I meet a beautiful girl eTango, a popular tavern in our township. She has it all: a bright smile, thick hips and a generous behind. On top of that she seems to like me. So much so that after dancing with me (shaking her booty and me dancing behind her with a drink in my hand) she places her manicured finger on my chest and drunkenly slurs, “Let’s go to your place.”

I’m not one to waste such an opportunity. Soon I have my arm around her small waist and I’m guiding her through the dark and lonely streets of our township. It is around 1 a.m. and I’m hoping to walk the five streets home quickly.

These streets aren’t safe. But we are slow because she is wearing a glove-tight dress and pumps, which keep slipping in the mud. Being drunk doesn’t help either. About three streets away from my place she has a terrible slip and I catch her by the waist just before she falls. She giggles but I don’t because when I look behind us I see three guys walking fast towards us.

That wouldn’t be a problem if they were not walking like that. You know that notorious walk; the walk they sing about. i-walk ye phara (The walk of drug-addicted muggers).

“Let’s go!” I whisper to her in urgency.

She looks behind us and quickens her pace. I pull her into the next street where I know there is tall grass next to the shacks.

“Lie down!” I whisper and drop onto the wet grass.

It is dark, there is no moon or street lights. I hope it is enough. My cheek feels cold but I must be quiet. I know she feels worse in her short dress. I can hardly breathe. Soon we hear quick footsteps on the street and I say a prayer under my breath that they pass. They do. But I can almost swear that those were two footsteps that just passed. I hope I’m wrong.

I’m not.

A third footstep comes, sounding slower. You can tell it’s searching. It stops directly opposite us. My heart stops. He calls out.

“Nazi, ezi. Here they are,” I want to cry.

The other Pharas come back while the first one commands us to come out from hiding. We do. As we get up I see that he has a gun in his hand. My girl is whimpering.

“Take out your phones and wallets!” He roars.

I search my pockets while my mind is racing. I know what they are going to ask for next: my clothes. They will strip me of my Levi jeans and Polo t-shirt and Nike shoes. I will walk these streets naked.

And her? They could do worse to her. We need to run! But they will catch us before we even pass five shacks with those slippery pumps of hers.

“I-phone maan!” He bellows, raising the gun higher.

Without thinking twice I split!

I run fast, aware that I am leaving the poor girl behind. I hear two pairs of footsteps after me and I increase my pace. I run to the nearest shack I see and use the window to climb to its roof. The corrugated zinc sheet makes a lot of noise but I try not to care. I run and jump onto the next one, the next one and the next.

I run on top of four shack tops. People start to shout at me from inside their sleeping places. I jump off to the ground again. I run all the way home. I have lost Amaphara.

When I get home I can hardly sleep as my conscience comes alive again. I left that poor girl to be robbed, raped and murdered. How can I live with myself? In the morning, while relaying the story to my friends, I am relieved to find out that she is safe. Turns out one of the muggers knew her. Yes, the one with the gun. He had been friends with her late brother and so they let her go. They even walked her home so that no one else would mug her.


Tell us: What do you think of the way he left her behind?