Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Right Royal Christams Fuck Up

What a fucked up Christmas and New Year I had.  I had been to see my prisoners on Saturday and had kept myself as well as possible, taking every precaution not to get some opportunistic disease.  On Sunday I was going to sing Christmas Carols in the St Augustine’s Cathedral and attend mass afterward.  On Christmas day I was going to spend the day with my darling friend/mother.  Everything was wrapped and ready.
I visited my prisoners and there was a draught so I asked one of them if I could use his orange jacket which he very gallantly put around my shoulders.  The wardens walked up and down and passed us a number of times and no one had a problem with it until one over-weight, bad assed female with cellulite oozing out of her uniform ordered me to remove the jacket at once.   I don’t know if that draught had anything to do with it.  We got home at noon and by 3 pm I was having rigours and my temperature was over 39.  I was a sick as an unwanted township dog.  The ambulance was called and I was taken immediately to ER.  The doctor did a chest X-ray and took some blood, put up a drip through my portacath (in my chest and directly into my heart) and we waited to see if the temperature would drop.  After a number of hours – it felt like most of the night, the doctor gave me a prescription for antibiotics and something to keep the temperature down and told me I could go home.  When I started seeing my cupboard door handles climbing up the cupboards, I started to become afraid and sent Patrick to fetch my mother.  What a night!  Shitting in the bed, having rigours and convulsions and seeing things that are impossible – pictures don’t swop places with themselves!  She is 85 this year and she nursed me and held me and cleaned me over and over, brought hot water bottles, fed me with warm tea and even with her buggered back, she was bent over me and holding me tight as I shook and convulsed.  
The next morning was the day before Christmas.  I was feeling like shit on a stick but determined to get to my mom for Christmas day.  The food had been prepared, the cakes baked and the tinsel was ready with the Christmas tree.  The phone rang and the lady on the other end of the line asked to speak to me.  She said, "Ms Lang, you were here at the ER last night and was seen by Dr Boesak.  He sent some of your blood away to be cultured.  The results are back and you are to immediately be admitted to the hospital.  Do not take your time, please come as soon as you can.  We are waiting for you".   Wow … then it was a mad scramble to pack some stuff together to get to the hospital.  I had septicemia.   That is when your blood becomes over-run with bacteria and puss is in your bloodstream.  At that point they did not know where it came from – more cultures had to be made before we could find the source of the problem, but Dr Stern, my physician was on duty and he decided to give me the most expensive and most potent antibiotic via my chemo port to run 9 hours a day.   I was isolated in a room on my own and was supposed to be barrier nursed so that the infection did not spread to others in the hospital.  Well, some nurses adhered to the barrier nursing and others did not give a damn.    
My first night was a nightmare – I was alone and could not find the bell to ask for help.  I had crapped all over myself and I had to clean myself up and put the sheet in one corner and use the top sheet and then it happened again, and again, and again … until I had used all the adult disposable nappies I had with me.  I was now in the shit literally.  I eventually found the bell and pressed it.  The nurse asked me what I wanted and I told her I needed linen as I had messed the bedding and all over myself.  She walked out and back in with linen draped over her arm.  She put it down on the chair and walked out.  I was still seeing strange things on the walls and doors, I was still having rigours and was so cold I thought I would die from the cold although I knew my temperature was back up to the 40’s.
And Christmas day arrived – my mom and my stepfather sat alone at their home with all the food prepared.  She could not come and visit me because she had a sore throat which could make my situation worse.  I don’t know what Patrick did although I know he was at the hospital.  I remember my son coming to see me and at least I remembered to say Happy Birthday to him.   But most of the day was just a blur that I cannot really remember.   I do remember the Xmas lunch.  It was pretty poor – four small carrots, five small potatoes the size of my thumb, a chicken drumstick and a piece of ham.  The pudding was … you guessed it.  Jelly.
On the 29th it was my physician’s last day at work as he was retiring so he discharged me with my drips so that I could do them myself at home.   They had now found the cause of the septicemia.  It was Enterobacteriaceae septicemia.    I can’t ever remember being so ill – knowing that it was my body lying there but at the same time looking at myself and wondering why I am still alive and how can anyone have to suffer like this.  Where was God in all this because all I did was pray over and over again – I prayed my moments, my minutes and my hours away.
I am still recuperating and still have spiking temperatures – so those positive thoughts of yours and your prayers are desperately needed.    I am chronically ill, but it is these acute infections that are going to be the end of me.  The doctors are quite blasé about it – they tell me quite openly that one of these infections are going to kill you one day.
I have not been on FB as most of you will have gathered by now.  I just don’t have the energy.  I have received lots of inbox messages, many the same with little variety – but it is the thought that counts.  I won’t be answering you all back – please accept this as my thanks and my wish for you too to have a good new year.
I will be back on FaceBook when I feel well again … or as well as my ‘normal’ is.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

