It was during a time when a woman’s confidence depended upon the number of ‘Likes’ they received on Facebook. When it was normal for men to ask girls out using cyber messengers saying things such as “Looking at your pictures has really got me falling for you. I would like for us to be an item. Where are you based?” During this time, for most women, receiving a message in their inbox on social media was plenty, the men did not even have to ask for mobile numbers – everything could start and unfortunately, end on messenger. Private messaging meant that out of the five thousands friends and strangers-turned-to-cyberfriendships a lady had on their database, at least one person was going an extra mile to communicate to them at a one-on-one level. So, there was no time for these women to critically analyse the insults that men threw at them; the women accepted this as flirting; as being wanted and worthy of someone’s data.
But let us not forget that this was just during a period when our confidence laid on the finger-tips of others. You could find on any day in any given town a woman fallen asleep with her phone in her hand, having waited all day to be texted back. And when the text didn’t ding, it meant that they were unwanted, boring or not attractive enough because the women of this time had come to fathom attractiveness as a thing that was owed to men by the female gender. In their minds the equation went as: I am not attractive therefore, I deserve ill treatment. Men’s popping in and out of one’s life willy-nilly was all a woman’s fault or lack in other areas. The women understood that if a man stayed it meant she was still attractive and when he starts to withdraw and starts using rejection phrases such as ‘LOL’ that leave women deeply wounded, it was the woman’s fault – she’d stopped being exciting.
However, lust was not the only thing that was communicated on social media platforms. Here people revealed to the world their addictions; unintelligence surfaced; conflicts between friends and lovers and relatives were put up on these cyber walls for the world to indulge profusely. It was where men could report the activity of their balls, telling tales on Pages about how women want ‘the d’. It was such presumptuous ideas that indicated how in real-life, men rape because they assume it is what women want. This careless thinking was to a degree exacerbated by the women themselves by responding to the men’s demand for nude and seductive pictures. This period of life allowed mostly the male gender, to not dwell on rejection from women whereas for women rejection on social media could drive them to social anxiety, depression and lowered self-love. And so, when one friend wrote the following letter to her mate, it did not come as a surprise that it was the last she would hear from her.
I received your letter dated 12 February 2017 only yesterday with the rest of the others. My aunt says she finds it funny that we write each other letters whereas we are a city apart. Our mailing box has not been operational for the past 9 months. Also, your serious case of not having a phone or social media accounts is really affecting our communication more than we both thought it would. I think it’s time now that we end this fantasy of living in the Middle Age. You need to keep up with the times, woman! [LOL]
Any who, you ask in this letter whether I had a Valentine’s date, ask me about the ‘nerdy’ guy who’d been pursuing me and whether I finally agreed to go out with him. Well, Chris is dead my friend. It has only been two weeks since we spoke. The last we were chatting he said I was playing hard to get because I did not want to go out with him to a Jazz concert. He had been asking me to go out with him for 2 years, as you will recall. He graduated about a month ago, with his PhD in Business and Finance Administration.
I won’t lie; I was somewhat tempted to go out with him that day when he sent me a picture of himself outside the Wits Great Hall. He was adorned in the red gown and that suede hat. Posing with him in one of his pictures was Professor Muwalimbi, who is exactly Chris’ age, 64. I don’t think I ever told you his age? Chris was old, friend. Remember how I told you how surprised I was when he told me that he had never been married before? He said he had no children and that he was an only child, like me. He said that he hadn’t gotten married or had children because his mamma taught him that he should not impregnate just any woman. Friend, I remember telling you that I could not believe him, and that it was somewhat impressive however. It felt like he still believed it in his head that he was a little boy, mamma’s boy. Adorable, I thought.
You know how I have always believed that my paranoia is my saviour? How I searched the internet upside down trying to find evidence that he was lying to me, but came out with nothing? That’s when you, my friend said he was a Saint. I also remember how you praised me for my stern believe in my struggle when I said I would not let my poverty as a student drive me into the bed of a man who only promises to take care of me physically. Hey! Remember that? Remember that text he sent that read, “I will take care of you; emotionally, financially and physically.” What a WOW! Like he was going to be my personal trainer or something?
Even when he asked me to go to Spain with him and you my friend even said, “Come on, there are a lot of girls he could have asked, but he asked you, instead. These men have money and they are looking for co-eaters.” Huh! So as I was telling you that I only found out today that he’s dead. Guess how I found out? I was stalking his Facebook page and BAM! Thanks to the gods of technology, people can actually send you off on Facebook. Like, when are you going to get to read that? Mental! I also found out that he’ll be buried in Zimbabwe. Chris was Zimbabwean, friend. He told me that he was from Venda; I could not doubt it because he had the complexion and he spoke some Setswana even though his elitism led him to speak English all the time. Some good English, you said.
Well, I thought it would excite you to know that he was married after all. One of the comments on the post that announced his death read: “Rest in peace my brother-in-law.” I scratched by head trying to understand the meaning of brother-in-law. I tried to convince myself that brother-in-law is ambiguous like; linguists need to update their thesauri. How many senses can the noun brother-in-law have by the way? Friend, this man had been lying to me for two years. Chris was married with kids. I am heartbroken friend. He lied to me. He has a daughter 15 years older than me. She is a Doctor. I feel so stupid for believing that an old man such as he did not have a solid history.
You know what; this is the one time where I feel I should celebrate freedom fighters of our day more than I usually do. I mean, if it hadn’t been for those who spoke up against Zimbabwe’s oppression on free of speech, there would not be any Facebook in Zimbabwe, I would not have learnt that Chris was somebody’s brother-in-law and a liar. They say he died in an accident, all right. That is tragic because he seemed to do everything so right. He exercised, ate healthy, and drank good wine, travelled for leisure and dies in an accident at some street in Tembisa. Life, though.
But you know what really breaks my heart about Chris’ death? I hear that he was with a 24 year old woman in the car, guess he had a thing for us 24 year olds. A report by the university newsletter under the headline: “UNIVERSITY LOSES ESTEEMED RESEARCHER”, mentioned that the two were intoxicated and a packet of cocaine was found in the girl’s bra. Chris had been drinking and driving, friend. And here I was thinking he was more responsible than my own father. Truly speaking, I think he deserves it! But mostly, I cannot help but think it could have been me in that car with him. I would be the girl who his wife would remember as her husband’s concubine – a blesse. So, that is the update on my lust life. I will answer your other questions in a different letter. For proper filing – LOL
So it went. Two days after Ntswaki had sent this letter to her friend she received a message from Chomi’s mother who was asking Ntsaki to stop writing to her daughter. Chomi was apparently in therapy recovering after some woman had burnt her with gasoline following the incident where Chomi was involved in an accident with a married man. Chomi’s mother slandered Ntswaki saying that it was because of her bad influence that her daughter went out with that old man in the first place. “It is because you rejected him that he saw my daughter as the next stop. You should have kept him for yourself instead of passing him on to my daughter.” The poor Ntswaki had no idea that when she used to tag pictures of herself with her friend on Facebook, before Chomi deactivated her account, the man Chris had already started chatting up Chomi. Such is life! Men cheat with their wives friends all the time. Who cares!