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It’s The Miseries by Tormented Minds
Like everybody else, I too have a story to tell.
Something has happened in my life and yet I have not been able to tell its story to others even after ten years since it has happened. At first, I was not afraid but I was ashamed. I felt as though I had given it a head start while I really did not. People around me made fun of it. They made it something to talk about every day. They used it so they can point their fingers at me, even five years after, “Oh, that’s the girl”. They used to say, “O na le kelello mara wena?” (Were you insane?). As if I knew what to say for myself to this world.
As a result, it did not take my young mind longer than a year to start becoming depressed, to actually start working overtime thinking and wondering, “What are they going to say today?” Eventually, my face began to look like that of a typical teenager, covered in fat pimples because I was stimulating the bad hormones horribly.
Today I see him and I look to a different direction or face downwards because I feel naked in front of him. I look to a different direction because I have not got over it or dealt with it. Today I see his sister who used to be my fifth grade teacher and I beg, “Oh Lord, have mercy on our poor souls”. Today I see my third grade teacher and I think to myself, “If only you were there to protect us. Instead, you were half the time in the staff room, sniffing that snuff of yours”. I think and ask myself, “My little sister is only six. What will happen to her when she is eight?” Nevertheless, I look at the back yard of the school to find that that deserted shack classroom was demolished a long time ago and I have little faith in her being safer and a lot fortunate than I was.
It was a huge class for its kind. A shelter made out of corrugated iron sheets, with only four windows. Some of which could not open anymore while the rest were hardly ever allowed to do their job. When it was hot, it would trap the heat like a black coloured fabric. When it was colder outside, the room would be a freezing classroom for more than forty-
We used to sit in groups of sixes. Imagine having to wonder from who the toxic fart is in the hot shack. There was a girl in my class named Thandeka. They liked her too, only they paid much attention to me than they did to her. You see here is the thing about Thandeka and I: We were both girls!
At first, he would say I owe him an endless amount of money. He demanded that I bring him money from home. Believe me; he wanted “his” money. Sure, it was plain bullying but it was destroying many young minds and contaminating a lot of young blood. You know what they say: “What you will become, you are becoming!” I never brought money but I promised to give or to share my lunch box with him. He began to indulge in the comforts of my Moms specialty; a well cooked-
I was eight. I did not know how to stand up for myself. I did not know how to say NO and I sure as hell did not know how to tell Mommy because I was never taught how to do so. I remember how much I used to hate the sound of an early news show on radio called, Makumane A Mona Le Mane, because that would mean I would be left with less than an hour to get to school. School started at seven-
He would kiss me…French kiss me that is, but before he does he would tell the rest of the class to close their eyes and bow their heads against the table as though they were taking a nap.
There were boys in my class named Thato and Daniel. Daniel had once entered a raffle competition and won himself a sheep. I remember his excited and thoughtful face in the sun, not knowing how to get the prize home. We then met in high school but not in the same class this time. You can just imagine how much I was reminded of the bitter old days. As for Thato, he had committed suicide later after he found out that he had to repeat his grade eleven. It was sad.
However, eight years before, Thato was a healthy kid and that bully would tell him to bend over that much he could touch his toes and hold Daniels waist to imitate a horse. Thandeka and I were the ones supposed to ride on this horse. Five rounds would be enough and they would grab their seats in exhaustion.
I used to wear those things they called “dungarees”. It was black in colour and pleated six times right round. I hate it even when I see it today. Back then there used to be played on TV the infamous drama-
The previous night he had watched that episode nobody ever forgets, when a bunch of filthy bastards raped a girl in a chicken stall. Like usual, he had told the rest of the class to take a nap. He then told me in hoarse and harsh voice to take off my panties and hold up my dungaree.
He put his penis in my vulva. He pushed, moved forth and back and he began to moan, his penis hardened and straight into my vagina it went. It hurt. It hurt a lot. It became a habit and turned into a daily duty. Soon the other friends wanted to know the feeling too.
One day a boy named Kefentse wanted to try his first time but he noticed something at the opening of my vulva. They were small very tiny white pieces like granules. “Come look. She has some white granules on her vulva,” he said. Back then I did not understand but time evolved to teach me that they were actually Mvula’s (so he wanted to be called) sperms leaving my system.
I remember Kefentse person pea in my friends skirt pocket while she took a “nap”. He laughed out loud and said, “Do not worry. Mama will use a washing machine to wash it. Besides, you are the rich families mos”. It was a very stereotyped community. Stuck up in their own little worlds. They believed that all who stayed at the area named H Section were rich. My friend and I were both from this side of town! I remember his other friend, Teboho, lashing my friend with a stick thin as it gets and as long as a shambok on the butt, just or the fun of it. School was almost out and she could not walk properly because she was in pain.
I got sick of it and I tried to write a letter to the class teacher. I wanted to tell her about this whole ordeal so she can save us from this hell. I thought of using a fake name, Palesa, so that if they found out they would not know who wrote it. There was no Palesa in my class after all. However, I did not. I used my real name, so it concluded; “Scared Mpho”. Like I feared, they found the letter and were very furious.
They tried to make me show to a bunch of boys from my classroom and some from other classes the exterior of my vulva as punishment. They dragged me. One held my one arm and the other pulled me by the other arm. I screamed. I was fighting this time around.
I remember the previous day I had bunked school during lunch because I knew after that I would become their dessert! That home I got home to find my grandmother visiting and helping my Mom with house chores. I was becoming a quick thinker and anything would come out of my mouth concrete solid at that time. “The teachers had told the kids to go home because they have a workshop to attend”, I said confidently. How genius of an eight year old! They bought my story. Sorted!
I watched the television for the rest of the day. Back then there was a kids show named, Soul Buddyz, on TV. On that days episode, a girl was taught to scream whenever she needed help or felt depressed or even felt like she needs relief. That’s were I got the idea to scream from, the next day.
There was a girl in my class named Tsholofelo. Like Daniel, Tsholo and I ended up in the same high school. There I realized its not Daniel I should be worried about but Tsholofelo. She had told a group of friends that I once bunked school and that I had sex with the boys everyday in class. One-
Back to third grade. I remember again, Mvula, beating up one of our classmates with the same long-
Only then, the educators started coming to this deserted shack in the back yard of the school. If I remember correctly, it was now in November 1999. We were saying goodbye to that terrible year. There would be no more schooling to be done for that year.
I hated them by the day yet I feared them by the minute. There was a time when I wanted to kill them. I wanted to do it with my Dads nine millimetre work pistol but I did not. The pistol was too heavy for me to carry to school with and besides, Daddy took it to work with him every day.
I let it be. God carried me through it, even though I wanted to know why he let something like this happen to me. I blamed Him for a very long time. I blamed Him when my system was discharging those smelly liquids through my cant. I blamed Him when I had influenza and feared that it might be HIV. I blamed Him when I got sores in my private parts because that’s when I thought I had an STI. I blamed Him when my fellow learners made discussion meetings about me and the girls would say, “Eya ke nnete. Re tseba ditaba tsa hao” (Yes, we know what you been up to). Above all this I found Him a very strange being. I found Him a very strange father. How does He provide me with the only valuable and precious gift and lets it be taken away from me like that? I just did not understand Him, so much for being an eight-
Today they see me walking down the streets they want to say, hi. They see me in town they want to ask for fifty cents. Some of their acquaintances see me walking with my boyfriend they claim they want to marry me! Through God, I made it. I survived their wrath and became this bigger-
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