KZN gogos live in terror as another pensioner is raped

The 76-year-old woman couldn't even move as the department of social development paid her a visit after she was raped in her home.
Emotionally scared The 76-year-old woman couldn't even move as the department of social development paid her a visit after she was raped in her home.
Image: Lwandile Bhengu

A 76-year-old woman sat dead still – too traumatised to move – and looked down at the one shoe she had on as government officials moved through her small, rundown home in KwaSwayimane, outside Wartburg, central KwaZulu-Natal.

Her neighbours and friends, also elderly, say she is a shadow of her former self. She is startled by the smallest of sounds outside.

The elderly woman was asleep in her home on Saturday when an unknown man entered her house and raped her.

“She lives in fear. Whenever she sees a shadow outside, she thinks it’s happening again,” said Sibusisiwe Ndlovu, 85, a neighbour.

“When I heard what happened I was in shock and in pain. I couldn’t even eat after I heard. I live right next to her and live with the fear that they will come for me next,” added Ndlovu.

She lives in fear, whenever she sees a shadow outside she thinks it’s happening again.
Sibusisiwe Ndlovu

On Thursday, KZN social development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza visited the victim – who cannot be named because she is a sexual assault victim – and was met by a number of other elderly women in the community who had come to offer comfort and support.

“We need to reduce the number of elderly people who live alone; it is wrong. We need to look into ways to make this community safer. We need to go to the root [cause] and ask what causes the youth to rape the elderly,” said Khoza.

Ndlovu said the entire community, which consists of mostly old people, was still reeling from the incident.

“It surprised us because, as the elderly, we are birth-givers.  We gave birth to and raised the people who committed this horrible act and now they have committed this devilish act,” said Ndlovu.

Sibusisiwe Ndlovu, 85, fears she'll be raped next.
Living in fear Sibusisiwe Ndlovu, 85, fears she'll be raped next.
Image: Lwandile Bhengu

The 76-year-old is not the first elderly woman to be raped in the area. In 2012, a 94-year-old and 82-year-old were raped in a single week.

The social development department has since opened a R22.3m daycare centre for older persons.

The MEC urged the elderly to make use of the space.  

“We would really like to move to these safe homes, but we can’t because we don’t want to leave our ancestors who are buried in our homes,” said Ndlovu.

Outside of victims home was her distraught daughter, Nonhlanhla, who was out of the house when her mother was raped.

“The last time there were this many people here was when my child was killed,” she said.

Nonhlanhlas son had been playing outside when he was hit by a water tanker a few months ago. 

The gogos living in the area have asked the MEC to provide police officers to patrol daily.

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