They say it takes a community to raise a child, but in my community it took a mother to raise a child. I was raised by a single mother in a small community of Ekangala in Bronkhorstspruit. We lived in a one-room house and life wasn’t tranquil. Whenever I looked at my mother I broke down in tears because she was a hard working woman, a breadwinner and a warrior.

I hated my community, I hated to be left alone in the house and I hated being a teen, because I was petrified and weary to being a victim of it. Whenever my mother goes to work I wish to go with her because she leaves me alone and he comes and pretends to be looking for my mom. He is huge, chubby, a well-known and respected man in my community.

“Where is your mom? Has she already gone? Good. Come on. Don’t be afraid I won’t hurt you. Don’t you want some sweets? Today I have chocolate, come.” he would say.

And I stood there gazing at him with my eyes full of tears, not knowing if I should ran away or scream, then he grabbed my hand so badly that I could cry. His hands were so big and rough as if they were rocks. Then he lifted me up and squeezed me on the bed, lifted my dress up and hurt me, while covering my mouth with his hand so that I did not make any noise. I just lay there like a slaughtered chicken, not moving or making any sounds. I listened to the pain that I can’t run away from, the smell of his armpits and old boots. It lasted a few minutes and I couldn’t cry.

When he was done he said, “You will heal.”

Yes, I would but, the pain didn’t go away and his odour was always there. He would leave and shut the door, not even looking back to see if I was hurt, bleeding or feeling well. I just lay there crying.

“Lord where are you? I pray every day that may you not lead me into temptation and deliver us from evil. Do I deserve this? Single mother, not wealthy and I am still so young. I’m trying to find myself. But why, Lord? For how long?” I was asking myself these questions and blamed God for what I was going through.

I wished to go find help, but was afraid that they would talk badly about me and say that my mother was a bad parent. Then I stood up, got myself together and took a bath. When my mother came back, that deep voice in me wanted to tell her what happened. But I said nothing other than, “Mother Bab’Ngwenya was here looking for you”.

“Oh, I will see him on weekend. How was your day?” she asked.

“My day? My day has been normal, just like everyday.” I answered.

I always wanted to tell her, but all that came to mind was, “Ngwana yoa sa llego o hwela tharing”, these were her words.

The silence was killing me, sometimes I wished I had a father or a brother to fight for me, not like my mother who was not there. I needed a tough hand; we needed a head of the house. Even today I am still living with that and all I wish is to halt this from happening to me and other young girls out there. My voice.