“Aren’t you hungry from all the driving?” I asked him as I finished the last sip of Coke.

“Not really. Seeing you took away the hunger. Jy lyk mooi nou,” (You look pretty now.) he said. “But you must have been hungry, hey?”

I nodded.

“Don’t worry Rudo. I promise to take good care of you and give you everything you want,” he said, touching my cheek, then leaning over to give me a kiss.

This old man seemed to want something for helping me. I didn’t like the way he was touching and kissing me. I roughly shoved his hand aside.

“Please stop it! I thought you wanted to help me. Usandibate! (Don’t touch me!)”

“Who said you’ll get free things in Mzansi? If you don’t want to have sex with me you can get out of my truck,” he said quickly. He was daring me to say no. He knew he was my only hope now.

The sun was already setting and being in the middle of nowhere, alone, was a frightening thought. If I didn’t agree to what he wanted he would desert me and I would never find my way to Cape Town. Standing by the roadside looking for another lift would be a struggle.

So I submitted to what he wanted and had sex with him on the bed behind his seat in the truck.

While it was happening, while this old man was on top of me, my mind was far away in Harare. I was thinking about my two younger brothers. Mike was the second born in our family. He was fourteen, two years younger than me and very intelligent. He used to help me with setting the table. Kudzi was only six years old and depended on the two of us to bring food every day.

Sam was old enough to be my father. I wished my parents hadn’t died in the car accident when I was eleven. At least they provided us with a better life than this one of begging from people and being abused by whoever wished to abuse us.

“Wow, that was a good one,” Sam said cheerfully as he rolled off me. My eyes were teary. I looked aside so he couldn’t see the pain I was feeling. I allowed myself to cry silently until I fell into a deep sleep.

Sam started driving fast, heading to Joburg. My body felt panel-beated and I slept for hours. I only woke up when we got to Joburg.


Tell us what you think: Would you describe what happened to Rudo as rape? Why or why not?