It was the most terrifying night of her life and it has taken a lot of courage for her to open up about it.

Now Masechaba Ndlovu (35) is opening up to Move! about the ordeal she experienced when five armed men recently dragged her out of bed in the early hours one morning.

The mother of two could think only about staying alive and calm throughout the violent invasion that had her feeling sheer fear.

By God’s grace, she says, she and her kids, Lungelo (11) and King (6), are alive and every morning she wakes up with a sense of relief and a reason to celebrate being able to breathe.

Even something as small as running a warm bath and putting Vaseline all over her body the first time after the incident felt like such a privilege, making her appreciate life.

A NIGHT OF HELL

Lungelo was sleeping next to his mom when the criminals invaded their home. Masechaba was tied to the ground with her helper, who had been in the other room with King.

“I have never come so close to my death,” Masechaba tells Move! “All I could think about was my children and staying alive.

“I didn’t care what they did to me, I did not care about what they were going to do to me, I just wanted to be alive, so I stayed calm and I was respectful in my tone,” she says.

It is only days after the incident t that Masechaba talks about this, and it is still hard for her to have to relive the e ordeal.

She takes deep p breaths and long pauses whe en she tells this story. “I feel a sen se of anxiety as a talk about th his,” she says.” “In the first few se econds of that nightmare, I felt trapped, numb and cold.”

The most impo ortant thing was remaining al ive, so she co-operated with h every instruction and ddemand.

But it was chilli ng to hear the men we ere talking among themselv ves and trying to decide wwhat to do with

I DO O NOT FEEL ANG GER – I FEEL A SENSE OF GRAT TITUDE THAT THESE E MEN DID NOT TAK KE OUR LIVES’

them. Masechaba was petrified but decided too be strong. “I am proud of myself and my children’s nanny. Even if our things were not recovered, all that matters is that we are alive,, and my children did not have to witness their mother’s murder,” she says. “One thing that will stay with me forever is when one of the five men showed us a level of compassion as we were tied up on the floor. “He kept repeatedly apologising after he realised who I was from the pictures on the wall. I realised that behind every criminal is a human being, a broken one,” she says. Th e men wore balaclavas and she could not make eye contact with them. “While trying to reach a decision about what to do with us, this particular one said, ‘No, these are women’. That level of compassion will never leave me.”

RECLAIMING HER POWER

Masechaba could have kept the attack from others but she decided to share her story because she didn’t want to suffer even more. Keeping quiet would have been bad for her wellbeing, she believes.

“I need to allow myself to feel,” she says.

Hours after the horrible attack, when the police had cleared the scene, a trauma counsellor was in her home.

“Never de lay the trauma counselling,” she advises. “During the session, my counsellor stressed the importance of talking, talking and talking about it.

“I know how important it is for me to feel and talk about it and that is the reason I shared my story.

“I made a decision – a choice – not to dwell on what could have happened. I don’t want to look back at this with pain.

“I am handling it better than I could have imagined. It was pure hell, but I am mentally and spiritually strong.

“I don’t feel anger but a sense of gratitude that these men did not take our lives. They had the power, the opportunity and capacity but here we are,” Masechaba adds.

It is going to o take some time for her to o get over what happen ed.

“I still strugg gle with loud sounds, I get jumpy still,” she says.

But in all of that she has learnt more about herself. f. “I discovered what true power is,” she says.“Humility y is power, submission is power and quiet strength. I had d to submit completely to the situation.”

CRIME PREVENTION

Masechaba has since upgraded security in her home. In fact, she says she has multiple security companies making sure she is protected. Her car and things taken from her home were recovered.

“My hope for South Africans is to begin the work of breaking generational curses, dynamic and complex issues. It has many layers. I don’t fear that the culprits have not been apprehended, I fear that they are out there.”

Masechaba hopes other people will be empowered by her story.

And she won’t let the experience imprison her. “Getting my car from the police was eerie because of the energies that had been in that car, but it was important to get right back in.

I stayed in my house the same night, but it was a big adjustment. We faced it head-on.”

RAISING GOOD MEN

Masechaba divorced her second husband, Vusi Ndlovu (BELOW), earlier in the year after their three-year marriage. She has great support from her exhusband when it comes to raising the boys. “The most important thing is to raise gentlemen who will grow up to be compassionate, loving and responsible above everything,” she says. “The rest is secondary. I want them to be men who will be nutures, who will be protectors and grow up to do the right thing and that is why co-parenting is important to me. “I could never do it alone. It is important that children have strong male figures in their lives,” she says. During the premiere of The Lion King, Masechaba’s date was her 11-year- old son. He is an animation filmmaker, illustrator and writer and has written three children’s books. Masechaba supports his ambitions. “My job as a mom is to go in the direction of his dreams.”

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