‘My daughter is broken’ – Father of Brickz’s rape victim speaks out

2018-04-07 12:09
PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images

PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images

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He was supposed to be the “cool uncle” who took care of her and made her feel welcome in his home.

Instead she lived through a nightmare that continues to haunt her to this day. Sipho Ndlovu – the kwaito star better known as Brickz – will forever be the bogeyman for the young woman he raped in his home when she was 17 years old.

Now 22, the young woman isn’t at peace, her father tells DRUM in his most in-depth interview yet.

Brickz was found guilty of raping his niece at his home in Ruimsig, Mogale City, in November 2013, and was recently sent to jail for 15 years.

It’s the end of a chapter that brought pain and suffering to the woman and her family but the sentence has brought little comfort. Her uncle was supposed to be someone she trusted, a man she’d known all her life – the older relative who should’ve protected her.

Instead he violated their trust, says the young woman’s father, who is a widower. “When they told me what he’d done, I couldn’t believe it. I just listened and my skin crawled. I remember asking, ‘What do you mean he hurt her?’ “And when they told me he raped her, my body went numb. I don’t remember any reaction other than feeling numb and cold,” he says.

Sitting in a cane chair outside his Johannesburg home, he reflects on the painful four years the family has been through. “It took one terrible thing to change our lives,” the 58-year-old father says.

The process has been like climbing a steep mountain for the family, he says. And even though Brickz is now behind bars, the rape survivor is not at peace.

“She’s wounded and feels betrayed. She often asks how her uncle could do this to her. She also stresses she’ll never regain her confidence and self-esteem. “But despite all the pain and struggle, she’s relieved it’s all over,” the father says. The musician was blasted by Randburg magistrate John Baloyi for showing no remorse during the trial. This meant he wasn’t suitable for rehabilitation – sentiments the father agrees with wholeheartedly.

They wanted an apology from Brickz, the father says, and so far he hasn’t shown any intention of giving it to them. “My daughter isn’t in a happy place. Although he was found guilty, my daughter isn’t free nor at peace because he hasn’t shown remorse. “But I hope one day his eyes open and he’ll see the light.”

The rape and conviction have torn the once-close family apart. The victim’s father remembers a young Brickz, a boy he always gave pocket money to for school. “There were a lot of children – boys and girls and I loved them all. But I had a soft spot for this particular boy and I always gave him money. I loved him like my own son. I never thought one day he could cause so much distress in my life.”

It took him a long time to believe Brickz had raped his daughter, he says, because he believed uncles had a duty to protect their nieces and nephews. “I grew up thinking an uncle is someone you could trust even more than your own mother. “They’re the ones who should protect you or who you would run to when you’re in trouble. But he ruined all that. He disgraced everyone who is an uncle.”

His daughter had gone to stay with the singer and his wife, Nqobile Gamede, in 2012 while he (the father) was sick in hospital from 2011. “They said they wanted her to help with household chores and also because she was a smart child. I was sick and they were family, so I agreed not knowing he was going to turn my daughter into his wife.”

He didn’t know it would be the worst mistake of his life. The family is now firmly divided, he says. “They now see me and my two daughters as their bitter enemies. But his family is to blame for shielding, protecting and supporting a criminal. They deserted my daughter who was in so much pain. What they did, in fact, was to throw her into the fires of hell.”

He and his daughters just wanted justice, he says, which led to some family members hating them. “But I tell my kids not to hate their relatives. Even though they ill-treated them, I don’t want them to hate them. My daughter didn’t do anything wrong here – he is to blame.”

‘Bleeding with anger’

That’s how the 22-year-old niece described her feelings, four years after the incident, in a heartfelt statement read out in court by the prosecutor.

“It’s heartbreaking that I’ll never be able to be proud of myself,” she said. “You took away my happiness. Every night I cry and ask myself what did I ever do to you? I took you as my father, but you destroyed my life.”

She was also struggling to cope and often thought about killing herself, she said. Watching his child trying to come to terms with the ordeal was painful, her father says. She was often depressed and tried to commit suicide by overdosing on pills.

“The emotional impact was severe. She was not eating and she was crying all the time – day and night. “I asked her sister to skip school and keep a watch on her because she was an emotional wreck. “She would wake up, use the toilet and go back to bed.” He believes sexual abuse isn’t just about the act of violence itself but also about the shame that follows.

“There was a time she was afraid to go outside or walk in the neighbourhood because she imagined every person on the street was going to point fingers at her and whisper that she was the girl who was raped by Brickz.”

The family decided to take her to The Teddy Bear Clinic for abused children for counselling. But whatever good counselling did would be undone in court.

“She could be better one moment and sink into depression when she watched news about the rape trial on TV.

“It was a very difficult for her. Whenever she heard Brickz’s music she started crying and locked herself for days in her bedroom. “This really broke my heart. I wished their mother was still alive. “But I have to be a mother and father to her.”

The father is a great believer in the power of forgiveness and tried numerous times to unite the two families. When the musician was out on bail he went to Brickz’s house with a pastor to talk to him.

“I know how important one’s maternal family is so I wanted to make peace with them, but he wasn’t willing to make peace,” he says. He also tried to get Brickz to confess and apologise for what he’d done to no avail, he says.

 “We sat down and talked. I told him what he did to my child was disgusting. I told him to ask for forgiveness and I would speak to my daughter to see if she could forgive him. But he insisted he was innocent.”

When all attempts to get an apology from the Sweety My Baby hitmaker failed, the father stepped back and let the law take its course. I remember saying to him ‘I’ll see you in the court then’.” Brickz’s family hadn’t responded to calls for comment at the time of going to print.

Now the father doesn’t see himself forgiving Brickz because when the magistrate was summing up his judgement, the musician had a smile on his face.

This isn’t the end of the world – that’s the lesson he’s trying to get across to his still traumatised daughter. Seeing her struggling to cope, he decided to sit her down and speak to her about rape survivors who’ve also gone through similar ordeals and are successful today.

 “I told her about Oprah Winfrey whose net worth of billions started with pain and eventually ended in triumph.” Oprah was nine years old when she was first abused and has often spoken out against molestation.

During a talk in 2012 at Ball State University in Indiana, America, the media mogul said, “Anybody who has been verbally abused or physically abused will spend a great deal of their life rebuilding their esteem.”

Which is what his daughter is now going through, according to her father. They’re going to slowly pick up the pieces, he says.

“I told her about Rebecca Malope and others [who had traumatic experiences].” The niece is now putting her energy into her father’s delivery business and he hopes she’ll continue with her studies once she’s ready.

“If Oprah lived through hell and picked herself up to be one of the most respected women in the world, so can my daughter. She can rebuild her life. It’s not going to be easy but she can do it.” Giving up, he says, isn’t an option.

*This article was previously in Drum Magazine.

Brickz was recently granted R80 000 bail in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Friday, pending an appeal against his rape conviction.


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