Who could do this?

By Drum Digital
17 October 2011

She sits there enjoying her lollipop, looking like a child without a care in the world.

But four-year-old Sihle* isn’t really like most other children – she refuses to leave her home and she spends all day sitting in her sandy yard. That’s because she’s scared of the world, but mostly because she fears men – even her own dad.

“He used to bathe her and help her dress, but she won’t let him do that any more,” her mother tells us sadly in the family’s neat shack in Endlovini settlement near Harare in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

Little Sihle is one of the victims of an alleged serial child rapist whose 16-month reign of terror finally ended when a 26-year-old Khayelitsha man was arrested recently. He faces 22 charges of abduction, 21 of rape and one of murder.

But you’d never think this man was behind bars if you saw how protective Sihle’s big brother is of her.

The 10-year-old boy won’t leave her side and he looks at everyone with suspicion. He doesn’t want his sister to have to relive even a moment of her trauma, which began on 29 August when she was playing with her six-year-old friend less than 150 m from her home.

“As the two played together a man approached them,” her mother says. “He asked Sihle to go and call someone for him – which is normal here for little children. He told her friend to stay behind . . . and then he walked with Sihle straight to the Monwabisi Park bushes.”

Exactly six days after Sihle’s rape, Aviwe Speelman (4) went missing. Her story reads like a carbon copy of Sihle’s, except that she didn’t survive the ordeal.

Read about the rapist's reign of terror in DRUM, 20 October 2010.

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