She was not that hard to miss. The dimmed moon and the african star lights did not hide her youth. Looking like every other carefree teenager on a weekday night she nervously glanced around. Every now and again she would tap her sandals on the hard uneven granite ground.Drawn to the scene, I couldn’t help but stare from my car window. Her life played before my eyes like a movie. Appearing from no where the red Renault stopped in the middle of the road. With an abated breath i watched as the man casually stepped out. Glances where exchanged, whispers i couldn’t make out, then they were gone.
The reality is though I may have naively thought it at the time but the truth is i didn’t know her life story then and i don’t know it now and it is most certainly not like the movies.
During my time in South africa and Zimbabwe it became all too apparent that the women and girls standing on the street corners were for sale. Commoditised by their individual harsh realities they stood waiting to be picked by the highest bidders.
Where they victims or products of poor choices? Somehow it doesn’t matter because ultimately girls as young as 14 stood in their corners and their “turfs” somehow believing that it was all that life had for them. Many have been raped , over 80% say at least once in their lifetime; a good number have HIV and other STIs, not to mention the drug addiction that ends up enslaving many as well as the Post traumatic stress disorder that most end up suffering from.
One prostitute said “Everything I face here is better than going hungry or watching my baby sister drop out of school,” .(the economist 7th Jan 2017) No doubt they all have their reasons, but today there’ll be no finger pointing or judgement. Just a profound sadness that this is some little girl’s reality.