UNNAMED DAD and step are truly sicko puppies. It's not always easy to tell in newspaper articles who had custody, and in Africa especially, custody arrangements tend to be informal. But it's more than clear that some sort of coercion was involved by the father in keeping this child in his home--with no intent other than torturing the child and tormenting her mother with his vicious mind games.
Family tortures, locks up, starves girl (2) for 8 days
By SIZWE MAZIYA on December 02,2010
NHLANGANO – A heartless father and stepmother have tortured, starved and locked up a two-year-old girl for eight days and later claimed she was dead.
The incident, which happened at a time when the country is supposed to be advocating against such violence for the next 16 days, was discovered on Monday by by the child’s biological mother and her family members who had come for the funeral arrangements only to find her alive, but malnourished under a blanket of clothing.
The child is currently fighting for her life at Hlatikulu Government Hospital.
She was assaulted, allegedly by her stepmother, using a thorny stick all over the body before her biological father allegedly hid the bruised girl in a locked house for eight days.
It is still a mystery how the child survived, considering the days she spent in the locked house reportedly with nothing to eat. The incident took place at Kakholwane near Mkhondvo in the KaPhunga constituency. According to the child’s mother, Nothando Shabangu of Maseyisini, her daughter was also denied food and allegedly made to drink insufficient water, thrown at her through the window, until she was discovered in a malnourished condition on Monday afternoon. The child is currently admitted at the isolation ward and is breathing through the aid of a life-support system to assist her with oxygen.
The names of the father and stepmother are known to this publication but deliberately withheld, pending police finalisation of investigations into the matter. They have both not been arrested. Nothando, a Zheng Yong Textile Factory employee, said the shocking discovery that her child was still alive was made on Monday afternoon when her family had gone to the homestead of the child’s father, a traditional healer selling his products around Manzini, to mourn the death of her daughter as well as arrange logistics for the funeral.
Narrating her ordeal, Nothando alleged on Sunday evening her grandmother received a call from the child’s father that her granddaughter had died in unclear circumstances and that her family should come for the funeral.
During an interview at the hospital, a teary Nothando alleged, upon arrival at the homestead on Monday at around noon in the company of her relatives including her grandmother, Gogo Shabangu, they were shocked to find no mourners but only the father and his wife, in a very relaxed mood.
She said her relatives, in a respectable manner, enquired about the child’s mysterious death and where the corpse was kept. The father allegedly said the corpse was kept in one of the houses situated within the family compound but no one was allowed to go inside or view it since the family elders were not present.
It is said in the midst of the confusion; a relative of the child’s mother, then visited the homestead of an aunt of the father, situated a few metres from his homestead, and was shocked to discover she had no idea of the so-called death.
"My relative, in the company of the aunt, then came to the homestead and repeatedly asked the father why he had not informed her about the child’s death. He kept insisting my daughter was dead and her dead body was kept in one of the houses and no one was allowed to go inside it. He then changed his tune, claiming the child had been troubled by the fact she does not stay with her mother. At that moment, the stepmother dropped the bombshell and said my child was alive, but locked in a house because she looked like a dead person. She said the child was suffering because I had deserted her and she had no time to look after other people’s babies. We found the child in a very sorry state, wrapped with wet blankets. She had unchanged sanitary napkins and was very weak and malnourished. I was shocked because even the child’s father sang the same tune as his wife - that no one had the time to look after my child. We then took the child to the Hlatikulu Police Station, where the police rushed her to hospital upon arrival while one of my relatives remained behind, recording a statement," said Shabangu.