Lesotho: Growing up without a father…

Date: September 9, 2014
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Being raised by a single parent has never been a walk in the park. I was raised by my mother who was not married, the reason being that my grandmother did not like her. My so-called daddy was like a wheel-barrow. His mother would say “jump” and my father would say “how high”. Her decision was final and no one could say anything.

I grew up without my father and life was full of pain. We had nothing because my mother was not educated. She was a domestic worker. At the age of two, I was left at home by my mother at my granny’s place. My grandmother was a drunkard, she would come home late with nothing on her, and she would drink all the money my mother used to send her so that she would take care of me. We lived with my uncle, my mother’s younger brother, who always beat me up mercilessly.

I would wake up every day crying and missing my mother but there was no shoulder I could cry on. There were more ups and downs in my life, as time passed my mother fell sick and in no time she looked so thin and helpless. In the year 2004 my mother passed on, and that was the beginning of my troubles. I had lost the pillar of my strength, the only thing that I had on this planet. After the burial the family was separated, some sympathised while others did not care about me at all.

My aunt took care of me, at that time she lived in Maseru. I did my form five and then we relocated to Berea, where I am now living with her. During the winter holidays on the eleventh of August 2011, I boarded a taxi as always, this taxi was white with a red ribbon. It was only two weeks since we had moved to this place. It was five o’clock in the afternoon and since it was winter, it was becoming dark and the taxi left at around 5.30 in the afternoon.

When we arrived at Khubetsoana, we stopped at the filling station, where the queues were very long. After this we hit the road. When we arrived at a bus stop a passenger got out and the driver got out too. The driver’s helper drove us. I had told him where I was supposed to get off but he passed by with me and told me that when he returned he would stop there. I trusted him because I knew him. When he returned he stopped in the middle of nowhere, it was dark and I did not know where we were, I was scared and asked him why we were stopping.

The man had told me that he wanted to talk to me. He opened his mouth telling me how much he had loved me and still loves me and how beautiful I was and how he could help me with my education and I would not pay for my bus fare. I turned him down, he became so angry that he jumped from the driver’s chair to where I was sitting and sat by me. He told me that I would not go anywhere until I agreed to his proposal. I was scared and agreed for the sake of going home. By that time he wanted to kiss me and when I looked the other way, he changed and said that I was not going anywhere. That is when he started to unzip his trousers and raped me. I screamed but there was no one who could hear me.

After he was satisfied, he drove back and I got out crying, my aunt was not around because she is self employed. She was in Botswana where she sells Lishoeshoe. Her boyfriend was at home and I could not open up to him. The next day I went to school and told my friend, she advised me to tell my class teacher who took me to the principal. The principal then took me to the clinic, then to the police to open the case.
We opened the case, when we went to court the judge said that he was the bread winner so he would not be arrested. I became so miserable that I could not concentrate at school and I did not even write my exams that year. I went through a lot of shame and criticism from the villagers. There was a time when I had lost hope and could not take it anymore, I wanted to commit suicide, and life was too hard for me.
In as much as I was hopeless, I managed to put everything to God. Life goes on regardless of what happens.

This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the Gender Links encouraging the view that speaking out can set you free.

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