Nomvelo keeps replaying the rape in her mind as the old woman and her daughter take her back home to Eshowe. She thinks about Sakhile and wonders how he will react when he finds out she was the victim of rape. She is shell-shocked by her ordeal, her eyes swollen from crying for too long.
MaNgubane is doing washing outside when they arrive at Nomvelo’s home. The old woman and her daughter help Nomvelo out of the car. MaNgubane sees this and knows that something is wrong with her daughter. She runs to the gate.
“Mvelo, what is wrong?” MaNgubane is close to tears.
“What happened, my child?”
“What did he do? Tell me!”
“He raped me, Mama.”
“Haybo! No!” MaNgubane wails.
The women decide to take Nomvelo to the police station so she can open a case. She is then taken to Eshowe Hospital where a rape kit is taken so the police can have Ndlovu’s DNA. While Nomvelo receives counselling, the police head to Msinga to arrest Ndlovu.
The police find Ndlovu at his home, grinding tree branches to turn into muthi.
“Ndlovu, you are under arrest,” says Constable Mthembu.
“Why are you arresting me?”
“You are under arrest for the rape of Nomvelo Mkhize. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say now may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot find one the court will find one for you,” says Constable Mthembu after putting handcuffs on Ndlovu.
“Do you know who I am? I will strike you down with lightning! I will bewitch all of you!” Ndlovu screams.
The police drag him to the van.
“What are you doing to my husband? Ndlovu didn’t rape anyone!” says MaCele.
She stands between the police and the van.
“Move out of the way, Mama! Or else you’ll be arrested with your husband for interfering with our work!” says Constable Shezi.
MaCele moves out of the way but is still shouting. “My husband is not guilty! That girl is lying!”
All the initiates are watching Ndlovu getting arrested.
“Officer, I want to also open a case against Ndlovu. He raped me multiple times,” says Nokuthula.
“He also raped me,” says Senzeni.
“Liars all of you! You are lying!” MaCele screams.
The police remove all the initiates from the Ndlovu home. A total of six women open rape cases against Ndlovu.
Later that evening Sakhile visits Nomvelo in hospital.
“Sakhile. I think you have heard about what happened to me,” Nomvelo says softly
“I heard, my love. It’s just…I just… I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it is true.”
“It is true. I was raped…” Nomvelo says these words and weeps.
“I want to kill that dog with my bare hands! He better rot in jail because if he ever gets out I will butcher him and take out his heart while it is still beating!” Sakhile’s anger has made him shake. Tears are falling non-stop down his face.
“Out of so many people in the world why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?”
“Nomvelo, I’m out of words. I am so sorry for what happened to you, my love. I have failed you as your man. I should have protected you. I should protect you…”
“It’s not your fault, Sakhile. How were you supposed to protect me while I was so far away? And how were you going to know that what happened was going to happen?”
“I promise you that from now on I will never let you out of my sight. I’ll protect you all the time,” he says. He holds on to Nomvelo’s hand. They sit and share their pain in silence.
Nomvelo’s life is not the same after her ordeal. She keeps to herself most of the time. It takes a long time before she can deal with her trauma. Through many counselling sessions she comes to understand that although she will never forget it, being the victim of rape does not define her future and who she is.
She starts to piece her life together. She finds a female traditional healer who initiates her to be a sangoma while she stays home with MaNgubane. A year later she becomes a fully fledged sangoma.
Nomvelo is good at what she does. She truly has the calling. People come from far and wide to get help from her. Long queues are at her gate by sunrise. She helps a lot of people and makes a lot of money. She looks after MaNgubane.She has even bought her own house. She has opened her own initiaton school. She makes sure that she treats her initiates with respect and fairness.
Today is Nomvelo’s lobola ceremony. Sakhile has found work and paid her lobola in full. She is dishing food in the kitchen when she catches MaNgubane looking at her and smiling.
“What, Mama?” she asks.
‘My beautiful, Mvelo. I’m so proud of you,” says MaNgubane.
“Thank you, Mama,” says Nomvelo.
Tell us: Nomvelo learns that “Being the victim of rape does not define her future and who she is.” Nomvelo continues her journey to become a songoma. How does she show the kind of person she is in the choices she makes along that journey?