In the morning I get up and Nokubonga is not next to me. I wonder when she left. I phone Nqabisa and she agrees to come to Masi today. I clean my shack, properly this time. I take my photo album, pull out all my photographs with my girlfriends and hide these under my mattress.

Then I go to Bulela’s house to cure the babalas. Most importantly, I want to share the good news with him about Nqabi coming to Masi.

When I get to Bulela’s I meet Bertha with him at the gate.

“So?” I question him after he has said goodbye to her.

“Don’t worry S’phe, I got this one,” he tells me.

“I thought you said this one has a boyfriend?” He just looks at me and smiles. “Look ntwana, Nqabisa said she would come visit today.”

“Oh really? Uyinja boss, is’khokho . You are the top dog!”

“I know that,” I brag.

We sit on his stoep and drink beers.

Nank’ uZimkhitha, she’s coming.”

“What?” he looks at me.

“I said elancizo lakho, your secret lover is coming this way.”

“She just mustn’t go inside my room. There are used condoms on the floor!” he tells me as Zimkhitha walks in the gate.

“Hey guys, ninjaani, how are you?”

Hayi sigrand, sigrand. We are good,” Bulela says, but his hands are shaking and his voice comes out squeaky with nerves.



“I need to speak to you in private,” Zimkhitha says, looking me in the eye.

“Ja, sure.” I get up and start walking towards the gate.

“No, inside the house please,” she says firmly, heading through the door.

I look at Siphelo as I follow Zimkhitha inside the house. He mimes the words: “Deep Shit.”

Zimkhitha takes one step into my room, looks at the scene and stops. She does not sit on the bed as usual. She stands by the door and looks at me. “It’s obvious to me what happened here. Who is she Bulela? Who is the bitch?!” she screams.

“Calm down,” I beg her. I close the door. “What brings you to my house this time of the day anyway?”

“Is that all you are going to say Bulela? Bulela, Bulela, I came to tell you how much I love you. I wanted to give you a kiss in private and leave again.” She cries and punches me on the chest.

“I told you, we should not rush into anything serious.”

“That was before we had sex, Bulela. You cannot tell me sleeping with me so many times does not mean anything serious to you,” she cries.

I just stand there and look at her. I don’t know what to do. She wipes her tears.

“I think you need to go. Come back when you have calmed down,” I tell her.

“How about I don’t ever come back again?” she yells, throwing the wet tissue in my face.

When she storms out of my room Siphelo comes onto the stoep again. I can see he’s trying not to laugh. But when Zimkhitha is out the gate he can’t stop himself. He laughs so much that tears run down his cheeks.



I pat my friend on the shoulder: “Now that right there was a moment of stupidity.”

“Shut up. It’s not like you would have done any better.”

“You could have told her that you let me use your room or something, you stupid fool.”

“You stood with your ear to the door. You know exactly when you could have come in to save me. Why didn’t you?”

I just laugh at him when he says this.

“You know this one S’phe mfethu. I don’t understand Zimkhitha. I mean I told her when we met that I have a girlfriend in Gugs,” he complains to me.

“Can we really blame her for being upset?”

“I can’t believe that’s coming from you, S’phe. You can’t be giving me that kind of a talk.”

“I think that is what you need Bulela. Lessons from a real playa.”

He tells me there are more beers in the fridge. We drink and soon after that I leave. I need to get ready to meet Nqabisa at Fish Hoek station by five o’clock.

When I arrive at the station Nqabi is leaning against a phone booth. “I was about to call you,” she tells me. I hug and try to kiss her on the mouth. She turns and I get her on the cheek.

“What’s up Nqabi?”

Uyangxama, you rush,” she tells me.



We take a taxi to Masi. People look at me. It feels like they can tell I am not from here.

Siphelo has his arm around me. I think he is a bit of a show off. I like him though. But I’m not going to tell him so in a hurry.

When we get off near a place he calls Riverside, he tells me his parents have been talking about moving away from this place but they have not found a bigger house to buy yet.

He has just lost a number of points in my book for saying that. I like people to be who they are, and not pretend to be anything else.

“Look, I am used to shacks, buti. Relax,” I tell him.

“Oh ja, you are from PE. Did you say eMagxaki? I believe you guys call a shack ibobosi,” he says to me.

“I am actually from Motherwell, but I have family eMagxaki,” I tell him.

“Here, this is my house.” He points to a white door. I think of my safety. This door is not strong. It wasn’t meant to be the front door of a house. I tell myself that I will only stay for a short while. Then I think how crazy that is. To come all the way and have no fun with Siphelo.

Siphelo opens the door and encourages me to put my bag down on his bed.

When he leaves with an empty to take to the spaza, I fiddle with his remote, flicking through the channels. A message comes up that his contract has been suspended.


Tell us what you think: Nqabi says, “I like people to be who they are, and not pretend to be anything else.” What do you think about what she says?