South Africa: I have learnt my lesson

Date: December 5, 2013
  • SHARE:

Limpopo, 6 December: I was arrested on 1 January 2005. I had beaten up and injured my wife so badly that she was hospitalised for six months. I beat her using my hands, sticks and car break. The reason why I beat her was because she was having an affair behind.

Before I was arrested I went to visit her in the hospital. She didn’t want me to get arrested. The court found me guilty and sentenced me to 12 months in prison. I was sent to prison on 1 February 2005.

While I was in there I saw and learnt many disturbing things. The other guys asked me if I’d ever been there before and I said that it was my first time. The other one said, “Today you are my wife…every afternoon you will be my wife. Come with your bed sheet.”

I took my sheet and I found him lying on his bed. He then put my sheet on his bed and he said, “Come inside.” But I said, “No, I’m not getting inside because that is not my bed.” He started beating me, slapping my face. When I tried to fight back he started beating me like he wanted to kill me.

Where they hand out food it is completely overcrowded. The pap at the prison is only a small amount served with soup and cabbage. When it gets dark the wardens switch off the running water in the cell toilets and we had to start using the buckets for relieving ourselves.

While in prison, my wife left with her three children. It was only my new wife who visited me with food. When my mum visited me I started crying, after explaining the way I was suffering in the prison. I was released on 7 May 2006. When I got to the village my life had changed completely. The person who got me arrested was the one who talked to me first. But her relatives would not speak to me. However, everyone else in the village accepted me.

The only problem was I couldn’t get a job, because I have a criminal record. I’ve just accepted it now. I get small jobs to clean yards and to dig pit latrines.

In 2012 I was accused of raping a girl. But I didn’t rape her. It is true that she was 17, but I was dating her. We had sex several times and we were not using any protection. She fell pregnant and her mother told her to go to the police station to get me arrested.

At the police station, the police beat. I stayed there for three days and they did not give me any food. I was called to appear in court and I was told that my case was still being investigated and I should be released. When I got back to the village it wasn’t easy because people disliked me. When people see me they just run away.

I went to the chief to explain things to him and he called a community meeting, where I got to explain my story and people then understood. But my fingerprints have ruined me. I have learnt my lesson.

Not his real name*

Bulani lives in the Limpopo Province. This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the Gender Links News Service as part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender violence, encouraging the view that speaking out can set you free.



Comment on South Africa: I have learnt my lesson

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *