The granddaughter of former president Nelson Mandela, Ndileka Mandela, has spoken about being raped by a former partner as part of the global #MeToo campaign on social media.
“August 9th 2012 is a day that will remain etched in my mind,” she wrote on Facebook. It was on that day that her former partner raped her, she said.
“Yes RAPED,” she wrote, before adding: “A lot of men still think that rape between partners is a strange phenomenon.”
According to Mandela, she and her partner had met to discuss his finances.
Later, he arrived at her home and, against her own instincts, she allowed security to let him in.
He watched football downstairs with her son before he approached her in her bed.
‘I told him to stop’
“He came up to bed later and started kissing me, I told him to stop as I was premenstrual and my breasts were tender and I just wanted to sleep,” she wrote.
“He did not listen, continued to kiss me while taking my underwear off. He kept both my arms pinned above my head as he penetrated me.
“I said no so many times. He kept thrusting over and over again and I started crying,” Mandela said.
He tried to make her promise to never refuse sex with him again and eventually stopped when she was sobbing uncontrollably.
‘I didn’t want to scream’
She said she did not scream because she did not want her son to find her “in that compromising” situation.
Mandela told News24: “He said to me that ‘you like it rough sometimes’. In this case, in this instance, I said no. If you say no, it is rape,” she said. “Even if you like the kinky stuff, if you say no, it is no.”
It was through the support of friends and family that she pulled through the ordeal.
However, one of the most difficult conversations she had about the ordeal was with her daughter.
“I wanted her to know that if anything like that happened to her, she has got to walk out of the relationship.”
‘I didn’t report the rape’
Mandela did not report it at the time because she felt it would be difficult to prove that her partner had raped her.
Her grandfather’s condition was also becoming very poor and she did not want to burden the family.
She was also afraid of how a trial would affect her children given what Fezekile “Kwezi” Kuzwayo went through after she accused President Jacob Zuma of rape. Zuma was acquitted but Kuzwayo was publicly maligned by many African National Congress supporters.
“I decided that this is going to be my albatross,” said Mandela, whose grandfather died the following year.
The #MeToo campaign
But the last straw was during a recent conversation on the #MeToo campaign with a friend on WhatsApp.
This campaign encourages people who have been raped, sexually assaulted, or inappropriately touched to hashtag #MeToo on their social media accounts to drive home the message that “no means no”.
Mandela explained that, she and a male friend had a conversation on WhatsApp about the rape accusation of that a well-known singer and former Member of Parliament had made against a top sports administrator.
The friend wanted to know what the singer and sports official were doing in a hotel room together in the first place.
He had further questioned whether it was possible to rape a partner and quipped that it might even lead to a husband needing a consent form before having sex with his wife.
“I lost it,” said Mandela. “Men trivialise sexual assault.”
She said some people do not believe it is possible to be raped by a partner or spouse and she wanted to speak up for those people and decided to write the Facebook post.
Mandela said she is in a loving relationship now.