In March 2020 Khaya Dlanga found himself bereaved, alone and facing an indefinite lockdown as a result of COVID-19. Like most of us, he turned to social media to maintain some human connection and his followers came through and kept him going. It’s The Answers For Me (published by Pan Macmillan) is the result of Dlanga’s ongoing Q&A interactions with his followers on Instagram. It’s evidence of the genuine communities that are formed on social media: intensely human, at times strange and shocking, sometimes touching and often really funny. And it’s a record of a nation going through what have been the most bizarre (and longest) years in recent history. This excerpt is published by permission.
Have you ever snooped around a partner’s place/phone? What did you find?
21 July 2020
‘You will find what you’re looking for. That’s all I’m going to say.’
‘His girlfriend’s underwear box behind everything in the closet. He said he was single.’
‘Just texts between him and his wife. He was faithful to us.’
KD: Were you faithful … to them?
‘Vagina pics. Not mine.’
‘Every time I snooped, they were cheating. I have PTSD from any man’s phone now.’
KD: Every single time? How many times did you snoop?
‘I found underwear which wasn’t mine.’
‘Yes, both place and phone and I found nothing. Either he was clean or was good at hiding.’
KD: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Are you looking to be unhappy?
‘I snooped around his phone and I found a convo with a female friend about a potential booty call. Sent all the convos to myself and sent them to him one by one during the week. He had to confess because he thought I was going to kill him.’
KD: I must applaud the well-played mind games here. The psychological warfare was masterful. You should teach The Art of War.
‘I found an empty condom packet in his jacket pocket. I didn’t confront him about it because I knew he was going to lie about it.’
‘A whole sex tape with another woman. All I did was cry and stayed with the bastard.’
‘Facebook inbox. His ex suggested that he gets a loan to lobola her.’
‘Yes. His pic with his three-year-old daughter that I never heard of. We were in our seventh year of dating.’
‘Ngathola amapics we friend yami kwi phone and they have a child together.’ (I found my friend’s pics on his phone.)
‘Yho! A death threat to my man from a rival gang. Sender is dead now.’
‘He was chatting to so many different women some were even sending money to him.’
KD: He was running a lucrative business.
‘A girl asking him that he get married and him telling her that she was his first choice.’
‘A phone sex tape of him with the girl he told me not to worry about.’
‘Counted how many condoms he had left just to see if they’ll still be there on my next visit.’
KD: I’ve heard of this, but I’ve also heard that some people look at the expiry date in case the dude replaces the condoms. I’m not saying use this or not.
‘Found mail in his car. Went to the address out of curiosity. That’s how I found out he was married.’
‘Snooped around his phone and I found my friend’s nudes. Lo bendi lila kuye qha xaku kubi.’ (The very same one I would go cry to when things were bad.)
KD: Even though this is an unlikely scenario, this is a legitimate question nonetheless: What if someone else sent them to him? No? OK.
‘A receipt from Zara and one of the items was a dress. Still don’t know how to confront him. Rha.’
KD: Casually ask, ‘So, where is my new dress from Zara you bought on the (insert date here)?’
‘That he was cheating with his ex. We all go to the same church, we’re in the choir together. He was the keyboardist at the time and apparently was dribbling many sisters in the church. And he wasn’t even gifted D-wise and that added to my humiliation.’
‘I found out that he was sleeping with his cousin and they were sending each other nudes.’
KD: Cousin, cousin or ‘Cousin’?
‘A list of “goals” where he was outlining girls he wanted to smash. I was pregnant at the time.’
KD: A list? Santa Maria!
‘I wasn’t really snooping. I was looking for my dress and PJs that I had left on a previous visit. I found them under the mattress.’
KD: He couldn’t throw them away. I guess he was between a mattress and a hard base.
‘Text messages between him and his side bethukana ngemali ye bill that the baby girl paid. Ndaske ndatyafa ziintloni.’ (They were fighting about a bill some girl had to pay. The level of defeat and embarrassment I felt is inexplicable.)
‘He told his side chick I was a surrogate just after I had given birth.’
‘Three used condoms in the kitchen bin. Yes, I went through the trash.’
KD: Why did you go through the trash? Because men are trash?
‘When snooping, I check messages with the boys – that’s where all the data is. I found convos booking girls to go with on trips. Screenshot everything and confronted him.
KD: Basically, guys’ WhatsApp groups are a scene of unsavoury activity?
‘Telling his friends that I’m the one. He will marry me. Unfortunately, he passed away.’
KD: That was beautiful but I am so sorry.
‘Yes, found messages on his phone, then I went to cuddle him as soon as I was done reading.’
KD: What sort of messages?
‘What didn’t I find? Anklet, watch, condoms, random chats with girls. He denied it all.’
‘Dated for two years and discovered he had a secret burner phone hidden in his closet.’
‘A full cupboard of female stuff. I confronted him and he was like, “It belonged to some hun of three years ago.” I didn’t know about her and we were a couple of months deep.’