Zululand Observer - Weekender

Dying mom says: ‘you are a product of rape’

- Wellington Makwakwa

‘I AM the product of rape - my mother’s constant reminder of a heinous and wicked act by a stranger who fathered me.’

For as long as she can remember, Nompilo (26) had felt something was amiss about her childhood.

Throughout her teenage years while living in a remote Zululand village she always felt disconnect­ed from her family and could sense the whispers, nudges and glances from some community members.

‘Deep down, I always knew the family had kept a big secret from me, but never guessed what it was.

‘I lived with my mother, father and other siblings but I had always felt the family was hiding something from me.

‘My mother, unlike other moms, never shared any great stories about her pregnancy or how I was conceived.’

It was only years later that Nompilo’s suspicions were confirmed.

On her deathbed, suffering from cancer, her mother confessed to have been raped by a strange man as a teenager.

She disclosed the decade long secret about the brutal sexual assault which resulted in her becoming pregnant.

‘The man I had known as a father all my life was in fact, my stepfather who married my mother two years after she was raped.

‘At 19 years old she not only gave birth to me, but also struggled to cope and that’s when my stepfather saved her.

‘The man had raped her in the bushes while she was coming to fetch water from the river.

‘No one knows who he is, which means I don’t know my real surname or where I belong.

‘He could be a man I see every day on the streets. I probably have brothers and sisters I don’t even know.

‘For all I know I could be dating my brother without even realising it. It is such a terrible thing not to know your roots’ cried Nompilo.

‘The man shattered my mother’s innocence and destroyed her. I could see the pain in her eyes during the last moments of her life,’ cried Nompilo.

‘It was a shattering moment to learn I was the product of rape. No one wants to think of themselves as the result of such a wicked crime.

‘Knowing I am geneticall­y related to a rapist has messed with my life and sense of identity. I’m suffering from that heartless assault,’ she said.

According to this devastated young woman, finding out the truth about her father has developed a hatred towards men.

‘I hate men and my father even though I don’t know who he is but I hate him for what he did to my mother.

‘I don’t think I will ever be able to look at men the same or move past this situation.‘I find myself looking at men on the streets and wondering if one is my biological father. ‘I keep wondering if he regrets what he did to her or if he understand­s the severity of his actions,’ she said. After finding out the truth Nompilo attempted several suicides. ‘I just didn’t want to feel the pain and being able to live in the community which knew the truth about me all along. I feel like they are whispering about my situation and probably laughing behind my back.’ she said.

The Zululand Observer has since referred Nompilo to a community counsellin­g and support group.

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