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"He had police friends so I couldn't even report the abuse": How South Africa's War on Women Impacted Me

A South African woman shares her story of gender-based violence in the hopes of helping other women.

South Africa's gender-based violence, especially rape and femicide, is a national crisis. The past week has seen women marching to bring about a solution to the widespread epidemic. The following is one South African woman's account of gender-based violence at the hands of her partner and what led her to eventually leave him.

Read her story in her own words below.


I'll share my experience, maybe it'll help other women to see the signs I should have seen long before he put his hands on me. We first met with what started as awkward cat-calling even when I didn't want his attention. I gave him my numbers out of fear but as we kept chatting he appeared to be a fairly decent guy who was actually more "charming" than first impressions led me to believe. I was 17-years-old, naive, and so I fell for him.

However, he soon began scrutinizing everything that I did and used excessive force and fear to get me to "admit" to cheating on him. He'd even threaten to snatch my younger brother from the streets out of spite, and once, he told me that he would physically tie me to his car and drag me around the township until I was exposed to the bone. Every time I tried to leave, he'd give me his crocodile tears and "I'm going to get help" sob story. For some time it would be calm and he'd love me with so much passion. I'd be naive and think he had changed and stay, and then all it would take was just one missed call to trigger the whole damn cycle again. He had police friends, so I couldn't even report the abuse, because they would just call him and then he'd really be pissed.

I kept convincing myself that I can change him when actually, he was too far gone. It got so bad that he would threaten the rest of my family as well. He once nearly hit my mom with his car. The last straw was when his baby mama was around from KwaZulu-Natal and she "caught" him and I just chilling at a local spaza shop. She slapped me so hard I had a swollen face for an entire week. But that wasn't even the worst of it. I then had to watch him beat her like a damn drum and only then did I realise what he was truly capable of. He was manic and then it dawned on me, his threats were not just threats, they were promises.

I realized that you can't change a leopard's spots. Leaving him wasn't easy and he threatened the shit out of me and my family. To this day, I still look over my shoulder when I'm at home in Cosmo City, for fear that he may still get me.

"Speaking out is hard because society makes you feel like it's your fault you're a victim."

Like you should've known better. It was always, "well what did you do to make him so angry? Surely he must've had a reason?"

But, I don't want anyone's pity. I just want to create awareness and give other women the reassurance that they're not alone and the courage to know that they can escape the clutches of horrible humans.

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Watch the First Episode of Flame’s Documentary Series ‘Welcome To My Life’

Flame takes fans behind the scenes in his new documentary series.

From interviews to smoking sessions, performances, studio sessions and a visit to the hair salon, Flame gives fans a glimpse into his life and adventures.

The South African hip-hop artist and producer shared the first episode of an ongoing documentary series titled Welcome To My Life. The first episode, which he shared today, shows Flame and his affiliates—the likes of Ecco, Mellow and others—going about their business.

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uSanele Releases a New Project ‘uMvelase’ Featuring ASAP Shembe, Windows 2000, Manelisi and Others

Listen to uSanele's new project 'uMvelase.'

South African hip-hop artist uSanele's recently released project is titled uMvelase. "This project," says the artist, "is in honor of my father and family, abakwa Mthembu; all my siblings, extended family and my roots in the heart of KZN, kwaNongoma. It is a calling—if you will—a completion of my journey and all things coming full circle."

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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