Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 138, February 2021 Feb 2021 | Page 25

than putting this book together . You see , I wrote that letter just as I was beginning to ‘ come to terms ’ with what had happened to me . I felt I was recovering and was already sharing my story and using it to motivate other rape survivors . I was even facing prisoners and helping them realise the kind of damage their actions were inflicting on their rape victims .
But then the wheels of justice turned way too slowly and pushed me into a relapse . As it was , that day – when I wrote the letter – I felt they were not turning at all . The courts postponed the date for my case just when I thought I was about to finally see the end of an ordeal that had changed my life forever .
The strong woman I thought I had become wilted like a rose . I cried myself to sleep . I could hardly do anything , so much so that I had to be booked off work . The psychologist had no option but to refer me to a psychiatrist . I became depressed . It was as though I was reliving the day of my rape all over again . 12 November 2016 – a day I would never wish even on my worst enemy .


We have one copy of Yoyisa to give away to a lucky reader . To stand a chance of winning , send your name and contact details to letters @ modernathlete . co . za . Names will go into a lucky draw to take place 10 March . Ts and Cs apply .
Another gold at Two Oceans

Part 2 : Reclaiming My Life

Team SA at the World 50km Champs
Focused during Two Oceans
After the negative HIV test results , I decided to start focusing on my goal of doing well in the 2017 Two Oceans Marathon , which was to better my 8th position finishes from 2012 * and 2014 . I started focusing on my training and I was really giving it my all . The training was also making me feel better . Whenever I went for a run , I would come back feeling a better person . I felt so good and ready for Two Oceans .
Prior to the Two Oceans , I went to the Uitenhage Human Rights Race to check my readiness for the Mother City ultra . The race took place on 4 March 2017 – three months , two weeks and six days after I was raped . I ran the 30km race and won with ease in a good time of 1:54:43 . I later discovered that I had run the secondfastest 30km in the country by a woman . Monica Drögemöller held the record with her then 30-year-old time of 1:53:01 . My delight knew no bounds !
I then went to Cape Town for the Two Oceans Marathon in high spirits and confident of doing well . But the Two Oceans is not an easy race , and I had to dig deep to realise my goal . Anything better than eighth place was going to make me happy , and throughout the race , whenever I hit a bad patch , I would remind myself of the target I was chasing .
I was with the leading ladies for most of the race and was in fourth place with just a kilometre to go , but Mary Khourie overtook me and beat me by less than 20 seconds . I finished fifth , my best placing at Two Oceans . Mission accomplished .
Crossing the finish line , I felt like a new person . It was as though I had gotten rid of the load I was carrying . I felt lighter . And the emotions overwhelmed me so much I cried . The thought that just three months earlier I could have easily lost my life at the hands of a rapist got me to be grateful of the fact I could not only run , but could achieve such a big feat .
After drying up my tears , I remember saying , ‘ the devil , you are a liar . You do not have control over my life . You made me a much stronger person . Look at me now , I ’ m a winner .’ It was a great feeling .
The Nedbank Sport Video Shoot
The story of my rape was becoming common knowledge and Nedbank Sport – for whose running club I am a member – asked if I would be willing to do a photo shoot and video with them to share in their bank branches . I agreed without hesitation . I felt ready to share my story . I wanted to give hope to rape survivors , to make them realise that there is life after rape . After shooting that video , I felt free , and decided I would go on to give motivational talks and avail myself to other survivors who might need help to move on with life .
That video shoot planted a motivational speaking seed in me , and I have not looked back since . It also helped me to find a solution for my work situation . It made me realise that I was stuck with the prisoners , that whether
I liked it or not , I was an employee of the Correctional Services , and therefore they would always be a part of me so long as I continued working there .
I then decided it would be better to build a relationship with them . So , I got involved by delivering motivational talks during their sports events to try make them see and understand what rape victims go through after rape , so that those who are in prison for rape could see the need for change .
I was invited to the offender athletics at Kirkwood Correctional Centre , where I decided to donate my running medals , and I wrote a special message on the medal ribbons that said : ‘ I choose to be a Victor , not a Victim .’ After the medal presentation ceremony , I gave a talk , during which I explained why I wrote that message on the ribbons . I could not believe the impact my talk made . Three inmates raised their hands and asked for a time to talk to me . They explained that they were in for sexual offences and promised they would never do it again . Some even said they plan on taking up athletics more seriously and would continue with it upon their release .
I could not tell if they were genuine or not . But it felt good to get such a response . It helped me in my healing process , and I wished I could be used by all Correctional Centres in South Africa to do the motivational talks , if only to help sexual offenders understand the impact of their actions on their victims .
* I have since discovered that while I finished in eighth position in the 2012 Two Oceans Marathon , I was eventually bumped up to fifth place after some runners were disqualified .
To read Ntombesintu ’ s full story , you can order a copy of Yoyisa , selling for R250 , by sending an e-mail to yoyisasales @ gmail . com or you can call / WhatsApp 082 798 8772 .