An extract from Angela Makholwa’s new book
Words: Angela Makholwa | Illustrations: Eva Faerch
My name is Bontle Tau. The first thing you will notice about me is my honeycomb complexion, my almond-shaped eyes, the mole on the right corner of my mouth and my luscious lips. From a very young age, I knew that I was exceptionally beautiful. I saw it in the way that adults looked at me; the compliments showered upon my mother for my good looks; the way that grown men would stop and gape at me. At school, teachers would give me a free pass on tasks that were expected of other children. From the moment I was born, my parents knew that I was destined to go far, purely because of the way that I looked, hence they named me Bontle – The Beautiful One. It doesn’t hurt that my surname Tau means lion ... I am a beautiful and fierce lioness. Watch out, world!
People don’t understand that when your physical attributes are the most exceptional things about you, the sun orbits around your world, instead of the other way around. If I were given the option to spend a lifetime as Albert Einstein or as Marilyn Monroe, I’d choose Marilyn Monroe every time ... drugs and all. I think that despite some of her bad choices, she still had a much better quality of life than that weird-looking chemist ... or was he a scientist? Oh, whatever. I love girls who know how to make the most of their looks. Marilyn Monroe was the original blessee. And you can quote me on that one.
When I realised that most people were willing to let me get away with just about anything because of my looks, I learnt to manipulate... no, take advantage of ... situations, and, as collateral damage, I suppose, I also learnt to take advantage of people.
I don’t really care how people judge me; it’s mostly the ones who haven’t made anything of their lives anyway. Average people tend to be average at just about everything they do ... and exceptional people tend to excel at least at one or two things in life. The skill that I have honed and perfected, from a fairly young age, is that of charming people to get my own way. Malcolm Gladwell said that if you spend 10 000 hours honing a skill, if you practise incessantly at it, you are more likely to be a champion in that field. I’ve been charming the pants off people since the day I was born.
At school, when I didn’t feel like attending classes, I would get a boy in class to take notes for me and even go as far as to come through to my house to update me on everything that I had missed in class.
When I realised how easy it was to convince people, especially boys, to do what I wanted, I decided that that was how I was going to cruise my way through life. People think that my lack of academic prowess makes me dumb, but they don’t understand that I am smarter than them. I apply the 80/20 principle in the way that I live my life: 20% effort for 80% reward. This philosophy has ensured that I notch up the kind of successes that most people my age only dream about. One day I am going to get someone to write a book about my philosophy on life ... I think there’s a lot of poor souls that would benefit from my simple yet highly effective outlook.
I am currently twenty-four years old; I own two businesses, a fully paid-up penthouse on Grayston Drive in Sandton, right at the heart of Johannesburg’s swanky metropolis; and I drive a luxury German vehicle – a convertible no less. Not bad for a girl from Mamelodi; yep, that’s my hood, baby!
The Blessed Girl is published by PanMacmillan