PODCAST | Justice Denied, Episode 3: Sentenced to 10 years after attacking her would-be rapist

2019-03-13 07:19

WARNING: This podcast contains a brief description of rape and abduction.

At one point in her life, Bridget Makhonza had it all.

She was in a loving relationship, and went from selling men’s clothes from her apartment to securing a job at a multinational, billion-dollar company.

She was inspired by young black geologists and determined to work her way up the corporate ladder.

Bridget’s dreams finally seemed within her grasp.

Fast forward 19 years and Bridget says ruefully: "I was telling my son that you know my wish was to retire at the age of 55. I’m 47, my goodness, I’ve got nothing."

Her life changed irrevocably on a Saturday back in 2000.

Justice Denied

Determined not to be a victim of corrective rape, Bridget mustered all her strength to fight off a would-be rapist after a house party. Using a blunt weapon, she attacked the man, thereby protecting herself and her partner.

Although neither Bridget nor her attacker filed charges, Bridget was arrested for a robbery she didn't commit.

Bridget was wrongfully convicted in 2002 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for robbery in 2003.

She spent a total of 3 years and 3 months behind bars in Sun City prison in Johannesburg. And although the she was released from prison almost 14 years ago, Bridget has struggled to rebuild her life.

She currently works as an ad-hoc trainer, but sessions have been few and far between.

It hasn’t diminished her passion for empowering people in her community.

Bridget is determined to finish writing a book documenting her extraordinary life.

She hopes it will inspire others to overcome their personal struggles.

Bridget Makhonza, justice denied, wrongful convict

Bridget Makhonza lost 3 years and 3 months of her life, when a crime she didn’t commit was pinned on her. (Nokuthula Manyathi, News24)

bridget makhonza, saul makhonza, wrongful convicti

Bridget and her father have an unbreakable bond. (Nokuthula Manyathi, News24)

xolani makhonza, justice denied, wrongful convicti

Bridget’s 30-year-old son Xolani works as a Taxify driver. (Nokuthula Manyathi, News24)

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