and the girl Ayisha. Life was not easy as a single mother since she had to pay for the flat she was living in ; the nanny who took care of the kids when she was away; groceries and school fees. At her age of 19 this was no walk in the park as debt started piling up. She had to find other means of overcoming the challenges she was facing. One day when she was doing one of her client’s hair she noticed a certain change. Her client was changing her hair at least four times in one month and not just doing anything on her hair but the latest and most expensive hair styles. First she thought she had a new rich boyfriend but her assumptions were confirmed to be wrong when the very same client told her the source of the gold mine. She told said to her “My friend there is something I have to tell you.”
She asked with interest .“What is that my friend?”
“Mgani.” She answered (which mean friend )
“I have found a new way of making money
“How mngani?” with amazement she anticipated for the answer
Prostitution, friendship and you don’t even have to go to the street, you just book in the lodge and post pictures on the internet and wait for the call of the client. At first this was all scary and to far fetch for her But when her friend showed her the R4800 she had mad the previous night she thought of her kids the flat rent groceries the school fees, the nannies wages she saw all her problems disappear and she told herself she will do it for a short while till she can get back on her feet. That how she fell into the wrong path.
Greytown a very small town she comes from this is a rural place where people still live by the tradions of their ancestors. She was born here with her 4 brothers they all have passed away but one of them managed to leave behind 6 kids 3 boy and 3 girls she grew up in a very respected family her father ran a huge well known supermarket and also had a place where he was a mechanic fixing cars and tractors his father Mr Mtimkulu was a well-respected and feared man and people looked up to him since he had cars tractors cows chickens goat sheep’s and beautiful children but all of these things made him proud and arrogant. At the age of 12 she started to get sexually active with a man who was old enough to become Her father.
At the age of 13 she got pregnant dropped out of primary school and ran away from home. At that time she was so in love with this man that she ran away from her family who wanted nothing to do with the man for he had brought shame to the family after months she given birth she returned home when the man started to necklet her. Her father beat her up so badly that she broke her arm and was bleeding on the head and face after hours of brutal punishment she was than forgiven she went back to school matriculated but never went to university because she did not achieve good result she decided to go to Durban and look for a job she found a job got a place to live with a boyfriend who was from Burundi she got pregnant the following year and gave birth to a baby girl by that time the man had left her to bring up the baby by herself, she was wise enough to work and save money while she was pregnant at that time she was still a hair dresser only working at the salon she would go to work and leave her boy at school first and in the afternoon the nanny would fetch the child and later she would arrive home and be a mother to her kid and unborn child. When she was giving birth she no one on her side since her parent and whole family were in Greytown she delivered in King Edward hospital a bouncing baby girl and named her Ayisha she had enough savings to take her threw at least 4months without working but when the money ran out she went back to work and that was when she met this friend who introduced her to prostitution at first life was looking up she managed to get money from work and prostitution business but later she left her salon work and became just a prostitute she started doing cocaine but managed to go back home with money for her family and would come back again to her work witch her family new nothing about she than met a smoking client who later became her boyfriend and she fell pregnant but had a miscarriage after she had a fight with her boyfriend the previous night her boyfriend was very abusive so after she had lost the baby she decided to brake u with him but by that time already the boyfriend had introduced a new drug to her which was crack cocaine and now life was going spiral since she had to take care of this expensive habit she took her children back home to be taken care by her mother and would visit them monthly because of the stressful lifestyle she was living and the regret she had and the pain she was filling inside she wanted to block all her emotions so she started smoking wunga . Wunga made her relax and forget of her problems it how she was only able to sleep at night without tearing the pillows with her bath full of tears
Menelisi – Hey how are you today my friend
Zinhle- not very well neh
Menelisi – why not
Zinhle – I have not had my morning scayf today
Menelisi- iesh sorry is there anything I can help you with Zinlhe – (laughs) if you can’t get me what I need I doubt it Menelisi- and what is that
Zinhle- nxa don’t act like you don’t know (smiling ) Menelisi – I want to hear you say it (smiling back) Zinhle- iwunga menelisi iwunga
Menelisi- how do you fill?
