A survivor’s determination

2013-03-22 00:00

HER body aches, but her spirit is strong: a brutal rape will not drive her from her home, a 91-year-old survivor vowed this week.

The Taylor’s Halt woman has not slept in her one-room home since the attack in February, but she said she loves her little plot with its fertile garden.

“I want to be buried here. I love this plot so much and the neighbours have been so supportive. I don’t feel deserted.

“I harvested a bucket full of potatoes here,” she said, pointing to her small vegetable garden.

Originally from Bulwer, the woman had been living in the house — which she built with her own hands — for just three months when she was attacked.

Her son works in Durban and she lives alone.

Sanele Latha (23), who worked in the neighbourhood, has since been jailed for 15 years after he confessed to the attack on the woman on February 21.

She recalls the night vividly: how she fought with her attacker and how she was overpowered; how he raped her in the dark for about three hours and how she had to stagger to her neighbour’s house for help.

She said Latha tried to get into her house through the door, but when he failed, he climbed through the window.

She fought back, but he overpowered her.

“I wrestled with him. I managed to hold him down and his bush knife fell from his belt. If there was someone with me, maybe we would have done something or maybe he would have killed me if I took the knife,” she said.

“When he left, he took my purse, which had R250 in it.

“He said he was still going to count the money and was coming back for me and that I shouldn’t lock the door.”

Latha told her that if she went to the police he would burn her house.

“I’m still waiting for him to come out of jail to set my house alight.”

The woman said she had passed sleepless nights after the incident.

“I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t speak or swallow … my throat was swollen because he strangled me. I constantly had to urinate. I’ve never had to take pills in my life until now.”

Every evening she goes to a neighbour’s home to sleep.

But every morning around 6 am she walks back to her house.

“This is a terrible ordeal that I can’t even explain.

“I could only catch my sleep after I heard that the perpetrator was in jail,” she said.

But she vowed she would be back in her own home one day.

“I’m still looking for someone who’ll come and stay with me overnight.”

Captain Ntombifuthi Sibisi of the Plessislaer family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit and Fisani Khuboni of the victim support centre visited the woman on Wednesday and presented her with food parcels, a blanket and mattress.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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