This is a true story of a young woman who came to JHB on her own. She risked her life for a better living.
Rose took a bus from the small town Umtata in Eastern Cape to visit a young man she met through Facebook. She trusted this man and his promise to help her get a job and a decent place to stay.
Rose arrived in JHB the early hours of the morning, then gave the taxi driver of the taxi she took the address of the man she had come to. The taxi dropped her off at the address she had written on the piece of paper she gave the driver. He was waiting for her at the gate of his home. After they briefly greeted each other, he took her inside and introduced her to the rest of his family.
Rose was overwhelmed by the affection his family showed her. They told her that she was welcome to stay as long as she wanted to. A few nights later, the man made sexual advances towards her. His made her stay uncomfortable because she assumed that they were friends. She had come to Johannesburg to start a new life, not for men. Rose told the man that she wasn’t interested in sleeping with him, which made him angry. He told her that she had to leave the next morning.
So, the next morning, Rose called one of her high school friends who had moved to JHB a couple of years earlier and asked if she could stay there for a couple of days while she, Rose, searched for employment. Her friend agreed to help her out, they had looked out for each other when they were in school. Her friend had an apartment in the CBD; she gave Rose directions to her place. Rose left the house in the early hours of the morning while the man and the rest of his family were still asleep. She didn’t want to face them after what happened the night before.
Rose settled into life as a roommate very quickly. Her friend had a stable job and helped Rose where she could with toiletries, food and clothes. Rose continued looking for work every day but weeks passed and no one called her back. Rose knew that she couldn’t continue living off of her friend; she then applied to study at one of the local colleges. A month after her application, Rose received her acceptance letter. Her friend was happy for her so the two of them arranged that Rose would study and find a part-time job to contribute to their living expenses.
Registration was in mid-January the following year, two months after Rose received her acceptance letter. She had no idea on how she was going to pay the fees but she had faith that she would work something out, she went ahead and registered. After her registration was completed, she applied for a bursary and prayed and hoped that she would get it. However, two weeks before her studies were to commence, Rose received a letter from the college informing her that her bursary application was unsuccessful. Rose felt hopeless because it seemed like she had left home for nothing. On her way to the college she met a Lebo; Lebo was on her way there too.
Rose and Lebo became instant friends; they clicked. It was as if they knew each other a long time. Rose told Lebo all about her money troubles and her struggle in JHB. Lebo understood what Rose was going through because she had gone through something similar herself. She helped Rose apply for an alternative bursary and gave Rose some of her cloths didn’t wear anymore to help her fit in on campus. Lebo even offered Rose a place to stay BUT Rose declined she didn’t want to be dependent on anyone. She had come to Johannesburg to make it on her own.
Lebo however, continued to try to help Rose regardless of her protests. She told her parents Rose’s story and asked them if they could make a loan but Lebo’s parents for all their understanding and willingness to assist Rose, didn’t get the loan. Rose studied for two months then dropped out because she hadn’t come up with the money to pay her fees.
Rose was devastated at how things turned out; she cried every night to help her get over her failed attempt to study. She then received a call from the local Spur restaurant to come in for an interview. Her friend and Lebo helped her get ready for the interview. Rose got the job and started working at the Spur as a waitress the next day. Rose enjoyed being a waitress; she loved helping and serving customers but things soon turned sour for her at work when Nokuthula started working there. Rose was friendly towards her from her first day, but for some reason Nokuthula was cold towards her.
She had no idea why her colleague treated her that way until; she heard some of her colleagues gossiping about how Nokuthula was jealous of Rose and Lebo’s friendship. She begrudged Rose for all the things that Lebo did and gave her. Rose didn’t like being subjected to the office gossip at work; she didn’t want to say anything bad about her co-workers. To make things worse, her friend asked her to find a different place to stay because her siblings were coming to stay with her. Rose had been in JHB for almost a year but didn’t know the city so well. On her off days, she chilled at home mostly and didn’t venture out of the apartment much. She became worried and stressed because she had nowhere else to go.
Rose had a lot of friends on Facebook and the thought of having to ask one of them for help again made her nauseous. She had to swallow her pride because she had no place and no one to turn to. She placed a post on Facebook asking if anyone of her FB friends could help her out with a place to stay for a couple of days. That same day, Rose received a call from one of her cousins who stayed in Pretoria. Her cousin asked Rose to come visit her for a weekend. When Rose was getting ready to go to Pretoria for the weekend, she received a call from one of her FB friends, Fran. Fran asked her if she had a job or not, when Rose said no, Fran told her to bring her CV to her workplace. Fran also told her that she had to lie to the manager if he asked her what she was doing there; Rose had to tell him that he had called and told her to come in on Monday.
The next Monday, Rose got dressed and took a taxi to Fran’s work. She arrived ten minutes before the manager did. There were other people there as well; she guessed that they were all new recruits. Rose went up to the manager and told him exactly what Fran had told her to say. To Rose’s amazement, the manager employed her on the spot. Rose and the other successful candidates then received training for the job that lasted a week. Rose worked hard and showed her dedication to the training she was given so much so that the manager was impressed with her.
Rose was offered a three month contract on the following week. She was so happy and grateful because that job was an opportunity to prove her and work for what she wanted. At the time, Rose believed with her cousin but had every intention of finding her own place once she had enough money. She called her younger sister, Sasha, who she had left behind in Umtata and told her the great news. Sasha was happy for Rose but resented her for leaving her behind.
Rose worked her but off for that entire three months with the hope that she would be employed permanently once her three month contract ended. Her prayers were answered; her manager was impressed by her dedication to her work and the company that he offered her a permanent contract and increased salary. This is what Rose had been working for; now she could take care of her sister, find her own place to stay and save up for her studies. She sent money to her Sasha every month and found herself a small flat to rent. Then before the end of that year; she was offered a bursary at work to go study further. It seemed then that everything was beginning to fall into place; her dreams were coming true.
Rose applied and went on to study forensic sciences for three years. She worked and studied hard for her first and second year then received a bursary from SASSETA to pay her third and final year’s studies. When she graduated, Rose paid for Sasha to be transported to her where she could take care of and look after her better.
TO BE CONTINUED