South Africa: My terrible childhood

South Africa: My terrible childhood

Date: December 10, 2014
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*Trigger warning: Violence*

It started when I was young around grade 1 or 2. My dad started beating us up with shambok. He tied us up with handcuffs. He used to beat us up for little things (e.g. not answering him) we did not answer him because we had nothing to say. At one time he beat us up because he suspected that me and my sister were sleeping with boys. He would beat us up until we said yes we did. My sisters’ face was cut open with a shambok. He took us to the clinic; he told us to lie to the nurse that my sister fell and her face cut open while we were playing in a scrap car. My grandmother would stick up for us, he will slap her on the face and she will fall on the ground. She couldn’t stand up because her leg was imputed, we tried picking her up, and he will kick us on our back sides and tell us to leave her, she will crawl to the veranda and try to pick herself up by holding onto the wall, eventually she will stand up and walk on her crutches, crying.

I also remember the one time he came home drunk he said to me and my sister that we must take off his shoes and clothing and he will lie on his bed and we will take it off. If we didn’t he would beat us up. The one day he came home drunk he beat us up saying that we slept with boys. He told me to go on my knees, I did and he pointed the gun on my head. He told me to pray. I was young and stupid I didn’t know what to pray so I just kept quiet. He pulled the trigger but the gun never went off. He pulled it again and it never went again. He made us not go to school until, the marks on our bodies had disappeared. We ran away and went to the neighbours, we asked for food and a place to sleep. We use to eat from the bins as well. The social workers took us away from him to the Natal Children’s Home.

Finally we had a roof over our head, food, and brothers’ and sisters. We went to good school but, my father still came to fetch us for weekends and holidays. He will still beat us up on those days. We will go back to the home with marks. We will show them but, they will not do anything about it. (I still ask myself why they didn’t) I ran away from the home and stayed with a boyfriend. We started of our relationship very well but, I don’t know what went wrong. He started being abusive to me and he just reminded me of my father and the abusive life I wanted to get away from. I couldn’t leave him because I was pregnant and didn’t have anywhere else to go. I gave birth, went back home, my father chased me away then I went back to my boyfriend. All those years I had been up and down with my kid, until I fell pregnant again, he carried on abusing me until; it got to the point that he stabbed me on my shoulder and my arm couldn’t work. I had to carry the baby and do the washing with a paining arm, he didn’t help me.

He abused me more emotionally and physically. In December 2012 I went back home to my father but, spent Christmas at my sister place. When I went back home my father was not so nice to me and my children. One day he blamed me that I didn’t want to get married and I didn’t have a job. He said ‘I should have killed you and your sister when you were young because you are good for nothing’. He will swear at me using words that I had never heard and that hurt me. He also said I’m only good at sleeping with boys and getting babies. He threatened to kill my boyfriend.

Now I have two wonderful daughters (Amahle- 4years and Minehle-9months) on the 12th of January it was about 7:00 pm I went to the kitchen to dish up food my stepmother shouted that I shall not dish up, because I didn’t buy the food. I apologised and took my children and went to bed, while I was in my room I heard my stepmother telling my father that I shall leave the house, “she is HIV positive she must go” she said look how she looks like she must go. So I stood up and went to their bedroom I asked my father what he has got to say about what my stepmother said to me. He said I started the trouble so I must leave. I said I was sorry although I knew I had done nothing wrong, he didn’t accept my apology. I took my children and went to ask to sleep at the next door neighbour. The next morning I went to my dad and apologised again, he chased me away with a shambok took my kids and clothing and never gave it back. The next day I had no place to sleep I was worried where we were going to go to because our relatives didn’t want us either.

It got dark I took my children went to my father’s former girlfriend. We slept there for the night. She told me that I couldn’t stay with her because she has a court case with my father, he raped her child who is 6 years old, so I had to leave and look for another place to stay; I was walking up and down the street with my two daughters. One on my back and pulling the other by her hand, and it was a very hot day I saw an old lady outside a house I went into her yard I asked for water and told her my story. She felt sorry for me and offered me a place to sleep; I used another ladies phone to call my sister, I told her what happened, she said that she will come the next day so she can talk to my father. I told her I will rather kill myself than going back there. The next day came I started worrying again where we going to sleep. It was a rainy day. I was so happy my sister came and took us to Ester House, where we met good people who gave us a roof over our heads.


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