It’s been six days since Zine last sold her body for money. For most hours of those six days she has been in her room crying. Khanya is not the least concerned about that, she keeps making money the only way she knows how. She says she doesn’t have time to comfort a grown woman because she came to Jozi to make money.

Zine is woken from sleep by her mother’s phonecall. 

“Hello, Mama. How are you?” says Zine.

“Things are bad, my child. Sethu is sick. I took her to the clinic yesterday but she is not getting any better.”

“What is wrong with my baby?”

“She is vomiting and she has a headache.” 

“What did they give her at the clinic?”

“They gave her medication but she is still not well. You need to send us money so that I can send her to the doctor. You also haven’t sent money for food and there is nothing to eat here at home. Don’t also forget that the children are going on a school trip next month.”

“Where will I get all this money, Mama?”

“But you are working there in Jozi. Aren’t you?”

Zine doesn’t say a word. She decides to not tell her mom that she was fired from her job.

“It’s fine, Mama. I will send you the money tomorrow.”

“Goodbye, my child. Keep yourself well, your children need you.”

“Why are you so deep, Mama?

“It is nothing, my child. I am wishing you well.”

“OK, Ma, thanks. I’ll do exactly that.”

Her cell phone buzzes as soon as she places it on the table. The message is from Mr Buthelezi.

Can we please meet at our usual place? Room 216 this time. I miss you, my love.

Zine gets dressed and heads to the hotel. She opens the door and closes it. Her smile turns to pure horror when she looks up because it is not Mr Buthelezi who is in the room but his wife Luyanda. Zine is so shocked she drops the small bag she is holding.

“You just can’t leave my husband alone!” Luyanda bellows.

“I’m sorry! I don’t want to break your marriage. It is just that I’m desperate. I need money and he pays me,” Zine pleads.

“You say you don’t want to break my marriage yet you are sleeping with my husband? Do I look like a fool to you?” says Luyanda. She quickly pulls a sjambok from under the bed and pounces on Zine.

“Please don’t hurt me! I promise I’ll leave your husband alone, I’m only doing this so I can have money to feed my children,” says Zine.

“Don’t those puppies of yours have a father? Is my husband a money machine to you?” Xolile whips Zine with the sjambok all over her body.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Zine picks up her bag and bolts out of the room. 

Luyanda chases after her, lashing her with the sjambok when she catches up to her. 

The security guards hear Zine’s screams and come to her rescue. They hold off Luyanda and take her sjambok, giving Zine a chance to escape.

Zine opens the door to her flat forcefully, startling Khanya. Her body is swollen from the lashes of the sjambok. Some of her bruises are bleeding.

“Oh my God! What happened to you, Zine?” says Khanya, rising to her feet.

“Buthelezi’s wife whipped me with a sjambok. I received a message from his phone asking me to come to the hotel as usual. But it was his wife who sent the message. She nearly killed me!”

“But to use a sjambok of all things! That thing leaves scars!” says Khanya.

“She would have killed me if the security guards didn’t come to my rescue. I nearly died for a man.” 

“You have to open an assault case against her. That woman has no right to harm you like she did. This is a great opportunity to make money from her. Let’s call her and tell her she needs to pay you if she doesn’t want you to open a case against her.”

“That’s just too cruel, Khanya. I can’t do that. The truth is I’m the one who is at fault for sleeping with her husband.”

“Your good heart won’t get you anywhere in this world. No matter what you may have done, she didn’t have to take the law into her own hands!”

“Can we just drop this, Khanya? What you can do is help me soothe these bruises so I can look better when we go out to work for money.”

“Fine. Let me warm some water,” says Khanya.

Khanya dips a towel in warm water and soothes Zine’s bruises. After three days her bruises are not swollen any more, but the sjambok has left dark bruises on some parts of her body. She knows she has to go back to work as soon as possible. Her mind is on her sick child back home. Dark or blue tonight, she has to make some money so she can send some to her mom in the morning. 

Tell us: Do you think Zine should press charges against Luyanda?