Lesotho: My heart bloats with immense pain

Date: September 9, 2014
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My heart bloats with immense pain as I am taken aback to my experience as a child. The manner at which my parents’ death came is deep-rooted in my heart and memories and nothing seems to erase this experience. When I was four, my father ruthlessly shot my mother and himself dead. I could not make head or tail of what was happening, all I remember is a bath of blood running down their bedroom walls and floor and they were there no more. This presented an intense change in my life although I did not see it coming.
For as long as I can remember I was not a happy child. Following this tragedy I went to stay with my uncle and aunt. At this point, life for me was not a bed of roses because I was abused both physically and emotionally. I was called names like “sekhohloana” by my uncle. Uncle also had children of his own who would do things like stealing stuff at home and all of this would be blamed on me, I was beaten for things that I did not do. I grew up to be a very sad, untrusting child who had nobody but myself to rely on.
As I look back now, with an informed perspective on child development I realise that my bed-wetting was all based on the abuse that I experienced; I was crying out for help in my sleep. Many times, the spanking that I got was as if I were an animal; my uncle beat me with a sjambok. I remember one day when uncle threw a hot iron at me and then my ear peeled. It was so heart-breaking. All of this made me ponder on a lot, I asked myself “but why daddy” did you have to die and kill mom? Maybe life would have been different, maybe I would be better.
I was so miserable, I hated home so much that each time school closed I would want to visit my relatives in the rural areas where at least I would get a break from insults and beatings. As I grew up, in about Form C, I began to be a run-away child. I tried all I could to stop the abuse but to no avail. Those were the times when child abuse was not yet taken so seriously. I had tried it all, I had even turned to the police for help but they were my uncle’s friends, they knew about it very well and nobody could rescue me, I was trapped. Each time I got a beating I would I would run away and uncle would go to find me and bring me back home. This continued until I finished high school, in anticipation of future abuse I decided to run away for good, I was gone.
What did this mean for me and my future? I was all out on my own, with nobody to put food on the table, I had to hustle but at least this time my spirit was at peace. I was happy or so I imagined. Suffice to say, this was a strikingly hard time for me. I had to make sure that my future was secured. As the Sotho adage goes “Motho hakebe a lahlehe”. Just one woman who knew my mother gave to save my poor soul, she paid for me to supplement Form E and I worked my head off and got a very good mark and that got me to the National University of Lesotho. There I knew I had to toil hard to ensure that I had a stable future. I graduated last year and now I have a good job and I am content and I thank God for that.
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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