In 2014 my two cousins and I were hijacked and kidnapped. They put us in the car, which is what I didn’t understand.
They said they were going to give us taxi money. As we were driving — because I talk a lot, I kept asking: “Where are you taking us? Where is the taxi money?”
They were like: “No wena, you talk too much and you don’t look like you believe this is a real gun.”
And then they fired a shot outside.
I realised I needed to keep quiet because, if I didn’t, I was going to die.
They took us to a field and threatened us. They tied us on to trees with shoelaces and threatened to rape us. They were doing all sorts of things to us. They physically hit us, punching and slapping us.
I have never been hit before, not even by my parents. To me that was painful because, suddenly, I was being hit by someone I didn’t owe my life or anything to.
They could have just left us there stranded, not hit us.
And when you’re tied to a tree you can’t do anything. You can’t kick the person. Even if you scream, no one is going to hear you. That was their biggest advantage, we were in the middle of nowhere.
They even pulled out my braids from the roots to make ropes because they ran out of shoelaces.
We eventually untied ourselves and ran out of the bush to the main road. We were trying to hitchhike. I remember a police car and an ambulance drove past us.
We walked until we saw a building and the security guards lent us their phone and we called home and they picked us up.
It felt like a movie.
I didn’t cry and I was not scared because I was like: “No, this is not happening; it’s not making sense.”
I only got scared when my uncle drove into the building, then I started crying. — Lindiwe Mpanza, a third-year journalism and media studies student at Damelin, as told to Tebogo Tshwane, an Adamela Trust trainee financial reporter at the Mail & Guardian