Sold for sex
Xolelwa and Lesedi are kidnapped by a human-trafficking ring.
“There is no hope for them. They get the feeling that they’ve been locked away and they will never go home,” explains Mahlatse Letoka of her schoolgirl character Xolelwa and Lesedi’s (Luyanda Mzazi) situation on Thursday 1 December. They’ve been taken by a gang of human traffickers to Cape Town, where they’re kept in a building that has cameras around every corner watching the girls’ every move.
JUST ONE DRINK
Rewind back to Monday 28 November – young Lesedi can’t believe that she’s been invited to one of the other girls’ house parties, Mahlatse explains, but trouble is waiting for her. “Xolelwa’s ‘friend’ Lebo (Leera Mthethwa) kind of acts like a pimp. She’s the reason that Xolelwa has the fancy clothes and money and she got Xolelwa her ‘boyfriend’.” Lebo spots an opportunity and invites Lesedi to the flat but Xolelwa can already see what’s going
to happen and she tries to talk Lesedi out of going. “Don’t worry, I won’t drink,” Lesedi tells Xolelwa, but that isn’t going to stop Lebo from getting what she wants. On Wednesday 30 November, Xolelwa finds Lesedi on a bed, drugged and unconscious. “She realises how much trouble they’re in,” Mahlatse says. “But this guy drugs her too before she can call out for help.”
While Lucy (Manaka Ranaka) and the rest of the Diale family realise on Thursday 1 December that Lesedi still hasn’t come home from the party, it’s already too late – she and Xolelwa wake up in Cape Town, locked in a room with other girls. “The girls are in trouble and they know it. There is this hectic monologue after one of the girls is raped,” says Mahlatse. “It puts things into perspective. One of the girls says, ‘Don’t forget your name. It’s all that you have now. Remember who you are and where you’re from, but know this: you’re here to stay!’” Even when Xolelwa gets the chance to escape and asks a security guard for help on the street, he tells her that he’s phoning the cops but he actually contacts Zakes (Christopher Kubheka) who runs this whole operation and Xolelwa ends up where she started – locked up and being prostituted.
STAYING HOME While the girls are kept in a house in Cape Town, the scenes were all shot in Joburg, where Generations has its studios. They scouted inner-city locations to look like Cape Town and any backdrops are either painted or printed to make it seem like they’re in the Cape.
Xolelwa (left) and Lesedi realise what’s going on, but it’s already too late.
Zakes keeps Lesedi separate from the others – he’s going to auction her off online.