Updated 29 September 2017

MY STORY: I became a makhwapheni by mistake

A former woman-on-the-side shares her cautionary tale

I was working with a man who I never looked at twice. He was not my type − and he was married. In the three years we worked together, we would talk a little but that was all, until our company closed for two months for renovations. When the company told us about the renovations plans, we decided to plan a staff party as we had never enjoyed off days together and some of the staff had decided to part ways with the company.

I’ve always been good at organising and I'm always up for a good time, so I created a WhatsApp group and offered my help, and asked for at least one more person to help me plan everything.

That's when the trouble started.

This man offered his help and everything seemed so easy with him. He understood me, loved having a good time and, to top it off, he had a car. We could buy the party goods and take them over to the staff members. Since I was learning to drive then, he’d let me drive his car and would guide and teach me more.

Everything went well with the party. Then one the staff member commented that if he (my co-planner) wasn't married, we’d make such a lovely couple.

The co-planner came to me and said, “Did you hear what your colleague said? I hope you consider it”.

I brushed him off but I remembered how charming he had been, how he'd texted me in the middle of the night to ask if I needed help with any of the party preparations, and how he'd invited me for drinks ... I was shocked at all the things that came to mind.

While our workplace was still being renovated, we started to meet We would go for drinks or dinner, but he always came with a friend because he knew I wouldn’t go otherwise.

Time passed, we went back to work and he kept pestering me for a night out or just lunch. This one time I was bored, so I agreed to meet with him.

We went out, had drinks and dinner, and then he pulled up at a hotel and said, “We can't drive because we've had a lot to drink”.

His phone was ringing non-stop and when I asked who it was, he'd said it was his wife. He started telling me stories and showed me messages from his wife. It seemed she was abusive both verbally and physically. When he showed me the bite marks and started crying, I comforted him. And instead of us sleeping in different beds, we slept in the same bed. But we didn’t do anything.

I took him to be a friend − someone who needed help, and someone to talk to. But he was misleading me the whole time.

He would call me in the middle of the night, telling me he’d been chased out of the house and was going to sleep at a hotel, and we'd speak for hours on the phone. I fell for him even though I didn't want to. I knew it was wrong, but feelings are something you can't always control.

We became close friends and even celebrated our birthdays together as we're born in the same month. But things went horribly wrong when his wife called me. I didn't know he was hiding the birthday party from her and spilled the beans. I realised what had happened and he pleaded with me to not answer her calls again. He came to work with marks to tell me to keep him since he had been calling my name in his sleep.

A few months after all this, we got together and had sex. I felt bad but it also felt good to make someone happy.

When I forgot an item of mine in his car, the wife knew it was me. She called all my colleagues asking them about us and started a WhatsApp group with my name. She shared all my chats with her husband and pictures on the group and I became the laughing stock of the company.

The group was active for a week before I found out about it, and the husband found out a day before me. I was so humiliated that everybody knew about my affair with someone else’s husband, I knew I had to get a job elsewhere. My phone was hacked, and via emails, social media and so on, all my contacts received a message about me being a homewrecker.

I've never been so ashamed of myself. I made a mistake I will never repeat in my life, and I advise others not to do the same.


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