My Christmas Prison Visit

Maybe most prisoners only get visits at Christmas time because today was ordeal far greater than previous visits – the lines of visitors stretched as far as the eye could see, all waiting to get to the first check-in.  After that, there is a bus ride to the section the prisoner you are visiting is in.  I don’t do the bus ride because I can’t and have a special dispensation (asked for) allowing Patrick to drive me to Medium B.  From there it is into a reception area where you are searched and then you take a seat and one by one the visitors have to sign in again.  When the prisoner is in the visitor’s area, the visitor is called and allowed in.   This is a new method of visiting and I cannot say that it is an improvement on the previous method.  
Both Luvuyo and Heini were happy to see us – and extra happy with what we were able to take in for them.  However, my Xmas card had to be opened and censored which I think is rather pathetic, given that it was a home-made card that was very rude – it was made especially to make them laugh.  
While I visited with the boys (they so much younger than I am), Patrick went to buy them a cold drink which can only be bought at the prison tuck shop.  It took him 45 minutes to get the cold drinks…the queues were that long.   The prison is bristling with Quick Response teams very heavily armed with bulletproof vests and dogs.  The atmosphere was far from being one of a happy time.
I asked if they would be given a special meal on Christmas day – both of them said that they would be given rice.  They get no rice the whole year, except on Christmas day.   How sad is that?
Heini told me a very funny story which I am still laughing about.  The wardens’ love curried prawns but their wives don’t cook it for them, so they get Heini to cook it for them.  Heini has made a little stove which he used in his cell before he was moved to a communal cell a month ago.   He was busy cooking the curried prawns when at 2am in the morning; the tactical team came to do a search.  As fast as he could, he grabbed the pot with its glass lid and shoved it under his bed.  The biggest of the members of the tactical team was also the leader and he could smell the food.  He leaned down and pulled the pot out from under Heini’s bed.  When he saw the gogo’s (insects) through the glass lid, he got such a fright he pushed and shoved the other members out of the cell … shouting with fright.  Heini was not punished for cooking in his cell, but another prisoner who they were after anyway, was charged with cooking.   Can you imagine such a sight?  I laughed when Heini told me the story until the tears were running down my cheeks.   And just then, that same leader of the tactical team walked past us.  I laughed even more at that, seeing such a big man running for his life from a pot of prawns.

A huge thank you to Patrick, for my Christmas present…of taking me to the prison.  It is a present that I will remember for the rest of my life. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas In Prison

My Christmas Gift
My husband, Patrick, has been in prison more than once for the “terrible” crime of having a bit of dope on him.  He spent too many years behind bars and has a phobia about the sounds, smells, and walls of a prison.
For Christmas, he asked me what I wanted.  I asked him to take me to the St Albans prison so that I could wish some prisoners a happy Xmas and take them some of what they need and are allowed.  This is the greatest Christmas gift from Patrick; for he is giving me his time and taking me to where he does not like to be.  I am very grateful to him for doing this.  Not only does he have to take me, but he has to take the wheelchair, oxygen cylinder, and facemasks and push me quite a distance to the visitor’s lounge.   The one hour visit we are allowed can sometimes take 5 hours with all the red tape and wait one has to do to see the prisoner.
I am going to see Heinrich van Rooyen and Luvuyo Lukas – two of many of my favourite prisoners in Medium B.  I am well acquainted now, after 2 years of visits, with 18 amazing lifers.  Their combined skills would shock you – our country needs to allow them out on parole when it is due because they have skills that we need as a country.  Some of them are even lawyers, accountants, and medical doctors.  Everyone makes mistakes – some of us are caught and pay the penalty.  How many of us have just been lucky and not caught?
In Matthew 25:36 it says: “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”   This is what Christmas really means – giving of yourself for in doing so, you give to yourself.  I am not doing this out of duty, but because I want to.  I always do what I want to do when I can. Chronic illness is not an excuse to having a life of doing what you want when you can.  I prayed to be well enough to go today and I have woken up well enough to go visit.  Thank you, God.
Most of society sees prisoners or ex-prisoners in a very negative light.  I want to somehow in the future, change that view to one of compassion for these people who are doing their time for their crime.  If God can forgive them, if they have done their punishment; then what right do we have to be judgemental?   I am not a fool and I do not think that all prisoners are wonderful, but most of them have accepted their punishment and are making good on the courses offered to help them to change and become better people.   Even when no courses are available at the prison, they find ways of becoming better people by running book clubs and teaching one another the life skills that others have not got.
The sick are visited, the naked are clothed, but how many of us visit the prisoners?  A negative attitude to all prisoners comes from a lack of knowledge, a lack of care and a total lack of compassion.  Please spare a prayer for the prisoners of our country this Christmas.  We need to be more forgiving and more compassionate. 
I wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas and may 2018 bring you everything you need, and a little more so you can give some away as well.

