Nomfula Ruzere’s story continues
Just this year after Gogo had travelled to see her kids in Australia, my uncle (Malume) called me telling me that when my aunt goes to fetch firewood she comes back home late. He told me he suspected she had gone back to her old ways of having sex with random men. Again I felt my heart drop to the floor and all I could do was tell him to call me when she comes back home and also to make sure that she does not leave the house without one of the kids (this is a security tactic my grandmother uses for every girl at home and it works). When she came back we had the phone call and she reassured me that she was looking for firewood.
Four months later another call came through – Mamncane had been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection and she had told the nurse who she had been sleeping with. This time I did not call, I simply prayed for words that would make her stop all this, for her protection too.
She came to Harare for treatment and I finally had a long talk with her about the dangers of sleeping with any guy out there. I explained what an STI was and how she got it, I also told her she could cut her life short and her she would not be around to take care of her kids. We had quite a long conversation, eventually I thought she had understood what I was happening.
Victim overcomes fear
Another month passed and one day my phone rang – it was Malume telling me that my Mamncane had reported that their cousin wanted to sleep with her. She had told my grandmother’s friend and Gogo MaNkomo had come to our place to see what could be done about this.
I realised how much of a coward I had been before when it came to such issues, so I resolved to do something about it. I began making phone calls left, right and centre finding out what I could do for her. As soon as I had it all figured out I called ekhaya to notify them of the plan only for my uncle to tell me that they had already started making headway in the communal courts.
After that I called and messaged my uncle daily, but he never had any real updates for me; first they were waiting for someone then it had become a “he said she said” case. I kept on insisting that they bring Mamncane to Bulawayo for me to live with her, but no one thought that was a good idea. I told them to let their cousin go back to Karoi, and they told me there was no need for that. Three months have gone by, and there have been no results from the communal courts. Mamncane continues to call me or tell Gogo MaNkomo when someone proposes love to her or tells her she is beautiful.
Out of fear, I didn’t speak
Although I still want to get her justice, I am happy that at least I managed to get through to her and show her that she needs to report these idiots. The problem is I am a coward, not only in this case, but even when I was molested and almost raped multiple times I did not tell anyone because I did not want to stir the waters. I never reported that man, and sometimes I talk about it – but I still feel like there is need for justice.
Sometimes I blame the justice system for having failed others around me so many times, I blame my family for not having done something at all for Mamncane. Other times I look at myself in the mirror and realise that it really is not the fault of the justice system – it is me. It is me for passing the buck, for being scared, for feeling alone (even though I will never be alone in the quest for justice).
I have been a coward so many times, even when it is not necessary. Scared to criticise people and things around me, scared to go out there and march against one or two things, scared to speak out when I or others around me need a voice.
Conquering my fear
My voice is slowly coming back and I am feeling the need to do something – not just to speak about something. For me, 2016 will be my year of courage, the year when I do stuff and not just talk about it! The year that I overcome my fear. I know that I will be joining a thundering chorus of other voices that I have been hearing and blocking out. You cannot imagine the happy dance that I am doing as I envision the work that we will accomplish together!
Nomfula Ruzere is a young woman ho has been shaped by many life experiences. At 27 years of age, she has benefited a lot from the experiences of others around her. She is passionate about life and she loves observing everything around her.