Zandile and Pamela
The next day Zandile was hanging up the washing when she heard the screams from the bedroom. She wondered how many neighbours knew of this abuse and were choosing to keep quiet. She wondered what she would do if she ever found herself in a similar situation.
I’d want to be saved, she thought. No woman would truly want to live like this.
Before she knew it, she was marching up the stairs to the bedroom, drawn by Pamela’s cries. She stood at the top of the stairs and took a deep breath. Then with all her might she yelled, “Bhuti, stop it now!”
Ndumiso froze, turned and looked at Zandile standing there in the bedroom doorway. Her small body was shaking. He smiled as he walked slowly towards her.
“What will you do, little maid?” he said with his head cocked to one side.
Zandile stepped back, out of the room to the top of the stairs.
Pamela knew her husband well and she feared him. She especially feared the look that she had seen in his eyes before he turned on Zandile. She knew that he was capable of pushing Zandile down the stairs and losing no sleep over it. She couldn’t let that happen.
Ndumiso was shouting at Zandile, daring her to do something. He came close to her and raised his arm. Zandile screwed up her eyes and put up her arms up to shield herself against the blow she anticipated. She heard a loud shout, but she wasn’t sure if it was her own. She just stood there, eyes screwed shut, waiting to be sent flying by his punches.
She heard a heavy thud. Then silence. She stood a long time before she opened her eyes.
Ndumiso lay on the floor with blood gushing out of his head. Pamela was standing over him with a metal ornamental cat still tightly gripped in both hands. She looked strangely calm. Then she bent down and put her fingers on his neck, checking for a pulse.
“He’s still alive. Call the police, while I put the kettle on,” she said, stepping over her husband’s unconscious body as she made her way to the kitchen.
The police came.The paramedics carried Ndumiso on a stretcher into the ambulance. The trauma to the head was extreme; it was highly likely that he would suffer from brain damage.
Throughout the whole ordeal Pamela sat at the kitchen table chain-smoking. She said nothing to either the police or the paramedics. After they attended to Ndumiso they gave her a tranquiliser injection and then took her to the hospital for observation.
Zandile was left to tell the whole story to the police. They assured her that Ndumiso would be no threat to either of them if he made it out of the hospital.
After they left Zandile stayed behind to wait for the boys to come back from school. Then she phoned a taxi to take them all to the hospital.
She was fine. “Nothing a few sessions of therapy won’t fix,” Pamela joked in front of the boys, trying to reassure them that everything was going to be all right. Zandile could see that something had changed in her. She had new strength inside her. She no longer looked frightened and on edge. She was calm as she asked Zandile to stay with the boys while she recovered in hospital.
When Pamela got out, she laid charges against Ndumiso and filed for divorce. He was recovering slowly, with no sign of any brain damage. Pamela had felt disappointed at the news of him making a full recovery in a couple of months. In her mind he had not suffered enough for what he had done to her and her family.
Zandile was more than happy with Pamela’s decision to make her her PA and right-hand woman. And Pamela was behind Zandile every step of the way in helping her to achieve her dreams and open her own small business one day. She was eternally grateful to Zandile for standing up to Ndumiso. It had given her the courage to do what she should have a long time ago: Leave him.
“What doesn’t break you makes you stronger,” Pamela said as they sat together on the patio smoking and enjoying a glass of wine.
The only thing that stayed broken was the ornamental cat that had brought Ndumiso to his knees. Pamela kept it to remind her of that terrible night and how she had sworn to herself never to let that happen to her again.
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Tell us what you think: How do you think things would’ve turned out had Zandile not stood up for Pamela? Do you know anyone in an abusive relationship? How are you handling the situation?