CHILD MAC Got you, got you! You owe me a chocolate banana!
UNCLE BOBBY Not so fast, little one. (With a twist, Uncle Bobby, who is much stronger, is on top of Mac, pinning him down)
UNCLE BOBBY I win, I WIN!!!
CHILD MAC Ow, Uncle Bobby, you’re hurting me. UNCLE BOBBY You should have thought of that before you tried to get the better of me.
MAC (In some distress) Please Uncle Bobby, you’re too heavy, you’re squashing me and I can’t breathe. (Bobby gets off Mac, who picks himself up, and brushes himself off. He’s not happy)
MAC (upset and a bit sulky) That really hurt, Uncle Bobby! I don’t think I want to play with you anymore.
UNCLE BOBBY I know a great game… but…
MAC What? What?
UNCLE BOBBY (stage whisper) Well, it’s a secret game that only monkeys know, and monkeys play.
'CAN'T TOUCH THIS!’
A Mac Monkey Adventure for Pre-Schoolers
By Gordon P Billbrough
This play was performed in Xhosa at a Primary School in Khayelitsha as part of a child awareness campaign to educate children as young as 4 years old as to the dangers of approaches by friendly older people, be they family friends or even relatives. It is performed by the Theatre for Life performance group and sponsored by the Simelela Rape Centre, the only 1 stop clinic open 24/7 in Khayelitsha with a population of over half a million. When I read a transcript of the play, I was at first somewhat taken aback. By Western standards, the play is graphic in detail. But as one of the actors in the performance group explained,
‘It has to be, child rape is a crisis here.’
A quick look and the cold-hard statistics are almost impossible to believe…1 in 3 children in Khayelitsha will suffer some form of sexual abuse by the time they are 18 years of age. Of all the new rape cases presented at Simelela, over two-thirds are from survivors aged under 18 and well over a third are children aged under 14 years of age. The youngest survivor was a 1 year old baby. Unbelievable. There is a silent and sinister child rape crisis sweeping through the township that has largely gone unnoticed and unreported. As Nozuko Conjwa, a counsellor from the NGO Nonceba, an NGO that deals directly with child sexual abuse survivors in Khayelitsha and provides long-term care and counselling for survivors, says in an almost matter-of-fact tone:
‘South Africa has the worst figures for child rape in the world and this area has the worst figures in South Africa. It is so common the police hardly bother to investigate.’
It is important to bring attention to this awful and almost unbelievable situation. By following the work of counsellors, NGO’s and the South African Police Service and in particular, the Family, Violence, Child Abuse and Sexual Offence Unit (SAPS – FCSU), I hope to convey the overwhelming and emotionally traumatic nature of the truly heroic attempts being made to try and make a dent in this culture of sexual violence perpetrated against those most innocent and vulnerable in society. And what can only be described as a true crisis.