“Hey pretty lady,” he says as if that’s the only thing there is about me really.

I mean, I’m walking around with a heavy-ass brain that stores knowledge which got me 97% for Math in my NSC but all he notices is my face? I know the Felicia in you probably thinks it was Math Literacy. No, it was Pure Mathematics.

Yes, I’m a very smart girl, and I would much rather prefer it if people notice that, than my pretty looks. But I can’t blame him. It’s not like he can penetrate his red and drowsy eyes, with dilated pupils, through my skull and see the depth of my brain. My face is the furthest he can go.

Generally, that’s how they view us though. ‘They’ being men and ‘us’ being women. All there ever is in a woman to men is their appearance. Nothing else. That’s why you so commonly hear them judge and determine her worth based on her physical appearance. All that really matters to them is how she looks. Intelligence, compassion, fierceness, empathy, integrity? Nah, none of that matters now. It’s the body over the soul.

He is sitting with a group of boys. One… two… three… I count seven of them. They are what we call “hustlers”. Or at least what ‘they’ call hustlers. Only aged about seventeen and eighteen, high-school drop-outs, they leave their cosy beds early before the sun rises, leaving behind the warm soft porridge their mothers prepared and go out to ‘hustle.’ That, however, entails sitting with his homeboys all day rolling blunts and pestering girls that pass. SMH.

I just pray for their sake that nobody else says anything to offend me, because I’m going to give them a piece of my mind. I’m not your typical rural girl: shy and quiet. But in life you don’t always get what you want right?

They open their mouths with teeth as yellow as the Kaizer Chiefs jersey. But me, I keep walking, balancing the bucket of water on my head like the queen that I am.

“Look at those bottoms!” one says.

The other six cheer.

“Those legs!” another one.

“I bet she wore that short skirt for us to notice her.”

At this point my blood is boiling at over 100 °C.

“Hawu sisi, we’re complimenting you. Why are you being so rude and walking away?”

Complimenting me? Huh?

If these remarks fascinate you as girl, hayi, no shame, you need a serious intervention. You have let us down as females.

It is called cat-calling and being cat-called is not a compliment. If anything, it is an insult. It simply means: all that a person sees in you is nothing but a sexual object.

There are different types. The one uses your body parts to ‘compliment’ you. If you don’t react the way he wants you to, you earn yourself insults.

The VW Polo Vivo driver that drives slowly alongside you, uttering sweet-nothings to encourage you to get into the car, whilst you walk the streets of Umlazi. If you don’t find that creepy and entertain it, I’ve lost hope in you sis.

Then, there’s one who pulls, actually grabs your arm to get your attention after you intentionally ignore him. Whether it was a gentle grab or not, he had no right to!

One that just comes out of nowhere. One minute there’s no one besides you, next minute he’s all in your space; so close that you feel his breath slapping on your skin, sending chills down your spine.

The ‘charmer boy’ who thinks he is so fine. Every second word is accompanied by his tongue licking his lips.

The one who doesn’t touch you. His eyes though, they undress every piece of clothing you have on.

There’s a whole lot more. But anyway, we’re not there. We’re at the fact that the bucket that was on my head is now on the floor. My gaze is at these whoonga boys. Oh, sorry, it’s weed boys. My hands are on my hips. For black females, that means business.

Breathe Khanya, breathe, I think to myself. They are not worth it. Be the bigger person and walk away. I calm myself down, pick up my bucket and briskly walk away. I’ve learnt how to deal with my anger without hurting people.

Had things turned out another way, I would probably have beaten up at least one of them, just to set an example. I am Kwakhanya Ngcobo. No one messes with me; especially not drug addicts. Weed is a drug, and they are addicted to it. So yes, they are drug addicts.


Tell us: What do think about cat-calling?