Zikhona describes how two new girls adapt differently to the new freedoms in a college residence…

It’s Friday evening, Zenande is arriving to Cape Town with her uncle. She’s moving to the university residence. As her uncle approaches Cape Town the darkness seems to wash out as the street lights became brighter and brighter.

“So many cars parked outside, Zen, any particular reason you wanted to move on a Friday night?” her uncle asks. Zenande smiles shyly; she knows her uncle is teasing.

“Hayi, I just want to settle in early and sort my room before Monday, that’s all.”

When they arrive, the residence is packed with students, the lobby filled with suitcases; everyone’s luggage is on the floor, and students are screaming at each other as the keys to the unit are handed out.

Suddenly Zenande frowns when she sees none of her friends are in the res she’s been allocated in. Everyone is so loud as they talk and laugh.

As Zenande approaches the lobby, she realised it’s not just her who does not have a friend, there is another loner, Lily. Lily is wearing striped pants and tekkies and has natural gold hair. She is new in Cape Town. Zenande walks toward her to introduce herself.

“Hi, I’m Zenande you can call me Zen.” Lily’s face lit like Christmas lights, as she has been standing there alone with no one talking to her. “Do you want to be my roommate?” Zen asks.

Girls in bright red lipstick shout at them in the queue: “Zenimathe, you’ll never get your keys to your room, move forward!”.As soon as Zen and Lily got their keys, they take their luggage to their room.

“By the way I’m Lilitha, you can call me Lily.”

“Oh cool,” replies Zen. “I thought you were shy to say your name.”

“I am, a bit,” says Lily. I’m just not used to so many people talking all at once and my friends are not here, so I was a bit shy. But now I’ve met you!”

Zen and Lily both laugh out loud, and they jump. They cannot believe that they finally got their room. “This is exciting, it’s like we’re owners of this unit,” Lily says.

The girls unpack, and they are not alone for long. Some girls from next door come banging on the floor shouting, “Welcome, welcome! Freshers, there is a meeting at the lobby!”

When the girls walk to the lobby, they hear boys screaming “mabhebeza ningama fresher right?” Zen ignores them and shakes her head in disapproval to their disrespect but Lily seems to be a little bit flattered. The meeting briefs them about the water and the equipment everyone is supplied with, and the consequences should any illegal substances be found in the rooms.

Two months later Lily has found old friends from high school. Zen becomes a loner but she doesn’t mind she knows what she’s here for, not to make friends but to study and get the qualifications her mother never got.

One Friday evening Lily’s loud friend comes over to visit her. She’s been out of control lately and coming to sleep late since her friends got there.

Chommie,” says Amanda. “We’re going out tonight – you are to dress to impress, does your room mate want to come?”

“No thanks,” said Zen.

Lily and Amanda get dressed up, wearing high heels. Lily looks ridiculous in those shoes, thinks Zen. She can’t walk in them – she has never worn heels before.

When she comes back from the jol, she comes banging at the door, drunk, and screams “Uyadika sies”. Later Lily apologies for disrupting Zen’s sleep.

Weeks later, Lily’s friend moves nearby. The boys starts crowding their room. These boys have been around for years – and, in a nutshell, they are players. They are fascinated by Lily and Amanda’s forwardness. Zen is not comfortable anymore, her studies are disrupted and she does not want to get busy with boys.

She remembered what her friend had told her, something like this would happen.

“Ladies mantombazane please cook, we’ll come dish out later.” Lily and Amanda grin, happy that the guys asked them to cook. Zen shakes her head in disbelief. She is worried for her friend.

Weeks later Lily starts going out with one of them. He seems sweet and innocent, calm and collected. But soon Lily is pregnant. The boy stops visiting, starts dating another girl. On the surface it seems that Lily’s friends are very supportive, even though they talk behind her back and judge her.

Sometimes Zen is glad that she is not part of this melodrama. Zen has been depressed, she cries every night and does not sleep. She is not enjoying her studies.

“How did I end up here?” she asks herself.


But now through it all the girls survived, and stayed strong. Lily’s mother is looking after her baby. Zen has got more determined to finish her studies so that she can follow the career path of her choice. Both are now in third year, doing well. No more drama!


Have you had any similar experiences? Tell us what you think.