She had never been as excited as she was now, arriving at the University of Johannesburg for the first time, never having been to South Africa, let alone the big city. Coming from a rural town in Uganda, she was clueless about the ways of the people in the big towns, these lands of dreams, and what they did to girls like her. She didn’t know that in a few months, her life would change forever and her eyes would finally be truly open to the savagery that is the world.
Know it or not, this is the story of many girls who come to Johannesburg from various places on the continent with the aim to study but also to see the greatness that is Jozi. Unbeknownst to them, there is an armada waiting precisely for their kind of naivete so they can swoop in with false promises of big dreams and a good life. These monsters take advantage of these girls and show little to no mercy, taking what they want and leaving as though they have rights to the girls’ bodies by just saying a few sweet nothings.
Many local girls too have fallen victim to the scourge that is commonly known as “hit-and-run” and only a very lucky few have escaped without a baby to display their shame and stupidity. The saddest part is, there is nobody to trust, even those that warn you don’t emphasize the dangers harshly enough. it’s a full package deal with pregnancy, STDs, and the worst one yet, HIV or AIDS.
It is shameful that we as a people lack the humanity to respect that which is not ours to damage, that we cannot live peacefully amongst each other without destroying and hurting another or others. We claim to be civilised, to be part of a developing nation and yet the barbaric acts we perform against each other display the utmost cruelty. So what if she is beautiful and well-built? She did not ask for that beauty and you have no right to take from it, no right to pretend to love her, make her trust you, just so you can take her most prized possession then walk around claiming ‘she is too easy’.
For a foreign girl, it does not help that even if she decides to stick to the man she knows, a foreigner just like her, he too is on a mission to do as much harm as he can before he is ‘tied down’. There is no safe haven. She comes to Johannesburg in search of a Paradise and finds the deepest hell in the arms of a man who is seemingly the devil incarnate. In time, she ceases to trust and depends on no one but herself, knowing the animals that lurk in the peripheries.
Obviously, it isn’t everyone who is out to devour the weak unknowing ones and at some point, our girl will encounter an honest somebody who is exactly what she needs. But, pray tell, how is she to know that he isn’t like every other predator out there? She too has become a monster in her own right, dating guys for what she can take away from them just as they took away from her. She has learnt the art of seduction as well as deception and makes them trust her, as she did once, before swooping in like the king cobra and striking their bank accounts, rendering them bankrupt or at least close enough.
Life has become a game of chess for our once innocent protagonist. No more virtue, no integrity, just a desire for revenge and riches. After acquiring her degree, when she does return home, the girl she used to be is gone. Her own mother doesn’t recognise what she has become, and to be quite honest, even amongst the riches she acquired with sweat blood and tears, when she looks in the mirror, even she can’t recognise herself.