It all began back on 22 June 2014. I can never forget. I was only 10 years old when my three brothers and I were taken to a place of safety.

While the car drove away, I watched as my mother waved goodbye. I could actually see the tears in her eyes.

“But why do we have to leave mommy and go to a weird place?” I asked my aunt.

“Because your mom is irresponsible,” she replied.

I could see the pride in her face.

“She’s not!” I yelled.

“She is and I’m not going to argue with a child!” she blasted.

I could see the anger in her face. For a moment I wanted to kick the door open and get hit by the truck behind us, but how was mommy going to feel, I thought to myself.

Silence remained in the car until we reached the place of safety.

The blue gates portrayed all the sadness in that place. The security were expecting us, so they didn’t ask any questions.

They gave us toiletries and pyjamas.

“I’ll be going now, I’ll come and visit you guys on Saturday,” said my aunt.

“We don’t need you,” I yelled. “I wish that I won’t see you again, you are just the devil’s daughter!” I continued with tears in my eyes.

To my surprise all my brothers remained quiet, as if I was alone.

They then took me to the girls’ section, where I fell asleep on my new bed.

When I woke up, there was a girl sitting beside me.

“I’m Phila,” she said smiling.

I just stared, somehow her smile seemed cold and fake.

“Nicole,” I said.

And that was the beginning of four years of being a slave.

“Nicole, I don’t want any mistakes. I want you to make sure Smangele and Chippo are in order. Everything must be fast and simple, am I clear?” Phila ordered.

“Ah my sister from another mother, you know I got this. I always have and always will,” I said with confidence.

“Sma, Chippo, let’s bounce!” I called to the two of them.

Now here we are, walking in the streets of Actonville.

“Awe Nicky!” I hear a familiar voice.

I look around to see who it is.

“Awe Emmanuel!” I shout as I walk towards him to shake his hand.

“Where you going to?” he asks me.

“To Hustle,’skafe’(asking for his cigarette).”

I take two puffs and hand it over to him.

Then we keep walking till we see a girl, about our age. She looks loaded so I signal Chippo and Smangele. They already know what to do.

They walk up to her and ask her for directions to the clinic. As she gives them directions, I walk up to her and pull a knife out. I simply tell her to take out everything she has, she does. Then I give her a pill and water to drink and walk away as she drops to the ground. Chippo and Smangele follow me as I begin to run.

When we get back to the girls section, we go to the room and find Phila sitting on her bed. I throw a pink purse, a wrist watch and a phone on her bed.

She not in a good mood and so she just starts shouting.

“This is all you got! Get out!”

We just walked out, not receiving anything.

I know that tonight we all have to give her our 8pm snack and then massage her, then pack her wardrobe and pretend it’s all right. If you dare challenge her, you’ll be beaten and care workers won’t care.

Why is she such a monster? Can’t she be nice? Maybe I should fight back?

All these thoughts came to mind when I was alone but I would always come back to one conclusion, maybe she has anger. Besides, everyone has their own story to tell.


Tell us: What would you have done if you were Nicole?