Durban - A man who raped and almost killed his child victim sat stone-faced as a poem she had written to him, offering to forgive him for how he had brutalised her, was read out in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court on Wednesday.
Thembinkosi Manyoni, 30, was sentenced to life in prison for rape and 15 years for attempted murder.
Magistrate Jennifer Anthoo said that she “had never seen a case worse than this”.
The girl, who was attacked near Howick, on August 27, 2011 when she was 9 years old, was raped, stabbed repeatedly, almost disembowelled, then left for dead.
Medical evidence led at Manyoni’s trial indicated that it was a “miracle” that she survived.
Anthoo said that it was clear from the poem that the child had endured unimaginable physical and emotional trauma.
Anthoo read the poem out in court.
“She will have to live with this torment for the rest of her life.”
Given Manyoni’s lack of remorse, the magistrate said she was doubtful he was capable of rehabilitation.
According to court records, the child had been encouraged to pen her thoughts during counselling.
She had received extensive counselling in preparation for the trial.
The poem was written last year.
Court preparation officer and trained counsellor, Babongile Dlamini, had testified that the child was encouraged to write down her feelings in a letter and a poem.
“She told me she felt a piece of her life was lost and that people would treat her differently because of what had happened to her,” Dlamini said.
The child was attacked while alone at home with a younger relative.
She survived her critical injuries, including a slit throat and a stab wound to the abdomen that exposed her intestines.
The court had heard that the victim was unable to move for hours until help arrived.
The child has since been removed from her home and placed in foster care because of her mother’s negligence.
In a letter to the court explaining the impact of the attack on her life, the girl said that she sometimes felt like confronting Manyoni to ask him why he had attacked her so brutally.
“What did I do to deserve such a life? Sometimes I feel like you taught me how to hate, hurt and be a monster, but I tell myself I will never be you or like you,” the letter reads.
The Fear Of A Dark Room
A beautiful room full of light
When I look at this room it brings me joy, happiness
and my heart beats fast when I look at it,
but then you came into that room.
You destroyed everything you made it a dark evil room.
The bed that was full of red roses is now full of red blood. I dare not look at that mirror I see a sad girl tears dropping down
there is darkness I can feel some shadow in the dark
a sparkling night gown is not shiny anymore
It’s all in pieces and full of blood when I look at the bed again
I see a body sleeping, a body without breath, arm without warmth, mouth without a smile, eyes full of tears in their sleep I cannot wake it up
but the room is about to fall apart.
- Rape victim (now 12)