Poverty devastates families, destroys societies, decimates hearts and crushes dreams! Can you name anyone who likes being impoverished in your immediate family? No one, and I’ll bet, wishes poverty on themselves. SA is a “third-world” country with high levels of poverty and unemployment. There’s the beggar at the robots, the homeless man that you see hauling trash on a trolley and the dirty guy that looks and smells like trash.
There’s also another side of poverty that a lot of my generation doesn’t notice much. The working poor.
At primary school a particular kid couldn’t afford school uniform, but as kids we didn’t know he couldn’t. This kid always had tattered short pants, yellowing shirts, worn out socks, no underpants (kids would always pull his pants down at school) and no school lunch. I never knew Scott was poor until he came to my house, while I still lived in Unit 6, asking for food. “Daddy, I know that kid. We go to the same school,” I said to my Dad. “Some people don’t have what you have, son.” He had walked around the homes in Unit 6, from what I had seen, with his little brother, and asked for food. Dad gave him some chicken and tinned food. Scott quit/disappeared from school a year or two later and I’ve never seen him since.
This is the borderline of poverty, but this is not the poverty I’m referring to.
“Sipho, we won’t be able to pay for your accommodation this year. You’ll have to make a plan to stay in school.” My Dad was now telling me that I had to see where I’m going to stay and what I was to eat. They had to use all the money they recevied from the sale of the farm on lawyer fees and paying off other debts. I still had my bursary, but they only paid for tuition fees and books. If you ever went through a downgrade in your life, you’ll know how fucked up something like that is.
So I moved out of the flat and went to bum with a friend of mine in Sunnyside. Dingy-ass place! The stairs and the corridors were always dirty and smelling of piss. Why anyone stayed there I didn’t understand… until now, of course! When you’re poor you really have the worst options. You never really have anything to eat. We ate meat once a week and ate that unbranded white bread. All the other times it was tinned fish, tinned beef, pasta with packet soup or pap and potato soup.
Kevin was a student as well. He had no bursary and was on one of those dodgy student loans. His parents were teachers in a small village outside Mafikeng. His father was an alcoholic, the type with red lips and a permanent smell of booze on his breath. The little money he got was to pay for the flat and buy food. He also smoked a lot of weed, which is where I picked up the habit. We would go up to the roof of the flat and start a puff puff pass session with our neighbour, called Franco.
Franco was from the DRC, was a cripple but still had both his legs. He walked funny with his crutches. But I have to hand it to his mack game, homie had a colored girlfriend, but any day of the week when she wasn’t around you would see all kinds of girls coming in and out of his flat. Big girls, skinny girls, light-skinned girls, darker-than-the-back-of-the-moon girls, ashy girls, clean girls, druggie girls, church girls, foreign and local girls! I envied how he fucked anything that walked, no exceptions. I, on the other hand, still felt lofty and too posh to fuck these dirty-looking skanks, but he never said no to ratchet pussy.
After one of our smoking sessions we went to Franco’s flat to watch a movie on his big screen. He had all the latest movies, too, and we only had a black and white TV, and no VHS player. One of Franco’s skanks pitched up while we were watching a movie. I remember she introduced herself as Pinkie, and I picked up that she was a local Pretoria girl. Pinkie proceeded to start making some chow and then disappeared into Franco’s bedroom. This was a one bedroom flat, with the lounge and kitchen in one single room. The next thing we start hearing her moan in the bedroom, with the classic “Tlwep tlwep” pelvis-against-ass-cheeks slapping sound. The boiling pots were now starting to burn and we were too high off shitty weed to make up our minds whether we should call the bonking bunnies or take the pots off the stove. The door soon swung open with Pinkie’s sweaty naked ass rushing to take them off the stove. Our eyes followed her yellow ass from the bedroom to the stove and from the stove back to the bedroom. Just as she’s about to get into the bedroom Kevin stands up and screams “You dirty bitch, o busy o jewa ke lekwerekwere o fisa dipitsa!” Damn you, Kevin, and your village mentality! Franco limps out of his bedroom with a baton, “You call me Makwerekwere again I show you!” Seeing a pitch black man and his big DRC dick limp out of a bedroom carrying a baton seemed like the most ironic thing to me. You walk with a limp, have a big black dick, toting a big black baton, and talk in that accent, and I’m high! I never laughed so hard in my life.
A few weeks later I moved out of those block of flats to a new place a few blocks away. It was still shitty but at least it didn’t smell like piss. I moved into a bachelor flat with another buddy I went to Mmabatho High with. I had downgraded again, and this time I had to share a bed with this nigga. We called him Moses Sithole because he once got accused of rape in High School when him and his buddies did a tres-monkey (gangbang) on a girl at a party and she accused them of raping her.
Moses Sithole was an okay guy, smoked a lot weed, drank a lot beer, farted a lot in bed and had smelly feet from not wearing socks with his shoes. In my defense, I never realized this until it was too late. I still had little cash and my parents would give me a couple of hundred each month, so I just had to soldier on.
It was my first semester of my last year and I was about to finish school and get a damn job! I needed a proper job so bad, but the end of the year was so far away! A friend of mine hooked me up with a waitering job at a coffee shop where he worked as a part time barrister. At coffee shops you serve students, hippies, broke niggas, quasi-business people and coffee addicts. With these types of people I earned peanuts in tips. I would be lucky to make R500 a week! So I found another waitering job at the Hatfield Spur. This was when the waitering staff was still white, before all the Zimbabweans got exploited by the Spur! Yes I said it!