Zinhle – uyazi Joe (meaning you know)
Menelisi- Not really, tell me cause it cravings makes people fill differently
Zinhle – well in my case I have tummy cramps and I fill hot and cold at the same time Menelisi- have you ever thought of quitting
Zinhle – what?
Menelisi- everything and just going back home to your family and kids
Zinhle- every time I’m sober
Menelisi- what else do you take
Zinlhe – alcohol
Menelisi- what the worst experience you have been through in the work you are doing
Zinhle – yo so many Yazzie there is just so many things we go through since we stand at night unprotected
This one time I was taken by a client I met on the street to a very dark empty place when I asked for money before we do business he took out a big nife and told me he aint paying for shit because he doesn’t want to fuck me he only want to see me bleed
Menelisi- and why did you not try to run or scream
Zinhle – had I done that I wouldn’t be alive right now
Menelisi- so what did you do
Zinhle- I stayed calm and told him sweetie you don’t have to do that I can make you fill really good in many ways you have never experienced
Menelisi- and what did he say (grinning)
Zinhle – at first he did not look interested but a soon as I started touching before he could hold my neck I felt him shaking I caressed him slowly up until he dropped the knife and he said take your cloths of so did so we ended up having sex for more than two hours yho than he let me go just like that
Menelisi- [after a short moment of silence] when last you saw your kids
Zinhle- about three years ago if I’m not mistaken
Menelisi- do you love them
Zinhle- of course I do there is no mother that does not love their child whether an addict or not Menelisi- when do you plan on going back home than for them
Zinhle- [tears started falling] (mine also since I have been in the same position)if you say you are what you use to be an addict like me you would know that is the same question we always ask our self but we never able to answer it
Menelisi – what is it that you filling know? Zinhle- pain (crying) I have failed
Menelisi – what do you want right now?
Zinhle – I KNOW I PROMISED YOU I WILL FINISH THIS WITH YOU but please can we do this some other time perhaps I really need to get my scyaf I can’t handle this emotional shit I’m going through right now but thank you for showing concern that meant a lot to me
Narrator – before she could leave I asked her one last question
Menelisi- what is it that still keeps you going and makes you stay positive
Zinhle- I’m in love (now smiling suddenly)
Menelisi – with who?
Zinhle – {laughs out loudly} you got to be kidding me, I’m in love with the guy who loves me as I am
Menelisi – so he knows what business you doing
Zinhle – yha I met him in a drug house after all
Menelisi- so he also does drugs
Zinhle – use to
Menelisi – and now?
Zinhle – he stopped after he started some sort of program for drinking some sort of medicine but I can’t talk about him right now
Menelisi- why not?
Zinhle – it your friend stupid how
After that interview 7days passed by a week after that I did not see Zinhle on the street corner where I met her I went to all the rock house’s I knew she could be in but never found her until I went in this rock house I saw a jersey my friend had once bought her (I knew it cause it was I who selected it ) and I asked where is the owner of this jersey one of the girls claimed it to be hers then I asked her where did she get it she told me she got it from one of the girls who was also a sex worker who left all her cloths to her saying they are unclean to go with her at her house (bad spirit)since she had just hit a jackpot by knocking Off one of the Nigerians she was working for R26 000 worth of cash money and R12 000 worth of drugs. Just after I was told that I smiled they asked me do you know her and I answered neh not really just that my friend was worried they asked me who is you friend I told them then the girl who now owned the jersey followed me when I was walking out with a tear of joy in my eye after she had caught up to me she asked me what was my name before I answered I asked why she said Zinhle said one these days a guy with your description will come looking for her but it the name you say that will make sure it you because he has an unfamiliar name I smiled did he not say his boyfriend’s name no the girl answered his boyfriend I know after a short moment of silence I told her my name she burst in tears and gave me a hug Zinhle told me about you she said and what is that? how you stopped drugs and living in the street and helping your friends to quit and because of you she was so inspired to go home and not just blow up the money by smoking it she then said she will contact you on Facebook since she knows your name and surname, as soon as she is safe and sound at home.