OLIVER Meth lay still on the ground next to a tombstone marked: “Mkhize, beloved husband, father and bother…”
Meth had just been raped, robbed and assaulted.
He had been on his way to a school meeting when three men approached him and asked for 50c. They followed him as he took a shortcut, grabbed him from behind and dragged him to a nearby graveyard. There, two of the three men beat him up, and stole his cellphone, wallet and clothes.
Naked, Meth tried to get up, but the third man grabbed him and began rubbing his genitals between his thighs.
“I was sweating fiercely, even though I was cold. I could feel my palms getting clammy and the perspiration running down my face. I get like that when I am really scared,” Meth wrote.
It didn’t end there. The man sodomised him and ejaculated on his stomach.
“It was repulsive. It was as if there were things crawling on me.”
Meth shared his story as part of loveLife’s 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Children. The organisation is the largest HIV-prevention programme for young people and is running a blog that features views and voices on various aspects of violence and abuse.
The blog, Inspirational 16-on-16 Digital Campaign, will run for the entire activism period and stories will be uploaded every day.
Columnist Khaya Dlanga, communications manager, columnist and singer Kelly Khumalo are some of the personalities who have contributed to the blog.
“It is a unique way to highlight the devastation wrought by abuse by giving people the opportunity to share experiences of their own and other’s abuse,” said loveLife’s head of media, Beathur Mgoza Baker.
In another blog entry, a mother, Fikile Ntanzi, wrote a letter to her son Philasande after introspection into the kind of young man she is raising.
Ntanzi tells her son that he was raised in a matriarchal home without a man as a head of the family. And that all the five women in the family have loved and adored him.
“I am terrified by the thought that you, who hasn’t experienced any other kind of love other than that of women in your household, could possibly become a woman basher, killer and abuser,” wrote Ntanzi.
In the letter, the mother appeals to her son to take care of his future wife or partner and children, and not to be “pressured by societal expectations”. She also tells her son to “always strive for kindness… My son, if you f***up, you are on your own.”
Blogs are available on the loveLife website: www.lovelife.org.za