God bless and keep you safe and happy during the festive season. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas From the Heart


It was in in 1982 that I found myself with not a penny to my name and it was the day before Xmas.  I was a single mother with two children and my son’s birthday was on Xmas day.  I was feeling terribly sad and not knowing what to do.  In a walk to the letterbox to check the mail with no thought in my mind, I opened the post box to find an envelope in it with a R100 check in it made out to me.  There was no sender and it was a bank cheque.
I drove my clapped out beetle, with no floorboards, so the children had to sit with their feet on the seats as we could watch the tar passing by as we drove and I went to the bank and asked them who had sent the check to me.  They told me that it was an anonymous gift.
That R100 made the most wonderful Christmas with food and presents including a special one for my birthday child.
I have never forgotten that Christmas donation and every Christmas since that day, I have found a family to repeat the gift that was given to me. 
It was also that Christmas that we started the tradition of no Christmas gifts for one another but rather a letter written to one another, recounting all the good things that that person had done or had meant to us during the year.  It sounds like a simple enough gift, but the letters took a long time to write because it had to incorporate everything good that had come from that person for the entire year.  The other rule was that the letter had to be handwritten and had to have a handmade envelope.
That Christmas tradition as a gift has been a tradition since 1982 – no Christmas presents for the three of us but a beautiful letter showing us what we mean to one another.
Getting these gifts of letters ready to be in time for Xmas has to be started on the 1st of December to be in time for the 25th.  The only gift that is given is to my son whose birthday he shares with Jesus.
Perhaps you may like to make this a tradition for your Christmas instead of buying into the commercial Xmas that most people turn into a frenzy of buying and over-eating.

I would like to wish you a Christmas that will be filled with good memories for years to come and that the new year brings you everything you need.  Merry Christmas!! 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Miracles from a Cloned Standard Bank Debit Card

I had my Standard Bank debit card cloned last week and every penny taken from my account.  The only thing that goes into that account is money for rent, my medical aid and for the medication that the medical aid does not pay.  I get my money from helping people write books, publishing books for others, writing and selling my own books and occasionally managing to sell one of the blankets that I crochet.  And then I get a disability grant from the government.  My children give me a little money towards my medical aid but I have to come up with the rest.  It is always a gut-wrenching and stressful time for me until I have the money I need in my account.  I had my money for the end of November when my card was cloned.
I, by habit and by nature am a giver and a helper and someone who never asks for anything.  I have been like this my whole life, believing that it is far better to love than to be loved.  That law of doing unto others as you would have done to yourself is engrained in me.  I find it very difficult to ask for help for anything.
In His wisdom, God taught me a lesson.  I had no way of getting the money for the end of November but I put my pride in my pocket on asked for help on FaceBook.  After all, I have over 1400 FaceBook friends, many that I have helped over the years.
  
