16 October

Dear Fortune,

Babotse’s mama did NOT call my mama. But today I told her I was going to tell my mama that she was making racist noises. I don’t know what she said to the other girls, but they’ve stopped.

Well, they stopped going, “Ooh ooh eeh eeh,” when we walk by.

So I guess that’s something. Still don’t know what it’s all about. My friends don’t know either. But Lily nearly cried. I’m still mad.

17 October

Dear Fortune,

THEY’RE STILL CALLING US “JUNGLE JANES”. The teachers won’t listen to any of it. Zindzi even went up to Mrs Hill and told her what had been going on and Mrs Hill told us to try to ignore it.

How can you ignore it? It isn’t just Prisha and her followers anymore; now other kids are doing it.

A group of girls I hardly know were standing there and pointing at us and giggling. When I asked them what was going on, they shook their heads and wouldn’t say anything. But I grabbed Mbali – she’s the smallest – and made her tell me.

You know what she said???? She said, “It’s because your legs are hairy.”

I looked down. Her legs have hairs on them too. So what’s the big deal? But she shook her head, “You and your friends have really dark leg hair and you don’t shave.”

Erin and Lily said they are going to ask their mothers if they can shave. Zindzi said she isn’t going to ask, she’s just going to do it.

So I decided to ask my mama.


She started asking me if I was going to change myself every time I got teased. Started bringing up skin lightening creams, hair straighteners, and saying, “So when does it stop?”

I don’t get it. I didn’t ask to straighten my hair or lighten my skin. I just want to shave my legs because I’m tired of being teased.

My mama shook her head. “You’re not even twelve. You’re too young to start shaving.”



Tell us: Do you think Landisa’s mama should let her shave? Why or why not?