Nqa­bani vil­lage di­vided

CityPress - - News -

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

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