Nomazulu Thata is the second daughter, fourth child to Thata family. Nomazulu was five years old when her parents divorced. The father took Nomazulu and her older sister to his cousin sister: Mrs Molife who lived in Makwiro, Msengezi farm, a big and opulent farm. It was some relief, they thought, there was no hunger in this home: at their father’s home there was poverty smelling at every corner. At their aunties place there was plenty of food and space. What meant a good living, social standing for growing up children was evident in this home: the good school they went to was where their auntie worked as a teacher. The two girls were happy, together with their cousins, life was normal again because there was the presence of a mother figure at home.
However, this opulent home was not as safe as they thought: Nomazulu and her sister were sexually abused by the uncle, husband to their aunt, curiously he was inspector of police far away from Msengezi Farm. They would be told to go with the uncle to Umnyathi where he worked. For years the girls endured abuse silently.
It was when her sister got pregnant from the abuse did their father remove them from the guardian parents. “These loose children, who did not know how to sit” was the mantra openly spoken. Instead of confronting the paedophile, the inspector of police, a law enforcer by profession, blame was blamed on two vulnerable girls!
Michelle Obama made a speech at the Democratic Party Convention, in 2008. She talked about how both she and her husband arrived at the decision that saw Barack Obama become a candidate in the 2008 US Presidential election. Her verbatim words, “because we were so tired of being afraid, we had to make that brave decision to let my husband stand for election!” I am planning to set up a women’s radio that will focus on women-specific themes in South Sahara African countries and globally.
In a way I am going on trial, and putting others on trial for crimes against womanity, life and innocence. I am saying, in the tone of the Obamas, I am tired of being scared, very tired. I am tired of wearing this heavy mask. I do not fear anymore; I am tired of being afraid.
Ntombi-Langa radio project is the removal of my mask. It is the emptying of the bowels of my burdened soul. Here in the themes of this radio project, I put down the cross on which my innocence was crucified. I am screaming out my decades of heavy silence. For whose ears? For whose eyes is this life drama? And whose shoulder these tears of blood? Who in this radio project is represented? Why does a self-respecting and educated woman strip naked in front of all who have eyes and ears; spilling the dirty beans; and hanging the unsanitary family linen on the World Wide Web, why Nomazulu?
Your personal trials and atrocities are not new. You are not alone. Some philosophers have said it, that life itself is violence, it is war, and peace is a temporary visitor to mankind and womankind. Rape, abuse, abandonment, and all, are the weeds that decorate the painful garden of life. Why make noise of your individual pain? Why make a song of your personal story when everyone around you is a walking storyteller, bearing the tragedies and atrocities of this world? Do you realize that this radio project will be a game changer forever?
Are you the proverbial ungrateful bird who the Igbo of Nigeria say, she unwisely challenged her creator to a fight and was reduced to dust? You are the brainchild of Ntombi-Langa radio project Nomazulu: By what name will you be called, after you have emptied the contents of your chest on a radio platform and told the bleeding family secret to the world wider world, WWW. Nomazulu? Who will greet you with open eyes in the marketplace? Who will pick your sorry pieces from where they would be scattered after you have fallen and crushed from the lap of the grace of your clan and nation?
My pained conscience has pelted me with these questions and haunted me out of sleep like a horrific nightmare. My days have never been peaceful again, since the idea crossed my mind that I should set up a women’s radio for South Sahara African women and girl-children. The Ntombi-Langa radio project is a platform to empty the minds and of millions of women and girls who have suffered the burdens of troubled childhood and stolen innocence. If Nomazulu Thata’s is ostracized by patriarchal societies for setting up the radio project and the transformational effects it will have on millions of African women and girl-children, then silence would be a sin.
This radio project is the shedding of old leaves of a tree in the summer wind and heat. It is a refusal of silence and death and a claim to strength and life for all the Nomazulus whose silenced cries will never meet ears, whose injured souls would never have witnesses who will live to tell the tall tales. The crime dear listeners, is not of the ever-alert bird, the whistle blower of the jungle, who throws a shrill piercing scream into the forest to warn all the birds and the animals of the predator who is prowling into the forest, the crime is of the predator who feeds fat on the flesh of others.
The pains of Nomazulu are not individual; they are the collective sorrow of all the abused, rejected, the poor, the sick, abandoned and forgotten girls who are victims of wars and some silent sufferers within what on the outside appears like happy people. Nomazulu is the honest and smelly armpit that tells everyone that not everyone who is well dressed and well respected has taken a bath. Nomazulu asks African societies in the South Sahara Africa to take a bath. Ntombi-Langa radio project is a scream for freedom, and a promise that there is life after abuse, and that in truth, silence is not peace.