'My mentor repeatedly raped me'
A traditional healer who was allegedly raped by her trainer (gobela) while she was in initiation school has spoken about her ordeal.
Andiswa Khoza, 22, said her nightmare began after her parents sent her to Temba in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, to be initiated as a sangoma to fulfil her ancestral calling.
"It was in October 2017 when I began my journey and everything was going well until one day in November when my mentor told me his ancestors have chosen me to be his wife," said Khoza.
She said she ignored him and continued with her training.
"He then started sending me to do chores naked in the middle of the night around the yard while watching me.
"One night he sent me to do the chores naked again, when I was done he followed me to my room and forced himself on me, repeatedly."
Khoza said the mentor would come in every night after that to demand sex.
"When I refused he would get angry, beat me up and throw me around the room."
She said the mother of the trainer would come in after the rapes and tell her it was part of the initiation process to engage sexually with the trainer.
"I was also told not to tell anybody because what happens ephehlweni (initiation) should be kept secret, so they all watched as I was being raped over and over again."
Khoza said the abuse went on for over five months. She said in March last year she graduated and finished her initiation and a ceremony was done.
"On the morning of my ceremony while I was in my newly built sangoma hut (endumbeni), he came and told the other people who were present to go out. He told me he would kill me and my family if I ever mentioned what happened."
Khoza said he raped her again and people who were outside never came to her aid.
"He got out and told them I was under the influence of the spirit hence I was screaming."
Khoza said she broke her silence after she was beaten to a pulp because she refused to stay with him.
"I broke my silence and went straight to the police station and opened a case."
The man is due to appear in the Temba magistrate's court today.
Community leader Mtimande Ngwenya from the Ubuhle BeNgcugce Cultural Governance and Projects said they were against rape and abuse in initiation schools and have encouraged Khoza to speak up and help other women in initiation schools.
"We have realised that females are vulnerable ... sex is not part of initiation, this is sexual abuse," said Ngwenya.
The accused, who may not be named because he has not pleaded, is out on R1,000 bail.
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