Lizzy: (cries) How could you do this to me, Siphokazi? My mother trusted you, and I trusted you. Why are you doing this to me? You know our situation at home. I am my mother’s last hope. Please let me go home, and I won’t expose your business. Please Kazi, please let me go.

Siphokazi: You will sign the contract for working for me. Since I see you will not read it, I will just tell you what is in it. For the first two years, you will of course be a prostitute. Thereafter, you will be allowed to visit your family for only a week. You will sell drugs to other countries for a year. Lastly, you join our ladies group of hijackers. When you have reached that stage, you can decide to quit and leave our lovely family or be a mentor to the upcoming young beautiful girls. Make yourself comfortable, because this is going to be your home for the next coming five years. Remember you don’t get paid, you know why that is? Because you stay under my roof, I feed you and dress you, so you’re not getting a cent. You will only be given R3000 after two years when you finally go home so that you can use that money to buy them groceries. After five years, you get your share of R10 000.

Lizzy: (sobs) Uyinja Siphokazi, you only think for yourself. You will not use me for your silly, stupid plans.

Siphokazi: I am done talking. Tomorrow, let the game begin. Don’t disappoint me. Did you see my gentlemen yesterday? Yes, you did. They will deal with you if you don’t cooperate.

[That night, Lizzy cries herself to sleep.

In the morning, Xoli enters Lizzy’s room to find her still sleeping]

Xoli: Hey, wake up.

Lizzy: You knew all along that there was no big supermarket for me? That I am not going to be a cashier but a damn prostitute? But you kept quiet, making me a fool.

Xoli: I am really sorry, dear. I have to do what I get paid to do.

Lizzy: I see. You are all evil. Have you ever thought how it would feel if you were in my shoes? (wipes her tears)

Xoli: Unfortunately, I have been in your shoes for a full five years of my life. I survived. I came out alive. Hang in there.

Lizzy: I don’t believe you, you were also a prostitute? Siphokazi also used you?

Xoli: Yep. We still have a lot of time to talk about this. Now I need a favour. Please go bath and put on these. (points) You have two clients.

Lizzy: (shouts) Here I was thinking you were on my side, kanti you are just like her. Get out, you bitch.

Xoli: I am only trying to help you. Just do what I tell you. I don’t want to be in trouble with Siphokazi.

[Lizzy gets dressed but tells herself she will escape the moment she gets a chance.]

Xoli: Mhmm, you look beautiful. Look, the first client is coming around 14:00 and the second around 21:00. Chances are, he will spend the night with you depending on your behaviour. Now, I want you to cooperate. I want your pictures for your portfolio. Promise me you will behave.

Lizzy: (cries louder)

Xoli: Shhh hey, hey focus. Stop with this crying. Otherwise, Siphokazi will deal with you, and it won’t be nice. Keep quiet and get yourself together.

Lizzy: It’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one who is going to lose their virginity to a total stranger. Leave me alone.

Xoli: (sighs) I will tell you my secret, how I came out alive. You have to keep calm no matter what. Don’t fight. If you do, you will be forced to take drugs, beaten or get killed. Even worse, you could commit suicide. I have seen a lot of girls dying each and every day, because they don’t cooperate. Pretend and act as if you’re enjoying it. Get Siphokazi’s trust, then she will start going out with you to different places to render your services. When you have reached that point, it’s easier to escape.

Lizzy: Did you escape?

Xoli:(whispers) No, but I helped a girl last year to escape. She was innocent, like you. She listened to me and trusted me, so I need you to do the same. Trust me and give me 6 months, then you will be out of here.

Lizzy: What? 6 months?

Xoli: Shh, you’re shouting, the other girls will hear you. I know. I know you will come out of here no longer a virgin, but it’s better than coming out of here being a drug addict. I beg you. Behave yourself today.

Lizzy: (nods)


Tell us: Do you trust Xoli? Do you think Lizzy will ever escape?