This protester became the centre of attention in the #NotInMyName march against violence on women. She stood in solidarity with all women who had suffered abuse at the hands of men. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi
This protester became the centre of attention in the #NotInMyName march against violence on women. She stood in solidarity with all women who had suffered abuse at the hands of men. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

#NotInMyName: One survivor's harrowing ordeal

By Amanda Maliba Time of article published May 21, 2017

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Johannesburg - She was abducted by three armed men, driven around for a while and ordered to take off her bra and unzip her pants. Terrified and confused, she wondered if all this was real.

Luyanda Sibeko* had heard the gory stories of women being raped and killed, some by their partners, and she feared for the worse.

“During all of this, I kept asking myself ‘is this really happening to me?’

“They shouted at me and said I must take off my bra and unzip my pants,” she recalled.

Just moments ago, Sibeko, 23, had just finished writing her law exam at the Unisa Florida campus and set out to catch a minibus taxi. She had stopped at a street vendor to buy an avocado when she noticed she was being followed. It was a bit early in the day so she never suspected anything was amiss.

“These are just people who are lost,” she thought.

Yet, her instincts told her otherwise, and she sent a WhatsApp message to her partner and his younger brother alerting them to the possible danger.

Suddenly, the danger that had been lurking became very real.

“As I turned the corner, one of the men in the car ordered me to get in. I refused. The back passenger jumped out and started forcing me in. I fought him and kept saying I won’t.”

At that point, a fight ensued between Sibeko and one of the kidnappers, and she was left with bruises and nail scratches on her neck, face, wrists, breast and chest. She was overpowered and bundled into the car.

“I was told to co-operate. The one guy turned slightly to show me a gun. It could have been a real gun, a toy or mock gun, but after that I knew things were really serious.”

She relented, and as she was undressing, the driver indicated to the other two guys to check what was happening behind them.

“I saw an old man driving a blue Dodge flicking his lights and saying things through his window.

“The driver then said ‘they don’t need any more trouble and that I should be thrown out of the car.”

With that, Sibeko had a lucky escape.

“The old man saw the struggle happening. He said he didn’t know what came over him but just knew he had to do something,” she added.

Her unknown saviour bought Sibeko a drink to calm her down.

He left her in the company of security guards while she waited for her partner, Siphelele Dludla, who took to Twitter to recount her horrifying ordeal.

“We took it to Twitter for two reasons. One, to raise awareness for the many other students, who also go to Unisa.

“Also, we hoped to find out who that elderly white man was.

“We want to thank him personally.

“He could have chosen to ignore this, he could have chosen not to put his life in danger but his decision has given Luyanda her freedom.

“We are so grateful to him,” explained Dludla, who was visibly drained.

He is guilt-ridden, feeling that he failed his partner. “You know as a man, you play a role of protecting your partner, and if she becomes vulnerable to criminals, you feel you have let her down.

“I know this is a victim mentality that I should seek professional help for, but this is something that is there, I cannot escape from as a man.”

The couple decided not to re­port the incident because Sibeko believed it would delay her healing process.

“I don’t think I will ever be fully okay but I just want to be normal, not to see everyone I walk past as my potential kidnapper,” she said.

While Sibeko was lucky to escape, 20-year-old Bonolo Maphuting wasn’t so fortunate.

She went missing on Monday on her way home from classe in Mabopane, Tshwane. It later turned out that she had been abducted, raped and left for dead. She told The Sunday Independent about her harrowing ordeal. “It was just after 6pm when I got off a taxi heading home. I was waiting to cross the street when a car stopped in front of me.

“The occupants pulled out guns and ordered me to get into the car. When I did, they gagged me and tied my hands,” the Tshwane University of Technology student recalled. She was taken to a deserted shack in Mamelodi, with only a bed inside.

For three days, she was kept there and raped. She was offered no food or water to drink. “They gave me water to bath once. When they left, they would leave me with one guy to keep watch.”

When they were done with her, she was dumped in Mamelodi where she asked to use someone’s phone to contact her mother.

“I am happy to be back home. I just want to recover and get back to normal. If and when these men are caught, I don’t even know what suitable punishment they deserve. For now, I want to recover.”

* Not her real name

The Sunday Independent

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