A letter to my Victimizer
I heard the knock. I knew that it was uncle Bonga. Tears left my eyes. I started breathing rapidly. I was scared to open the door. My whole face was red. I stayed in my bed hoping he would walk away. At the same time I didn’t want him to be angry. He banged the door so hard. I jumped. I went to check myself on the mirror. I didn’t want him to see I was crying. I went for the door. He came in and close it behind him.
“Please uncle Bonga. Can you stop” My voice was shaky. It was not firm because I was scared. He has been doing this to me for six years now! But I always get scared.
“Shut up! I own you. You follow my rules and you live by them. Don’t tell me what to do. I don’t want to hear from you. You and this are mine!” he said touching my breast over my night dress. My heart was thumping. My breathing rate had increased in an instant.
“I love you Naledi. I want what’s best for you,” he continued.
“How can you hurt someone you love?” I tried to sound confident.
“Shut up!” He hit the table with his fist and pushed me over to my bed. I couldn’t help but let tears out. I no longer fought now. I let him hurt me and do all his things on me without any fight. It had been a long time already; six years living with a secret.
I sometimes wished my parents were still alive. I wish it was uncle Bonga who died instead of them. My parents were involved in a car crash when I was only five years old. They didn’t even make it to the hospital. I then came to Eastern Cape to live with my paternal grandma.
I was happy until uncle Bonga lost his job and had to live with us. I was 10 years then but my nightmare started when I was 11 years. He started raping me. I still remember every detail. It was on a Saturday afternoon and I was wearing my white floral dress with pink sandals that had a gold ribbon. My grandma was at the mall buying groceries, she worked as a housekeeper for the Williams family. She went there on Mondays and only came back on Thursdays evening but this Saturday she was not present. I was playing skipping rope and uncle Bonga called me.
“Naledi mtshana! Come here my niece,” he called out standing on the door way with his hands on his waist. I gave my friend Palesa the skipping rope and ran to the house.
“Uncle I am here,” I said with a smile. I was wearing a new dress that my Grandma had gotten from the Williams. But to me it was new.
“Can you make me a cup of tea? You can go and play after.”
I headed for the kettle and placed the metal kettle onto the two-burner stove. Since I was short I asked uncle Bonga to get the cup on the top cupboard but he refused.
“Take this crate and climb on it,” he suggested and I did as I was told. But I was still short. So I tiptoed and my dress went up. I pulled it down with one hand. Uncle Bonga was looking all along.
“Yeses!” he said, licking his lips and my smile faded from that moment. I was not thinking any bad of him. I was scared that he might be losing his patience. I didn’t want him to scold me. I climbed down the crate and I prepared to make tea. He stood up.
“Naledi, you look good in this dress,” he said that hugging me from my back. I was scared. I wanted to escape from that hug and run. But I could not.
“Ngiyabonga Malume. Thanks uncle,” my voice was breaking. He came and started touching me inappropriately.
“Malume ngiyakucela. Uncle please,” tears rolled down my cheeks he did not stop touching me. He was feeling every inch of me, telling me that I am beautiful, sexy and that he was going to ‘welcome to me to adulthood’. I knew I had to fight.
“Let me do this Naledi. I won’t take long” he said, sounding like the pervert he was. I screamed so loud but he blocked me with his huge hands. I turned to kick him. I kicked him on his left leg twice and his face changed. I screamed again. This time I was shut down by a hit slap.
“Shut up! Stop screaming! I asked you nicely now you I have to do things differently, Naledi. It’s your fault!” He held me by my left hand and went to lock the main door. He pushed me to his room. I was kicking and screaming, sounding like a laughing hyena. Difference was I was crying. He played his radio so loudly that no one could hear me.
When he was done I felt dirty. He had just snatched my innocence away from me. I was no longer pure any more. I was an embarrassment to the Ncube family. He had demolished my childhood happiness. My joy was taken away that Saturday. The inner me died that day. My soul was shattered. My whole body was numb. My abdominal part was sore. He even beat me up for bleeding on his bed. Like I had begged him to force himself on me.
I am an eleven-year-old who has just been raped, I thought to myself. I didn’t know what to do next. I just laid there naked and covered in blood and tears.
“Go and bath. Don’t you dare tell anyone about this! I will kill you and your old grandma, hear me?” his voice sounded heartless. He didn’t even know how to name what he had done. I couldn’t answer. I stared at him with hopelessness in my eyes.
Till today I have never told I am living with the huge secret and nightmare. No one notices anything. It seems like I live in a world where everyone is blind, deaf, and mute. I fail to accept this type of living. This life. Every time when he is on top of me I get flashbacks of that horrific Saturday. Cause I was innocent. I was not ready. I was a child and I am still one even today.
“Don’t tell anyone or I will kill you and your old Grandma!” he said this every time when he was done having his devious ways. I had never answered since day one. I got up and prepared to go to school.
How did I act and cope at school? I was doing absolutely great. No one noticed or saw anything. It was Thursday and Grandma was coming home; my smile met my face. I lived three different lives. One, I was the innocent grandchild when granny was around. Two, I was the bubbly, wild and happiest girl at school. Three, I was on tears all the time when uncle Bonga was around. Remember I was only 17 years old.
I got home and did my house chores and left the upper door open for fresh air. I had to cook early because of the two-burner stove we use. I prepared my granny’s favourite: stiff pap, chicken stew with spinach and fried butternut. I loved keeping myself busy when uncle Bonga was not around.
Actually I had gotten used to it. I checked the alarm clock it was almost 6pm. Grandma would be here any time from then. I decided to start dishing up. After I was done I placed the plates on top of the kitchen table. I went to our drawer where we kept our cutlery. I took out Grandma’s spoon. Too out mine and uncle Bonga’s placed them on the table. I heard a soft knock. I knew it my Grandma. I went to open up.
“Mntwana wam sawubona, evening my child,” she said with a smile. I helped her with the plastics and bag she was carrying. I greeted back with a smile. I placed the bags down and filled the kettle with water to make Grandma her favourite cup of rooibos tea.
“Thank you Naledi. Bring me my brown bag I have something for you my angel,” she said pointing at the bag. She searched the bag and handed me a R100 note and chocolate bar.
“Thank you Gogo” I gave her a hug with a smile, how blessed I was to have my gogo.
We ate and I washed the dishes with Grandma telling me about her week at the Williams’ house. She was so happy to work for them.
“My week was great too. At school I was doing absolutely exceptionally,” I said to granny and we both went to bed. Uncle Bonga was still out with his friends drinking – the usual. Doing exactly what made him lose his job.
I ate half of the chocolate and left the other half for gogo. I headed to my drawer and took out her capsules. I poured the whole container down the throat. I went to bed, prayed and slept forever. I left the cruel world, uncle Bonga and his dirty work. I left my sweet Grandma with the Williams family. I had to apologise to the Lord for my decision and hoped to go to heaven. I hoped to never see tomorrow or uncle Bonga again. I was happy I was going to reunite with my parents. Please pray the Lord eventually forgives me. May I Rest in Peace.
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