I am sitting in the corner of this big strange house holding my friend, Tiddy. I have been trembling and crying the whole day. One lady comes to me and says,“Oh my beautiful little angel. Don’t you cry. It is safer here, I assure you, don’t worry, nobody’s gonna hurt you, OK?” I nod, still holding Tiddy more tightly than ever before. A part of me doesn’t trust these people who claim to be Heath Care and Social Workers.

My step daddy too used to say those words. He used to say nobody’s gonna hurt me, then he himself would hurt me. He would wait till mommy was gone for shopping or drinking at the shebeen.

When mommy was gone, he would do things that would make me uncomfortable, as usual. He would pull down my skirt and my panty and start touching my bhubhu (vagina). At that time I wouldn’t dare try to get him off me or stop him as I knew the consequences. If I tried to fight him, he would get distraught, his mask would change to an evil monster and he would start shouting threats.

“I’ll chase both of you out. You and your mother will be on the streets and become street beggars. You hear me? And I will never buy you goodies again.”

These people have been gone for hours now, it is me and Tiddy in the house now, it is quiet. Tears are streaming down my cheeks and I am shaking a bit and I can see Tiddy is shaking too. I am always like this, ever since mommy was taken away from me. Mommy promised me she’d be back, that I shouldn’t worry. I knew she was lying because I could see in the movies when people kill other people, they get arrested and stay in prison for a long time. This is what is going to happen to mommy. I think.

“She will never come back, Tiddy. Mommy was lying to me. How could she?” I say looking straight at Tiddy, still weeping. I can see empathy written in Tiddy’s eyes. Which is no surprise, Tiddy is always at one direction when speaking to her, depending on how I’m holding her. She’s always quiet, but the genius me can of course read her mind. That is how we communicate.

Nobody understands Tiddy like I do. I share all my problems and challenges I face with her. She never judges me. We’ve been best friends for two years now. People would think I was stupid when I have a conversation with Tiddy. Why? Maybe it’s because of her physical difference or appearances from the ‘people’, that she’s just a “Teddy bear doll” who can’t do normal things that human beings do. Argh! That’s not a big deal, as long as I understand her and I’m always feeling comfortable around her.

I don’t stop trembling, thinking of what happened the day before yesterday. The screaming of mommy shouting at daddy still echoes in my mind. She caught him red-handed, naked, touching my private body parts that day. I still have that picture of how she stabbed him so many times in my mind.

Daddy never said anything again and the blood was all over the room. The police siren too is still ringing and ringing and ringing in my mind. I can still see the policeman who had handcuffed mommy.

“Mommy! Mommy! Please don’t take her away from me.”

I tried to stop the policeman, beating him with Tiddy. Mommy was crying too.

“Mbali move back! Go to Aunt Sarah, my angel. Mommy will be back.” She promised.

“When mommy? When?” Without any answer from mommy they pushed her inside a van, then they took me away.


Tell us: Do you think there is justice for mothers like Mbali’s mother?