I was not sure what she was saying to me right now. They arrested the wrong person? How is that even possible? Was this some kind of joke because it most certainly was not funny at all? Did this mean my daughter’s rapist was still out there enjoying his life whist we were here trying to fix the damage he had done. I felt my knees buckle from under me as this was overwhelming. Dear Lord why must it be the women that suffer i prayed as I clutched on to that phone tightly on my ear.
“There is going to be an inquiry on how this happened and I am scared there are going to be consequences. A man died because of the mistake that was made, a good man by the sounds of it so we owe him that much!”
She said but I was not listening. All I had heard was that my daughter’s rapist was somewhere out there laughing his head off at the mistake that had been made. It’s not that I was not sorry for the man who had died but he was his brother according to what she said and as far as I was concerned as his brother he was partly to blame. They had raised a rapist at home so he was the man that he was today because of them.
“But how will my daughter be involved in all this because I don’t want her exposed to all these people again. She is a minor!”
I said to her.
“Ma’am there really is nothing I can do. All they want are answers and since it was her who pointed him out then definitely they will call her.”
She had been through so much. This would break her I am sure. She had started doing well again and this reminder that this had happened and this guy was still there would not go down well. Imagine walking down the street and bumping into your rapist? That would be quite something. When I hung up the phone I found myself lost for words. I had no expression and even anger would not come out of me. I was numb to the world. I had to tell Sizwe what had just happened. I had not told him about my call to Lesedi and what had happened after that. I heard a soft knock on the door and I said come in. It was Lintle. She was wearing her winter pyjamas in this sweltering heat and I knew why. She was trying to cover up as much of her body as possible.
“Mommy what’s wrong?”
She asked me when she walked in. I looked at her and dumbly replied that nothing was wrong. I asked her why she was asking and she said it was because she could see I had been crying. I am not lying, I had not even felt the tears come down and now that she mentioned it, my face was wet and I needed to wipe.
“Mum I don’t know why you always insist on lying to me when you know I will find out!”
She said and came to hug me. How could I tell her this?
“You are too young for some things. I don’t know why all young girls are in a rush to grow up but I promise you this, when you are older you will wish you were young again and had no worries.”
I don’t know where the lecture came from but it did. You know what’s painful about this situation, my daughter put herself in a position of harm and when the harm came I could not tell her it was her fault for being there in the first place. There is neither stronger warning nor deterrent than showing these kids the consequences to their actions but oh well.
“Are you crying because of me?”
She asked. I wanted to scream and tell her yes I was and she should never have done all this but I smiled and I told her that I was not crying because of her. I told her I had problems of my own as an individual and sometimes a good cry cleanses me. I am not sure which part I was lying about because most women when we’re are stressed or overwhelmed, a good cry lessens the burden. You feel a weight get lifted off your shoulders so to speak. I needed to change topics immediately because she too was getting emotional.
“Zethu says she has somewhere she wants to take us tomorrow night. She said that we must dress for gym but wear high heels!”
I told her, relaying Zethus message. She too found it a bit weird but who cares.
“She is weird that one mom but ok cool, I am game!”
She said. At this moment all I wanted was to see my baby smiling because that’s all I could offer her. Her father came down to say that it was time for bed. He said he wanted to show me some properties online.
“Are we moving?”
She asked him and he told her he was thinking of it.
“That would be awesome but it must not be too far from school! I hate traffic in the mornings!”
She said and bounced off to her room.
“Sizwe we need to talk!”
I said to him as soon as Lintle left. He sat down next to me and asked me what wrong. Eish, I opened up. I told him everything that had happened and how I had called Lesedi when it happened, what had happened to the guy and how now he was dead and was the wrong guy. When I was done he stood up and said,
“You really are a stupid woman you know that!”
He said. He was not shouting but very calm… too calm!
“I was emotional when I called her it was not my fault!”
I told him.
“Let me tell you why… 1. When she was raped you did not call me, your husband and her father 2. You called Lesedi because deep down you hoped for a reaction and people like those always over react 3. People like those keep score and now we owe them a favour! You already know for a fact they are not the kind of people you owe a favour 4. You kept it a secret that the rapist had been assaulted in jail and now guess what; it’s even the wrong guy 5. You don’t want us to all sit around the table and discuss with our daughter what happened to her!”