A miracle has occurred.  Not only do I have money to pay Discovery, but I have money to pay for my medications and enough to pay half the rent.  I have no worries now because I know that God will use one of his angels on earth to come up with the difference, or Standard Bank will make good on my cloned card (They refused to refund me).  The real miracle is that those who gave me donations were those I have never helped before – they were all relative strangers, FB friends who just liked reading my posts.  Not one of those I had helped, helped me.  Our rewards come from the places and people we never expect it to come from.
I have learned a few lessons from this experience and the biggest one is that it is OK to ask for help when you need it.  It is not humiliating and embarrassing.  It is reaching out to another and accepting the help they offer.  I have even learned that people do remember help I have given, even if I don’t remember – I have had people say “You helped me once so now I can repay you”.   This has been an incredible experience for me.  From a total disaster, out came a rainbow of miracles.
I have also learned that I am loved as well – something I have never really felt. I am loved and I am lovable and I can ask for help – what a comforting revelation to me.   
So with something so evil as my bank card being cloned and my money stolen, God gave me back a thousandfold; not only in the donations from His earth angels but also with showing me the amazing experience of feeling loved and being able to ask for help.
To His earth angels – my deep gratitude and to Him – all glory! 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

I Don't Know why I am in Prison

I don’t know why I am in prison
It was a cold, silent night.  The wind was whispering.  It was three in the morning and I was coming back from a tavern on my way home.  I could have taken a taxi but the street was empty.  Not even a shadow could be seen.  I could only hear the sound of dogs barking.
I had a bottle of Black Label beer in my right hand and a cigarette in my left.  I was talking to myself since there was no one to talk to.  I was so drunk that I couldn’t even see the road clearly.  While I was walking, I took five or three steps forward and then I stumbled on something.  At the time I didn’t know what it was since I wasn’t carefully looking and I didn’t mind looking around since I knew there was nothing except me on the road.  I fell on top of this thing.  I didn’t know what it was.  My Black Label bottle broke into pieces.  I don’t know where the cigarette ended up.  As I was trying to get up, my eyes fell on what I had fallen on top of.  My whole world stopped.  I couldn’t believe what I saw.  I had fallen on top of a dead man.  He was stabbed to death.  I tried to stand up as fast as I could.  Then I saw someone appearing from a dark corner.  It was a tall, thin and dark lady.  She was young and beautiful.  I tried to approach her about this dead man but she ran to the closest house around when she set eyes on me.  I asked myself “What was she running from?”  She reached the door of the house and she didn’t hesitate to knock and she was crying and screaming for help.  “HELP HELP”  I could see in her eyes that she did not want me to get any closer to her.  As I set one-foot closer she was losing hope.  She was so scared as if she saw death coming her way. I tried to calm her down but she shouted, “Don’t come any closer to me, you killer”.   I tried to explain what happened.  The people in the house whose door she was knocking on came out and closer to hear what the young lady had to say.  I looked around and saw more and more people around me – more than I could count.   They were standing there as if they were ready to go to war.   They had assegais, garden picks and stones.  In an instant, I realized that this was mob justice.
I looked at myself and I was full of blood stains all over as if I was slaughtering a cow and there was a dead man lying next to me.  Anyone who was looking at the crime scene would say the broken bottle was the murder weapon. I heard an angry man’s voice saying catch that murderer and I was thinking if I run now I would look guilty in these people’s eyes and if I don’t run now I could be beaten to death and no one will ever hear the truth.  I felt like a moth who got himself close to the light except I didn't burn.  I turned cold.,  I could see the heavenly door open.  My death was around the corner.  Another mand shouted “POLICE”.  That was my chance of escaping.  The way the mob was standing the police could notice that there was something strange going on, so they stopped.  There were enough policemen to stop the mob's intentions, twelve vans one after the other.  I heard the sound of a door shut “bhar barh” and the mn approached the mob.  Everyone stood still and he asked what was going on.  Everyone answered at the same time as if everyone knew what was going on.  But the policeman asked a few volunteers to give statements at the police station.  Eleven people were available.   The police grabbed me and threw me into the back of a police van.   We reached the police station and I was thrown into a cell.  
