I refused to get in the car. I screamed and kicked. The one man punched me hard on my back. I turned around to beg him to let me go. This time he klapped me hard on my face. He pointed to the back seat of the car. I dipped my head and got in. He slid in next to me.

“Drive,” he said to the other one. As the man in the blue overall was driving he made a phone call. I heard him tell the person on the other end that they had got through the first stage. He said they needed two more people to accompany them to the Tyunjwa family.

I was shocked. How did they know my surname? He said they needed to go and tell my family that they must not look for their daughter. “She is going to be with the Zantsi family,” he said.

I had to remember that surname, I told myself. If I got one chance with a phone I would make a call to the police and tell them that I had been kidnapped by people from the Zantsi family.

I was still terrified, but felt some hope when I heard that they were planning to go to my family. I pictured my father swearing at them and alerting the police. I would be back home and safe, and they would be locked up!

But they didn’t go to my family. Instead the car drove in through the gate of a homestead with two rondavels, a big kraal and a house with a pitched roof. The driver stopped outside one of the rondavels.

I feared for my life. My mother and father would never come quick enough now. What would happen to me?

When they opened the car I screamed. They closed my mouth and pulled me into one rondavel. All I kept repeating in my head was: “Zantsi family, Zantsi”. I could still taste the sweat from the hand of the man who had held my mouth closed.

There was a man sitting in the shadows inside the rondavel. They sat me in front of him on a stool. He must have been in his fifties. He was big and fat and his hair was greying. I could not hear all he mumbled. I only paid attention again when they said I would be wife to Dubula. I looked around for this young man, Dubula, whom they spoke of.

“Where is he?” I asked the two men who had kidnapped me.

“Look in front of you,” they answered. “This is your husband.” Then they left.

I tried to run after them, but Dubula pulled me back and locked the door. He sat again where he had been sitting. I stood by the door shaking with fear.

“Come and sit next to me,” he ordered. But I refused. He got up and walked straight to me.

Ungowam ngoku, you are mine now,” he said, pressing his body against my small, slim frame. I felt a knob pushing against my stomach. I cried silently. My left breast was still aching from the punches of the men near the river.

With his left hand he covered my mouth. He pressed my head against the mud wall. With his right hand he unzipped my pants. He put his hand on my private parts. His finger nails scratched me painfully.

“Tata, kubuhlungu, it is painful,” I told him.

“Don’t call me Tata again!” he shouted.

He put his arms around me. “We must work together to build a family,” he said, his breath hot in my ear. I wanted to tell him that I had no experience of building a family. But, I did not say this to him. I asked him when he would let me go home instead. He replied that this homestead would be my home now.

When I finally sat down he pushed me onto my back. He got on top of me and spread my legs open. When he wanted to pull my pants down I locked my legs behind him so that he could not take my clothes off. I held him, and pulled him close to me. He smiled. I winced.

I did not know what to say – I knew I was buying time. What I did not know was how much I needed to delay this man. I was not sure how much time my parents would take to come and rescue me.

Wenzani, what are you doing?” he asked, his beard pricking the side of my cheek. “Khulula maaan, take off your clothes!” he demanded angrily.

“Please tat… sungxama, don’t rush.” I almost called him tata again – he would have hit me this time, I thought to myself.

“You don’t get to tell me what to do!” he shouted again.

He got on his knees and pulled down my pants. I closed my eyes when he did this. I started kicking. Not as hard as I could. The fear that he would kill me overwhelmed me. I prayed that he would stop.

When my naked body was pressed against the dusty floor, I opened my eyes again. He flung my pants to the side. I lay there, still with my shoes on. He stood above me and took off his belt. I could feel my heart beating in my throat.

There was a knock on the door. He stopped and listened.

Nyana sifuna umakoti, we want the bride. The men are back from the Tyunjwa family and they want to talk to you,” a woman shouted from outside.

Dubula got to his feet and told me to get dressed. I slid my pants on. He opened the door and women walked in. They asked him to go to a group of men who were standing by the kraal.

When Dubula had gone the women undressed me, to put me in new bridal clothes.

Nokhanyo means someone that brings or has light. They gave me this new name as bride to Dubula, but nothing that had happened to me that day could be associated with light. It was the darkest day of my life.

I could hear them talking about one horse and two cows that my family had agreed to as lobola. But I was not sure if they had actually been to my family. Something in me told me they had not. My parents love me dearly, I thought, especially Father. They would not allow this to happen to me.

When would my parents come? I kept asking myself.


Tell us what you think: Will Bukiwe’s mother and father come to rescue her?
How did the two men know Bukiwe’s surname?