It is one of the most beautiful parts of rural South Africa: soft
flowing hills along which footpaths curl, cattle peacefully graze
and children’s playful voices are heard. It is also the area where
Nelson Mandela grew up and which he described in his autobiography
with much fondness: the exhilarating freedom of childhood and the
youthful friendships. Circumstances were less kind to Sixolile
Mbalo, but she thought that with the love of her grandmother, she
would be able to change her life into a vehicle for her dreams.
Then a young man arrived in the village and decided to make the
spirited thirteen year old girl the focus point of his most
debasing desires. Seldom does such an articulate voice from the
unchartered spaces of everyday South African rural life, manage not
only to survive, but to cross over into print. This is the story of
a brave and resourceful young person who has confronted the scourge
of sexual violence, and who literally carries its effects with her
to this day. With an Afterword by Antjie Krog.
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