I am a fourteen-year-old girl who lives in a rural village in Limpopo. Many can tell my life but I myself cannot. I know that’s complicated so here I will start. I never knew my father, some say he died in a car accident and some say he was very ill before he died. All I know is that my father was a military soldier. When people tell great stories of him I feel proud and say, “He is my father, he’s just like me.”
After he died I lived with my mother, stepbrother and my little brother. My stepfather took very good care of us as if we were his own children. My life was good. I sometimes forgot that my father was dead. I always felt safe when I was with him until one day I was bathing and did not lock my room door. He came in and locked the door. I suddenly stopped bathing and looked straight to his eyes.
“Why are you staring at me?” he asked.
“Dad… dad I’m bathing.” I replied. He then smiled and left my room.
That day I did not finish bathing, I had so many questions. I wanted to tell my mom but I didn’t because I knew she would not believe me and would send me to go and live with my grandmother. I did not want to go because I would miss my mom and my brother and also the amazing life of my home village. Since that day he did not speak to me. I never felt free and safe around him from that day on.
Every time I was alone I would think of my father. Two months later he came to me when I was sitting in the lounge. My mother was away for the week and had taken my brother with her.
“My house, my rules. Even your mother knows that.” He said to me.
And I said to him, “Father, what do you mean?”
He came to sit near me. My body started shaking and of course I was scared.
“You have to choose, make me happy or go.”
Tears started flowing down my face. He went to his room. He was preparing himself to sleep with me. I thought of my granny’s place but I also thought of the poor conditions they were in. “What if I get pregnant? I’m scared.” I said to myself. Without warning I ran to my room, packed all my bags and left the house.
It was dark and raining. I did not know where I was going and I only had R600 in my pocket which I had been saving the whole year. I looked back at the life I was living; how was I going to live? I went through the dark forest and I found myself in my hometown. I then slept under a bridge with prostitute women. They were very kind to me and I felt safe around them.
The following day I ran into my uncle at the mall, he asked me where I was going. I said I was doing a school project. From there on I knew people would be asking me what I would be doing in town. I then took a taxi to the big city of Polokwane. I once heard that my grandmother and grandfather lived in the village next to the city. When I arrived, some guys asked if they could carry my bags, but I said no because I didn’t know them.
I didn’t know where to go as I was new to the city. I slept in the park for four days. Some men tried to rape me and the police caught them and that was when I slept at the police station for one night.
“So girl, where are you going?” asked the police man.
“Oh, me? I am going to my granny’s house. Do not worry, I will be there soon.” I said to the man.
I did not have any money left and did not know what to do. I already missed home but I did not want to go back there. I stood in the middle of the road, thought of my life and wanted to cry. A car nearly knocked me. I wanted to die but did not want to leave the world. I then went to the other side of the road.
“Girl, where are you going?” a strange lady in a nurse’s uniform asked me. I just felt free to spill everything to her.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“So where are you sleeping, eating and bathing?” she asked.
“Nowhere.” I started to cry. “I ran away from home because my stepfather wanted to sleep with me. He said I should sleep with him or leave the house.” I said. I even added some painful words. I could see that the woman took pity on me.
“Let’s go to my place,” she said to me.
Her house was big like a hotel, like the ones in heaven; I even thought I was dead. We got into the house and she showed me all over. She told me that she had no children and would like to take me as her own. I could not say no. I never went back to my home or saw my family again. I couldn’t ruin things for my mother and brother and I had found a good life for myself so I was happy.
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