There were two men in the cell.  One was under a blanket and the other was sitting as if folding himself into a corner.  They looked angry but tired at the same time.  These men were gangsters – I could tell just by looking at their faces.  Their faces were almost green, they had red eyes and deep scars on them.  I thought about greeting them first and then thought better of it because then they would think I am a coward.  They looked at me as though they were seeing a ghost.  One said ‘Yes?’.  I did not answer at first until the one who was under the blanket got up and came straight towards me and stopped when there was only one step between us.  He said, “Yes, bathi ungubani wena?” (Yes, who are you?). I replied that I was Luvvuyo and his response was nothing but a prepared fist on my face.  I stood there thinking should I fight back, but he released another right fist.  This time I was aware of it and I hit him back with a right to his chin.  He fell and I kicked him in his stomach.   Immediately the police were inside the cell.  They pulled me out and kicked me into a deep sleep.  The police threw a glass of water into my face to wake me up.  When I got up I was in the interrogation room.  There was a huge white man standing in front of me.  He was wearing a black suit, saying “You are in deep shit son”.   I tried to find out what he was talking about but he told me that he asks the questions and I am the one to do the answering.
He took out the tape recorder and a few sheets of paper and asked me, ‘What can you tell me about three o[clock in the morning?”  I told him that I knew nothing about what happened.  He hit me and said, “Tell the truth”.  I replied as loud and as clear as I could, “I don’t know”.  Then he told me that I was going to be charged for two serious cases of murder and Assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm because the man I kicked in the stomach was in the hospital because I broke his rib.  I did not have a statement for the murder case because they would not believe anything I said and I asked myself why can’t anyone believe me?  Was it because of the color of my skin and why would anyone want to lock me up and for what?  But the man interrogating me pulled out the papers, took my fingerprints and took me to the back of the van.  They drove straight to court.  We got to court, they called my name “Luvuo Lukas” and I stood up.  The magistrate looked at me through his glasses.  While I was standing I saw how respectful everyone was towards him.  Everyone stood up and waited for permission to sit down. 
The magistrate raised his voice and said, “Simphewe Nomfazi, you are charged with murder and assault GBH.  What can you tell me about this?”
“I know nothing about murder and the assault was self-defense”
Luckily, the man who had folded himself in the corner was also a victim, his rights were also abused by the man I assaulted and he was there to witness my statement.  The assault case was then over but what was not over was the murder case.  They asked me if I wanted a lawyer and I said no.  Time flue, days died and weeks vanished doing the same thing over and over again until the last day of the case arrived.   It was 8 o’ clock on a Friday morning and I arrived in a police van.  When I looked outside the court was full of people from the community.  They were protesting, caring written cardboards with “Arrest the murderer”,  and that was when I knew that I was no longer safe in the community anymore.  I thought about my life and how cruel the world is, my life just vanished in front of me.
The trial began.  I stood up when they called my name.  The prosecutor asked me if I was ready to say something.  I did not respond.  I looked at him and I saw nothing but a fallen angel standing in the presence of God, acting like he cared while he only cared about was his salary at the end of the month.  The prosecutor called witnesses and nine of them were available, including the lady I saw that early morning when I tripped over the dead man.
The lady was the first to climb the state.  The prosecutor convinced her to tell the court the whole story.  She was prepared and ready to bring me down – what for?  I don’t know.  I never knew the lady, she did not know me either.  I heard her telling the court how badly I stabbed the deceased and I wanted to kill her too and that is when she ran to the closest house around and I had tried to get to her too.  People in the house she ran to get up so did the community.  Everyone after her agreed on what she had said.  And they asked me again, “Sir, can’t you tell us anything and I said “no”.  The judge called for teatime and everyone stood up and were dismissed.  While I was waiting for the break to end I thought what am I going to do or say to convince the court and prove that I am not guilty.  I was losing because everyone was against me.  I was alone in this situation and had no one to talk to while I was thinking.
 A policeman came and said, “Come forward sir, you need to finish what you have started”. Who started this, I thought.  Now I have to finish it. I felt like Jesus because I was dying for somebody else’s sin.
The judge called me forward.  He said, “Simphewe Nomfazi, you were too drunk to remember stabbing someone because you were drinking irresponsibly.  He convinced me to understand that he is not doing this for anyone but myself and the community.  And I thought “This is it now”.  My mind was all over the place and I couldn't feel my body.  I had a feeling that something bad was coming my way.  Five minutes after the magistrate said silence in court, he said, “Simphewe Nomfazi, I sentence you to ten years imprisonment for murder”.
I could not believe what I had heard.  I  did not know what to say or to whom.  All I knew was that I was going to prison for not knowing anything about the dead man.  I climbed on the back of the police truck and was taken to St Alban’s prison in Port Elizabeth.  When I got to the reception the warder who was working there asked me what I was arrested for.  I gave him the ticket and he saw every detail he was expecting.  But when I got to the cell, they asked me the same questions.  I told them the truth.  I don’t know what I was punished for.  Now I have to spend most of my days in prison, while the murderer is walking free out there and what was the difference between me and the murderer?  The only difference is the murderer knew exactly what happened and I didn't know nor do I know to this day.
I have changed the name of the prisoner.  The story is in his own words. 


