In 1952, I was seven years old, I was in Class Three and I was living in Abutia with my grandmother. There was a celebration marking the opening of a bridge near or in a village called Podoe, which meant the road was now opened from Abutia to Juapong.
I am told there was a political figure that came to perform the inauguration to signify the formal opening, but I did not know about those things then.
I do remember exactly how I was dressed and how concerned I was that the white frilly socks my grandmother had made me wear had turned brown from all the dust along the route of the journey.
When we got back from the celebrations, a man dragged me into his room and defiled me.
I don’t remember what or anything that he said, but what I do remember is the smell of his body that has stayed with me to this day, 67 years after the event.
I cannot say that I knew what he had done, I did not have a name for what he had done, I did not even have a name for the part of my body that had been violated.
When I got to our house, a few meters away, my grandmother was not home and I went to lie down. The next day when my grandmother was giving me a bath, I heard her tell my aunt that I had got “edepua”, or something that sounded like that and that, as I understood it, meant there was pus coming from my vagina.
My grandmother did not ask me what, or if anything had happened. I don’t know why I did not tell her about the incident and I don’t know what she thought had happened to make my vagina sore; she applied a hot compress on me and made me sit over hot steam for what seemed like hours.
When I was eleven years old, I was raped. He was not a stranger.