Living with prostitution
What happens when you find your home is a whorehouse?
During the nineteenth century, prostitution was seen as another wayfor men to oppress women. Since then it has also been seen as a way forwoman to get ahead in another way.
"I felt so dirty, after Ifound out I had to scrub myself for hours because I felt like I was the filthy one." These are the words of Princess Nomalinge.
But let's start at the beginning. Princess was an ordinary woman who had finally moved out of her family home to live on her own. It started out alright, after hunting for a place for four months, and after she'd started working, she moved into her new abode in Randburg. Two other ladies from work to moved in with her to share the rent payments. All seemed well, it had worked out. Her new flatmates, Lindiwe and Ntombi, also seemed pleasant. "From the very start, Ntombi's cousin, Lusanda and son came to visit for a couple of days. That was cool, but I did start getting uneasy after the third day passed and they were still there. I tried to let it go, but then one week turned into one month and so forth," Princess explains.
After a five months, Lindiwe and Ntombi both got fired from their jobs. Lusanda still stayed with them, squatting in their place, rent-free. Princess went on to explain that Lusanda was a party girl, going out a lot on heavy evenings, inviting the other flatmates to join her for an evening on the piss. Princess refused to go along. "After a few more months, the situation became unbearable. I decided it was time to make Lusanda leave."
Lusanda left, for a while anyway. Ntombi called her back after a two weeks. "She gave me some silly excuse that her cousin would actually give her money for rent." By now, things were looking bleak, and Princess began to suspect that there was more than meets the eye in this situation. None of these girls had jobs, and yet they still managed to pay rent, as well as have a constant stream of boyfriends.
Princess started joking around with Lusanda saying she was a lady of the night, because she was always out late, only returning at crazy hours of the morning. Her patience was wearing thin, and finally kicked Lusanda out again, threatening to do the same with Ntombi if the squatting continued.
To make matters worse, her landlord ordered Princess to leave the flat at the end of the month altogether. Confused and completely perplexed, she tried to get the reason from the landlord but he just looked at us with disgust. "I had just two days to arrange for my furniture to be moved and find a new place," says Princess. I had to seriously hustle."
Princess says some day after the forced eviction, she and Ntombi met while packing. "She admitted that she was a prostitute, that she had used our place as a whore house - sleeping with clients in there. She even admitted to using my ensuite bathroom to fuck, while I was away."
All of this under her nose. Although she suspected it, it was tough to hear the truth for the first time.
Princess has since moved on , but is still haunted by the upheaval of having to share her space with Lusanda and Ntombi. All the late nights, endless 'boyfriends' and seemingly constant flow of cash finally fell into place. She says she thought Ntombi was just popular with the boys and perhaps a bit of a skank, but it all made sense now. Princess also remembered how their work colleagues used to gossip about Ntombi, saying Even they knew she had a second line of work.
"Dirty, that's all I felt, dirty and used. I just don't understand how someone can do that, in my house, without telling me, and using my personal space for their sexual deeds? I could have killed her," says Princess.
"I then found out she had known about the eviction for a full month before I'd even known. But she'd kept the eviction notice from me. It turns out the other tenants in the building had complained, and that they thought we were all prostitutes living in my flat. It hurts, because I was completely na´ve to this situation - it was their work, not mine."
And what about the prostitites themselves? Lusanda has since moved on and, according to Princess, is currently leeching off another of Ntombi's friends.
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