Monday, November 27, 2017

Rape in Prison


 This story is in the prisoner’s own words.  I have kept his name secret for obvious reasons.  

It all happened so fast, the day of my arrest and the pain of my life.  It was on the 5th October when I was remanded in custody for a warrant of arrest on my pending case, which was for armed robbery.  We were all pushed into one big truck, which is called “umgqomo” (rubbish bin).  We arrived at the West Bank Trial in East London, then the Correctional Officials locked us up in a cell called the “Court Cell” for more than several hours without water or food.  Just after “Phaka” time, which is also known as supper time or dish up time, we were all stripped searched, as they divided us into different sections. I was placed in C-Unit, well-known as the rich gang’s section.  Everything happened in that section and all the so-called fat cats, the top dogs, were staying there.  At our arrival in the unit, you could literally hear the guys making remarks like “You are mine tonight”, “Come stay with me, I’ll make you a queen, baby”.  The fear started to build up inside of me.  I couldn’t hear anything else because the fear was so much that I blocked my ears.  My heart was beating so fast that I could feel it in my throat.  We stood for a while in the front of the office while the wardens were sorting out the totals for each cell in that section, trying to balance their books so that they put more in the cells where there was the fewest number of prisoners.  Eventually, they put me in Cell 10.  I can remember everything like it was yesterday.  I got into the cell with absolutely nothing except for a toilet roll, toothbrush, body soap and one single sheet to sleep with.  The wardens locked me in that cell.  The öuens”were already standing, aware of the “stimella” arriving.  One of the men that were hanging around in the toilet told me to enter the room and stand behind the door.  I did as I was told.  While I was standing behind the door, two guys came towards me, bearing in mind all the noise I heard while I was outside.  The cell disappeared.  It was absolutely silent.  Everybody was sitting on their beds.  The two guys stood in front of me.  One of them greeted me in Tsotsi language and asked me for my name.  I told them.  They asked to which gang or group I belong to in here.  I said to none so they told me who they were and to which gang/organization they belonged to.  It was their job, they said, to make sure that I did not have any sharp or dangerous weapon that could be a threat to their organization and they dealt strictly with money, matches and any kind of thing that could be smoked, dagga, tobacco, and cigarettes.  I told them that I had nothing.  After that they told me to wait there, the.  They went back down the passage and disappeared into one of the passages on the right, a few seconds later they stood in the middle of the passaged and call out Hom, Hosh, tow men from the left side of the passage appeared and stood in front of the two men that were already standing there.  I just saw hands coming up and signs were being made.  I couldn't hear a single word that was said. These men disappeared back into those passages and then suddenly two men from the left side of the passage came marching towards me and gave me instructions to follow them.  I went with them.   I followed until they entered the last passage (Dzegang) on their left.  They ordered me to take a seat on one of the beds, opposite the one where a very dark in complexion man sat.  I sat, holding my prison stuff in my hand.  The man in front of me said “Welcome to Gormorro.  I was confused and afraid as I sat there, a million things running through my mind.   This black man started a conversation with me while he was rolling something that looked like a dagga roll.  He asked me if I smoke and without thinking, I said yes.  The man that had brought me from standing behind the door to this cell vanished for the longest time.  I tried to gather my thoughts.  I could not get my mind straight or clear because I had seen that the whole passage, left and right, was covered with curtains (Udiyadiayas).  You could literally not see a thing behind the closed curtains.
 Eventually, this black man sitting across from me this long thick zoll (thick dagga roll); as thick as my thumb.  He told me his name was Zorro and then gave me the zoll.  I tried to hold it still because my hands were shaking so badly.  I brought it close to my lips, took a long deep puff, inhaled and kept it in for a few seconds before I blew the smoke out.  I could feel that this was a good joint of the first grade.  I started to relax and enjoyed the zoll.  I started talking freely and before I realized it, it was dark outside.  The roll was near the end.   Zorro told me that I should not worry about anything and that whatever I wanted or whatever problem I had, I should speak to him.  He told me that from now onwards I would sleep on the bed I was sitting on.   