Wandile met Max and Mzi after her father passed away. She had gone out with her friend, Sane, who was older. Wandile had never drank alcohol before but she started after her father died. The buzz she got seemed to fill the hole in her heart. Sane introduced her to Mzi and Max who, like true blessers, never ran out of cash. She drank that day, not knowing her drink had been spiked. When she discovered she had been a victim of date rape Mzi and Max told her she was working for them now. And she’d be killed if she didn’t do as told. Sane had sold her, as Sane, in turn, had been sold by an older girl in this never ending cycle of depravity. And today it is Wandile’s turn to bring a fresh girl to Max and Mzi.

“God please forgive me, I have no choice,” she says entering the yard to Nonhle’s home.

Her hair looks white in the light. It is chilly now – her skin has goosebumps. She knocks impatiently on the front door. Nothing. She knocks again. Nonhle’s mom, MaMbambo, answers the door.

“Good evening, Ma. Is Nonhle in?”

MaMbambo looks at Wandile with suspicion. She roughly chews gum as she looks at Wandile up and down. Wandile knows very well that this woman doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

“Yes, she is in, studying in her room,” MaMbambo lets Wandile in. She looks at Wandile’s short skirt and high heels. “Tell me, Wandile, what did your mother say when you walked out of the house dressed like that? And at this time of the day?”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” MaMbambo looks straight into her eyes.

Wandile has no reply. She looks down at the floor.

“What do you want from Nonhle?”

“I need her to help me with some school stuff, Ma.”

“Please hurry up with what you need from her so she can study in peace.”

Nonhle is so busy working on a Maths problem that she doesn’t hear when Wandile opens the door. The Grade 11 June exams are just around the corner. They are both in Grade 11 but Wandile, at 19, is two years older than Nonhle. MaMbambo doesn’t like Wandile being around Nonhle because of this age difference and the fact that she has failed Grade 11 twice. And she has heard rumours about Wandile’s drinking and partying.

“Hey Nonhle! What’s happening? You are not answering your phone. Aren’t you going with me?”

“I can’t go, Wandile. I’m studying for the exams next week,” says Nonhle.

“Come on, girl. Exams can wait. It’s a Saturday. Didn’t you say you want to make some money? Well you are going to make a lot of money because it’s Saturday. Rich guys will pay handsomely to have a beautiful young thing like you in their arms.”

“The truth is I don’t know how I feel about what you do, Wandile.”

“That’s fine. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. But just come with me, at least, to see what it is like.”

Nonhle looks at Wandile who has a sincere smile. “Even if I wanted to go I know Ma won’t let me.”

“Just tell her we are going to study with a study group because Maths is difficult. Once she hears ‘study’ ‘school’ and ‘group’ she’ll let you go.”

“I hate lying to Ma.”

“Come on, Nonhle. You have to live a little. Just look at those cheekbones, beautiful eyes. Show me that smile.”

Nonhle breaks into her brilliant smile. “Fine! Let me ask Ma. But I’m not going to drink and I won’t do anything I don’t want to do.”

They walk out smiling but hesitate when they reach the kitchen where MaMbambo is cooking pap.

“Ma,” says Nonhle.

“Yes,” MaMbambo answers without turning from the stove.

“Ma can I go with Wandile to study at school with a Maths study grou-”

MaMbambo turns and looks at both Wandile and Nonhle. A scowl quickly sets on her face because she can see the lies in their eyes. “What!?”

“We are going to study, Ma,” Nonhle says in a tone that is part pleading and part begging.

Rage has filled MaMbambo’s eyes. “You are not going anywhere, Nonhle!” She turns to Wandile, and points the steaming wooden spoon at her face. “You get out of my house right now! And never set your high heel wearing twigs of legs in my home ever again!”

MaMbambo feigns as if she is about to strike both of them with the wooden spoon. They both take a few steps back.

“Hawu Ma! But we are-”

“Shut your mouth, Nonhle! I have said what I have said and that’s final!”

Nonhle turns to see Wandile take off her shoes and run out of the front door. Wandile runs until she is a few houses away.

She knows what Mzi and Max will do if she doesn’t bring a ‘fresh girl’. She also knows that they won’t give her the drugs that she is craving right now. Drugs they made her take and which have made her their slave now.


Tell us: What do you think Wandile will do now?