I was only 17 years old, still in high school at the Vaal, when I started dating. It happened that my first boyfriend was a taxi driver. How we met: I was on the front seat and the driver told me not to pay the taxi fare. He asked for my number, and although I didn’t show it, I was happy he asked, so I gave it to him. I had seen girls who were dating taxi drivers getting free rides and sitting in the front seat, and I found it cool.
Later that day, Oupa*, the taxi driver, called and asked to see me, but I couldn’t because my mother wouldn’t allow me to go out after 7pm. Oupa called again the next morning, and asked to fetch me from school. I accepted his offer. He then started driving me to and from school on a regular basis.
He wanted sex in exchange for free rides and money
He asked me out and we started dating. By then he had already started giving me money. I come from a family of five, headed by a single mother, working as a domestic worker. So I took this as an opportunity to take care of myself financially.
It was all good until Oupa asked for sex in exchange for the money and free rides. At first I didn’t want to, but I eventually slept with him. I lost my virginity to him, and that was officially the beginning of our relationship. I could then claim my “throne” – the front seat, and I went with him everywhere. He introduced me to his fellow taxi drivers and, over time, they got to know me well.
I cheated on my boyfriend with other taxi drivers
Because of my good looks, some of his fellow taxi drivers started asking me out. I rejected a few but got tempted by what others were offering. After two years in an on-and-off relationship with Oupa I cheated on him with Slender* and Lucas* – both taxi drivers, but from different taxi ranks. My connection with Oupa was fading away. Slender was my main man now, and I was in love with him. He was doing a lot more for me than Oupa and Lucas. The only time I would meet up with Lucas was when I was bored.
I have left that life behind me
Slender found out about my relationship with Oupa and was fuming because he had spent a lot of money on me. He started beating me and even threatened to kill me. My friends told me to report him, but I refused because I loved him and blamed myself. He ill-treated me and cheated openly.
When I was 21, I met a guy called Mpho* in a party. He was the same age as me. He asked me out, and I surprised myself when I said, “Yes,” because I had never been with a guy my age, especially a broke one. I decided to give him a chance, even though he had no money. I opened up to him about my past. Despite all my past mistakes he was still interested. And although he sometimes brings it up when we fight, we are still together. We are now engaged and have two children together.
As told to Tumelo Mabuza. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Myza_melo
*Names have been changed
Holding image: Grant Koopman
*The headline of this article was edited from “How I ended up dating three taxi drivers at once”.