He told me to kick off my shoes and relax on the bed.  He got up from his bend, and from underneath his bed, he pulled out a box.  Inside were clothes.  He took out a pair of shorts and a red t-shirt and told me that I could wear the clothes so long because the clothes I was wearing needed to be washed.  He gave me a face towel and soap, which was Lux soap, not the same type of soap I had got from the office.  I took the things from him and then he shouted for Samora, who was the man who had brought me to his door.  He told Samora to show me the shower and to give me the run down on all I needed to know while I was showering.  I followed Samora to the bathroom, all the while listening to the do’s and don’ts.  I took off my filthy stinking clothes that I had been wearing and sleeping in.  They were disgustingly dirty from sleeping on old sponge mattresses and dirty blankets from the charge office cell.  I got into the shower, opened the hot water to check the temperature and to my surprise the water was cold.  However, I continued to stand under the tap, applied soap in the face towel and started washing myself in that cold water.  For a moment my mind was taking me for a ride.  I could hear all those remarks playing over and over in my head.  “Jy’s myne vanaand, jou mooi ding”,  (You are mine tonight you lovely thing) and all those other nasty comments.   I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind as I hurried up and got myself dried with that little face cloth and into the clothes Zorro had given me.  I took my stinking clothes and threw them into a bucket I saw standing there and washed my clothes.  I then hung them from the window.  I went back into the room.  Most were in their beds, some were playing cards, others were playing a game called stokes.  As I got into the passage where Zorro slept, I saw bread on my bed and a small bottle of cola.  Zorro told me that it was for me.  I looked at him and thanked him.  I took the plastic with the bread in it and sat down and ate the bread because I was so hungry and thirsty from the dagga zoll I had smoked.  When I was done eating and drinking, Zorro told me to look underneath my pillow.  Underneath the pillow were three cigarettes and matches.  Zorro said that they were for me in case I got a craving while he was asleep. I wondered why this man was being so friendly to me.  Maybe he is just a friendly person I thought to myself.  I kicked off my shoes, reclined on the bed and lit a cigarette.  Zorro rolled another zoll and lit it.  By then I had finished my cigarette. 
As I lay on my bed, my mind was just not in a right state of mind.  I replayed the time I was in court when I entered the finishing cell, the guys robbing the people in that cell and the attack on the people who would refuse to be searched.  The person refusing to be searched would be kicked until he collapsed.   Zorro called out “skuif”and when I looked at him he handed the zoll over to me.  I took the zoll and smoked it finished.  That was the last thing I remember as I lay on my back.  When I looked up all I could see were two rows and a mattress.  I must have fallen asleep.  
As long as I live, I will never forget what happened next.  I felt something heavy on top of me.  When I tried to move, I heard a voice whispering in my ear, “If you move one more time you are dead”.  Immediately I opened my eyes.   I felt this hot, hard pole, that felt like a penis, touch my bum.  I realized that I was naked, my shorts and underpants had been pulled off of me without me feeling anything.  I tried to move in a way of pushing Zorro off me.   I felt an ice cold, sharp knife against my neck.  “If you want to die, make one more move”.
I was very scared and I lay dead still.  He forced his penis into my anus.   It was so sore that I wanted to scream, but his hand was over my mouth.  I did not know what to do.  The tears rolled down my cheeks as he continued hammering his penis into me.  I felt like it was the end of my life.  Until today I feel ashamed.  I feel guilty because I should have known better than taking things from Zorro.  For days it was difficult for me to go to the toilet.  Blood would come out with every bowel movement.  My whole backside would burn.  I could not work properly. 
The morning after the rape, Zorro told his fellow prisoners that I was not feeling well, so when the wardens came to count us before they gave out breakfast, they reported me as being sick.  I did not feel well and was so weak, it was difficult to walk.  For days I lay there on my bed; hopeless, helpless and lost.  I lay on that bed for days.  Zorro threatened me that if I said a word, he would make my life miserable and I would regret having put my foot in prison. 

Ever since that day, I have kept this as my secret.  I am sharing this with you, Dianne, because I feel I can trust you.  You have made me realize that I am carrying a heavy burden.  This is the most painful story that has happened in my life.  I now feel light and free because I have shared this secret with you.