One evening I came home late and got into bed next to this nigga and passed out. In the morning I woke up and Moses was still asleep. I went to get kotas from the old Magogo down the road, washed my uniform, went to the library to study, came back and this nigga was still knocked out. I went to work that evening, came back and he was still out. I checked if he was still alive and passed out too. Sunday came and went with Moses still out. Hee Banna!
Monday morning he wakes for lectures. “So Moses, tell me what happened to you this weekend joe?” “You know the Zulu girls from downstairs?” Oh lord! There’s these two girls from downstairs from Thokoza. Siphokazi and Zodwa tell us they’ve been friends since High School. They’re runners, running from one squad of niggas to the next squad. Runners sell their company and their ass, but the main aim of a runner is to party and sponge off niggas for rent, clothes, weaves and groceries. They have the latest phones, wear the latest fashions and have been to the Durban July and the Met more times than the horses themselves. They also get boned by everyone in the squad, jumping from one dick to the next.
As a runner should be, Siphokazi and Zodwa are beautiful, young, hot and popular. I always flirt with them whenever I see them, it keeps a nigga’s spirits up.
Moses had ran into them in front our building Friday afternoon coming back from practicals. They were getting dropped off by some old man in a Range Rover. They flashed him a bottle of JW Black and Moet they got from the old man and invited him upstairs to their crib. The girls ordered a pizza delivery, the whisky flowed, the champagne popped and the clothes came off. He says he enjoyed a strip show with the girls only left with their panties on. “So what happened on Saturday when you didn’t wake up?” “Dude, I woke up but you weren’t here. The babalas I had sounded like a thousand Sangomas ba shaya sghubu, so I drank the Moet from last night to fight fire with fire. I woke up this morning thinking it was Saturday night but then I saw Vuyo Mbuli on TV. I got angry at myself for having slept through the entire weekend but something inside of me reminded me that ke a phapha for drinking things I don’t know, drinking with runners, and I should accept my punishment.”
I was finally making some good money and could afford to live in a much better place. It was still in Sunnyside but these flats were much neater and well looked after. I moved into my bachelor flat, got a TV, those white plastic chairs and finally a fucking bed! Aah, the freedom! No more smelling other niggas farts and accidental dick rubs. The first term tests came and I worked hard! I had a vision and I was gonna get what I wanted.
I had a few friends at the restaurant. I got along with a white guy called Gerrie. He didn’t brush his teeth and rocked up to work like he had just got back from a fight with a hobo, but he was good peoples. Since it was April holidays I decided to stay in PTA and make some cash for myself. I spent those two weeks working hard and saving all of the money. The last weekend of the school holidays I decided to reward myself by going out the Saturday night. The white people at work decided they’re gonna show me where they party and I said hell yeah. We went to one of those dodgy bars where they play boere musiek and they lang-arm all night. It was something different and I appreciated that.
It was then decided that we will go to Gerrie’s place in Orchards. We climbed into Gerrie’s skorokoro Uno with some girls from work, got some liquor and sped off to Orchards. Gerrie lived with his mother but she was mostly passed out by 8pm from box wine. The liquor flowed, the music got turned all the way up and the girls shook their asses. In the middle of all this boogey down I noticed that these people would disappear to Gerrie’s room and emerge with sinus problems. “Gerrie, what are you guys doing in your room all the time?” “We’ve been schnuffing broer. You want some?” I had never tried coke before and not because I’m too scared to do it, I just never had the opportunity.
Ask any druggie and they will tell you that the first time is always the greatest. There’s no better high than that first one. “Gerrie, can we get some more?” I asked popping out a couple of hundreds. “It’s R300 broer.” “It’s fine,” sounding like a fiend, “I’ll pay for the whole thing.”
The connection stops outside the house and Gerrie goes out to fetch it. He gets back in all go into his room and the party continues. Later on in the wee hours of the morning Gerrie disappears with one of the girls. He still had the bag on him and I wanted some, so I started looking for him throughout the house. I open one of the bedrooms and this girl is busy having a singing audition. Whoa! This is gonna be a fun night! My first coke experience and now a live porn show?! So I sit on the counter and check out the action because she’s got her titties out and everything! “Sipz, grab a condom and join me and we’ll make a top-deck!” I didn’t waste any time.
The next week I get a call from one of the waiters at work. “Sipz, are you coming in this week?” “Yeah, why? Check my schedule there.” With a heavy Afrikaans accent the waiter said “Well, Sipz, you must just know neh that there’s someone looking for you and Gerrie” “What the fuck did we do?” “Well, apparently Gerrie was recording that orgy you and him had with Leandre. You must remember she’s 17 as well bra. You guys are in big kak hey!” “Was it the police?” “No, it was her brother and father. They’re these big dutchmen who look like Kobus Wiesse. Gerrie also hasn’t been to work today when he heard about it.”
“Gerrie, what the hell happened bra?” “I recorded that entire thing on my web cam! I turned off the monitor so she wouldn’t see.” Oh shit! Now I’m in kak. “Did you share it with anyone?” “Only a couple of my bras. But they took it to where this Leandre girl goes to school and showed everyone. Now I hear the cops might be involved in it.”
Now you know why I never finished my engineering degree.