Nqabani village divided
Thirty kilometres from the N2, along a rutted dirt road, lies a quiet village deep in the Eastern Cape. Few cars pass and even fewer children play in the streets on a weekday afternoon.
The apparent calm conceals a divided village, home to no more than 100 people in the Nqabani administrative area in the former Transkei. The rape of an 11-year-old girl has set the community at odds.
Some say the two were lovers, that the girl “threw herself” at her 25year-old teacher. Others believe he is a rapist.
The girl and the teacher are neighbours. They are also relatives.
Their houses, separated by a small field, tell their families’ tales. The child’s home, painted white, consists of a rondavel kitchen, a threeroom building and a small house.
Her alleged rapist’s home is more affluent, with a lounge suite, a wall unit and a wardrobe.
“I have never seen them since,” says the girl’s mother. “My girl is a little child and they did not even come to her or me to say they are sorry for their son’s actions. We are neighbours. How are we supposed to live with one another?”
The 11-year-old is her middle child. Her eldest is 18 and the youngest is seven.
“I am proud of her and love her. She has remained strong and courageous during the whole thing. I am afraid and scared for her, but she always assures me she is fine.”
The girl’s grandmother, who lives next door, says: “People are looking at each other with hate. I don’t understand why an older man would sleep with an 11-year-old and claim they are in a relationship. I find this sick and disgusting,” she says.
The teacher’s 20-year-old brother, who is in Grade 8, insists his older brother isn’t a rapist.
“My brother is innocent. That girl and her mother just made up the story because they are jealous of us here at home. The girl is the one who was after my brother. She always texted him. What was he supposed to do?”
The teacher moved to Cape Town after he was fired.
Education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima says: “We cannot allow a situation where a teacher who is accused of such a crime can be allowed to teach our children. In this case, [after going through all the processes] the school governing body decided to let him go – a decision we support.” – Lubabalo Ngcukana
I have never seen them since the incident. My girl is a little child and they did not even come to her or me to say they are sorry for their son’s actions
THE VICTIM’S MOTHER