Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 138, February 2021 Feb 2021 | Page 24


Victor , not Victim

Eastern Cape Correctional Services employee Ntombesintu Mfunzi can look back on a highly successful running career , having represented her country numerous times , including at the 2008 World Cross Country Champs and the 2019 World 50km Champs . She ’ s also won four gold medals in the Two Oceans Marathon , as well as won numerous races and Eastern Province Champs titles . Remarkably , her third Two Oceans gold in 2017 came just five months after she was violently raped while on the way to a race in the Eastern Cape . In a powerful new book ,
Yoyisa ( Overcome ), written by Matshelane Mamabolo , she tells how training and racing helped ease her pain and put her on the road to recovery , and four years later she is not only able to speak openly about her ordeal and counsel other rape victims , but even delivers talks to convicted rapists and sex offenders in prison . Ntombi and Mats have given us permission to print a few extracts from the book here .
Nearly home at Comrades 2019

Part 1 : A Letter to my Rapist

To the perpetrator
I am the woman you raped on 12 November 2016 at about 2 o ’ clock in the afternoon . You have no idea how much you have ruined my life . Since that day everything has changed for me . I am trying hard not to let the situation break me down , but it is very tough .
I still have lots of questions for you . Maybe if you could tell me why you did it and what was on your mind at that time . Beating me up , getting angry at me as you were struggling to penetrate me , and then repeatedly raping me . I still get angry and cry every time I think about it , even now as I write this letter .
This feels like a permanent disease , because it will always be there . It is not reversible . You left me with a scar that will never fade , and years of working to replace what you stole from me that day . You took a part of me . You left an empty space in my heart , which , no matter how hard I try , remains unfilled . It feels like no one and nothing will ever restore what you have stolen from me .
When I look at myself in front of the mirror , all I can see is a wound . After the incident , I lost my sexual feelings for more than a year . Even though I would like to move on with my life , I am still scared of being judged . I feel men would judge me once they find out that I was raped , or that they would be with me because they pity me .
Yes , life goes on . I do not just sit and cry every day , feeling sorry for myself over what happened , even though you have ruined my life . I am strong enough to rise above all of this hurt . I am strong enough to talk about it , to share – with other victims – the coping mechanism as to how I am dealing with the situation , to ensure that I do not lose my sanity .
Do you even consider the pain you caused ?
The pain that I felt and what I have been through because of what you did to me is unbearable . But I fought to regain my life . Painful as it is , I did not let it destroy my future , for I told myself , ‘ I am going to rise above it – as a VICTOR , not a victim ’. And that is how I survived and am still surviving – I am an overcomer .
I pray that you get the punishment you deserve ; that you will accept it and admit that you did me wrong . I pray you admit that you almost killed me so that we can both move on . I pray that you accept the punishment you will get , just as I accepted that the rape happened , permanently and irreversibly . But life goes on .
Rape is Real
What you have just read is the actual letter I had to write at the advice of my psychologist about two years after I had been raped . It was arguably the hardest letter I ever had to write . Harder , perhaps ,
Images : Action Photo SA & courtesy Nedbank & Ntombesintu Mfunzi
24 ISSUE 138 FEBRUARY 2021 / www . modernathlete . co . za