He had laid it out so clearly to me and funny enough I had never felt so stupid. I did not even feel like I had a foot to stand on and fight back. Not in this moment. He had very strong points as to my sins and he was right. At least he had not mentioned that it was my pride that often got in the way of my better judgement because he loved saying that.
“I am switching of the lights! Is there something you still wanted?”
He asked me. Who can say yes under those circumstances? I said no. I still had not asked him about my father’s request for Sibongile to sleep over a day or two whilst she found a place to say. How it was that I was even entertaining this beats me really. I just simply could not stop nor save myself from the bad decisions I had been making lately. In the dark I cried myself silently to sleep.
Zethu was in a good mood. I know this because she was talking to all the nurses nicely. I think she had learned her lesson. Some were still unhappy that their colleague had been suspended but there was no tension so to speak. She asked me if I was ready for tonight’s gym session and whether I had invited my daughter or not. I agreed.
“I am in trouble and I need your help!”
That was my brother for you. Every few months he goes quiet and when he reappears he is in trouble for some reason.
“Remember I asked you for money to register and you refused saying I would spend it.”
Yes I remembered but that was a very long time ago. I had even forgotten about it to be honest and him bring it up now was the first I had heard about his education since then.
“Yes what about it?”
“I ended up borrowing it from these matshonisa and now they want their money and I don’t have it.”
I still didn’t believe him.
“So what am I supposed to do? I have not heard you say you are in school again since that time. You have never once come to ask for help with your books or anything like that so it’s hard to believe you right now!”
I told him.
“Nothabo listen, they have me and are saying I can’t leave until someone brings them their money!”
I could hear the fear in his voice! He was not kidding. I could hear someone in the background ask him to give him the phone.
“Sister, we just want our money. Your brother borrowed r7000 and now he owes r15000 because he has been dodging payments. If you don’t bring payment we are going to beat him up and still want our money back!”
He said to me threateningly.
“Are you threatening me? Who the fuck do you think you are?”
I said angrily.
“Eh sfebe just give us our money!”
He said to me getting angry too.
“It’s coming. I am sending Mthobisi Jumbe to bring it. If you don’t know him call anyone you know from East Rand from police to criminal. They will tell you who he is. I want you to tell him that you called his sister in law sfebe! We are on our way! Touch my brother and I swear he will put you into the ground today, not tomorrow!”
I said to him confidently. The guy was confused for a second then he hung up saying I was crazy. He wanted the money today.
Obviously I was not going to call Mthobisi I just wanted to scare off the guy. Bad people need to know that you have bad people in your corner too. It’s how this world works otherwise you will be swallowed too. You must make friends with cops and criminals alike just to survive.
Ten minutes later I got a phone call from a private number. I was sure it was the guy who had my brother.
“Ausi Nothabo, you keep using my name and now you are making me enemies. We need to meet and talk. Do not bring your husband and he must not know of this! Even Lesedi must not know!”
He said. It was Mthobisi. What the fuck? Did he want to kill me? Why must no one not know?
As I hung up I was asking myself what I had done. This was no good at all.
My brother called back!
“I don’t know what you did but the man and his friends made a few phone calls. They came back and said I can go and I don’t have to pay back. They said I should apologize to you for calling you sfebe!”
He explained but I was far away now in my thoughts!
“What exactly did you say anyway?”
He asked me?
I hung up!
Dear Mike and associates
Great work you doing on your blog, indeed you never disappoint
I’ve a sister who just revealed to me that she was raped in 2006, she never told anyone about this, she told me because we happened to meet the moron somewhere in the mall, she got reminded of the whole incident I guess, she got all emotional after seeing him then I asked what’s wrong, then she was kind of compelled to tell me, clearly she never dealt with this well and every time she sees this guy she’s always going to get hurt, it pains me, how do I help her deal with this? Is it possible that justice can still be served after all these years and while she doesn’t have a solid evidence? Now he is walking freely all over, since he got away, who knows what he’s doing to other girls out there