Gogo relives horror of blinded child

2012-04-28 16:02

“She left home whole and well. But she came back unable to see and badly hurt.”

These were the words of a 75-year-old woman trying to come to terms with a brutal attack on her eight-year-old granddaughter in Gingindlovu, KwaZulu-Natal.

For the elderly woman who is the sole breadwinner for six grandchildren, her granddaughter’s rape has brought back horrible memories.

Her own daughter, the little girl’s mother, was also dragged into the bush and raped some years ago. She was also stabbed during that attack. The girl’s mother died in 2009, although not as a result of her injuries.

The vicious attack on the eight-year-old girl, whose left eye was gouged out by her attacker – allegedly a 15-year-old boy close to the family – has left the woman and her neighbours reeling.

The attack happened just 20 metres from the family’s home in a sugarcane field, as the girl was returning from school. Her grandmother found the girl trying to feel her way home.

The rapist had also tried to gouge out the girl’s right eye. Police say he tried to kill her by strangling her after the rape.

It’s alleged that he had earlier attacked another eight-year-old girl in the girls’ toilet at the local school.

KwaZulu-Natal health department spokesperson Chris Maxon said the girl was recovering well.

“The left eye was severely damaged and was removed but the right eye is in good condition. She has received post exposure HIV treatment to prevent her from acquiring the disease. She is continuing to receive psychological counselling,” Maxon said.

For the girl’s grandmother, though, the trauma is far from over.

“My first thought was to run and look for the boy that did this so that I could gouge his eye out too,” she said.
She and the boy’s family are close friends. The boy’s great-aunt travelled with his alleged victim’s grandmother to take the little girl to hospital.

“My heart is so sore. It is sore because I know what this woman has been through. I have seen her bury her girls one after the other. These children were her hope. I just came to finally say I’m so sorry,” the alleged rapist’s great-aunt wept.

On Thursday, the Uthungulu district municipality’s mayor Thembeka Mchunu and provincial education MEC Senzo Mchunu visited the girl’s family. On Friday, the mayor visited the boy’s family.

The mayor described the village as being quiet and the residents decent. “This is one incident committed by an outsider and not the nature of the community.”

The boy moved to the area from Inanda, near Durban, two years ago.

“He was a normal child. He washed dishes, swept and cleaned the floors like everyone here. I have never had a problem with him,” his great-aunt said.

She said the boy’s behaviour started changing after he went on a church trip over Easter. After this, she said, he started receiving visitations from “demonic forces”.

The boy is due to appear in court next month, having made his first appearance this week. He has been released into the custody of his guardian.

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