Six-week-old infant has undergone reconstructive surgery. In front of the same zinc enclosure where her six-week-old great-granddaughter was raped last Tuesday, and next to her pink brick house in Kimberley’s Galeshewe township, a grandmother spoke about the pain of this violent crime and about her “drug child”. The 68-year-old woman says the child’s mother cannot believe her 24-year-old brother has been locked up for the brutal rape of her baby. It was on Tuesday night, when everyone in the house was asleep, that the grandchild she has raised as her own, allegedly took the baby from her bed and went to his room in the zinc shack next to his grandmother’s pink house and raped her. Earlier in the evening, he and the baby’s mother quarrelled violently and he had threatened her with a knife. Last year, in December, he stabbed his girlfriend in the throat, his grandmother said. “He started smoking dagga and went mad.” “[The baby’s uncle] smoked strong stuff. Then he became completely crazy,” a neighbour said. On November 16 he stabbed a policeman, after which the police shot him twice. He was admitted to Kimberley Hospital, but later escaped. Just as he did that night, he ran away when the mother heard her baby crying and came to investigate. On the bed in her brother’s room – next to their grandmother’s “cooking place” – in the zinc shack, she found her bloodied baby. Enraged residents caught him and his grandmother had to stop them from assaulting him. On Thursday he appeared in court on charges of rape and attempted murder. The seriously injured baby is still in Kimberley Hospital, where she has undergone reconstructive surgery. “She is a little better,” the grandmother said, taking another pinch of snuff. The police warned her that the rapist could harm them if he is released, she said. Her brown eyes become sombre, drawn to her cooking place in the zinc shack next to the boy’s room. She will not go into it, “because then everything comes back”. Outside on the gravel road, children are playing. It’s sweltering. When her granddaughter phoned from the hospital earlier, she said: “You must be strong, my child.” When their parents died, she raised their son and daughter on her pension. And with her own “grandmother’s laws”. She sighs, throws her hands in the air. “Now children make their own laws.” Her grandson was such a good boy, she says, and did well at school. After school he went to Bloemfontein to study to be an accountant. “Last year he came back with dreadlocks. He was completely mad. The doctors said he must not smoke any more dagga,” his grandmother said. “Look how he has disappointed me now. Oh, when I think about the things that my child and now his sister have been through, my heart aches. He was thinking like a devil.” She doesn’t know how the baby’s mother will get through her social work studies now. “Oh, the New South Africa. The children have rights, but they are becoming bad. But prayers helped. My daughter is safe. “I said to the Lord they must not kill him ... but there must be laws. The baby was not expected to live, but everyone prayed ... Even the white doctors were crying.” Her grandson will appear in court again on December 12. She and the baby’s mother want him behind bars for a long time, the grandmother says. At the church service for rape victims last Wednesday, she made the same plea to premier Sylvia Lucas. The rape of the six-week-old baby has shaken the country, but even more this Northern Cape town, where nine rapes, including that of an 87-year-old woman, were reported last weekend. The elderly woman, also from Galeshewe, was brutally murdered. It has now been 12 years since the rape of nine-month-old Baby Tshepang – in Louisvale Road, Upington, in 2001 – sent shock waves through the country.