That first night I was nervous. Although I still felt relatively safe, I tried to make myself as invisible as possible. When the guy in the bunk bed above me started to chat about his many girlfriends, I responded with only a yes or no… and pretended to be tired. He finally found somebody else to talk to. Much later, I somehow managed to fall asleep.

I woke up because of the screaming of somebody. It had been only one horrible long scream; then somebody else pressed a towel in the face of the poor guy who, other than that first scream, did not oppose those handling him anymore. Never had I seen anything so brutal: about five or six guys were holding down another boy who lay bent forward over a table with his bare back exposed, not far from me. They had stripped his pants down and pulled his shirt up. Why him, I don’t know. He was not even one of the smallest. Probably my age.

As I woke up, one of the older ones, also naked around the waist, had just stepped back from him and pulled up his pants. He was laughing and shouted: ‘Olandelayo – next!’ Another guy opened his pants and started to rape the poor guy on the table.

Most of the other inmates were watching, although some, like me, pretended to be still asleep.

I had pulled the blanket over my head, but still kept watching through almost closed eyes. What a nightmare! But this was no bad dream. This was happening in front of me … and I had no idea what to do, except pray that they would never get me. Some nights there were more rapes than beatings. Some nights there were more beatings.


I admit that even today, I still cannot talk – or write – about everything that happened during those many nights in the PE prison. Maybe one day I’ll be able to speak about it. But right now, it’s too painful. Even when I just think about it, my heart starts beating too fast. I get anxious and can’t concentrate. The days were more controlled than the nights. Partly it was because the prison warders were around then. But also, daylight hours were when the ama26 ruled. So the ama28 activities did not go on then.

We had to get up and wash ourselves at 6.00 a.m. Breakfast was at 7.00 a.m. Then there was school, in small classes, from 8.00 until 14.00. No easy job for those poor teachers. Most of the other boys refused to learn anything. I kept quiet as much as possible, only speaking when called on by the teacher. I never raised my hand.

In the afternoons we were allowed out into the courtyard, supervised by some of the educators, and the guards, of course. It was there that I met Sivu, who was one of the ama28. Thanks to him I joined a soccer team, and since I was not bad at soccer, became more accepted by the others, including those who were not ama26.

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