Firewood collection misery By Linky Massie

Firewood collection misery

By Linky Massie

Published on Wed, Jan 28 2009 by Linky Matsie

People are suffering and they don’t even know what to do. They are afraid to walk during the day, and it is worse during the night. They cannot walk around the yard. In the olden days people were scared to walk in the field because they believed in ghosts. But now people are afraid of boys, who have turned into monsters.

On 16 November 2008, an old woman and her daughter-in-law walked to a field to collect firewood, but instead of collecting firewood, they collected pain.

Mokgadi, 56, and Lerato, 19, were walking when two young men approached them and demanded that they hand over their money. All Lerato was carrying was her six-month-old baby.

Lerato explained how the incident happened: “The boys approached us and said ‘Give us money,’ and my mother-in-law said, ‘We don’t have money.’ One of the boys said, ‘Give me the baby so I can kill her.’ I said, ‘I cannot give you my baby.’ He became angry and pointed, at me with a gun and said, ‘I will kill you.’ I was very scared and I gave him the baby. That’s when they both ran away with my baby.” She said they were gone for 5 minutes. Mokgadi said prayer rescued the baby from those monsters. “I kneeled down and prayed while I was crying and shouting, ‘Oh lord protect my granddaughter,’ the boy returned and gave me the baby and said ‘shut up.’ She said she was relieved for a moment but the pain started to be more and more when the boys said to her daughter-in-law, ‘Lie down,’ pointing a gun at her. They raped her while the one forced me to look at the other one who was busy doing his work. He told me to make that baby stop crying or else he would shoot me,” Mokgadi explained while crying. The boys raped both the women and left.

Lerato said she was very scared thinking that they would be killed. “I never thought they would do what they did to me to that old woman, but I was wrong because when they were done with me they gave the baby back to me, telling me to stop crying and watch them while they both raped the old woman,” Lerato explained, looking down. She continued, “when I saw the gun I thought when they finished what they were doing they would kill us.”

Lerato and Mokgadi will never forget what happened to them. They are always crying. Mokgadi said “I’m praying that bad things would happen to them, even if they can hold them for me so that I can do whatever I want with them. I can kill them myself.”

The communities around Acornhoek have a problem with rapists. People must make sure that they don’t walk in places where it’s not safe. Joseph Mogakane, inspector at Acornhoek police station said, “When a woman is raped and opens a case she will tell a policewoman. They will never refer a woman who was raped to talk to a policeman, so people must come and report it if they have been raped.” He explained, “The incident of rape is reported every month. Some women are raped when they come from the tavern or bottle stores during the night. Rapists are sentenced to 20 years or 30 years. It depends on the magistrate,” said Inspector Mogakane. Rape is a serious offence. Donald Tsikani Kgalane, a 34-year-old from Brenda community at Timbavati Trust, raped a six-year-old girl in 2004. He was arrested on the 10 November 2004 and on 12 January 2005 he was out on bail, and on 12 February 2008 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison at Nelspruit High Court. “It can take time for justice to be done, but rapists will never get away with it,” said Inspector Mogakane.


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