Welcome to Our Hillbrow

by

Phaswane Mpe

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Bohlale Character Analysis

Bohlale is Sammy’s girlfriend and Refentše and Lerato’s friend. She cheats on Sammy with Refentše once, during a low moment when Refentše is comforting her about Sammy’s habit of going out drinking. Bohlale nearly leaves Sammy—she has her bags packed—but the night she is going to leave him, Sammy gets stabbed and is rushed to the hospital. Refentše tells Bohlale that the first thing Sammy asked for when he woke up was Bohlale, so she decides that she still loves Sammy, and that she’ll stay with him and tell him about cheating on him with Refentše. However, on her way to the hospital to see Sammy, she is hit by a speeding carjacker and dies.

Bohlale Quotes in Welcome to Our Hillbrow

The Welcome to Our Hillbrow quotes below are all either spoken by Bohlale or refer to Bohlale. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
).
Chapter 2  Quotes

You gave her a hug, an embrace. The spiritual support had to be backed up by a physical one. You knew well enough that physical touch could work wonders. You yourself always felt better when a friend gave you a hug, a pat on the shoulder—something like that—when you were sad, hurt or even when you had achieved. So you did what you liked friend and close, caring relatives to do for you.

Bohlale returned your sympathy with a hug, an embrace of her own.

The boy in your trousers decided to express his sympathies too. You felt your heart begin to beat quite fast.

Related Characters: Refentše , Bohlale, Sammy, Lerato
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

That day, when Lerato brought you food—she was an outstanding cook—you told her you were not hungry. She knew immediately that things were not right. She was used to you swallowing once or twice more, even when you were already full, just to satisfy her […]. When you again refused her food and—the second indication—showed no sign of enjoying the games you often played together, she began to drift into depression. More so because when she asked what was wrong, you said:

Nothing.

Nothing could not be a satisfactory answer when love was crumbling before her eyes.

Related Characters: Refentše , Lerato , Sammy, Bohlale
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

As it happened, you were spared the need for decision. Because the very next day Bohlale, on her way to visit Sammy at the hospital, was knocked over by a speeding car that jumped the red robot. It was driven by fleeing hijackers fleeing a pursuing convoy of Johannesburg Murder and Robber Squad cars[…]. Bohlale was run over because, although she had made way for the speeding cars, the hijackers had lost control of their newly appropriated vehicle. They ran into her right where she stood on the pavement. After her death, any confession seemed a needless complication.

Related Characters: Refentše , Bohlale, Sammy
Related Symbols: Hit-and-Runs
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Welcome to Our Hillbrow LitChart as a printable PDF.
Welcome to Our Hillbrow PDF

Bohlale Character Timeline in Welcome to Our Hillbrow

The timeline below shows where the character Bohlale appears in Welcome to Our Hillbrow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
...“rethink his self-righteousness.” This is because Refentše eventually had sex with his friend Sammy’s lover, Bohlale. (full context)
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
On that night, Bohlale called Refentše and asked him to come over. She was distraught because Sammy had brought... (full context)
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
Refentše sat next to Bohlale, wondering what could have made his friend Sammy go to that part of town, which... (full context)
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
Prejudice and Ignorance  Theme Icon
...betrayal in his life—even relief over the guilt he still felt about his affair with Bohlale. He ended up dying by suicide after jumping from his 20-story balcony. The narrator says,... (full context)
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
...for cheating were very similar to the reasons Refentše felt when he had sex with Bohlale. In fact, he would have forgiven her and kissed her, simply saying, “such is the... (full context)
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
...appetite for food, love, and even life. Sammy and Lerato did “exactly” what Refentše and Bohlale did—bonded through sadness and sympathy. But when Refentše found Sammy and Lerato together, his imagination... (full context)
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
The difference between Refentše and Bohlale’s affair and Sammy and Lerato’s was that Sammy never found out Bohlale cheated on him.... (full context)
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
Sammy asking for Bohlale should have saved Sammy and Bohlale’s relationship. When Refentše came home from the hospital, he... (full context)
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
Late that night, Bohlale called Refentše in tears, telling him that they had to confess and apologize to Sammy.... (full context)
Prejudice and Ignorance  Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
...mother’s death and Lerato’s suicide. He might have told Sammy the truth about him and Bohlale. Sammy, meanwhile, deranged from sorrow, also began telling people in Tiragalong how terrible Lerato was.... (full context)
Chapter 3
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
...not her fault. Refentše regrets that he did not tell Sammy that he slept with Bohlale, because then Sammy might not have felt so racked with guilt. (full context)