Slice of life: Joy comes in the morning

I arrived in Grahamstown for the National Arts Festival to a tiny bachelor pad fitted with a kitchenette, fridge and one bed that I would be sharing with two friends for 10 days.

Even though we didn’t sleep much with all the partying, watching shows and hosting a surprising number of dinner parties, things got a little bit tricky when it was time to sleep. Every night we got into the queen-sized bed; we would gather into one another, with our legs intertwined and our arms around each other to keep warm. It wasn’t cute, though, it was that breathing down your neck and suffocating — because my nose is too close to the smell of smoke trapped in our hair — type of setup.

The girls had to do what we had to do to keep warm, so we fell asleep regardless. But somehow we always woke up in the middle of the night because apparently I sleep like trash. Rumour has it I hog blankets, kick and take up more space than I need to when I’m asleep.

They’d wake up in the middle of the night screaming: “Vuyo! We have no blankets man!”

I would cuss them out and go right back to bed frustrated that they were ganging up on me because I was the youngest. But every morning when we woke up, the blanket wars would be over. We woke up, read Psalm 91 together, made breakfast and drank pink gin and tonics to start our day. All was forgiven when the sun came up.


It was so refreshing being in a different town, sharing a small space with people who love me and I love so much. I don’t think they realised how the smothering and blanket wrestling grew our friendship. — Vuyolwethu Gaju (22), a linguistics graduate from University of Cape Town, as told to Zaza Hlalethwa 

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Zaza Hlalethwa
Zaza Hlalethwa
Zaza Hlalethwa studies Digital Democracy, New Media and Political Activism, and Digital Politics.
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