Thu Oct 27 16:46:18 CAT 2016

'Pinky' in the fast lane of sex

By unknown | Feb 18, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

"Pinky" (not her real name) has been a sex worker for six years in Johannesburg.

She volunteers to take a walk down memory lane with Sowetan, recalling how she turned from being a schoolgirl - to doing the most stigmatised job in the world.

She sits across me in a Hillbrow, Johannesburg, room. All the doors are closed.

You can tell why people would want to pay to have sex with her. She is dressed in a blue velvet tracksuit, her legs folded. She makes me comfortable with her smile and her welcoming eyes. Short hair, light skin and a voluptuous body.

As the interview continues, it she looks as if she is getting a bit tired but still speaks her mind.

She speaks fluent English with a couple of street words there and there.

But it is clear she is a smart woman who knows what she wants and how to get it.

Nothing in her painful past makes her cry though she is able to show through her body language thing that she is yet to be healed.

Pinky lives alone in Hillbrow. She has two younger sisters and two brothers living at her home in Soweto. She once had dreams that ordinary girls have.

"I wanted to be a beauty therapist but for now this is what I need to do to survive," she says.

In 2001 while in Grade 10 her mother passed away and she was left to take care of her siblings, the youngest only a baby.

Her father disappeared and she never saw him again.

"I hear that he is in Limpopo," she says nonchalantly.

Her mother had not been in good terms with her uncles so after her death things turned sour within the family.

Her father's family came, demanding her siblings be split up and placed with relatives.

"I refused and was stubborn enough to convince them that I would be able to take care of my brothers and sisters," she says.

She used the money she got as a beneficiary of her mother's estate to pay off the bond on the house and the rest was used for basic needs in the first eight months after her mother's burial.

But it could not last forever and it all changed at the end of 2002.

"I was worried that we had nothing for Christmas and how I was going to pay for school fees and uniforms for my brothers and sisters."

After a week and a half Pinky asked a domestic worker who worked in her area to stay with her siblings in Soweto while she goes and look for a job in Johannesburg.

"I looked for jobs as a cleaner but I was chased away because of my young age."

It was at this time that Pinky met another sex worker, "Mercy" - who gave her shelter and ushered her into the night business.

"I still remember my very first night when I lost my virginity to a Nigerian man for a lousy R125," she says, in a rare show of emotion.

She worked for a week and half and raised R800, enough for her family to have good Christmas and for her siblings to register at school.

But the money was soon finished so she came back to Hillbrow to do more sex work.

She says she has since added some flesh to the thin girl who first came to Hillbrow. Today she spots beautiful curves and an attention-demanding cleavage.

She started on the streets in Rosebank but stopped after two months because of police abuse.

"My curves were getting better now so I could attract upper class clients. Mercy gave me some of her upper-class clients and I was in."

A short-time is R150 which should be less than an hour while the whole night may costs R600 - to more than R2000 depending on the client's wallet.

On a good weekend she makes R2500.

"It is all about where you go for umcimbi and how you present yourself," she says. "My wardrobe is for all occasions and I know how to attract even a top government official."

But the upper clients are not the same. "The best are west African men. They treat you like a princess and they pay a lot."

"They love our big asses because ladies in their region do not have our shape.

"South African men have an attitude and really want you to work for your money."

Pinky has been able to raise her family. Her brother is at university, the other two at high school and the youngest at primary school. They do not know what she does for a living.

As I am about to thank her for her time, she interjects: "I'm sorry it's late, I gotta go to work."


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