Most of us experience around four really unfortunate events in our lifetime, whether it be the death of a family member or friend. But in parts of Cape Flats, South Africa, a young person will experience as many as four times that every single year.
Brutally raped by a family friend, 19-year old Noncedo Mabhunu knows this all too well.
“I was shocked, I was out of my mind,” she said on last night’s episode of Foreign Correspondent. “I couldn’t concentrate at school, I wanted to tell someone, but I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.”
One month later, she finally managed to reveal what happened to her mother. But the trauma and the shame clung to her. She stopped surfing, she began to fail at school, she isolated herself from the world.
“I felt like a dirty person,” she said. “I can’t even wash myself anymore. I felt like there’s no moving forward.
“I thought that God has cursed my life, has cursed everything that’s happening to my family, especially me.”
Support services are limited for victims like Noncedo. But one organisation is trying to break through, to give children purpose, confidence and a sense of community by teaching them to surf. It’s called Waves for Change.
“When something like this happens, and Noncedo’s story is by no means unique unfortunately, it’s, it is really difficult,” Waves for Change founder Tim Conibear.
In some parts of Cape Flats in South Africa, half of all children have witnessed a stabbing, one in three have seen someone get shot and countless others have been threatened by a weapon.