Book cover. Supplied image.
Book cover. Supplied image.

Book extract: White Trash. My year as a high-class call girl - a remarkable memoir told in vivid detail

By Time of article published Sep 26, 2021

Share this article:

By Terry Angelos

Johannesburg - White Trash is a remarkable memoir told in vivid detail, laced with dark humour and savage honesty.

Raised during the Rhodesian bush war and immigrating to South Africa at the age of 11, Terry is shaped by a white culture that is racist, unstable and deeply divided. Her childhood is bizarre as adults around her insist on living their version of normality while the world falls apart.

Hungry for adventure and wildly curious, 19-year old Terry Angelos drops out of her fine art degree in South Africa and escapes to London where she soon descends into the city's seedy underbelly to begin working as a "high class" call girl. By the time she’s 20, she’s embroiled in the underworld of the Chinese mafia, depraved clients and a perilous blackmail scheme.

In a remarkable turn of events, at her lowest point of no return, she finds a seed of hope in a crowded tourist hub. Her journey towards redemption is both magnificent and miraculous as she embarks on a heroic quest to reinvent herself.

About the author

Terry Angelos is a full-time artist known for her quirky art. She lives in Durban and is married to a saint, has three grown-up children and a pug, Juniper, named after her favourite drink. She likes to juggle multiple projects in her loft studio which resembles a messy natural history museum. Her dark humour is not always appreciated.

Extract

This is my playground. There are teachers’ houses next to each boarding residence. We live in one of these and have our own rambling garden. No gates or fences are needed to keep us in or anyone out. Fences are for dogs and petty thieves and would be useless at keeping out terrorists. The threat of terrorists is constant. We rely on the Rhodesian security forces, radio contact, patrols, convoys, landmine detectors and specially trained dogs. Our dogs, Mr Chips and Lassie, would not be very helpful. We have drills to prepare us for terrorist attacks and we know what to do if we are ambushed or invaded in the car, at home or at school. Our little town is a fragile island of safety, but five kilometres outside of any town or city is an open war zone. Everyone knows how to handle a weapon. Moms drop their children off at school with pistols on holsters strapped to their jeans.

Dad has a rifle and keeps extra weapons under his bed. He also has a panga, a Zulu spear, a knobkerrie, a machete and a bush knife. He is prepared for all kinds of attacks. It’s not a good idea to disturb him at night. He also has a few home-made catapults on window ledges around the house. He reckons if you get shot in the head with a marble from one of those, you are lights out.

Mostly he shoots at the monkeys who try to steal our fruit. I have unfettered freedom on the school campus and can roam around the entire property. What a vast and glorious landscape!

There are a few places I can’t go. I am not allowed to go down to the main tar road that passes the school from town and takes you to Karoi and Kariba. It’s busy and dangerous for children to cross. I must not ride on the dust and gravel road that hems the school outskirts, dividing it from the bush like a badly sewn seam.

I must not walk along the footpath leading to the African Location just north of the school. But when no one is watching, I go there anyway.

I follow the path trodden by ‘muntu’ feet to creep close enough to spy on these forbidden places. I take my bike to the pedestrian tunnel that burrows under the main road, reeking of human excrement. If I keep riding through the bush, I will reach Sinoia Primary School on the other side of town.

When I venture past the safety of our neat, trimmed lawns and cautiously creep through the pine trees along a path past the edge of the school property, I find a place so different from ours, it is like another country. Our White town is a land of bright swimming towels drying triumphantly on washing lines, obedient and robust hedges trimmed into upright rows and buoyantly optimistic flower beds.

Beyond our fences, sufficiently out of sight, is the Black settlement, referred to as The Location. Location, Location, Location!

It’s also called a ‘compound’, an accurate name for a compressed human settlement. This is a place of ragged clothing whimpering in the wind, of red earth beaten into submission, of fences made from mismatched poles, feebly trying to remain upright but falling over from their own futility.

I spy on this foreign land of blackened cooking pots on ashen fires, half-naked children with distended bellies and snot crusty noses, of scratching chickens, lazy flies and bored goats, of pungent smells and cramped living.

Africans are usually employed in towns or on farms. Some Africans live in rural villages on lands allocated to them as subsistence farmers. The rest are terrorists, I am told. Servants or savages.

I spy with wide eyes and a pounding heart, looking at a way of living so different from my own.

I race home before I’m captured by menacing black figures which are always lurking on the fringes of my childish imagination, cultivated by bedtime stories, African folklore, adult whispers and news reports.

The terrorists or guerrillas are called gooks or wogs but all the kids just call them Terrs. I am most worried about having my lips and eyelids chopped off by a terr. This is what the guerillas do to the villagers who won’t give information or who are found protecting Rhodesian soldiers. They cut off the lips of the men and make their wives cook them in a pot and eat them. Sometimes ears too.

The Boogeyman, the Tokoloshe and the terrorists all merge into one terrifying monster that I am fleeing from. At night I lie awake in the pine bunk bed I share with my sister. Our curtains and bedspreads are covered with clowns. In the dark, the shadows cast by the moonlight and the smallest breeze transform them into a macabre spectacle of ghouls and witches that taunt me. I lie so still my body goes numb and I strain my ears for every rustle in the night.

At any moment, a black face with white eyes and white teeth may appear at the window.

If I open my mouth to scream, will any sound come out? Will I be paralysed if I try to go to my dad and tell him there is a terroristoutside my window?

This is how I stiffly sink into sleep each night and dream of dark men coming to murder us. In the morning I wake to sunlight shining behind dancing clowns, forgotten nightmares brushed away by sunshine and the smell of toast.

* White trash is published by Melinda Ferguson Books, which is an imprint of NB Publishers and retails at R270

The Saturday Star

Share this article: