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‘I will rape you!’ – nurse relives horror attack at rural clinic in new book

Professional nurse Nomana Ntshakaza deals with the horror of being gang raped by thugs in this new book.

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of rape in the world. But even then Nomana Ntshakaza never imagined she could become a victim – especially not at a rural clinic where she worked as a nurse. In this extract from her new book titled Life Can Change In A Moment she relates in detail the horrific attack that changed her life.

It was in the evening of the 17th December 2001 when I went to a Local Health Centre to render health services as a Professional Nurse. There came two armed men covering their faces with a balaclava and a spotty respectively, both pointing guns at us as they pushed the door.

I was shocked to learn that those were not patients needing emergency services, but robbers who were on a mission to destroy our lives. They were in their mid-twenties, using aggressive/vulgar language in whatever they were saying. They asked for money, our cell phones, and keys for the clinic safe since they thought that the services rendered were paid for.

With our voices trembling and our bodies shaking from shock, we explained that we had no money other than the taxi fare they found from our handbags. We further told them that there was no money kept at the clinic and that health services were rendered for free. As if they could not understand or hear what we were saying, they continued to search for the clinic safe key. In that process, they took our cell phones and cut the telephone wires for the health center landline.

They searched every consulting room, demanding us to open every cabinet and instrument pack in the search for money. They continued to ask for the car keys and we told them that we did not own cars. We could not understand their aggressive behavior as they continued to demand the car keys, claiming we were making fools of them. When they showed no intentions of leaving the premises, I thought to myself that something bad would follow.  Immediately after that thought, the one who seemed like a ring leader or a boss shoved me with a gun on the right side of my temple, away from my colleague. He said, “Sizakudlwengula sonke”.

He pushed me out of the room we were to a labor ward. It felt like I was dreaming. I could not believe that it was happening to me, I felt numb, helpless, and confused.  He instructed me to take off my panty and kneel under the delivery bed. I resisted that instruction thinking of fighting back, but I was discouraged by the fact that he had a gun in his hand.

Again the fact that he said they would rape me all of them, made me powerless since I had no idea how many they were, in fact I thought they were eight and I did not know how I came up with that digit. I was scared of dying, thinking of my daughters and my family. I asked if he did not want to use a condom since I feared being infected with HIV. That question irritated him more and more and he started swearing at me and asked “Ngubani othe ndine AIDS?” (Who told you I have AIDS). He pushed me under the delivery bed with the gun and he raped me. He asked, “Uva kamnandi?”(Are you enjoying) As I was feeling numb in a shocked state I was not feeling anything and I did not respond to his question. The only thing that occupied my mind at that very moment was when they “all” would finish doing that evil thing to me. I imagined that the other men were in a queue outside, each one waiting for his turn. I responded to the question asked earlier and pretended to be enjoying him so that he would finish and not pull the gun and kill me.

After he finished, the second one with a spotty on his head, came in also carrying a gun. He immediately pulled down his pants and said “Ndizakukudlwengula” ( I will rape you) as if he was emphasizing the point in order for me to realize what was happening. Again, that second robber held a gun on the same spot on my head as the first one and he raped me until he satisfied himself and finished. He pulled up his pants and left me kneeling under that delivery bed. At that moment my knees stopped feeling any pains from kneeling on the tiled floor for such a long time. My only concern was the next man to come in for his turn.

At that stage, no one was coming in. I thought they were still busy with my colleague in the other room. All I could hear were voices from another end in the building. After some time, the first rapist came in and instructed me to come out from where I was. I remember putting on my panty, not knowing what would happen next. He shoved me again with the gun into the room where I left my colleague.

When I came in, I realized that on the first bed there was blood covering the linen and a security guard was lying there, bleeding profusely from injuries sustained on his head. On the next bed was my colleague, lying quietly as if she was not breathing. The third bed was prepared for me apparently as the rapists instructed me to get into the empty bed and to face towards the wall away from my colleague and the security guard.

All these beds were in a post-natal ward, where women who had delivered would lie with their babies whilst waiting to be discharged the following day if the condition of both mother and the baby permitted. Fortunately, on the day of the ordeal, there were no pregnant women in labor and no mothers were admitted to the health center, thanks GOD for that because nobody knows what would happen to them. After the rapists saw that I was in bed as per their order, I thought they were leaving as they both banged the door on their way out of the ward.

Within few minutes I heard the door being pushed and I heard the voice of the bossy rapist saying ‘’Masibulale ezi zinja” (Let us kill these dogs) and the other rapist responded “Hayi asikayifumani kaloku imoto, mabasinike esi sitshixo semoto kuqala” (No we have not yet got the car, they must first give us the car keys”).

At that moment I knew exactly where I was going to be shot, that is, the place where the gun was put on my head when I was shoved to the labor ward. I was waiting for my death, knowing that the trigger can be pulled at any moment. No one was talking to each other in the ward we were lying in except that we were all breathing fast in fear. My main worry and concern was the fact that I could not help the security guard from his injuries and bleeding. After some time there was a moment of silence and we thought the rapists had left I asked the security guard how he sustained his injuries. He explained that when the rapists entered through the clinic door, forcing their way to the office where we were sitting, he tried to block them showing them the area where they were expected to wait to be attended by the nurses. At that stage, the rapists shouted at the security guard maintaining that they knew what they wanted therefore they would help themselves. They pushed him to the floor, kicked and hit him several times on the head before leaving him lying on the floor bleeding profusely. He could not defend himself as he was not armed but had a wooden stick as his weapon.

My colleague and I got the opportunity to enquire about the car the rapists were referring to. He told us that the car belonged to our colleague who was a male nurse residing at a nurse’s home in the same yard of the health center. When I and my colleague came to work, the male nurse had not returned to the nurse’s home yet, hence, we had no idea of the car they spoke about. It was only then that we began to understand the reason those rapists did not give up on asking for the car keys. We also understood why they became furious when we denied the presence of the car outside.

They came back for the third time, asking for the owner of the car again and we told them who the owner was. They swore at us saying we lied to them earlier and we were going to pay for that. All that time I had hoped that the guns they were carrying were not working or they did not know how to use them. Whilst entertaining myself with that false hope, we heard several gunshots outside, then the ignition of the car, then other gunshots again. I thought they were shooting our colleague, the male nurse and they would come and kill us. I started to visualize what would happen in the morning when the news of our death would spread among our colleagues, families, and the community at large.

As I was waiting for my death, I was uttering these words repeatedly “Owu! Bawo, owu! Bawo” (Owu! My God, Owu! My God). I later realized that it was a reality, I was going to die. I thought of reciting the Lord’s Prayer silently so as to die praying. The idea of the Lord’s Prayer came to my mind after I realized that I could not think of words to pray and immediately I remembered the scripture in the bible where the disciples of Jesus Christ asked him how to pray and he told them to say the Lord’s Prayer. I started saying it however at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, I could not say Amen instead I started all over again until we were rescued by the policemen after three to four hours of hostage.

About the book

The book is self published. It can be ordered directly from the author and retails R150 excluding postage. To order the book contact 0836699240.

About the author

Nomana Ntshakaza, 51, was born and raised in Qunu near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. She is a professional nurse with more than 20 years experience, a gang rape survivor, inspirational and motivational speaker and a business woman.

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