Have you ever felt extremely vulnerable, as if you were a sheep or goat overhearing people deciding to slaughter you for braai or not? Ask radio host Masechaba Ndlovu (35), she will tell you how hair-raising and spine chilling that experience brings.
She is happy to be alive, after suffering the horror of being almost kidnapped, raped, or even killed, when five armed men recently broke into her house, forcefully and roughly pulled her out of bed in the early hours one morning.
For her, she has learnt that at times tactical surrendering is not a weakness, but a defence and a solid one for that matter. That morning, what the mother of two could only think was staying alive and she remained calm throughout the barbaric invasion that left her in raw fear.
They were armed, and in her tactical retreat, all she could do was to co-operated with the instructions and submit to the demands they made. That had been done, it was still nerve wrecking for her to hear the men discussing what to do with them.
By God’s grace, she is grateful that she and her kids, Lungelo (11) and King (6), are still alive today. That near death experience has instead strengthened how she appreciates being alive. She has come to value even the little things about life that people overlook.
Masechaba and Lungelo were sleeping in one room while her maid and King were in the other, and when the burglars entered they tied her and her helper.
“I have never come so close to my death. 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 told Move magazine.
As she talked about this freshly happened incident she could feel a sense of anxiety, and explained how she felt trapped, paralyzed, and cold all in the first few seconds of that nightmare, despite all that, Masechaba decided to be strong and remained calm.
“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.
“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 told the magazine.
The men were wearing face masks.
“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,” she added.
So as not to let the aftermath tension and anxiety bottle up inside her, Masechabave decided to share her story, as keeping it to herself would have been bad for her wellbeing.
After the brutal attack, and after the police had collected the specimen for forensic, and cleared the scene, she urgently summoned a trauma counsellor to attend to her, who urged her talk about it, in order to relief the tension. Hence, she willingly shared her story, so that others learn from her story also.
Though it would take her time to forget, as she is still sensitive to night sounds, she is not harbouring any bad feelings, instead, she is grateful being alive.
“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 added. “I discovered what true power is. Humility is power, submission is power and quiet strength. I had to submit completely to the situation.”
She has since taken precautionary measures and fortified her home security. 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,” she added.
Moving on with life, she not going to let the experience to determine her future, for her it is those hiccups, but she remains strong and life goes on.
Masechaba divorced her second husband, Vusi Ndlovu, early this year, who is supportive in raising their two boys. They have been married for three years.
“The most important thing is to raise gentlemen who will grow up to be compassionate, loving and responsible above everything. The rest is secondary. I want them to be men who will be nurturers, 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 told Move magazine.
Masechaba’s 11-year-old son Lungile is an animation filmmaker, illustrator and writer, with three children’s books to his credit. She is proud of him, and always supportive to his calling or area of expertise.